NASHVILLE, Tenn. — An interview with Vanderbilt men’s basketball assistant coach Damany Hendrix who is entering his first season in that role for the Commodores in 2020-21 after spending the 2019-20 season as the team’s director of player development and quality control:
Q: You worked previously with Vanderbilt head coach Jerry Stackhouse in the NBA G-League – how does that experience help you in your promoted role at Vanderbilt?
Hendrix: The year I spent with coach Stackhouse in the G -League allowed me to learn his teaching style, his defensive system and what he wants his players to be able to do offensively. I have a great understanding of his message and I feel I can help him deliver his message to the players. It allows me to be in complete alignment with his vision for the program.
Q: Part of an assistant’s role is to recruit student-athletes – how does your experience working in the NBA G-League help you perform those part of your duties?
Hendrix: Coaching is a people business more than anything. Lots of people can teach Xs and Os, but can you relate to your players? Can you form true and lasting relationships with the guys that you’re coaching? That is one of my strengths. I am a people person. I feel like that translates directly to recruiting. Being able to build relationships with these young men we are recruiting, and their families, all while telling them about coach’s vision for the program is something that I think we do very well as a staff.
Q: You were a talented college player in your own right (two-time All-Southland Conference selection) – how can you use that experience to help the current Vanderbilt student-athletes?
Hendrix: I use my playing experience, both on and off the court, to help these guys navigate life as a student-athlete. As a player, I was a high-IQ guy, so I try to use the way I see the game to help our guys become better players. To play in coach Stackhouse’s system, you have to have a great understanding of this game and be able to process it at game speed. We try to focus on development within what we do to help maximize these guys strengths within what we do. Off the court, our entire staff has played at the college level, so we all understand what it is to be a college athlete and we help them as much as we can to achieve success.
Q: Your basketball journey has taken you across the world – which of those experiences has been most impactful in shaping your coaching philosophy?
Hendrix: My philosophy has been shaped by many mentors that I have had the pleasure to work with or learn from. It would be hard for me to pinpoint one. But I will say working for coach Stackhouse has taught me so much about the game. His attention to detail, how everything is interconnected and the importance of documented accountability. My philosophy has been greatly shaped by his teachings.
Q: After observing one season of SEC basketball albeit in an off-court role what stood out to you about the competition?
Hendrix: I think it’s the best, most-talented and deepest league in college basketball. The atmosphere in every gym is off the charts. When they say, “It just means more,” when they refer to the SEC, they mean it. There are so many good players and coaches in the league. There are no nights off.
Bonus Q: Vanderbilt basketball has great tradition to go along with many magical moments. What has your impression been of the Vanderbilt community, alumni and basketball program?
Hendrix: The tradition that Vanderbilt has was very apparent to me when I met several season ticket holders who have been attending games for decades. Families pass down their season tickets to the kids and so on. The fan base is truly committed to the program and I know as a staff that means a lot to us. We want to bring Memorial Magic back to Perry Wallace Way and West End. Having met so many alumni, I understand the pride that they have in being a Vanderbilt alum. I know as a staff we are truly honored to be a part of this tradition. And I know coach Stackhouse is doing everything in his power to restore the Magic.