30 years coaching experience/Worked Camps/Clinics on 5 Continents

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

5 Ways to Guard When You Can't

If you are not very good at playing defense, you must make up for those deficiencies. If you are undersized, you must make up for those deficiencies. Here are some rules I followed most years, but especially when I was limited athletically or with size.

1. Keep the ball in front of you. Don't defend outside of the 3 point line. Scouting report must be used to know who is a shooter and must be guarded outside the 3 point line, making a decision to give up 2's instead of 3's to a really good shooter.

2. A pack line is probably better than regular man to man rules with help side. Along with planting a man in the lane, a half man/half zone type look. This way when an undersized team has to rebound, they have their man.

3. An undersized team who is not good at D, must block out...and many times illegally. It's not a foul until is called, then called again, then again; well you get it. They must keep their player behind them and hold them if they have to by wrapping them up from the front.

4. Then they MUST get every defensive rebound especially those that go long or hit the floor. You have to compete like never before to get those rebounds.

5. The best defense is often your offense. If you are patient or can score at ease, it helps, but you must be prepared for those nights when you can't score, and then you had better not turn it over and you must find a way to get some offensive rebounds.

Mental toughness. You must do these things all of the time and get every rebound, or you will be in for long nights and/or seasons.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Twas the Night Before Basketball Season

Twas the night before basketball season,
and all through the gym, basketballs were bouncing,
and hitting the rim;

Coach was preparing for the game the next day
as players excitedly went over each play;

They wondered what the games coming soon might bring,
as basketball in Indiana is top of the hill the absolute king;

Nervous to finally play and compete,
they couldn't sit still in their locker room seat;

Coach went over the scouting report with glee,
as the players listened so attentively;

They noticed their match-up with delight,
to put on their school's uniform and go out and fight;

To play for their school and community,
was something they've looked forward to absolutely;

So bring on the visitor, and toss up the ball,
basketball season is like Christmas for all;

Good luck, good luck to each's favorite school,
go out, have fun, and act like a fool;

For it is the home team that will bring you great pride,
so sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Carrie Underwood - Something in the Water

I am not the biggest country music fan, but I like Carrie Underwood and I really like this song.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Former IU Men's Basketball Head Coach

There are only 3 living former coaches for the Indiana University men's basketball team. I think that says a lot about the durability of the program, but maybe because one of the living coached there for almost 30 years. But one of those coaches, Kelvin Sampson, well, let's just say he won't be welcomed back to IU anytime soon.  Whether his fault or the administration's, IU was hammered with NCAA sanctions and put under a rock so heavy that it has been hard to dig out from under it.

The other two coaches are Bob Knight and Mike Davis.  Bob Knight is a basketball legend. At one time the all time winningest coach in men's basketball, he revolutionized how the game was played in the 1970's, a great basketball mind, and built the IU men's program into what many consider one of the top 5-8 basketball programs in college basketball. But his volatile temper, and, I will just say it, his lack of respect for those he didn't perceive as deserving of respect caught up with him.  He was fired after IU President Myles Brand put him on a zero tolerance plan (dumb), then he grabbed a kid by the arm and was fired for "What's up Knight?", and began to teach the student proper etiquette in addressing his elders.

Since that time, Coach Knight has been asked, pleaded with, cried to and begged to come back to IU to be recognized. He was asked by Sampson and current head coach Tom Crean.  He has been asked by former players, most recently A.J. Guyton who was being inducted into the IU Hall of Fame. He has been begged, cried to, pleaded with by the IU fans.  Fans that Knight has claimed to be the best and how great they were to his teams and to him. The fans that would do anything for him to come back one more time to be shown the love and affection they have for him. But he has refused to come back, many times.

Then you have the current Texas Southern head coach, Mike Davis. Davis was the "winner" after Knight was fired to take over the program. Players were mad and threatening to leave IU after Knight was fired, and Davis who had recruited many of the players stepped in. What did he do? He won 20 games that year and then took his second team to the National Championship game where they lost to Maryland. After that he had 3 seasons in a row that IU fans are not used to and was lambasted, ridiculed, and destroyed by the IU fan base. Eventually, he resigned and moved on to coach at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Davis had and still has every right to be bitter about his time at IU. All he did was help save the program in the wake of the Knight firing, win, then get a contract extension, isn't that what was supposed to happen?

