Kameron Woods is starting to find, and lose, his voice

Kameron Woods Summer League head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
Kameron Woods Summer League head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder announced before the season started that they would be shuffling their coaching staff under bench boss Mark Daigneault. Grant Gibbs, who served as head coach of the OKC Blue last season, would move to the Thunder bench while OKC assistant coach Kameron Woods would gain head coaching experience as he takes on Gibbs’ old role.

Woods coached the OKC Thunder at Summer League in 2022 and even got a few games in the 2021 summer league stretch due to COVID protocols. Now, he is in his first year with his own program, taking over the Blue which is the former stomping grounds of now-Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault.

Before the season started, I asked Woods how he would describe his coaching style. The former Butler standout said “relaxed” while explaining he learned that from his college coach, Brad Stevens who “Never yelled” despite the college kids deserving it.

As the OKC Blue sits at 3-6, playing a highly competitive game night in and night out despite some tough injuries including to their two best players in D.J. Wilson and Jahmi’us Ramsey. Kameron Woods has come a long way since October, and maybe not in the way he expected.

Oklahoma City Blue head coach Kameron Woods is finding his voice, while also losing it in his first year as a head coach

October was a long time ago in basketball years, despite the fact it feels like only a blink of an eye has passed. So today, I followed up with Kameron Woods and asked how his coaching style has changed from where he thought it would be.

“The biggest difference I have noticed is you have to give the group what they need. Sometimes they do not also need a laid-back, chill guy sometimes they need a little bit of fire, they need to know you have their back, and sometimes they need to know they are not doing their job.” The head coach explained

“I think that has brought out different sides of me. reading the room and finding out what they need.” Woods added.

When asked if he yells, Kameron Woods said “I yell, I come home horse a little bit…the guys say I have some days where I am a little fire-y.” The remedy for that horse voice? “playing with my son. My youngest is almost one, in a week, so he is not talking a whole lot right now so he does not require me to yell a whole lot so when I do not yell, I come into practice ready to yell.”

Kameron Woods was a player on the OKC Blue in the not-too-distant past, at just 29 years old, he is young for a coach. This veteran team, which features 33-year-old Scotty Hopson, is helping Woods find his coaching style “The group that we have is so good, as much as I like to think I help them out, they help me out just as much…Helping me read the room, and helping me know what they need.”

I asked Scotty Hopson about Woods’s change in coaching “He is growing just like our players are. I actually like it {Woods’ new fire-y voice] I want him to get on the refs a little bit more, even get on us a little bit more.”

Hopson has now played under both Kameron Woods and OKC Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault in his time with the Blue, so when I asked if the two had any similarities “Sorta, they are both guys that hang their hate on their principles, and our principles in the Thunder organization.”

The key difference? “Mark [Daigneault] was getting on our ass a lot more,” Hopson said of his old coach. Though the Tennessee product mentioned that could also be attributed to Mark Daigneault being a longer-tenured G-League coach at the time and this being Woods’ first year.

Kameron Woods was given a lot of praise last season by head coach Mark Daigneault and players on the roster last year for why the OKC Thunder at times ranked top-ten in defense despite their record and youth. That trend has continued into this season thanks to a lot of the principles Woods instilled in the Thunder last season.

With Woods taking over as head coach of the Blue, the future is bright for the first-year head man as he continues to find, and lose his voice.

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