A few weeks back, my Pro Skills Basketball co-founder, Brendan Winters, and I had the opportunity to be guest on the nationally-renowned, Hardwood Hustle Basketball Podcast with Adam Bradley and Alan Stein. It was a great experience as I was able to talk about my basketball background and career as well as my role in Pro Skills Basketball today. You can listen to the podcast on the Hardwood Hustle website or download it on Apple iTunes, or you can read the interview below. Also, if you missed Brendan’s episode, you can check it out here. After you listen to it or read it, please share your thoughts with us!
Please enjoy the Logan Kosmalski Hardwood Hustle Interview!
(Side Note: Please excuse any typos. This podcast had to be transcribed.)
Hardwood Hustle (HH): Thank you for tuning in. You’re listening to the Hardwood Hustle broadcasting from Colombia, South Carolina here at the Bojangles’ Bash. I’m your host Adam Bradley alongside Alan Stein.
HH: Everyday I’m hustling.
HH: Hey coaches, do you want to afford the same video technologies as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kentucky Wildcats use? If so, you need Krossover, they will help you win more games and take your program to the next level. Make sure you visit Krossover with a K dot com today.
HH: If you’re gonna put a car in the garage, you might as well put a Ferrari in there and if you going to put a player on the court, you might as well make them as strong, fast and as explosive as possible. Vertimax can help you do that. Check out vertimax.com to see why it’s such a sound investment for your program. Nobody said coaching was easy … Practices to plan, players to wrangle, players to organize but TeamSnap can help get everyone to the right place at the right time with the right stuff. Save time communicating with your team visit teamsnap.com.
HH: Once again another shout out to our friends Bojanles’ Bash. We’ve been here living it up all weekend long Colombia, South Carolina. Some of the best talent in South Carolina and throughout the country have kind of made their way down here. So, we’ve been taking in some high school hoops
HH: Great high school hoops!
HH: Enjoying some chicken!
HH: And recording some great interviews. Hopefully most of you have heard our episode with half of Pro Skills Basketball, Mr. Brendan Winters. Now we have the other half. We have “the Wolf” and we’ll get him to tell you a little bit about that but we’re very excited to be joined by another former Davidson player and former pro overseas that is Mr. Logan Kosmalski. Sorry I said it wrong. I’ve been practicing for three months and I said it wrong right there on the spot. How are you sir?
Logan: Good guys. Thanks for having me.
HH: Our pleasure. Well as you know as a regular listener we don’t do can bios and you have one of the more fascinating basketball journeys that I’ve heard, so we really want to dig in this first half and talk about your playing career and everywhere that the game took you.
Logan: Absolutely. I grew up in a suburb of Dallas, Texas and you know played although at high school. My father was a former NBA player himself.
HH: What was his name?
Logan: Len Kosmalski was drafted in 1976 by the Kansas City kings. Interesting fact right there, but yeah after high school I was being recruited by major schools I ended up going to Baylor University straight out of school. It was an hour and a half from home. It was in the big twelve conference. I always dreamed of playing at the highest level I possibly could and I went to Baylor for two years. It just turned out to not be the right fit for me.
HH: What position did you play? Because your a big guy.
Logan: I was a power forward.
HH: Okay. You always play basketball, but did you play football also?
Logan: Well, interesting, growing up in Texas once I got to middle school, in middle school you joined athletics in order to play any sport and in athletics you had to play football.
HH: In Texas I believe it. Absolutely.
HH: I’m not following. You had to join athletics to play?
Logan: To play on any of the school’s competitive teams.
HH: You had to be part of that?
Logan: You’d have to have a period of athletics and you know during track season, it was track, during basketball season it was basketball, during football season it was football. We had four football teams for each grade. In seventh grade we had four football teams and everybody played somewhere.
HH: Were you playing against your will or did you like football?
Logan: You know I never played growing up. My dad was a basketball guy. I played basketball and baseball and you know soccer when I was younger, but I don’t know if it was just something of safety concern that my parents had but I just never played football growing up. I’m actually very thankful for that – growing up and playing football those three years of middle school.
