CHANGSHA, China – Mike Schmidt came and went in the Fiba-Asia Championship hardly noticed.
The soft-spoken 31-year-old American served as Gilas Pilipinas' scout for the Rio De Janeiro Olympic qualifier but opted to adopt a low-key profile in his short stay in this Southern Chinese province.
Schmidt was so unassuming in his job as Gilas’ ‘undercover agent’ that it was only during the tournament that he personally met coach Tab Baldwin and deputy Alex Compton, who was responsible for getting him on board with the national team.
The current scout of the Memphis Grizzlies actually serves as scout of the Alaska Aces specifically on hiring imports and potential rookies, and developed a good chemistry with Compton that he was eventually recommended for the Gilas job.
And despite in regular contact with Compton, it was only in this tournament that they come face-to-face for the first time.
“When Alex got connected with the national team, he mentioned to coach Tab that I have a guy in the United States who has experienced doing game preparations and advance scouting. So he talked to coach Tab and got it done just a month ago,” said Schmidt, who in turn was introduced to Compton by Rob Beveridge, a good friend and Australian coach who supervised the Aces’ training camp at the Hoops gym last month in preparation for the coming PBA season.
Schmidt was tapped to do scouting work only for the Fiba-Asia meet, but said he would love to continue on this job on a longer basis if given the opportunity in the future.
“I was brought in just for this tournament as of now, but yes, I would like to work for the national team in the future. I really enjoyed the passion behind basketball in the Philippines,” said the American, who left for the US shortly before the second round of the tournament gets underway.
"I’m open to keep going in the future, but right now I’m just here for the tournament."
The product of University of North Texas didn’t become officially connected with Gilas until the Fiba-Asia, but already did some scouting reports during the Jones Cup, where the national team finished runner-up to Iran.
“I just went through a lot of data and resources I have available in the past to try and help out the coaching staff just in terms of getting prepared for all the upcoming games in the tournament,” said the NBA scout.
And having been in the NBA for quite a while now, Schmidt can’t help but admire the way Baldwin does his job on the bench for the Philippine team.
“Coach Tab is one of the greats I’ve come across including NBA coaches," Schmidt said. "I’ve worked in the NBA, I was trained by NBA coaches, and coach Tab ranks right up there with them.”