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Monday, March 31, 2014

John Wooden's Awards

John Wooden gave the following awards at the end of the season....

1- Service to team and university.

2- Bench Award

3- Most Unselfish Player

4- Scholastic Attainment

5- Competitive Spirit

His philosophy simple-- reward the qualities that count. What you want more of- reward.

Just Keep Working

What do you do when it appears you are not going to reach your goals? Just keep working!!

Frank Kaminsky is the star of Wisconsin's Final Four team. It would be easy to look at him, and think he is good because he is 7'0".  But he is a great story about the value of perseverance

Frank entered Lisle Benet closer to six foot than seven foot. He started out playing some point guard. According to Bo Ryan, Frank had trouble even getting on the court for his AAU team between his sophomore and junior year. 

In this day of McDonald's All-Americans, ESPN Top 100 recruits, and Rivals,com evaluations. Frank did not show up on their lists after his junior year. He received offers from Bradley, Illinois State, Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois, DePaul, Northwestern, and Wisconsin. He chose to sign with Wisconsin. (Note he was not offered by Illinois.)

Paul Konerko- Team Leader

How does a player earn the respect of his teammates as a leader? Simple- he puts the team first!!

Paul Konerko will not start for the White Sox on Monday. It will break a string of 15 straight opening day starts for Konerko, who is headed into his last season.

It seems pretty harsh-- but it is Konerko's idea.

"I just think it's the way it should be," Konerko said. "It's just not part of the blueprint of what we're going to do here. So, no emotion. Just what's right is right, and that's the way I see it. I mean, if there was a lefty throwing (Monday), I would probably play."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Just Compete

This is a great story about Josh Gasser, who plays for the Badgers. He is not normal when it comes to his desire to win. In this article from JIM POLZIN | Wisconsin State Journal, his parents and high school teammates describe his drive. Some things are more important than talent when it comes to winning!!

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Pat Gasser would pile up the pillows at one end of the room before dropping to his knees and acting as a human roadblock in front of them.
He knew he had to brace for contact when his 4-year-old son came running at him, football in hand, because the boy rarely tried to go around him. To get to that imaginary end zone line in front of the pillows, little Joshua Patrick Gasser was either going to attempt to dive over his father or, more likely, lower his head and try to ram through him.
“This might embarrass Josh, but he’d end up in tears sometimes because my husband wouldn’t just automatically let him win,” Joan Gasser said. “He’d just be slamming into Pat and grunting and groaning the whole way to get the necessary yards. It was a ridiculous game.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fred Hoiberg- Classy

After the Iowa State vs. North Carolina game, everyone was talking about the terrific sportsmanship shown by Roy Williams. I would agree completely. Roy Williams stood at half court in front of the arena crowd and on national TV to have the refs explain to him that the game was over. He could have gone nuts and claimed the refs should have granted him a time out because he had signaled for one, and he would have been right. But he didn't. He could have stormed by the Iowa State coach, Fred Hoiberg but he didn't. And after the game he could have taken a shot at the refs but he didn't. Roy Williams was very classy in a losing situation.

But what gets lost in all of it is that Fred Hoiberg, the Iowa State coach, also showed tremendous class. At center court before Williams arrived, the refs first told Fred what had happened. In other words, he knew his team had just won and was advancing to the Sweet Sixteen. But he also knew Roy Williams did not know this yet. So did Hoiberg start the celebration, nope. He stood with a deadpan look and waited to allow the refs to explain to Roy Williams what had happened. This was really, really classy. It was one coach in their moment of joy recognizing the need to show respect to the opposing coach. Well done Fred!!

Transfer Season Begins

Two days after playing for Morgan Park in the state championship game, a player transfers. He will be playing alongside one of the top players in Illinois. It just doesn't end does it.

This is from Michael O'Brien of the Chicago Sun-Times....