HH: Toughen you up.
Logan: That’s probably why I fouled so much when I play basketball later on.
HH: I heard some stories about how you fell pretty quickly. Alan cannot wait to get to that I’m sure.
Logan: No, I was very thankful for those football years. They really did toughen me up and really after my time at Baylor I was there for two years I transferred up to Davidson where I of course played for coach McKillop and met Brendan Winters.
HH: I’m going to stop you right there.
HH: Without throwing anyone under the bus, what made you realize Baylor wasn’t a good fit for you? You don’t have to dig too deep if it’s a sensitive topic. We would like you to dig deep and share your sensitive information haha.
Logan: It just wasn’t a fit for me you know? I met a lot of great people. I still watch Baylor. I still root for them. It just wasn’t the team atmosphere that I was looking for and I had been recruited over. I actually started my freshman year and played a lot and then my sophomore year they brought in a guy Lawrence Roberts from Houston. I don’t know if you guys remember that name? He went on to play in the NBA and he played more than I did and at that time it was really painful for me to sit the bench when I had been playing, but looking back at it now rightly so. I mean Lawrence was a tremendous player and he was an absolute monster as a freshman so my minutes went down and that was tough for me to take. And socially and athletically it just wasn’t a fit for me and that was really hard decision as a nineteen year old to go on a coach Bliss’ office and tell him that I was leaving. That was a really tough moment for me but I’m really glad that I did it.
HH: How did you end up on Davidson’s radar with coach McKillop?
Logan: My brother actually played at Davidson four years before I did. Coach McKillop came to my house when I was in high school
HH: Your family is just like the basketball version of [??].
HH: That’s it. Did they recruit you hard coming out?
Logan: They did.
HH: So you were already on the radar?
Logan: My brother was a tremendous high school and college player. He played some overseas when he was done but I just always grew up in his shadow and he went to Davidson.
HH: Kind of like Adam and mine.
Logan: You two can talk about that later. I just wanted to do my own thing and I wanted to go to the biggest school possible I want to play on you know I want to be on TV on a national televised games. I want to play against Kansas and University of Texas and I got to do that.
HH: I wouldn’t blame you as an 18 year old. Those are things that would excite me.
Logan: It was exciting and I had some really good times at Baylor and once I decided I was going to leave, coach McKillop called me back up and wanted to give it another shot with me and he came over and we had dinner and that was it.
HH: How does that initial conversation you reach out to him and say “hey I’m leaving”? Like how does he even know?
Logan: I remember hearing when I was transferring like “oh, it’s going to be out on the wire”. I don’t even know what the wire is.
HH: That’s what I was wondering is there some memo, email like blast so you can send out?
Logan: To be honest, I don’t know, I don’t remember how it worked back then. I remember I did reach out to a few I mean, Santa Clara was really heavily involved recruiting me at a high school and I kind of regretted at least not going out there to visit out to California but I don’t know it might have been through my brother than coach McKillop heard that I was going to transfer. To be honest I really don’t know.
HH: Interesting. Got you. But you did two years at Baylor and then you had to sit out a year at Davidson?
Logan: I had to sit out a year and you know it was tough but that red-shirt year was probably the thing that I needed at that time.
Logan: You know I had been through some tough times at Baylor as far as not playing, and basketball became kind of a drain, and it had been my whole life and I put a lot of pressure on myself. I felt a lot of pressure from other people so actually going to Davidson and being forced to just sit and watch really sort of rejuvenated me and after that year I was ready to get back on the court.
HH: It’s a different mind set when you know that you can’t play versus a season where you’re sitting and watching when you feel like you should be in the game so it’s actually a whole different perspective.
Logan: It was a little bit refreshing. I got that whole season I didn’t that whole lot of pressure and I kind of like I said it just rejuvenated me and by the end I was ready to get back on the court.
