The Shot DoctorPosted by Lisa Wellman on March 18, 2014 in James Naismith invented the game of basketball in 1891. He’s famous for it –especially around Lawrence, Kansas. Since graduating from Ottawa University in 1980, another Midwest kid has quietly transformed the game of basketball with the most recognized shooting form in the world.
Marvin Harvey from Kansas City, Missouri, arrived at Ottawa University on a basketball scholarship but soon discovered that his education would add just as much to his jump shot as his time on the court.
“I began college wanting to study astronomy,” says Harvey. “However, when Marion Rioth, the Myers Library director, assessed me, he said I had the ability to be a great teacher.” After that, the library became Harvey’s second home. When he wasn’t in his dorm room, he was at the library – studying, writing and gleaning all he could from his librarian mentor. Rioth encouraged Harvey to put his all into whatever he attempted, be it coaching or teaching.
“You will succeed in the world as a good coach,” Rioth said, “but if you make yourself more than a coach, you commit to a bigger idea. If you can add to who you are by exploring another side of life, it would make you more than you already are…you would become great!” Harvey took those words seriously, and to this day, they resonate with him.
Graduating from OU included passing anatomy/physiology, which Harvey failed three times before his professor allowed him to take the exam orally. “He told me, ‘You know this material better than I do,’ and he passed me.” Most people would have been grateful and just moved on, but Harvey was also curious and began studying learning styles. Why was the written exam so difficult for him when he clearly knew the subject matter? He combined what he learned with psychology course information on personalities. Using this knowledge down the road, he would successfully write several coaching books and begin laying the groundwork for his shooting methodology.
Despite the opportunity to play in the NBA, Harvey chose, instead, to nurture young athletes by spending ten years coaching in Olathe after he graduated from OU. During that time, he continued to study basketball shooting until he felt his theory was ready to test in the real world. He continuously combined book knowledge and science with physical practice. For another decade, he trained professional, college and high school ball players. Finally, he created the Shot LAB (and gained the moniker, Doc) and invited players from around the world to train with him.
His list of successes includes winning over 400 basketball games as a head coach, building multiple athletic programs from scratch, coaching all ages from elementary school to professional, and creating coaching workshops and clinics in 20 different countries. He is a shooting coach for both the WNBA and NBA, and he owns two companies—The Shot LAB and C5D Inc. Foundation, the latter of which operates the Marvin Harvey Basketball School of Excellence in three states. He counts Lynette Woodard, Clay Johnson, Raja Bell, Gerald Wilkins, and Tamika Catchings among his students.
“I met Doc in 2006 at the NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston,” says Catchings, who plays for the Indiana Fever of the WNBA. “We’ve been working together ever since. Doc’s commitment and love for what he does is what has helped keep me motivated and learning each year. The way we continue to challenge each other is what allows us to be successful.”
Harvey doesn’t measure success the way so many people do—in dollar signs or hours on the putting green. “I want people to know,” says Harvey, “that a student from Ottawa University, in Ottawa, Kansas, can be viewed on the world stage and remain the same from day one. You can succeed on your own terms. I’ve left my ‘handprint’ on many countries, professional teams and college coaches and students, and I have stayed true to my soul.”
His soul told him to walk away from a budding NBA career to teach and coach. His soul told him to combine his education with years of practice to truly make a difference in a classic American sport, as well as in the lives of countless athletes. Soul makes Marvin Harvey the Shot Doctor, and it also makes him a proud and grateful Ottawa University alumnus.
For more information on Marvin Harvey, go to www.marvinharvey.com.