Davis recently returned to IU and he brought his current team. In every single interview, Davis had a smile and spoke glowingly about his time at IU, how it paved his road for future coaching jobs. In those interviews, both pre and post, he has said great things about IU, its fans, his former players, and the current coaches and players. He has talked about how he would love for his freshman aged son to be able to play at IU, and he has been so humble it is almost hard to believe.

To me, it really contrasts Knight's reaction to IU. Knight, beloved and begged to come back by the fans and he has turned them down. Davis, not beloved or begged to come back by the fans and he has been true, pure class. I think it says much about not the men as coaches but as human beings in what they see as important in life.

I think Mike Davis has it figured out.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Aiden, I See You

Every fall, we do our intramural basketball camps with games at Silver Creek Elementary as part of our high school basketball program. Each year, you get to meet cool kids who are playing and learning about basketball for one reason, they love the game.

This fall, I met a new cool kid, Aiden Johnson. Aiden is like many kids his age in all the things that he does, except for one thing, he is fighting for his life after being diagnosed with leukemia at an early, early age. From :

On Feb. 20, 2007, at age 2, Aiden came home from day care with a mild fever and swollen lymph nodes in his neck. Thinking he might have tonsillitis, his mother made an appointment with his pediatrician for the following day. Aiden’s doctor, Richard Boada, M.D., looked him over and took a blood test. After receiving the results, Dr. Boada said he thought his blood testing machine was broken and sent Aiden to the hospital to have the blood test redone. Another finger poke and tube of blood later, the hospital ran the test and asked to redo it using blood from a vein instead of a finger.
Dr. Boada called Aiden’s family that evening and explained that he and the oncology team at Kosair Children’s Hospital believed Aiden had leukemia. Aiden needed to get to the hospital right away. The emergency department doctors at Kosair Children’s Hospital confirmed that Aiden had high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia. His white blood cell count was extremely high at 232,000; normal is 4,000 to 12,000. Over the next 3 1/2 years, Aiden had a procedure called apheresis, three central line placements, chemotherapy treatments, numerous lumbar punctures, countless blood and platelet transfusions, finger pokes two to three times a week, bone marrow aspirations and lost his hair, but he was a strong, brave little boy through it all. Aiden received his last chemotherapy treatment on his sixth birthday — and what a celebration he had! Aiden went to kindergarten and first grade as a healthy, happy little boy. Then in July 2012, at the age of 8, his cancer returned. He had been in remission for five years, and off treatment for two. Life was once again turned upside down. Aiden was placed on an intermediate-risk therapy treatment, which required him to receive an additional two to 2 1/2 years of intense chemotherapy treatments. Aiden was admitted to the hospital right away and had his fourth central line placed. He had two testicular biopsies and suffered a blood clot that required having part of his stomach lining removed. He currently endures two to three injections daily, lumbar punctures and two to three finger pokes a week. He takes 12 to 15 pills daily, has lost his hair twice, receives frequent blood and platelet transfusions, and almost always receives his chemotherapy treatments as an inpatient at Kosair Children’s Hospital. Aiden is home-tutored to help him keep up with his classmates. He loves music, singing and dancing, but his favorite activity during his fight for life is building with Legos.

Aiden is now in 4th grade. He is a child that I remember my daughter, who is also in 4th grade, coming home and talking about. Aiden this and Aiden that, and how cool this Aiden in her class was. Being in her class it affected my daughter in that she hasn't forgotten about him and she has kept a positive outlook not realizing, I think, how serious it could be. I remember Maddie talking about him and I listened, but I didn't want to really listen because it bothered me. If it could happen to this little boy, it could happen to one of my children and I didn't want to think about that possibility. A horribly selfish way to look at the situation, but I am being honest, it scared me.