HH: Something that kind of just popped out after hearing what you said and obviously earlier when we interviewed Brendan … Coaches if your listening right here, the importance of making sure these players are feeling energized and enjoying the process and having fun remember Brendan kind of mentioned he lost a little bit of his passion, his excitement for the game and his game started going down in conjunction with that same with you weren’t having as much fun that second year in Baylor you know things that kind of change a little bit.
Logan: I went through a roller coaster and I think that that’s one thing that really adds to what we do now. I think we share the perspective that basketball is a game it’s meant to be fun and there’s going to be a point in time when somebody’s going to tell you that your not good enough to continue and that’s one of my bigger regret when I look back at my career going through those times where I just let not playing bring me down or I let something my tea mate said or something my coach did, I look at bring me down just ruin months at a time and all the pressure and I just wish I could go back and just really enjoy the whole process more than I did.
HH: Now talk to us a little bit about playing for coach McKillop, we’ve all established during Brandon’s interview I mean he’s a brilliant basketball mind give us some feedback to playing for him may be a couple of stories you may have. Talk to us a little bit about your nickname.
Logan: I don’t know what your referring to but I know coach McKillop is a great basketball mind I mean he’s ability to see things in the game and I know Brendan told you guys he’s just constantly watching film, constantly taking notes, constantly just thinking basketball all the time very, very detailed like Brendan said as well. He’ll make you tough you know he’s demanding, he holds you accountable like I said he’s extremely detailed just a great intense basketball coach.
HH: You obviously can appreciate those things now did you feel that way when you played for him?
HH: So he probably felt a little too demanding, not even twenty years old that people hold you to that level of accountability it’s tough you feel like your being hard on you but
Logan: Looking back at it now I mean of course they were thankful. There times when I’d be angry with him or I hated him and then I loved him so it was like constant [cycle].
HH: What were some of the roles or standards when you came that you had to get used to?
HH: He was very strict and had high standards.
Logan: I know Brendan told you the story about him being 6 inches of the line that he was supposed to be on. That was daily life and that was everything, so as a young kid I don’t think I realized the importance of that and did at some time then there were other times it was just kind of I just want to play but looking back at it now like it’s what he does is amazing.
HH: How actually you kind of walked right into that playing for a coach that is that detailed to the point where he stops something if you were six inches off, how do you balance as a player being able to play within that system but also be free at the same time and be able to kind of just play your game without over thinking and thinking oh man I’m playing for such a detail oriented coach like I’m not even comfortable trying to be free on the court.
Logan: It just kind of like gets drilled into you I think when we’re I mean our warms up at Davidson were most of the time were running through dummy offense 510 and you know you learn to make the reads but when you make but when you make those reads you learn to run to that spot and if you don’t get to that spot if your not detail and you know getting exactly to the corner or for me a post guy you know we need to hide on the base line and get deep enough on the baseline those are just things you kind of get used to.
HH: Alright so take us after obviously Davidson where did you go after that?
Logan: I went over and played my first year in a city called Nanterre in France second division of the French league which was a great place for me to start. I ended up playing two years there. My first year I was by myself and then it was tough.
HH: How did you find then or them find you?
Logan: It was really fortunate a former Davidson player had gone over to France to play and I sent him one of my tapes and he gave it to his coach. It was switching teams and the coach liked it and just sent me a contract. I remember being pretty baffled at that, that’s the process. That’s how it goes but my time overseas was just probably two of the best years of my life playing those years in France and experiencing that freedom living in a different culture and having to adapt to different things was just a great time.
HH: Basketball is big over there. So, talk to like the fans I mean
Logan: The fans were intense.
HH: European basketball is big time.
Logan: I think a lot of depends on where you are and which countries like Greece and you know Serbia, they are basketball absolute fanatics and you know what you see on TV with them the flairs and soccer fans.
HH: That translates to basketball. Did you play in front of any of those?
