Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford returning to UMF for clinic

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Steve Clifford answers questions at a news conference at which he was announced as the new head coach of the Orland Magic in May. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Steve Clifford doesn’t expect to change anybody’s coaching philosophy with his basketball clinic at the University of Maine at Farmington on Saturday, but if he can offer a new way to look at an old situation, he’ll be happy.

“There may be one or two things they can take from it and add it to what they do,” said Clifford, the head coach of the Orlando Magic and UMF alum.

Clifford’s coaching clinic will be at UMF’s Dearborn Gymnasium on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost is $40.

Clifford’s coaching career started at Woodland High School, with stops at a few colleges before he jumped to the NBA as a scout for the New York Knicks in 2000. Clifford spent the past five seasons as head coach of the Charlotte Hornets. He was named head coach of the Magic in May.

This is Clifford’s first opportunity in two years to present a coaching clinic at his alma mater. He hopes to emulate some of the clinics he attended as a young coach. Clifford cited a clinic taught by then-Temple University coach John Chaney in Concord, New Hampshire, as memorable, as well as a clinic by Maine basketball coaching great Bob Brown, the father of current Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown, at Norwich University in Vermont.

“The best clinics I went to, you got to listen to the same guy all weekend,” Clifford said. “Maine high school coaches have always been very good, very thorough and very prepared.”

Clifford said among the things he’ll discuss Saturday are defensive transition, and the three-man offense and three-man options. Those sets are becoming more popular in the NBA, Clifford said, and Brown’s team in Philadelphia is among the best at running them.

Clifford spent the summer getting to know his new team. The Magic open training camp on Sept. 25. Orlando opens the regular season Oct. 17 home against the Miami Heat.

“I feel like we’ve had a good offseason. We’ve had optional workouts, and the majority of our guys are here. We’ve been able to be on the floor together,” Clifford said.

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