DETROIT: Detroit Pistons interim coach John Loyer still considers himself an Ohioan at heart.
The 49-year-old graduated from Galion High School and was a guard at the University of Akron from 1983-87 before graduating with a degree in social studies.
He served for two more years as a Zips assistant coach under Bob Huggins before moving on to Cincinnati when Huggins took that coaching job.
Loyer replaced Maurice Cheeks as Pistons coach last week after Cheeks was fired just 50 games into his first season as coach.
“When I go back to Cleveland, it still feels like home,” Loyer said. “I grew up listening to the Cavs and Joe Tait on the radio. It brings back a lot of memories.”
The Pistons have underachieved this season, much like the Cavaliers. The Cavs decided to fire their general manager. The Pistons fired their coach when they were on a brief two-game winning streak. Then they beat the San Antonio Spurs on Monday in Loyer’s NBA coaching debut.
This is just his second time as a head coach, and the first came at a small community college in southeast Illinois 15 years ago. He broke into the NBA as a video coordinator for the Portland Trail Blazers and slowly worked his way up.
“It’s traumatic any time you have a change like this, especially with a guy we all enjoyed being around, a guy who brought me here and the rest of our staff here,” Loyer said. “But we’re professionals. At some point, you’re going to get fired in your career.”
Uncle Drew sighting
Pepsi Max released a new 30-second teaser video Wednesday in advance of this weekend’s All-Star Game in New Orleans. The video depicts Kyrie Irving in his popular Uncle Drew character driving to New Orleans to pick up his big man.
But Irving was playing coy about the video.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Irving said. “See you in New Orleans.”
But Irving was adamant there won’t be a new Uncle Drew video released in New Orleans.
“I can tell you that for sure, no,” he said.
Bennett’s big night
Cavs coach Mike Brown said he wasn’t relieved to see Anthony Bennett score 19 points and grab 10 rebounds — both career highs — during Tuesday’s win against the Sacramento Kings. He was confident Bennett’s talent would surface.
“I wasn’t relieved maybe because I’ve seen it. It’s almost like it was a matter of time,” Brown said.
“I just felt like he went out and did what he’s capable of doing.
‘‘Now will he do that every night? Probably not, but some of the things you saw [Tuesday], he’s definitely capable of doing on a nightly basis.”
C.J. Miles returned after missing Tuesday’s game with a toe injury. The training staff pulled all the padding out of Miles’ shoe and repacked it to protect his sore toe. … With Anderson Varejao injured and left behind in Cleveland, the Cavs recalled Sergey Karasev to fill the empty roster spot. … The Cavs entered Wednesday’s game averaging 106 points in their past five games. They were shooting 50 percent on 3-pointers (28-for-56) in their past three games. … The Cavs reserves had combined for at least 50 points in three of the past four games before Wednesday.
Jason Lloyd can be reached at email@example.com.