Logan: No, I didn’t but I regularly watch I was a big fan of Euro league. I always watch the bigger teams over there play when you see that stuff a lot in there, the thing about European fans is they’re extremely loyal you know it means so much to them your over there as an American representing their city and giving it your best effort. So, once you get them on your side I think that’s a big thing American when they go over there that’s kind of a learning curve so I think they go over their thing, I’m just going to go over here and make my money and you know but Europeans they don’t want to see a don’t want to see a mercenary, they don’t just want to see somebody just coming there and make money and leave. They want to see somebody that is really dedicated towards the name on their chest and representing them and representing them and representing their city.
HH: Now legend has it, the tape that got you over there was when you dropped twenty five against Duke. Who were you matched up against that game who did you give twenty five to? I’m dying to know. Do you remember? Go ahead call somebody out right now. You know I’m a good guy. I love it. It’s on the internet at some point we’ll find it
Logan: That was just everybody gets lucky every once in a while.
HH: What in the world?
Logan: That was the year they had J.J Reddick and David Ewing and Shaddock Randolph and Sheldon Williams.
HH: Sheldon Williams is on the business center 25 points from my man Logan. You heard it here. Coach Carey was probably crushing Sheldon Williams.
Logan: I remember that was one of my career highlights. Coach Carey always put somebody aside.
HH: I guess a little chest pass?
Logan: That was me, that was really cool.
HH: There is the half time buzzer so let’s take a quick break for today’s PCG Basketball half time talk.
HH: Alright so the career came to an end actual playing career then there’s life after basketball and?
HH: Why was that? Why did you decide to stop playing. Was your body holding up or was it ready for a new phase?
Logan: No I had three knee surgeries in about three years.
HH: You only have two knees right.
Logan: It was all the left knee. The funny story I was over in Poland I got hurt right at the end of pre-season and I came back to Charlotte and had that surgery went to Davidson that do rehab and I become close with John Kilgo who does the Davidson broadcast on the radio and he asked me if I wanted color commentary while I was there rehabbing so I hop on the radio and that just happens to be sophomore year when they go to the Elite 8 and they’re beating Wisconsin and playing against Kansas.
HH: Breaking winners records
Logan: That was a wild one one of the more fortuitous PCL territories I think they could be exhaust. I was down in the dumps thinking my career might be over in Poland to broadcasting a game at the [00:18:34]
HH: How are you right now from, how’s your knee?
HH: People always wonder athletes have played have multiple surgeries, can you get up and down the court? Can you play?
Logan: I could, it’s just for me like the lateral movement is tough but I still run a lot, I lift weighs a lot. I actually feel stronger now than I did as a player so I feel really good.
HH: After that taste of color commentary, did you think that might be a career for you? Is that something, did you enjoy that? Was that?
Logan: I did enjoy it but I’ve always just loved being on the court and you know Brandon and I sort of started or had begin to think about doing camps and working with kids and remember I was working at a camp in high school and the guy that owned the camp came along and the guy that was directing said, Yes this is the owner, this is what he does. I remember thinking, he can run camps for a job as a full time business so even in high school it was something I wanted to explore. I felt that camps were so beneficial for me growing up it was fun, it was worthwhile. I learnt so much from camps so, I’m just always love the camp atmosphere and being part of that learning process and that positivity.
HH: You’re in a very competitive landscape though basketball camps, there’s tonnes so what are somethings that you all are doing to differentiate yourself and kind of make your own unique voice in the market?
Logan: You know to be honest I don’t really know I mean we just try to be as organized as possible. I don’t really know what other people do with their camps in our area. We focus on doing what we believe is right and doing it to the best of our ability and it’s really resonated with some people it hasn’t but for the most part we’ve a pretty good retention rate and we get a lot of positive feedback so to be honest I don’t know what we’re doing.
HH: You just do what you do and you do it really well.
Logan: We focus on being positive.
HH: Maybe that’s the differentiation right there just doing what you do and doing it really well.
