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Familiarity breeds comfort for Spiece coach

Bluiett guiding team of the ages this summer

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 4:22 am

It seems obvious coaching the Spiece Indy Heat's top AAU team would be easy and enjoyable.

Its roster includes four of the top 50 Rivals recruits for the class of 2014, a talent pool that makes any college coach dream of possibilities.

Then the thoughts about how to please everyone start to come up. How do you deal with the egos of players with offers that include nearly every top program in the country? How do you distribute minutes to a team loaded with players who are used to being stars on their respective high school teams? And how do you teach players trying to showcase individual talents to play like a team?

For Reynardo Bluiett, it's a gratifying task, and it helps that he has coached some of these players since they were preteens.

“It's easy this year for me because I know you have to keep certain guys happy, certain things flowing, and these guys know me and I know them,” Bluiett said. “They know how we do things. We let the ball fly and the only thing they have to do is play hard.”

It also helps that the top players have already received the offers they are looking for Bluiett said. Players such as Trey Lyles (Rivals No. 4), JaQuan Lyle (No. 17), his own son, Trevon Bluiett (No. 46), and Fort Wayne's James Blackmon Jr. (No. 47) aren't looking to impress coaches as much as just develop their own games.

This helps the players push each other and play as a team instead of compete against each other for their own individual statistics Bluiett said.

“These guys, they know when a guy is struggling and they try to help get the guy out of it,” Bluiett said. “Man, I just try to keep the big picture in mind with these guys. There's not much more of the game other than trying to go to a tournament and win it.”

Bluiett also said his job has been made much easier this season because five of these players have been on the same AAU team since the eighth grade. It makes for a strong core that understands each other's strengths and weaknesses. It is also what makes the team especially strong when competing at tournaments.

“These are high IQ guys and that's the difference,” Bluiett said. “You can put a bunch of talent together but these guys are high IQs, and they love to win. It's Indiana basketball at its best.”

Just honing the team and its players isn't the only aspect to the coaching position. College coaches are constantly talking to and asking Bluiett about certain players, from their styles to their attitudes.

“It takes a lot of my time up this time of year (talking to coaches),” Bluiett said. “I try to handle it to their pleasure. They let me know what they want and what they are looking for and we just go from there.”

This aspect of the job is what reaps the biggest reward for Bluiett, though. He loves seeing his players get the scholarship offer, make a college choice and then excel at the next level.

Still, to get his player's there Bluiett admits it takes something a little special.

“I try to be tough from day one and consistent with it so they know they can come to me with anything, even if they need a shot, they know how to come at me with that,” Bluiett said. “When you're dealing with four of the top 50 guys, and you know you got to help everyone, there's some magician stuff with it.”