Already a Six-Time Delaware State Champion, Stan Waterman Further Enhances Coaching Acumen With USA Basketball
When you have won six state championships as a high school coach, odds are no one is breathing down your neck to make changes to the way you do things.
Such is life for Stan Waterman, now in his 28th season at Sanford School in Hockessin, Delaware, where he treads the sidelines of a court that bears his name.
Waterman didn’t lead those six teams to championships and numerous others to deep state tournament runs by resting on his laurels. He always has a thirst to learn more about the game and the people who play it, and it’s that second part that has led to him making some recent changes.
Waterman jumped at the chance to work with USA Basketball two years ago, because of the opportunity it presented him to talk shop with other coaches and to be around some of the best young talent in the game.
He served as an assistant coach to Don Showalter with the 2018 USA Basketball Men’s U17 World Cup and 2017 USA U16 National Team. He also was a court coach at the 2018 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team October Minicamp.
This year he will serve as a coach for the USA Nike Hoop Summit Team in April.
“I am excited and thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of the Hoop Summit game and all of the things that are a part of that,” Waterman said. “You have the best high school seniors in the country competing against the best 19-and-under (players) in the world. It’s going to be exciting basketball, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Waterman said the biggest impact his experience with USA Basketball has had on his program at Sanford has been an idea he took from Showalter, who starts each practice with what he calls “mind candy.”
It’s a quick story or thought Showalter inserts in the back of every player’s mind, usually with an emphasis toward relationship and team building. He might come back to the idea later in practice and he might not, but the point is to encourage players to be thinking about each other and develop the right mentality to be successful.
“I think we do a lot of that, but now I’m putting a lot more emphasis on that even more so than the skills,” Waterman said. “Just the relationship building, the attitude, the approach to the game, the toughness that is necessary to be successful. Those are the things that I’ve added more than anything else.”
Waterman said this season was a perfect time to begin emphasizing more relationship building, because it was something he thought could have helped last season’s team, and most of that team returned this year. Sanford was ranked No. 1 in the state in mid-February and has a legitimate chance to win a seventh state title in the Waterman era.
He also has been able to travel overseas in his role with USA Basketball and experience the game in other countries and see it through other cultures. He said some of the most memorable of those experiences have had little to do with basketball, such as visiting an orphanage with USA U17 players last summer in Santa Fe, Argentina.
“It was a special experience,” Waterman said.
Waterman was a point guard as a player. He attended the University of Delaware in the late 1980s and realized he wanted to remain in the game as a coach around the time his senior season began. He served as an assistant coach for one season at Wilmington before being hired to lead the Sanford program in 1991.
He won a state championship in his first season on the bench and has been learning each year since. Learning is what Waterman says he appreciates most about his opportunities to coach with USA Basketball.
“I think the time we put in preparing before the kids even arrive in Colorado Springs, that networking piece really is amazing,” Waterman said. “You have a chance to talk basketball and talk about teaching the game. That’s an awesome experience.”