Cleveland Charge head coach Dan Geriot has a vision, and belief, to make his team a player development powerhouse

After being a staple on the Cavaliers bench for nearly half a decade, Dan Geriot wants to build the Charge into his ideal vision.

The Cleveland Cavaliers aren't the only professional basketball team calling the shores of Lake Erie home this season. The Cleveland Charge, the Cavaliers' G-League affiliate, will be playing a stone throw's away from Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse at Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center. While the Charge are new to town, they aren't new to Northeast Ohio. For the last decade, the Charge could be found about an hour south in Canton, where they played at the Canton Civic Center. It's a big change for the Charge, something that many are still getting used to within the organization.

"We have a swear jar, especially for all of us that have been around for so long," joked Sean Wyatt, Vice President of Communications and Team Services for the Charge. "Every time you say Canton, you got to put a $5 in and it goes towards the lunch tab."

While in Canton, the Charge amassed an overall record of 254-211 and was a playoff staple. They also helped develop plenty of high-end talent as well, including current Cavaliers rotation staples like Dean Wade and Brodric Thomas. But, despite the fact that Cleveland and Canton are only an hour apart, there was a level of disconnect at times between both clubs. Thankfully, now that the Charge are in Cleveland, they are able to practice at and alongside the same facilities as the Cavaliers.

Along with the move to downtown, the Charge also saw a change at the head coach position as well. Dan Geriot, who has been with the Cavaliers since the 2015-16 season, was recently chosen to be the fifth head coach in Charge franchise history. Geriot was responsible for assisting and reporting directly to Cleveland head coach J.B. Bickerstaff along with scouting upcoming opponents and presenting game plans, as well as the individual development for the team's frontcourt players. Geriot was previously an assistant video coordinator and coaching assistant with the Cavaliers from 2016-18 and was a seasonal video coordinator with the team for the 2015-16 championship season. Prior to joining Cleveland, Geriot was with Campbell University as an assistant coach from 2013-15 and was with Princeton University as an assistant coach from 2011-13.

Dan Geriot (center) has been a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers coaching staff since the 2019-20 season. Now the head coach of the Cleveland Charge, Geriot has the vision, and belief, to turn the G-League club into a player development powerhouse.

Geriot's experience working as both an assistant and video for the coordinator is already invaluable as a prospective NBA coach. Becoming the head coach of the Charge will just add even further to his already impressive resume and could lead to greater opportunities in the NBA. That's all well and good but Geriot isn't focused on that – he's fully focused on working with bringing the Charge back to prominence at the G-League level. In time, Geriot also wants to turn the Charge into a player development powerhouse.

"I think the long-term is to create the environment that we need to get the best out of these individuals," said Geriot. "It's about getting these guys in the situations they need to to be able to benefit not only the Cavs but any team in the NBA.

"I mean, I think that's the ultimate goal for any G-League player. That's why they choose to play in the G-League instead of maybe taking more lucrative contracts overseas or elsewhere. It helps create the situations and develop them correctly so that wherever they may go, right? The Nuggets may call you, the Thunder may call you, whoever it may be. The Sixers may call you. You need to be able to be ready to give to that organization and that's ultimately kind of the baseline for one of my long-term goals is to get these guys in that mindset and in that playing style so they're ready whenever."

Geriot also shared that he wants to create a culture and environment within the Charge where players can feel truly comfortable and maximize their potential. Obviously, the main focus is to have players on the Charge's roster fully familiar with the system and terminology Bickerstaff and the main club are using. That way, if a player on a two-way contract with the Cavaliers or on the Charge's roster is called up to the main club, they're fully ready to contribute on any given night.

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"Having the Charge here in town with us is one of the greatest advantages you can have in having a G-League team," said Bickerstaff. "There's so much that you can do when they are this close. Whether it's practice times or scrimmages. Or injury rehab opportunities for injured guys. Or for guys who aren't playing in three or four games, they have an opportunity to go and play and scrimmage there. There are just so many things that you can do.

"As a coaching staff, we have an opportunity to be a part of what they're doing on a daily basis because we have that communication. We share offices with Dan Geriot and his staff so we can have those communications. It's just so seamless and so easy and that's why we pushed to get it done."

Mind you, the Charge are more than just the scout team for the Cavaliers or an opportunity for the main club to rehabilitate players. They're also a key factor for the future of professional basketball in Cleveland. Long-term, Geriot wants to make the Charge a carbon copy of everything Bickerstaff and the Cavaliers are doing. That means the Charge will employ an identical offensive system that focuses on three-pointers and speed and drop coverage tactics on defense. Whatever the Cavaliers are doing, it means the Charge under Geriot will be doing the same and that's vital to either team's success.

"We're the offshoot of the main club," said Geriot. "Our terminology is very similar and we're learning from them. and it's how we've built it out before as I've been with the main club. I think it is interesting, though, especially being here and in Cleveland and in Independence is we're kind of building it our own blueprint of how it's going to look. We're learning the basketball, but then we're also kind of building the blueprint."

Not only are the Charge a key part of what the Cavaliers are trying to build, they're also key in developing top-end talent as well. Geriot shared that on a night-to-night basis more often than not you'll see former top high school prospects going to war, trying to prove they belong at the next level.

"You're seeing the NBA Lite. You're seeing a competitive game, you're seeing younger players kind of competing at that high level that they know they need to make that end of bench spot," said Geriot. "They're not just coming up to wave a towel in the NBA . They're competing their tails off and enjoying the game so much. It's the essence of it, to me, and it's where it's so fun and so easy to wrap my head around."

In all honesty, that's the greatest appeal of all for fans to see the Charge in action this season at the Wolstein Center. It's not the cheap seats, which is something the team actually takes pride in, but the fact that the Charge are so vital to the Cavaliers both now and in the future. It's basketball at its essence, with a heavy dosage of Cleveland-flavored spice sprinkled in as well. The Charge open up their season at their new home home on Saturday, November 6 against the Motor City Cruise.

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