BARANGAY Ginebra needs to start grooming new leaders from among its young turks to pave the way for a passing of the torch, former Gin Kings star Rudy Hatfield said.
“You gotta talk to the younger guys and say: ‘Look, we need you to step up and start playing the leadership role. Don’t be intimidated by the veterans, this is what you should do, in order for you to get better. You’re the future of the team,'” Hatfield said.
“And the veterans need to be leaders by holding themselves accountable on the court and teaching the young guys how to be leaders. They need to work with them to pass the torch. It’s gotta be something where you start to mold the new guys,” he added.
Hatfield believes that new Ginebra coach Jeffrey Cariaso has what it takes to handle the Ginebra situation, being a former leader and team captain during his playing years. Hatfield and Cariaso played together at Coca-Cola.
“This is something that Jeff knows, he’s been a captain of the team in his playing days. The only way you can do it there at Ginebra, is to have a coach like Jeff with that kind of repertoire on that kind of player-coach mentality to do something like that,” he said.
“One thing I would like to see the coaches do is sit down and talk to the guy individually to define their roles. Then, bring in two or three leaders you think will be the future of Ginebra and try to work them together and try to look to pass that torch,” the' H-Bomb' added.
At the same time, Hatfield also reminded his former teammates to define their roles, as he shared fans' sentiment that "most veterans seem to outdo each other in leading the team."
“If you have a whole team full of five guys who were once all leaders and are all wanting to lead, how can the team work together to fill in the role-playing spot? And then how can the young guys go out and have an opportunity to be the leaders? It's not gonna help them,” he said.
“It’s very difficult for young guys to actually assume any kind of leadership position in the team, when you have a team full of five guys, five veterans who are used to being leaders on their own team,” he said.
"The real question is, who is willing to take the leadership responsibility of the team? Who is willing to 'throw the guys on his back' and be held accountable for what happens? And finally, who is the team willing to put that kinda faith into? The coach can really help in defining that role.
"Miami is a great example of this situation. It started as Dwayne Wade's team and when Lebron (James) came in, Wade didn't wanna give up that role to him in the first few years. That couldn't win. Finally, I believe, Wade realized what he had in Lebron and decided to take that supporting role; a role that was still dominant, but secondary to Lebron. Now, I am not a Heat fan, but I think when the main guys become humble and realize who should be taking the lead, the team becomes successful."
To listen to full interview with Rudy Hatfield, click HERE
With how Ginebra performed in the Philippine Cup, Hatfield sees a lot of potential in the team he represented for eight years.
“They had an amazing chance in the all-Filipino, they ended up in first place in the regular season. They were eliminated by the champs (San Mig in the playoffs), so they have an opportunity now in the (coming) all-Filipino to come back and get to where they are,” he said.
Hatfield at the same time wants Ginebra to develop an energy guy like San Mig's Marc Pingris.
“They need somebody who can light their youthful energy. They need a guy who can do intangibles,” he said. “The intangible guys are the ones willing to set hard screens, dive on the floor, make turning defense into offense and doing all the dirty work around the area without walking away with any of the glory,” he said.
Asked if there’s still a chance he’ll come out of retirement for the third time, Hatfield, who last saw action for Ginebra in 2012, was non committal.
“I don’t see anything in the near future, I just had a baby boy six weeks ago. The family is kinda settling in here,” Hatfield replied.
“I’ve kinda moved on from the stage of my life back at home. It’s not remote, but maybe even less than remote possibilities. Probably my playing days are definitely over. It will have to be a complete miracle for that to ever happen,” he said.
The 36-year-old bruiser is now based in Michigan working as an account manager for a publishing company but admits he still follows the league's games online.
The two-time all defensive team member, however, did not hide "missing the game."
“I just miss the strategy, I miss the preparation, I miss the manliness, the banging around, and yeah I do miss the game altogether,” he said.
“But I’m truly happy with my family and we have truly great things happening,” he said while stressing the value of now being with wife Bethany and kids Bella, Iylah and newborn Rudy III, who he fondly calls ‘Trey Bomb’ and hopes to see one day play in the PBA.