Over his four-year tenure as a Stony Brook Seawolf, alum Ben Resner never flourished on the hardwood. Career averages of three minutes and 0.8 points a night will not peak the interests of NBA front offices, but Resner is more concerned with being a part of one.
“When I came to Stony Brook I had coaching in mind,” Resner said in a phone interview. “I knew when I first sat down with coach Pikiell before I came to school he knew I wanted to be a coach. That was always the plan throughout my career, to start getting into coaching afterwards.”
After graduating last summer, the former point guard has focused in on making the professional basketball world aware of his presence in hopes of securing an internship, and eventually a job, in the pros.
Resner set out for Las Vegas in July, where the TPG Sports Group held their Pro Scout School event, and the NBA held its annual Summer League. The Scout School featured current NBA scouts, general managers and directors of player personnel all sharing their insights into the realm of the life of an NBA front office member. Resner used the NBA’s Vegas Summer League to get up close and personal with these prominent members of the pro ball community.
“That was the best part about going to Vegas,” Resner said. “They’re so accessible. In between the gyms, everyone just kind of hangs out and you can just walk up to them. So that’s what I spent a lot of time doing, trying to introduce myself. I have business cards with me, just trying to get my name out there. I was generally asking if they got internships for the fall.”
While in Sin City, Resner had the opportunity to meet Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan, NBA head coaches Scott Brooks and Tom Thibodeau and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Chip Engelland, among others.
“I always wore a Stony Brook polo just as a conversation starter,” Resner said.
Following his voyage out west, Resner headed back to the Empire State to observe USA Basketball practices.
“I got to go for the whole week. I was in West Point and I was actually sitting next to Jerry Colangelo (chairman of USA Basketball) by chance, which was pretty funny,” Resner said. “I saw a lot of similarities between their practice and their day-before-a-game stuff and it was similar to [Stony Brook’s].”
Resner then headed south to work at a coaching clinic hosted by Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford and TPG Sports Group. Between all of these events, Resner worked with a number of basketball camps in the New York area, such as ones run by St. John’s, Yale and Stony Brook, among many others.
Resner’s summer of networking concluded in a triumvirate of potential opportunities, accumulated through his relentlessness.
“People always say it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. But then I heard someone say it’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you,” Resner said. “I used any resource that I could find to get an e-mail, to get a phone number, anyone within every NBA team that I could reach out to. I probably sent at least a couple hundred emails. I made an excel database of every team and who I reached out to and what their response was.”
In the last couple of weeks, Resner saw openings with the Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors disappear.
“I was in touch with [the Warriors] every week,” Resner said. “[They] already had a guy in mind. To tell you the truth I thought I was pretty close to landing that, so that kind of sucked to say the least. I was ready to move out there. I would have left tomorrow morning if he told me differently.”
Despite this setback, Resner is not slowing down. He is now refocusing his attention to the NBA Developmental League, where he hopes to kickstart his coaching career.
“The next step now is to start e-mailing again,” Resner said. “As long as I am around basketball I’ll be happy. To get paid is a bonus.”