But since he has come to basketball camp and I was forced to deal with him as I do with all kiddos, however, he was different, and now I wouldn't have it any other way. How awesome is he and his parents, too,for allowing him to go to basketball camp and to be knocked around just like all other little boys? To live as normal a life as possible a midst their struggles?  I have become like many other people in that I want to help him and his family. I have gone from my selfish and looking the other way self, to wanting to help in any way I can even if it is just a laugh, or a hug, or writing in this blog to make others aware of his situation. 

Aiden is in the hospital again after having run a fever for about 2 straight weeks which is not good. They don't know what is going on, but they may have a better idea per his Facebook page Prayers for Aiden. You know, I didn't want to face the reality of Aiden because it scared me about my own two children, if it could happen to him, it could happen to them. But instead of looking the other way, scared of that reality that my own children are mortal, we need to stare straight at their mortality and not look away at others that are sick, even children. We must look at them, hold them, high five them, laugh with them, and love them because they might not be our child, but they are someone's child and those little things to us are huge things to them.

Keep fighting Aiden!!!

Click below to see and hear this cool, cool kid.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Alone and Thinking

I am 45 years old and I have a 10 year old daughter and a 6 year old son. I guess with all of the great things that are being done for sick children (from playing college basketball to NFL football), my own mortality has come into my thoughts. I have been called Mr. Worst Case Scenario and I do often think of all the negatives that could occur on any given issue, so some may tell me to calm down. But it hit me this weekend that I only have a a little time left with my children.

Sure, we are talking 25-35 years, but to me that seems so little when you think that I am 45. I remember when 15 years from now was going to be cool, now it gets me to 60. My son, if I stay relatively healthy, will be younger than I am now when I die. My daughter will be older, but she will be young also. So now I don't want to be away from them, I want them close. How can I ever be selfish enough to be away from them? Time that I won't get back. Yet, I cannot smother them with me, I have to give them space and I have many things to do and other responsibilities.

But as I thought about it, why am I worrying so much about 30 years from now? I could die today, I mean, none of us know when our time will come so why worry so much about it now. Enjoy the time you have, enjoy and teach them each day because the end will come. It might be when you are 80 years old, or it might happen today.

I have always suffered from anxiety, I think everyone does, but it has never kept me from doing things. There are times I want to stay in my house and not go out, but I refuse to allow my anxiety to cripple me. It has worsened since the tornado of 2012 that I went through, but I have also become more aware of my anxiety and its effects. The thoughts above are part of my life, the quiet time when I have nothing else going on. The thoughts that enter me into minor depression, but I am intelligent enough to understand that I cannot control it, but I can make the most of it.

Mr. Worst Case Scenario? Yep, I apologize for those that I am around when I come off negative because I know it can be annoying. But try to understand that I understand I am that way and am working on it, and trying to make it a funny thing and not something that leads to depression.

By the way, I have an unbelievably wonderful wife. A woman sent by God to lead me to Him and to help me in this life. We have been through a lot and she has the patience of a saint with me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hey Look, IU Has Problems and I Have an Opinion

When did being a 45 year old man become a "kid"? Now I know that sometimes I may not always act my age, I like to enjoy myself and have a good time, but when did 45 become a "kid"? Or 40? Or 35? Or 30? Or 25? Or 20? Or 18? I have been told I am a "kid" at every age since I turned 18 usually by some older man. But when do I get to grow up? When do I get to be an adult and not a kid?

What we have in this country, and I don't think it was intentional, is a delayed adolescence going on. We now have men in their 30's who live at home and maybe have a job, maybe not, and it isn't frowned upon. I will say that I delayed a little. Went to college right out of high school, dropped out, worked the entire time, moved out of my parent's home at 23, worked, then got back into school and graduated from college around 27. What I was until then was an adult man who needed to grow up some more.

At 18, you have every legal right of an adult except the purchasing of alcohol. Every single right. You can vote, you can get married, you can join the military, you can drive, you can work as many hours as you want, you can do everything everyone else can do but buy and drink alcohol.

