Former VCU, Richmond basketball assistant Kevin Eastman provides guidance during pandemic

Sports

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Kevin Eastman has hung up the clipboard and whistle, but the lessons learned over a playing and coaching career that took him from Richmond to VCU to the NBA have stayed with him.

Now, Eastman spends his days speaking to teams and companies, and he has plenty of advice for coping with the pandemic.

“COVID is maybe the best teacher of lessons that I have ever been around,” Eastman said.

Eastman won an NBA title on Doc Rivers’ staff in Boston in 2008. Now, as a speaker for the sports and business worlds alike, Eastman is delivering a clear message.

“What I said to a lot of the coaches and leaders is, you know, what is going to be your people priority? Because, whether we are a coach of a team or leader of a company, the most important ingredients are the people, uh, even more so, maybe, than the product.”

One of the questions Eastman asks of players is, what does sacrifice mean to you.

“They all say it’s giving up something,” he said. “Giving up shots, giving up the number of minutes, giving up my articles, giving up my TV interviews. But to a really good team, sacrifice is not something what you give up, it’s something that you do for. And this is the ultimate sacrifice.”

Coaches like Mike Rhoades at VCU and Chris Mooney at Richmond have had to adjust on the fly as college basketball teams try to compete during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Both coaches have had games cancelled or rescheduled on short notice.

But Eastman says how they and the players continue to adjust will tell the story as the season unfolds.

“They are used to controlling things, and they have to understand that they’ve got to be a little bit flexible,” he said. “And then how they react to the things that they can’t control, I think, will have an impact.”

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