Steve Clifford and the Charlotte Hornets will open training camp in less than two weeks, on Sept. 27. Before that, however, Clifford is sneaking in a trip home of sorts. On Saturday, Clifford will host a coaching clinic at his alma mater, the University of Maine at Farmington.

The clinic is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Dearborn Gymnasium. Registration is $30 and can be paid at the door.

Clifford said he gets to conduct coaching clinics a couple times each year.

“I enjoy it. It gets you thinking, especially this time of year when we’re preparing to open camp,” Clifford said. “It forces you to sit down and think about things.”

Clifford said the coaching clinic will focus on transition, and team offense and defense.

“A lot of concepts we use (in the NBA), a lot of it is consistent whether it’s high school, college or pros,” Clifford said.

A 1983 UMF graduate, Clifford has coached in the NBA for 16 years. His first head coaching position came with Charlotte in the 2013-14 season. Last season, the Hornets went 48-34 and lost a tight seven-game series to the Miami Heat in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. In three seasons, Clifford has coached the Hornets to the playoffs twice.

Prior to becoming head coach in Charlotte, Clifford worked as an assistant coach with the New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic, and Los Angeles Lakers.

The Hornets open the season Oct. 26 at Milwaukee. Charlotte’s first home game is Oct. 29 against the Boston Celtics. The NBA allows teams to host optional workouts in September. Clifford said he’s excited to get camp opened.

“Right now, we just want to have a good September and get ready for training camp,” he said.

Clifford was inducted into the UMF Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. A basketball captain with the Beavers, Clifford had 125 assists his senior season. Clifford will arrive in Farmington on Friday to join teammates in honoring former UMF coach Len MacPhee, who was inducted into the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame this summer.

“Coach MacPhee taught a purpose to play, and the impact of building a fundamental foundation, having a team know it will have to play defense every night,” Clifford said. “He treated people the right way. We was very principled and his family was very important.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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