Logan: That could be it and you know learning like we said, learning from coach McKillop we’re very detailed in what we need. Everything needs to be fun but you know from our stand point we try to plan out every single detail to make sure that things run smoothly, make sure our coaches in camp know what they are doing and you know sometimes we treat it like it’s a big time event when it’s actually just a camp with forty young kids but to us it’s important and I think that comes across in the camp.
HH: Share some of your thoughts and views on the current landscape of youth basketball and development may be some of the issues and some of the things you guys are trying to correct through pro skills. You write an excellent blog. You’ve had some several fire post the last couple of months.
Logan: Thank you.
HH: Some great, great stuff. Folks you definitely need to check out the blog but just talk to us generally speaking just some of your thoughts on youth development.
Logan: I listen to your podcast a while ago about whether parents should behave and what you guys recommend as far as how parents interact with basketball and you know I don’t want to come across condescending like you guys said but you know to me like when I look back at it’s just a phase of life you know basketball should be about learning you know so if a few kids go to play in college or go on to play in the NBA or the Pros really just believe that if a kid can be a part of a team or come to a camp and learn to have fun and learn to you know push through some adversity and learn to work well with others those are lessons that will last them way beyond their basketball time. That’s something we really try to stay true to and to be honest it’s really hard cause we’re in a competitive field and we are around the madness a lot and it’s hard not to give into that sometimes but that’s one of the challenges that we face.
HH: You know one thing I’m really interested to hear in your perspective is you all are trying to grow and you all are really, really growing. How have you strategized the way that you’re going to scale your culture of pro-skills and you know you too can’t be everywhere at all times. So, eventually you know you’re going to have to start entrusting more people but you’re going to hope that they do things exact same way or at least roughly similar. How do you approach that so pro-skill seems similar here than it is in Colorado as it is in up the north east?
Logan: You know we just want to make sure that we find the right people. To be honest that’s pretty much what we’re still working through you know a training process for what our culture means and you know how we go about building that and that’s work in progress but for the most part Brandon and I are very in sync with what we do and what we are looking for in other people. There’s really no scientific way that we do we sit down and we sit with somebody and when we talk and if we get a good vibe and we explain what we do and they seem on board with our mission and our vision and our philosophies we just kind of go from there.
HH: Talk a little bit about your dynamic. I know we joke during his episode but you guys are kind of like the with each other. You know Brandon mentioned he’s kind of fiery with a little bit of a temper and you’re a little more even kill but you kind of balance each other out. He’ll jump at any opportunity that comes his way but you usually be almost the voice of reason to pull back. I assume that’s one of the reason you guys have been so successful great relationship I think.
Logan: I think that it is the reason. You know to be honest sometimes I don’t like controversy, I don’t like conflict and sometimes I’m not as forceful as how I deal with that stuff and that’s when it’s good someone like Brandon who can really you know tell it like it is and sometimes that’s needed. It’s needed a lot and it’s needed a lot more than I do so that’s part of our team but you know it’s a constant balancing act. We’ve done well and we hope to continue to grow but we’ve learned through a lot trial and error that we can’t take on everything that comes to us and we have to be selective about what we do. When we first started we were like we can do this program and we can do this and we learn that we’ve like thirty programs we need to really scale it down and really focus on what we do and not doing that well. That’s really been beneficial for us the last couple of years it’s really scaling back what we do.
HH: Talk about some of your job description on your side. Obviously Brandon is doing a lot as you all.
HH: The teams themselves know you’re directly overseeing the camps primarily.
Logan: I do a lot of the camps I do. I try to organize a training and one thing that’s really satisfying for me and I hope that I’m good at it but I like to instill our culture into our coaches. I love dealing with other adults that commanding like here’s what we believe and here’s how we believe in doing it and seeing them go out and do that stuff I think our vision is to be, we want to be the youth model of basketball organizations and I think to do that we’re going to have to find guys that we really trust and that’s part of our job as to instill our culture in them and trust them to go out and have that effect on kids. I think we can affect so many more kids that way than relying on myself and Brandon to be on the core all the time.
HH: How much on court stuff do you do now? Or are you almost completely removed from that portion?
