A former Floriana Basketball Club player (1996-1997), Tyron McCoy is, as from this summer, occupying the prestigious position as head coach for the professional German Basketball Bundesliga team, the Artland Dragons. The Malta Basketball Association reached out to Mr McCoy and asked him a few questions.
We start our interview by informing Tyron McCoy that in Malta, he is remembered by most as one of the best basketball players to ever set foot on the island. About his experience in Malta, he remembers that Floriana gave him the possibility to play at a high level, which helped him develop and improve on those aspects of the game which he was weaker in before playing in the Maltese league. Particularly, he attributes his present coaching philosophy of creating a family-oriented environment as being influenced by the style conducted by Floriana during the time he played in Malta.
About his general experience on the island, McCoy acknowledges that he liked several things, including the weather and the fact that everyone spoke English. Above all, “It was very easy for a young player that just came to Europe. And I liked the people.”
Asked to comment about Floriana’s first championship last season, McCoy has nothing but praise: “Congratulations! I'm very happy for them, that they were able to win the title. It is always very hard and difficult at any level to reach this accomplishment.”
The conversation shifts on basketball in general and we ask him to state a reason why a kid should start the game of basketball over any other sport. Whilst admitting his bias towards basketball, he replies that “basketball is a sport one can play by himself, but also as a team. It doesn't take much to go out and train. It is a fast, exciting sport.” He also has an advice to give to those kids wanting to become professional basketball players: “Work. Determination. (…) Get better each and every day; you need to work hard and be determined. Remember that there is always someone else in this world that is working even harder and trying to get better.”
Interested in his new role as head coach, we ask McCoy to comment about the adjustment he had to make to become a professional basketball coach after being a professional basketball player. He says: “Being an assistant coach was big and helped a lot to develop from a player to a head coach. As a player you react to the game in an emotion quick way. As a coach, everything becomes different. There is more analysing, more thinking. You decide for your team.” In addition, he acknowledges that since this is his first year as a head coach, he still has to develop his own coaching philosophy.
We feel that being an American who played the European game for many years and is now coaching in it, he is in a very good position to assess the difference between the American and European games of basketball. In his analysis, he observes that “(T)he athleticism is the biggest difference between the NBA and European basketball. In the NBA you have the best athletes from all over the world, it's faster. In Europe the players have better fundamentals.”
We conclude our conversation by asking him about his goals as head coach of the Artland Dragons, to which he replies: “We want to reach the play-offs. That would be a good success for us. Also, we want to have a good showing in the Eurocup.”
With heartfelt thanks for the interview, from Malta, we wish Tyron McCoy the best!
We would like to thank the Artland Dragons for providing us with the opportunity to interview Tyron McCoy.