DAN MAJERLE

THUNDER BALL

After spending 13 years with the Suns as a player and assistant coach, the 50-year-old former All-Star and Olympian is now making noise as coach of Grand Canyon University.

DAN PATRICK: How did you land the job in Phoenix at Grand Canyon [which was 24--5 through Sunday]?

DAN MAJERLE: I was an assistant coach for the Suns [2008--09 to '12--13] under Alvin Gentry. They let Alvin go a month before the [2013] All-Star break. I thought I was in line for the job, but they passed over the three assistants on staff and went outside. I quickly realized maybe I wasn't in their future plans. I resigned, but then I got a call from [former Suns CEO/general manager Jerry Colangelo], who is associated with Grand Canyon. [He told me about the opening, and] I jumped at the idea.

DP: Are you playing a Division I schedule?

DM: Yes, a complete Division I schedule. We're in a transition period, going from Division II to Division I. We can't go to the NCAA tournament for four years [until 2018, per NCAA rules]. This year we played Louisville [a 111--63 loss on Dec. 5] and San Diego State [a 52--45 win on Dec. 18]. Last year we played Kentucky and Indiana. Next year we're playing at Duke, Arizona, Illinois and Penn State. We also have Louisville and San Diego State coming here to play us on campus.

DP: When you go to recruit kids, do they or their parents know you from your Thunder Dan days?

DM: Definitely the parents. The kids don't know a whole lot about me. I ask them to [look me up on] YouTube. A lot of these kids want to take their game to the next level. I tell them I came from a mid-major [Central Michigan], and I know what it takes to do that.

DP: How different would it be for you to play now, with teams like the Warriors shooting so many threes?

DM: We [the Suns] embraced the three because when we traded for Charles [Barkley], he demanded so many double teams that we were just going to spot up. We don't shoot a lot of threes at Grand Canyon. I still think it's a better game if you go inside-out.

DP: You don't coach the three?

DM: I do. But none of my players can beat me in a three-point contest.

DP: Is there any truth to the story that Bulls general manager Jerry Krause loved you as a player and that bothered Michael Jordan?

DM: Yeah, then Charles would start talking a little smack—the last thing you wanted to do to Jordan. I got the brunt of [his anger].

DP: So Jordan took it out on you?

DM: That's how that whole thing went. I fed Charles free drinks at my Majerle's restaurants, and that was how he treated me.

GUEST SHOTS

SAY WHAT?

Shaquille O'Neal discussed what motivated him during his career-high, 61-point game against the Clippers on March 6, 2000, when he was with the Lakers. "[Kareem Abdul- Jabbar] was a Clippers assistant," O'Neal said. "Every time I touched the ball, he put his head down. I took that as a sign of disrespect."... CBS basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb weighed in on LSU freshman forward Ben Simmons's struggles: "I don't think his coaching staff has done a good job. Had he gone to another program where coaches were used to dealing with profound potential superstars, he'd be in a better place."... NBC Sports analyst Paul Burmeister wondered if any current QB prospects could have gone ahead of top picks Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota in the 2015 NFL draft. "Maybe [North Dakota State's] Carson Wentz over Mariota," Burmeister said. "That would have been a horse race."

PHOTOMICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK) PHOTOJOHN SOMMERS II/ICON SPORTSWIRE/AP (MAJERLE) PHOTORANDY SHROPSHIRE/GETTY IMAGES (O'NEAL) PHOTOPORTER BINKS/GETTY IMAGES (GOTTLIEB) PHOTOA. MESSERSCHMIDT/GETTY IMAGES (BURMEISTER)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)