Logan: No I need to do it sometimes. I love it. I love getting on the court you know it kind of go through phases when I’m like man this is my third hour in a row I really just want to get off my feet but then you know I just probably like you guys sitting in front of a computer for hours everyday it kind of wearies you out and you need a little something different. Still trying to find that balancing act but you know it’s worked so well and it’s worked well for us so far so.
HH: Awesome. Now before we say good bye to Logan, let’s call a full time out with guys at better basketball.
When a team is running any traditional offense the ball handler can break the five player coordination that we call teamwork at any time. If the ball hanger chooses to do something that the offense does not call for then, he or she has broken or abandoned the team’s ability to work together. However, in reading react, the ball handler can choose do anything that they want to do at anytime and our five player coordination, our teamwork will not be broken. It will not be abandoned. The four players without the ball reacting correctly to the ball handler is the offense. Let me say that again. The four players without the ball reacting correctly according to the reading react trains them reacting correctly to ball handler that is the offense. The ball handler can be as opportunistic as he or she wants to be. That’s great in the reading react that’s needed in the reading react that’s valued in the reading react. When the ball handler sees a chance for my time to make a play our five player coordination, our teamwork is not abandoned or broken on the contrary that’s were it begins. The desire to work is attained should be a trait that every player strives to have but it’s not necessary to get five player teamwork in the reading react. All that’s necessary to get teamwork in the reading react is for those players without the ball to be react to the ball with the one and only one reaction dictated by the system. Now before I leave this subject I think we all know the difference between creative and opportunistic and being selfish. As an example, if the ball hanger sees an opportunity to drop to the goal and takes it then great but if he or she is stopped by the defense leaving team-mates open reading react response and he or she refuses to pass that is a force shot or they turn the ball over then of course this amount of selfishness will not work. It will work with any system, it won’t even work in pick up basketball. The player with one last game on the street and would never be chosen for another game. My point with the reading react is that teamwork cannot be abandoned regardless of the creativity and intention of the ball handler. However, using tradition offenses the ball handler can and often does abandon the teamwork that’s needed to win undetermined to change that dynamic.
Thank you Better Basketball for your commitment to elevating the game and for having our back at the Hardwood Hustle literally since day one. Hustlers please visit betterbasketball.com and see what all the hype is about. And coaches if you want to win more games our friends over Krossover or the video technology to help you do just that. Make sure you visit Krossover with the k.com today. Since I butchered your name when we first started I’m not even going to try to go with the twitter handle, what’s your personal twitter handle and then let’s make sure we repeat the stuff about pro-skills cause we really want folks to check out what you guys have going on.
Logan: I appreciate that. It’s just @lkosmalski my last name is Kosmalski.
HH: I think you should’ve gone with the nickname twitter handle. I’m just saying you know.
Logan: I probably should have but you know I think like I don’t want to say my nickname it might not be friendly.
HH: For anyone that wants to help the pro-skills basketball movement may be potentially supporting you guys may be become a trainer or a coach. What’s the best way to contact you for more information?
Logan: We’re just at www.proskillsbasketball.com. We have a contact page. We make sure that we get back to everybody in timely manner and you know we are constantly looking for honest, hard-working guys that we can bring into the fold and try to help us grow.
Host: Awesome. Now you and Brandon in a game of horse who wins?
Logan: Well absolutely me. You know he has a shooting record to Davidson but I’m not just going to conceive that you know.
HH: Did you say he’s shooting like 70%. It’s lights out. How about old school double double wrestling match, you wins? You or
Logan: Well absolutely I’ll weigh him by about 100 pounds.
HH: Your big, big dude.
Logan: He’s a little fiery and feisty though so you never want to count those type of guys.
HH: Listen thank you so much. We appreciate this. For Allan, for Adam.
HH: What’s roll up today Allan
HH: Go ahead see if you can do it like I do. So I don’t even know the script.
HH: This is Allan we appreciate you guys listening. Keep on hustling. Peace.