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Mavericks hire first "ballhandling coach"

DALLAS -- Johnny Stephene is another prime example of why no one should ever underestimate the power of social media.

A few months ago, Stephene posted some videos of himself teaching Toronto's DeMar DeRozan some ballhandling skills. The Dallas Mavericks saw the videos, and then offered him a job this past summer to become their ballhandling coach.

"The Mavericks reached out to me by email and told me they were interested," Stephene said after practice at American Airlines Center. "They saw me work with a lot of NBA players on my social media.

"From there, I got a chance to come here in July for a week. And after working out with some of the rookies and some of the new guys here, they brought me back for preseason."

It's no surprise that the outside-of-the-box-thinking Mavericks are proud owners of the NBA's first ballhandling coach. After all, they have Gary Boren, who is the NBA's only known staff free-throw shooting coach.

In hiring Stephene, owner Mark Cuban said he "saw some of the work he was doing so we reached out to him. Our thought was that if he can improve the ballhandling skills and increase our guys' confidence with the ball, it would be a great investment."

"He's a positive upbeat guy who's got a very good reputation," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "It was Mark's idea to bring him on board, and he's been a positive factor for us."

Stephene, 28, has nearly one million Instagram followers -- on (at)Dribble2Much -- and almost 10,000 Twitter followers. He has worked with Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, Boston's Avery Bradley, Sacramento's Seth Curry and Denver's Nate Robinson.

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