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Suns’ Williams, D-backs’ Lovullo traded notes on return strategies

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There’s no fault in not knowing what you’re doing when it’s never been done before.

That’s what professional sports teams across the world are experiencing as their respective leagues return during the COVID-19 pandemic in different situations, whether it’s in a bubble, altered schedule, etc.

In order to prepare for how to prepare his own team, Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo made a wise move and used some resources available to him that most don’t have.

“I had a chance to talk to (Phoenix Suns head coach) Monty (Williams) and (Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick) [Tocchet],” he said Friday. “We were able to compare some notes and talk shop a little bit about what some of the challenges were going to be and some of the things that they were finding success with. Thrilled that they’re getting back in the saddle.”

Lovullo also reached out to Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who didn’t have notes to trade yet, as the Cardinals don’t start training camp until later this month.

While that’s a cool thing for Valley sports fans to hear about, it’s also just smart by Lovullo.

Williams expanded on that Saturday.

“To be able to talk to different coaches about different strategies and methods, how they run a practice — we were both going into a situation that was a bit unknown,” Williams said. “They’re totally unknown. He was picking my brain on some of the things we had encountered as we started to open up our gym.

“So I just tried to help as best I could. Then you just start talking and you learn something about someone else’s program (and) you end up taking something away from that that can help you out.”

Lovullo said he and Williams have had a few talks since the Suns brought the coach in a little over a year ago, and Lovullo respects the leader Williams is.

“He’s so conversational, he was so open and willing to share what some of his challenges were,” Lovullo said. “The conversations get better and better all the time. Seems like a warm, caring man and I wanted to tap into some of the strategies.”

And this is something you shouldn’t look at simply as some of the top leaders in Valley sports professionally. Williams elaborated on how helpful it can be from coaches at all levels.

“I found being in the Valley — last year we did a clinic for high school coaches and it was really cool to just sit there and talk about basketball and the similarities and personalities of our players and how we can better serve them,” he said. “It’s cool to be able to connect with the community that way, so I think it’s an awesome opportunity for us to be able to talk to every coach on the AAU level, middle school, high school, colleges in the Valley and different coaches on pro teams throughout the state.

“It benefits me and I really enjoy it.”


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