So when I read about how adult men can't make good decisions on the Indiana University men's basketball team and most of the blame goes to Coach Crean, I get a little frustrated and confused. What else can a coach do besides suspend, run, practice early, preach about the importance of making good decisions, and penalize the entire team? If the adult men playing for you do not want to do the right things, whose fault is it? Should there be harsher penalties? Who knows? I don't even know all that was done to try and stem the tide. Should some of the players be removed from the team? Maybe, but who? And how well do you know the person? Maybe this is the place for them to grow and learn as a man and maybe they need to be helped to learn and grow as a man elsewhere.

But we can sit behind a computer and social media not knowing much about an event and begin to castrate all involved. We can point fingers and say what should be done without having any power to do anything, and how convenient is that for us? I know that I can sometimes complain about my boss, I think it is natural, but what I always follow it up with is "but I don't want his job, it's a tough job in which no matter what you do somebody isn't happy".

I will say that I have been a supporter of Coach Crean for many reasons, most of them personal. Do I think he is perfect? No. Does he think he is perfect? No. Should he be given the opportunity to clean this mess up while trying to win games? I think so. And I think he wants that opportunity, too.

Finally, I just want to add...would you adult men for the IU men's basketball team who claim to love your coach or coaches, claim to want to compete and play hard for them, coaches who have taken time away from their families to help you grow as a person and a basketball player, please begin to act like you care about them? Because right now many of you look like selfish, entitled jerks not caring how it makes you, your coaches or your university look.

Monday, November 3, 2014

We All Fall Down Sometimes

Two issues in the news the last couple of weeks shows how people handle similar situations, differently. I am not placing right or wrong on either situation, but trying to contrast the actions in similar situations.

Lauren Hill is a young woman who is playing basketball at Mt. St. Joseph's University. In high school, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, one of those really bad ones, the kind that has "fingers" that grasps onto the brain and there is next to nothing that you can do for it. She had a desire to play college basketball, and yesterday with the help of Xavier University and the NCAA, she was allowed to play and scored a couple of points. The season started early for her team because they just don't know when she will die. It could be today, it could be in a few weeks, but she has fought and fought and fought to get to this point. At the end of the game yesterday, she fell down, and what do you think she did? She got back up again, with a smile and as the horn went off she hugged her teammates and called it the best day of her life. If you watched, I am sure you shed tears as I did.

Then you have Brittany Maynard. She was a 29 year old woman with terminal brain cancer. "Was" because she chose to move to Oregon where it is legal for assisted suicide. She had a bucket list that she did with her husband such as going to the Grand Canyon and then chose to end her life before the complications of her disease became unbearable for those around her to see. She was having more prolonged seizures and pain from the violence of them. Brittany didn't have a basketball game televised nor has much of her bucket list been "celebrated", but I am sure she also had some best days of her life before choosing to end her life.

Two very similar ways to live their lives, but two very different ways in which their lives will come to an end. I do not think what Brittany Maynard did was right, but (before you start to destroy me) I do understand why she did what she did. Who wants to put your loved ones through the horrendous decline to death? I have seen family members deal with this and as horrible as it is that someone dies, to watch them lose that spark that made them, well, them; I believe it may be more horrible to watch that spark shine a little less bright on those who are still around losing their loved one.

Watching Lauren's first college game and the emotions and the celebration of her life and the fight she has shown to get to this point, I don't think I would want her to leave, I don't think I could watch her end her life. At the end of the game, she walked over and hugged her family, and as a father, I just don't think I could let go. I just don't know if I could let go of my little girl knowing that each ticking second she's alive very well could be the last. I get emotional just relating it to my own daughter, and yet, I just do not know how I would handle it. Ultimately, it would be my daughter's decision, it is her life, but how could I let her go?

So what am I trying to say here? I don't know. Life is full of these types of situations where we have to make a call and that call is something that we have to live or die with. It isn't a game where the calls we make may win or lose a game, but decides how we will live the rest of our lives and how that decision will effect others.