LAS VEGAS — Bret Brielmaier sat at the end of San Antonio’s bench Monday afternoon at Thomas & Mack carrying a clipboard, watching intently to the development on the court between his Spurs and Minnesota in an NBA Summer League game.
San Antonio’s coach here, Mike Budenholzer, sat at the head of the bench on the other end, flanked by assistants other than Brielmaier, including the recognizable Jacque Vaughn from Kansas.
Brielmaier, the former UA walk-on, who occasionally played significant minutes for the Wildcats in his career from 2004-08, looked very much like a recent coach at Arizona who has influenced him a great deal. This coach is not Lute Olson or his good friend Josh Pastner, although Brielmaier credits each for helping him develop as a coach.
You remember Mike Dunlap? His one year in Tucson in 2008-09 was valuable because he worked around the clock with Russ Pennell to prevent the program from unraveling in the wake of Olson’s abrupt retirement. Dunlap sat at the end of the bench (a spot usually allocated for a team manager) holding a clipboard and binder, away from Pennell, assistant Matt Brase, and Brielmaier (who served as a graduate assistant that season).
Dunlap was accustomed to sitting in that spot as a Denver Nuggets assistant coach, and he believes he can teach more by being closer to the players.
“Coach Dunlap kind of ran the program a little bit when he was helping as an assistant, a little bit like a pro organization, so that helped,” Brielmaier said when asked how he is transitioning from college coaching to the pros.