Hoop Story #038: Derrick De La Grana, NBA Player Development Coach

Hoop Story #038: Derrick De La Grana, NBA Player Development Coach

How did you get started as a trainer? 

As a kid, I attended a lot of basketball camps around the country and was able to learn from guys who played at collegiate and professional levels. While in high school at Florida Christian, I started out running ball handling stations at my fathers camp, using what I had learned at other camps to teach the younger age groups.

Once I finished my playing career, I came home and a few high school kids in my area wanted to workout. From there, I fell in love with helping players improve their game through skill work and watching film.

Talk about your relationship with your father. How has he inspired you?

Growing up, my brother Daniel and I were ball boys for my fathers high school team. As soon as we got out of school we went with him to practices, games and all team events. When he won, we went crazy, and when he lost, we'd cry.

Being raised in that environment while watching the dedication my pops has put to the game and the way he touched players' lives through basketball is what inspired me to follow his path.

Derrick De La Grana NBA Player Development Coach

What was it like playing internationally in places like Santiago, Chile? 

Playing overseas was one of the most exciting times for me basketball wise. Being able to travel through Chile and play in some really dope environments is something I won't forget.

The biggest adjustment for me was how physical the game is played. You get knocked down a lot, and a majority of the time it's a no-call. That said, you just got to keep hooping. Looking back, I don't think I would be where I'm at today if it wasn't for that opportunity.

What is your approach with guys like James Johnson, Wayne Ellington and Duncan Robinson?

With any NBA guy, the first thing I do is watch film on them. To me, it's probably the most important part. I'm able to see how they move and what areas on the floor their shots come from. Or what type of actions teams run to get them those shots.

Once I get a feel for that, it's just about bringing energy and a positive vibe during the workouts. My goal is to create specific workouts that relate to what the player does in-game.

Personally, as a player development coach, the most satisfying thing is seeing someone who has put in the work have a successful career.

Derrick De La Grana NBA Player Development Coach

What have been the most rewarding achievements to date as the head coach at La Salle High School?

Coaching at La Salle has been great.

As a coach, you spend more time with your team than with your actual family during the season, so a bond is created. In a year where lots of kids weren't able to play for different reasons, we were able to fight through a pandemic and reach the district finals, which had not been done in a decade.

Although we finished in second place, it has really changed the culture of basketball here. I'm beyond proud of my kids for all the work they put in this year.

What are you looking forward to most in your career as an NBA Player Development coach?

I'm looking forward to improving overall as a player development coach.

The game of basketball as a whole is always changing and I need to continue to evolve and push myself on a daily basis. I want to give the players I work with the best version of myself. My dream has always been to work in the NBA, and until that day comes, I'll keep working towards that goal.

Derrick De La Grana NBA Player Development Coach
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