The Dagger - NCAAB

If Steve Lavin's tenure as St. John's coach turns out to be shorter than expected, one of the program's most well-known alums would like his name thrown into the mix as a potential replacement.

Believe it or not, that former St. John's star is none other than Ron Artest.

"I want to be a coach, bad," Artest said in the latest issue of ESPN the Magazine. "I'd love to coach the Knicks or St. John's, but I'd go anywhere. I want to coach immediately after I retire. I'd be good for a bunch of reasons. I know the little things, like how important spacing is. I also understand how to deal with players, so I'm able to coach a player like me now.  

"I'm 100% sure this coaching thing will work. All I need is a good staff, and to watch more tape. One thing I don't do is watch tape. I gotta start if I want to coach."

It's probably safe to assume that coaching St. John's is one goal Artest is unlikely to fulfill, but the past few years have taught us that nothing is ever out of the realm of possibility for the eccentric Los Angeles Lakers forward. Is there another player in the world who could reveal that he drank at halftime of NBA games, tout a streetballer from Queensbridge as the best player he's ever faced and thank his psychiatrist after winning an NBA championship without anyone batting an eyelash? 

Artest said his motivation for wanting to coach stems from the first season he spent in Sacramento when he described having an epiphany about what it means to be a team-first player.

"Outside of Mike Bibby, I was the go-to guy there," Artest recalled. "Every play was going through me. But we had Bonzi Wells, too, and he was playing well. So I said, "Coach, we should play through Bonzi." And what did Bonzi do in the playoffs? Averaged 23 and 12. Right there, I realized I cared a lot about winning. I also learned I'd be a good coach someday.

"It's not what I can do. It's what I'm gonna do." That's mine. I made it up. I was in my house one day, reading the newspapers, and everybody was writing me off. I'm like, what the hell is everyone talking about? And that's what popped into my head.

As if there was even a doubt, Artest had an answer ready when told every coach has a motivational quote.

"'It's not what I can do. It's what I'm gonna do,'" Artest said. "That's mine. I made it up. I was in my house one day, reading the newspapers, and everybody was writing me off. I'm like, what the hell is everyone talking about? And that's what popped into my head.

"It means a lot of things. I may not win a dunk contest, but you're not dunking on me. And I'm not as fast as you, but I'll beat you to your spot. It's not that I can't score -- I will score, and I'll make sure you're not going to score. It's the best quote ever."

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