By Ashley Dunkak
AUBURN HILLS (CBS DETROIT) – Detroit Pistons interim coach John Loyer said after his debut Monday that he did not feel any different as a head coach than he did as an assistant. Wednesday after the team’s shootaround, he worked out forward Kyle Singler just like he had nearly every day since Singler joined the Pistons as a rookie, continuing to snap passes to 2011 second-round draft pick from Duke until almost everyone else had left the court.
Loyer told players and media he would not be changing just because he has been promoted. His actions seem to be backing up those words. Not all head coaches work one-on-one daily with players, so the fact he has continued with his tutelage of Singler, who scored 10 and snagged 6 rebounds Monday, is a little bit surprising, even to Singler.
“You don’t necessarily see your head coaches working guys out,” Singler said. “It’s just great to see that he’s able to – or he’s willing to – still dedicate his time to help guys work out and stuff.
“He’s helped me immensely,” Singler added later. “He’s worked with me every day before and after practice, so my development is because of him.”
Originally brought to Detroit as part of the staff of former Pistons coach Lawrence Franks, Loyer survived the coaching change to Maurice Cheeks, and with Cheeks gone, Loyer has a major opportunity.
“I was very excited for him,” Singler said. “I’m sure he was a little bit nervous to start off with coaching, especially a head coaching job, but he was thrown into it, so I’m sure he just rolled with the punches. He’s been doing a great job. He should really think highly of himself because he’s a great coach.”
Loyer said Monday at his first post-game press conference as head coach that what he most wanted to do in the position was get the maximum effort from his players. With the youth of the team, Loyer expects energy, and he said the job of him and the other coaches is to get that energy out of this group.
In his first few days, at least, Loyer seems to be doing well.
“He’s the same guy,” Singler said. “That’s what I really respect out of him. He’s always a hard worker, and I just really enjoy coming in and being coached by him.
“He’s pretty vocal, pretty vocal as a coach, I’m sure as you saw in the first game, very enthusiastic,” Singler continued. “He was just engaged into the whole game, but that’s who he is as a guy and as a person. As a coach, what you see is pretty much who he is as a guy.”
The firing of Cheeks just 50 games into his first season surprised everyone, and players seemed bummed that such a move was made, but they also express support for Loyer.
“We hate to see Mo Cheeks leave,” forward Josh Smith said, “but if the guy that were to get the spot were John, we’re happy for it.”