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New Bucks coach Larry Drew hopes to change momentum

Bucks coach Larry Drew. Photo: Image by TODAY'S TMJ4

New Bucks coach Larry Drew hopes to change momentum

By Jessie Garcia with James Kust and Jay Sorgi. CREATED Jul 21, 2013 - UPDATED: Jul 22, 2013

MILWAUKEE - The new head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks has been on the job for less than two months. He faces a tall task - trying to return the Bucks to glory. So what is he like on and off the court? Jesse Garcia met with Larry Drew for this exclusive one-on-one.

Sit for a moment in Larry Drew's office. You might expect to talk solely about basketball. But Drew starts by putting on his favorite music - Motown.

He says "a little old school, a little old school" as he loads the music onto the computer.

He might also tell you about the Summerfest concert he attended.

"Morris Day and the Time... I've never seen so many people in all of my life," says Drew.

A stack of books and a special bear that says "Dad" reside right behind him. Drew is married with three sons. 
 
From the office to the great outdoors, we take a walk across the street. Drew was raised in Kansas City and went to college at Missouri. He's a midwest guy, but never saw much of Milwaukee aside from the airport, arena, and hotel.
 
"I was shocked when John Hammond took me up the coast and there was a beach there. I couldn't believe it," Drew explains.
 
Drew's own upbringing was humble. His parents made a living in trucking and food service.
 
"I came from a family of six siblings," Drew says. "My mom and dad were hard workers. There were times we had to do without. Sports was an escape for me."
 
Originally a baseball player, Drew went on the play 12 NBA seasons with a variety of teams. But he calls his most important role in life... father. His boys range in age from 16 to recent college grad.
 
"I've been on this NBA carousel for 30 years. When I had kids I said 'I have to make sure I'm being a Dad first,'" Drew explains.
 
That's why a sacrifice he makes is so hard. He and his wife decided the children needed consistency. She remains in their house in Los Angeles no matter where he's working. It's given the boys the chance to grow up in one place.
 
"I've missed a lot of their basketball over the years physically. We've even stuck DVDs in over the phone and we'll critique together. We try to find what works," Drew says.
 
Drew spent the past 9 seasons in Atlanta, first as an assistant and then the head coach, until he was let go.
 
"I'm kind of rejuvenated in a sense," he explains. "New bosses, new team. I'm excited about coaching Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova, John Henson. One of the first things I did was I called those guys up and took them to dinner."
 
He also remembers a few things one-time teammate Magic Johnson taught him.
 
"If we went hard in practice, games would be easy," Drew recalls. "Today's players forget the importance of hard practice and getting better."
 
When asked if the Bucks can win in Milwaukee, Drew says he believes they can.
 
"I certainly believe so," he says. "Playing in that arena you can feel the fans. They are so into it. You put a competitive product on the floor - they'll get excited."
 
Drew was a guard on the Kansas City Kings when they moved to Sacramento. To see his hometown lose a team - he knows the pain a city goes through. He's not blind to the fact that Milwaukee has been in that conversation and that part if it might hinge on how well they do under his watch.
 
"I've heard all of the negative things said about Milwaukee. I personally think this city is as capable as any in winning. We will put our best foot forward," he said.
 
Drew actually has some family in Milwaukee. His uncle lives here and attended the introductory press conference. The coach is also looking forward to seeing his wife and kids soon. They'll take a long cruise together in August. The day after our interview, Drew boarded a flight to Estonia to see first-round draft pick Giannis Antetokounmpo.