The Lakers continue to reload their coaching staff ahead of the 2019-20 NBA season as first-year head coach Frank Vogel hired former Los Angeles Lakers and The Master’s University’s shooting guard and Starting5 founder Mike Penberthy as their shooting coach on Sunday, July 21.
“That was crazy when I heard that because I knew he worked with NBA players,” said former Starting5 and current Ventura College women’s basketball guard Talia Taufaasau. “He coached me and now he’s coaching at the highest level and I think even then, he’s going to help them out and improve. I hope they do well and I know he’s going to teach them a few things.
Enrolling at The Master’s in 1993, Penberthy finished his Mustangs’ career as one of the most consistent and lethal jumper shooters in the NAIA.
The shooting guard transformed The Master’s men’s basketball program playing an integral role in the four straight NAIA National Tournaments in his four-year career at the school. In his senior season, Penberthy ended the year averaging 27.5 points per contest ranking second in the nation on the way to setting a new single-season scoring mark with 852 points.
Penberthy holds the career scoring record (2,616), made 3-pointers (444) and free throw percentage (87.9).
Having a stellar career at The Master’s, Penberthy graduated in 1997 and headed overseas to play professionally in Germany. After a short period in Europe, Penberthy returned and scored a deal with the Lakers.
Playing alongside, Kobe Byrant and Shaquille O’Neal for the 2000-01 season, Penberthy won a shot 39.6% from 3-pointer range and 90% free throw percentage in 53 games on his way to a Lakers Championship. Penberthy played in three games the following season before being waived.
Penberthy returned to Europe playing overseas for just under a decade, transitioning into coaching serving as the Minnesota Timberwolves shooting coach for the 2014-15 season and earned the nickname “The Shot Whisperer.”
“He is very good with the little things,” Taufaasau said. “The details, the position of where your feet should be, how your follow-through should look. He’s very persistent with it too, he doesn’t just tell you one thing and then move onto the next thing. He’s very, ‘OK, do this. Let me see it a couple of times. Make sure you have it down. OK. Now let’s move on.’ Just to kind of make sure we grow as shooters, but he was really good at making sure everybody got everything down before moving on.”
Penberthy was hired by the New Orleans Pelicans this past season serving the same role on the team before getting hired by the Lakers.
Penberthy dabbled in the private coaching sector founding Starting5 development program aimed at preparing athletes like Taufaasau for a higher-level of basketball and growth.
“Just teaching me the fundamentals to shooting and how my form should look, the quickness of my release and stuff like that,” Taufaasau said. “Just teaching me how to shoot well because that wasn’t part of my game before.”
Penberthy currently has two sons, senior-to-be Ty and sophomore-to-be Jaden, who play for Hart High School’s boys basketball team,