Nevada to honor Saunders via routine

Flip Saunders was a head coach in the NBA for 11 seasons.


Eric Musselman and his University of Nevada basketball team are paying tribute to some late coaching legends by bringing back a stylish pregame routine from the 1970s.

The routine, similar to something you’d see from the Harlem Globetrotters, was implemented by Musselman’s father, the late Bill Musselman, when Bill Musselman coached the University of Minnesota, and Ashland (Ohio) University before that.

Eric Musselman, in his first season as Nevada coach, will have his team implement the routine to honor both his father and former NBA coach Flip Saunders, who played for Bill Musselman at Minnesota. Saunders recently lost a battle with cancer.

Saunders and both Musselmans have Ohio ties, with Saunders receiving the 1970 Ohio Mr. Basketball award out of Cuyahoga Heights High School. Bill Musselman coached the Cavaliers in the 1980s (then later, the Timberwolves), and Eric Musselman played his high school ball at Brecksville.

Eric Musselman also served stints as a head coach in the NBA with the Warriors and Kings.

“We start almost every practice with this pregame routine,” Eric Musselman said. “It takes some time to get it down.”

The Wolf Pack are off to a 3-1 start under Musselman, their lone loss coming on a last-second shot at Hawaii.

They will perform the routine for the first time Wednesday — when they open the season at home vs. Portland State.

Eric Musselman worked with Saunders in the Continental Basketball Association with the Rapid City Thrillers and Grand Rapids Hoops. Musselman also wore No. 14 as a player in high school because that was Saunders’ number with the Gophers.

After Bill Musselman’s passing in 2000, Eric found the detailed diagram of his father’s pregame routine.

It features players juggling basketballs, spinning balls on their fingers and, according to a Nevada press release, may even include a unicyclist on the court as “Sweet Georgia Brown” plays in the background. It will be performed by Nevada prior to each home this season.

Below is video of the the routine used by the 1975 Minnesota Golden Gophers, led by Saunders.