Jenny Boucek Talks First Year With Mavericks, And Learning More About The NBA

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Nikonickk via Instagram

Jenny Boucek’s coaching career has now eclipsed two decades, dating back to 1999 as an assistant coach with the Washington Mystics under Nancy Darsch. A year after their inaugural season in Washington, the Mystics would finish their second annual season with a 12–20 record. Finishing 5th in the eastern conference in a season that featured first-ever WNBA All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden and Lisa Leslie was named the game’s MVP.

The following season, Boucek would take her talents to South Beach and join the Miami Sol for three seasons as a part of Ron Rothstein coaching staff. This is where Boucek credits Rothstein and his other assistant coaches for her NBA lineage.

“It was in Miami as a member of Ron Rothstein staff is where my NBA roots began,” Boucek told me.

Rothstein was the first ever Miami Heat head coach back in the early 90s with stops in Detriot, and Cleveland before spending three seasons as the head man with the Sol.

After the 2002 season, the Sol would fold due to financial issues, Boucek would then take a job as an assistant coach on Anne Dovonna staff in 2003 with the Seattle Storm Boucek help the Storm capture their first-ever WNBA Championship the following season in 2004. Upon the conclusion of the 2005 WNBA season, Boucek declined to return to the Storm’s coaching staff. She was also a scout for the Storm and served as a color commentator with Fox Sports for ACC women’s basketball.

In 2006, the Sacramento Monarchs named Boucek their new head coach for the 2007 season, but unfortunately, she would experience another fold due to financial issues after 2009. She was not out of work for too long because of Brian Agler, who was coaching Seattle Storm from 2010-2014 asked her to join his staff. During their four years together along with Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson helped the franchise win their second championship. Agler would decide to move on to the Sparks after the 2014 season.

Boucek would be named Agler’s replacement after his departure to Los Angeles. Where she would be in charge of the Storm rebuild for two seasons before she was relieved of her duties in August of 2017. The Sacramento Kings would hire her a couple of months later as an assistant coach under former head coach Dave Joerger, who was let go after the 2018-2019 season.

“I wanted to pick her brain, especially because she has such a good feel offensively,” Joerger said, “and she has head coaching experience, which I value greatly. She can be contrary, and by that I mean she will challenge you. She is not into group think, because groupthink is death.”

Boucek would spend a year in Sacramento as a developmental coach with the Kings before she transitioned to her current role with the Mavericks.

Earlier this season Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle share with me that Boucek has a creative mind.

“Jenny is great. She has done extremely well and one of the reasons why I brought her aboard because I know I can learn a lot of things from her. She was a great coach in the WNBA, great offensive coach. Her teams were always elite offensive teams,” Carlisle told me.  

“She has a great creative mind for the game really on both sides of the games. Particularly offensively I’ve just been a fan of her career path for a long time, and I felt for the last five to six years. If we ever had the opportunity to bring her on board, she would be an asset for us, which she has been,” said Carlisle.

“She has done a great job this season, and I have seen tremendous growth. We have put a pretty significant workload on her with opponent preparation, and she has done a terrific job.”

That is some high praise coming from coach Carlisle, and Boucek thought so too.

Nikonickk via Instagram

“Coming from Rick it is a high compliment because I respect him so much for his mind for the game. That means a lot to me because he has poured a lot of time into me over the years, and taught me a lot. So, people who have poured into me, I always want to be grateful for and make them proud,” Boucek told me.

Dave Joerger echoed Carlisle’s comments after I spoke with him a couple of weeks ago following the Sacramento Kings and Mavericks’ game on March 22.

“She is a great basketball mind, and she is really good with Xs and o’s. So, I bounce ideas off her all the time, and she is a terrific human being and has high character. She also has relatable qualities, and our staff enjoyed her. When Jenny was in Sacramento, she was just another member of the team. She adapted to it so quickly, and sometimes it takes an individual time to fit in. In Jenny’s case, she just has a way about her, and she is comfortable in her own skin, confident certainly not arrogant, very humble, and the players know that she is there to help them,” said Joerger.

