Chaminade Prep All-Stars!

The NBA All-Star draft turned out great for St. Louisans Jayson Tatum (Boston) and Bradley Beal (Washington.) They’ll be teammates and starters for Team Durant in Sunday’s NBA All-Star game. Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant made it happen by choosing both Chaminade Prep alumns for the squad that will face Team LeBron (James.) 

Beal, 27, is a nine-season NBA veteran and  three-time All-Star who currently leads the league with an average of 32.9 points per game. Tatum, 23, is a four-year NBA veteran and two-time All-Star averaging 24.9 points and 7 rebounds for the Celtics this season. 

Beal and Tatum were five years apart in high school. They share the same trainer, Drew Hanlen. But until now, they’ve never had the chance to be on the same team. That changes on Sunday in Atlanta. 

“I’m excited about it,” Beal said. “We’ve never been on the same team before, ever in life. I don’t even think in pickup we’ve been on the same team. It’s definitely a great feeling to share the same floor with him.

“I’m one of his biggest fans,” Beal added. “I’m proud of his growth, his maturity at a young age, he’s only 23 now. For him to be on the stage he’s at, at the time where his career is, it’s heartwarming for me. I’m just happy we’re able to share the floor together as starters, making a name for ourselves, our city and our families.”

Tatum is happy. “For two guys from the same high school and same neighborhood, it doesn’t get better than that. It’s just a really special moment,” he said. 

The St. Louis buddies have other reasons to be in a good mood. After a wretched slump the Celtics (19-17) have won four in a row. And after a terrible start to the season, the Wizards (14-20) have won 8 of 11. 

James chose Milwaukee forward Giannis Antetokounmpo with the first overall pick in the All-Star draft. Other starters for Team LeBron starters are Golden State guard Stephen Curry, Dallas guard Luka Dončić and Denver center Nikola Jokić. 

Team LeBron’s reserves: Portland guard Damian Lillard, Philadelphia guard Ben Simmons, Phoenix guard Chris Paul, Boston guard Jaylen Brown, LA Clippers forward Paul George, Indiana forward Domantas Sabonis and Utah center Rudy Gobert.

As for Team Durant … 

Durant selected his Nets teammate, guard Kyrie Irving, with the second overall pick. The other starters are Beal (guard), Tatum (forward), Philadelphia center Joel Embiid, and LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard. 

The Team Durant reserves are Brooklyn guard James Harden, Phoenix guard Devin Booker, New Orleans forward Zion Williamson, Chicago guard Zach LaVine, New York forward Julius Randle, Orlando center Nikola Vučević and Utah guard Donovan Mitchell. 

Two players will miss the game with injuries: Durant, and Lakers forward Anthony Davis. 

There’s another local-connection story in this All-Star Game.

Team LeBron will be coached by Utah’s Quin Snyder, the former Mizzou coach.

(Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers is coach of Team Durant.)

Snyder, 54, in his seventh season as Utah’s coach, is among the most successful coaches in the NBA. The Jazz have the league’s best record at the break (27-9.) Over the last five seasons Utah’s .621 winning percentage ranks fifth in the league behind Toronto, Houston, Boston and Milwaukee. 

The late Jerry Sloan had some great teams in Utah, but Snyder is the first coach in Jazz franchise history to coach an All-Star team. 

“I love coach,” the All-Star, Mitchell, said recently. “I think this is well deserved. Obviously we score, we do all these different things, but he writes the stuff down. He’s the one that emphasizes it and puts us in position. We go out and play, but we’re a really well-coached team. He won’t ever say it, but he’s the best coach in the league in my opinion.” 

Snyder has a .575 winning percentage in his seven seasons at Utah. Since the start of the 2018-2019 season, only Milwaukee and Toronto have a better winning percentage than Utah’s .637. 

It’s an impressive comeback for a coach that flamed out at Mizzou in part because of problems in his personal life. In six-plus seasons at Missouri after succeeding Norm Stewart, Snyder got off to a strong start by leading the Tigers into the NCAA Tournament in his first four seasons. But the program lost traction, going 42-42 in Snyder’s final two-plus seasons. He was fired 21 games into the 2005-2006 season. Overall, Snyder had a .581 winning percentage at MU. 

Snyder has always possessed a high basketball IQ, and it was just a matter of pulling himself together, starting over, and paying his dues. Snyder did so by going on an extensive journey that included coaching stops in Russia.and as an NBA assistant for four different teams. 

Legendary San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich gave Snyder a powerful endorsement by putting Quin in charge of the Spurs’ development-league team. And with that hire Pop sent a clear message to the rest of the NBA: this guy is smart, has matured, and is one helluva coach. 

“He’s a player’s coach,” Utah forward Joe Ingles said. “He obviously cares for each and every one that has been here over the seven years. And I think that’s one of the best parts, is when you’ve got a coach that actually cares about you — not just as a player. He’s going to put me in the best position (basketball wise), but to ask about your family, ask about your kids, ask about what’s going on off the court … to have someone that genuinely cares is pretty special, and pretty rare.” 

The 70th NBA All-Star Game will air on TNT Sunday beginning with pregame coverage at 4 p.m. St. Louis time. 

Thanks for reading.

-Bernie 

Hey, there. You can check out Bernie’s sports-talk show on 590-AM The Fan, KFNS. It airs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and Friday from 4-6 p.m. You can listen live online and download the Bernie Show podcast at 590thefan.com  … the 590 app works great and is available in your preferred app store.