Junior Kain Harris has confirmed that he’s transferring from Morgan Park to St. Rita. Harris plans to enroll at St. Rita sometime this week.
The move comes just two days after winning the Class 3A state championship with the Mustangs. 
“He’s gone,” said Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin. “I don’t know why he’s doing that. His parents were probably upset that he wasn’t starting. I haven’t talked to either one of his parents.”
The 6-3 guard is considered one of the top ten players in the state’s junior class. Harris, the cousin of former Crane star and current NBA player Tony Allen, showed a great deal of potential this season. He had an impressive stretch of games in December where he put up some serious scoring numbers.
Harris will join Kentucky recruit Charles Matthews on St. Rita’s squad next season, which should be one of the area's best.
“It’s pretty wild,” said Irvin. “You win a state championship and then you leave. But that’s what they wanted to do."
According to a St. Rita spokesperson, Harris has not been accepted into the school for this semester or any future semester. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tyra Buss- Illinois' All-Time Scorer

By David Woods of

MOUNT CARMEL, Ill. – Either you believe in Tyra Buss, or you don't.
Someone who averages 47 points a game? Who is a champion in tennis, track, baseball, and punt, pass and kick? Who ranks No. 1 in her class? Who attends Catholic church on Sunday and signs autographs for adoring little girls after each game?

Buss' own father, Tim, conceded it all strains credulity."Sometimes you look at it, 'Am I in this dream here?'" he said. "It's mind-boggling when you talk about the numbers and look at some of that stuff. It's just hard to imagine that that's your daughter."

Monday, March 17, 2014


Often coaches walk a fine line between trying to make their players accountable for their actions and performance, and of making them "over-accountable" for their actions and performance.

Bob Knight always said the greatest motivator was the bench. And coaches often use the bench to get a point across to their players. When a player makes a mistake or error in a game, a coach can make a point by taking them out. Sometimes the player is brought over and is given a chance to "reflect" on their play. Other times, the coach may bring them out to give them quick instruction and send them back into the game.

High School Basketball Has Been Hijacked.

From the Chicago Sun-Times...

High school basketball has been hijacked

Leo's Martez Hampt(5) drives toward basket as Joliet Central's Jailen Jones (35) Jaylen McGee (20) defend December 26 2013. |
Leo's Martez Hampton (5) drives toward the basket as Joliet Central's Jailen Jones (35) and Jaylen McGee (20) defend, December 26, 2013. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
storyidforme: 63485459
tmspicid: 21719262
fileheaderid: 10242160

I’d hoped to begin this screed with a PEORIA dateline and would have if the Leo Lions had reached the Class 2A state finals, but the slightly older, bigger and better Hales team we ran into last week in the Robeson Sectional final put an end to our season.
Disappointing, sure, but the kids I work with at Leo shouldn’t hang their heads. Our win total improved by 13 over the previous season, and let’s not delude ourselves — winning games is what matters in high school basketball, right? Why would a coach play an entire season with more than half a roster of academically ineligible kids if there were any other objective? Why else would a school hire a coach who promises to deliver a ready-made state contender with girls from outside the district?
Integrity? Play by the rules? Are you nuts? Just win, baby.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Dick Bennett- Defensive Philosophy

Dick Bennett was next to Bob Knight, the most sought out teacher of man to man defense principles and techniques in the 1980's. Anyone who coached man to man defense used the Dick Bennett, "On the line, up the line," mantra if they taught man to man.

As a man to man coach, I was excited when he was hired at U of Wisconsin, and even more excited to go to a practice in his first fall in the early 1990's. I was shocked when he was not teaching his aggressive, denial man to man defense.

When an assistant was asked what was going on, he said that Bennett felt they did not have the athletes to do the aggressive man to man, and compete in the Big Ten. "We are just trying to keep the ball in front of us and make them shoot from outside.

That was combined with Bennett's "sureness" offensive drills where they worked 3 on 0, 5 on 0, 3 on 3 and 5 on 5 with the entire emphasis to not make any pass that was not a sure pass. It was clear Bennett's philosophy was to simply not make mistakes. Today you see this same philosophy in his son and in Bo Ryan.

Here is a description from Sports Illustrated about the change in Dick Bennett's philosophy...

The Bennett's- Foundation for Success

Tony Bennett is having great success at Virginia, he is using the same five concepts that his father used for the foundation of his program. When Virginia beat Syracuse during the regular season, after the game the reporter asked, "What is your team's greatest strength?" With a tear going down his cheek, Tony said, "Humility." It is no accident he chose humility, it is part of his and his father's basic philosophy!

