“Like he had to guard Kobe in 4 Years”: LeBron James’ former high school HC reflects on coaching NBA great

Keith Dambrot, a former Duquesne coach, recently discussed coaching LeBron James in high school during his days at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s. LeBron was directly drafted from high school and has been the last player who made it to the NBA from school itself.

Keith Dambrot discussed his coaching method with LeBron James during a Mind the Game podcast interview with JJ Redick. Dambrot narrated the time he started training LeBron like a pro, even before he graduated from high school.

“And then once I knew LeBron was going to be a pro because I had to have three NBA guys before him, I started to treat him like he had to guard Kobe in four years. So, that’s really how I treated him. I treated him like a pro,” Dambrot said in the podcast.

Keith Dambrot mentioned how he handled LeBron and his teammates like professional athletes because he recognized their extraordinary talent and potential. He recalled how he pushed Bron to play at a higher level and give it his 100% by imagining himself guarding Kobe Bryant in the NBA.

Regarding the coaching style, LeBron James discussed the initial challenges in the same interview, and stated that he was determined to succeed, motivated by the desire to win championships for St. Vincent-St. Mary’s.

“We all came to St V (St Vincent-St Mary’s) to win. We wanted to win the state championship. We wanted to win. There were times when you were pissed off at him because you’re not used to this type of hard work. It’s something different,” James added.

While LeBron James recalled frustrations caused by Dambrot’s intense work ethic, the NBA great appreciated his role in shaping players into champions. However, it seems Keith Dambrot’s coaching career is coming to an end.

Duquesne head coach Keith Dambrot to retire after NCAA tournament

Coach Keith Dambrot announced last month that he would retire at the end of the season, just after leading Duquesne to its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1977. During his seven years at Duquesne, he recorded his third 20-win season.

Dambrot began his coaching career at Central Michigan in 1991, where he spent two seasons before moving on to the high school level, where he coached LeBron James at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio.

Keith Dambrot returned to college in 2004, spending 13 successful seasons at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. His 305-139 record includes six regular-season MAC championships and three NCAA tournament appearances with the Zips.

Let us know what you think of Duquesne’s illustrious coaching career in the comment section below; we would love to hear about it.

SZ Desk

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