A Look at the Blue with Coach Daigneault

By Kayla Grudzielanek | October 27, 2017

Following a record-breaking season with 34 wins, a Western Conference Championship, and a trip to the Conference Finals for the first time, Oklahoma City Blue Head Coach Mark Daigneault hopes to further the growth of the program and the players again this season. “Each year we’ve been able to create more momentum because what we’re doing is closer to best practice,” Daigneault said. “We’re gaining more confidence in the program. We’re seeing more outcomes that we can learn from. Those are the things that really create momentum.”

The Thunder philosophy and team culture has always driven player development for the Blue. “This program is an extension of the Thunder,” Daigneault said. “We believe in holistic development, so we believe in the development of the whole person.” Physical development, mental development, and basketball development are all areas they focus on. “We believe that if we invest in all these different parts of a person, those things will come together and it will transcend that person’s game on the court and hopefully their life too.”

This philosophy has proved successful through players like Josh Huestis, Dakari Johnson and Daniel Hamilton, who are now in a position where they have the opportunity to contribute to the success of the Thunder this season. The Blue is committed to player development that leads to revealing player potential and providing them with all the tools they need to reach their goals and be successful in their future endeavors. “Dakari Johnson is an example.” Daigneault said. “He was a primary player for [the Blue] last year, and he really transformed what he was capable of as a player. Now that he’s in that environment [with the Thunder], it’s about his ability to recognize what the team needs along with what he can do. It’s about unveiling an awareness in the players that they can recognize who they are, what they do really well and how that fits into any given team that they’re on whether it’s the Blue, the Thunder or another team at a later point in their career.”

This year’s roster includes a lot of new faces and while the group has been together for only a short time, Daigneault is excited about what this year’s squad has to offer. He can tell that they are a hard-working and high-character group, but is careful to avoid rushing to judgement on anyone. “The one thing that’s been consistent here is the organization has done a great job bringing in great people.”