Several assistant coaches from the Sacramento Kings and the Dallas Mavericks talked about the energy Boucek has brought to both organizations during her time there.

“It is always a good thing to have someone that has coached in the WNBA and guys who respect them throughout the league. The biggest thing for me is always learning, and Jenny is willing to learn every day and guys are getting better. At the end of the day, it is about her growing and her allowing us to grow. Her being in this position will allow her to expand her role,” said King’s assistant coach Bobby Jackson.

“Jenny his handling her business as a coach this year in Dallas. She is here to work out guys, make them better, and go through plays. She has been really strong as a coach and brings great energy,” said Mavericks assistant coach Darrell Armstrong.

“She has brought amazing insight, and I have told her this in the past. I enjoy watching women’s basketball because it is based on skill and not athleticism. I think her knowledge of the game can bring a lot to men’s basketball because it is more about skills and not athleticism. She is also very organized and has brought a different element to our coaching staff this season,” said God Shammgod.

“A great level of energy Jenny brings, and she is enthusiastic and energetic every day and her knowledge of the game. She has been a head coach twice before, so I think her knowledge of the game is very attention to detail oriented which is great. She definitely brings a different dynamic and perspective because he has been in both a head coach and an assistant role. So, now she can relate to us young assistant coaches, but she can also see the game from a head coach’s eye,” said Mavs assistant coach Jamahl Mosley.

Players such as Devin Harris, Harrison Barnes, Maxi Kleber, and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban have also talked about Boucek contributions this season.

“She points out little things here and there, footwork, free throw shooting. For the most part, if she sees something little “Hey, I think you are dropping the ball a little bit keep it up. She has been great for us this year,” said Harris.

“Jenny knows what she is doing and prepares us players by scouting other teams in the league. As far as, our workouts together, we focused on the shots I take in games, and it is all about creating a rhythm in practices, and she did a great job helping me with that this season, Kleber told me.

“Jenny has been great and is very sharp with her basketball knowledge. She ran a lot of the scouts when I was here in Dallas. Her coming from Sacramento helped my transition from the Mavericks by getting to know some of the Kings’ personnel, and Jenny has been a great coach when I had earlier this season. I know she is going to do a great job now,” said Barnes.

“She has been great. We wanted her to come in and create a different perspective and vibe for the guys that was non-traditional.  She is a great coach very skilled in dealing with players, and she has been amazing,” said Mark Cuban.

In the off-season, coach Boucek will continue to improve her craft by learning both the NBA and its players, as there are so many young players in today’s game, and it has a lot of turnover in the league.

“The more you have familiarity, the more you see the nuances of layers, and I’m always interested in brainstorming with like-minded individuals, who are creative and want to maximize the players that you have,” says Boucek.

“The Mavericks are a great organization from the top down. Mark [Cuban], Cythnia [Marshall] is an incredible lady, Rick Carlslie are some of my favorite people that I have ever met in my life, and whether if I stay on with this organization another day or night. They’re people that I want to stay in touch with and want to continue and learn from they have all become mentors in my life.

“I think the biggest thing is just learning more about the NBA. I had quite a few scouting reports with a lot of different teams. So, when you have scouting reports assigned to you that is something you dive deep into. The learning curve was steep on that and focusing on different teams in more depth involving a lot of personnel that I was not familiar with before. So, probably the biggest thing that I have learned from Rick Carlisle is the ability to manage people both his staff and players. He can relate, and that was very interesting to learn from him.”

As of now, according to Boucek, both sides have not had any discussions about the future, and she is living in the present with balancing life as a mother and coach. She did share with me if everything is meant to be then things will fall into place when it feels right for all parties involved. She will be evaluating what’s best for her, and her family and Mavericks will be doing the same as an organization. She does want to be great in the role of a mother and as a coach.

The Mavericks’ season just ended as they will not be participating in the playoffs this season, and it is an end of an era. As future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki has decided to retire after announcing following the Mavericks final home game against the Phoenix Suns. After tallying 30 points, eight rebounds, and three assists.

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