“I concluded some time ago that a major part of success of a team, or of an individual, has a great deal to do with the intangible qualities possessed. The real key is in how a person see himself (humility), how he feels about what he does (passion), how he works with others (unity), how he makes others better (servanthood), and how he deals with frustration and success, truly learning from each situations (thankfulness). I believe those concepts are the essence of a good player, team, coach, or individual in any capacity in life.” Coach Dick Bennett

Friday, March 14, 2014

Don Meyers- Drive vs Dribble

Dribbling Ideas / Live Ball Moves / Penetration Ideas

from Don Meyer
  • Dribble vs. Drive. We want our players to drive, but we don’t want them to dribble for no particular reason.
  • We always ask our ball-handlers: “If the ball had eyes, would it be able to see when you had it?”
  • On all dribbling drills (and as a general rule of thumb): Start slow, get a rhythm, go fast enough to make a mistake.
  • Versus pressure in the full court, we teach our players to attack the defense at a 45 degree angle–very hard to guard.
  • A good player needs no more than 1 or 2 dribbles to get from the wing to the rim. In all our breakdown drills, we don’t allow our players to use more than 2 dribbles to get to the rim, unless they are using a hesitation move, back dribble, etc. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

To Do List for Leaders


1. Be the hardest worker at practice today. Without fail, one of the quickest ways to impact a team is with your own work ethic. Choose to be one of the hardest workers on your team today. Not only does it set the tone for the work ethic of your program, it is also one of the best and quickest ways to enhance your leadership credibility with your teammates and coaches.
2. Be a spark of energy and enthusiasm today. Let your passion for the sport shine through today. Spread a contagious energy and enthusiasm amongst your teammates. Think about how lucky you are to be able to play and compete. Remember back to when you were a young child and reconnect with the joy you played with back then. Make your sport fun again for yourself and your teammates.
3. Model mental toughness today. Because your teammates will look to you under pressure, adversity, and stress, be sure to model mental toughness today. Bounce back quickly after errors to show your teammates how to respond to negative situations. Maintain your poise and optimism despite any mistakes you might make so that your teammates can trust and rely on you to get them through the tough times.
4. Connect with a teammate today. Leadership is all about relationships. Invest the time to build and strengthen the relationships you have with each of your teammates. Inquire about their day, challenges, and goals. Make a special and ongoing effort to get to know every athlete on your team, not just your friends and classmates. The relationship building you do each day will pay off immeasurably down the road.

Intensity & Togetherness

From Coaching Toolbox....

Intensity Looks Like

No matter what level of basketball, there are many areas inbasketball coaching that are more of an art than a science.
Getting players to continually play hard is one of those areas.
If you can come up with a list of things for your program that you believe constitute playing hard and then look for and praise those things when they happen, you are likely to develop a culture in your program that playing with all out intensity is the only way you practice and play.
This list was designed for a high school basketball program, but I believe that it can be modified and adapted to fit whatever level of basketball coaching you are at.
  • Beat the ball down the floor in transition and conversion.
  • Rebound position every shot—back, space, pinch on free throw.
  • Play defensive in a stance.
  • Help and then recover.
  • Help the helper.
  • Close out with hands above shoulders.
  • Dive on loose balls.
  • Protect the ball when you have it.
  • Rip through on pivots—strong with the basketball.
  • Chin rebounds.
  • Meet every pass.
  • Change direction and speed on cuts.
  • Take a charge.
  • Steal passes that are thrown too far.
  • Sprinting from spot to spot in basketball practice.
  • Contest every shot.
  • Ball Fakes.
  • Deflect passes.

Togetherness Looks Like

  • Verbal response and applause for good plays (regardless of shirt color in basketball practice)
  • Encourage a teammate after an error or a missed shot that was a good shot
  • Help a teammate up off the ground
  • High fives and back slapping
  • Huddles on the floor
  • Never criticize a teammate
  • Bench stands when a player leaves the game
  • Acknowledge a player being substituted for in practice as he leaves the floor if you are also on the sideline

Team Glue

Often in sports we get caught up looking at stats. Alan Stein in this essay looks at the "glue" of a team....

Glue Guy or Girl

by Alan Stein
Glue is an adhesive, and according to Webster’s Dictionary, the physics definition of adhesive is “a force that exists in the area of contact between unlike bodies and that acts to unite them.”
That’s a tad too scientific for me. Let’s just say that glue holds stuff together!
Who is the glue on your team? Who holds your team together? Who keeps your team focused? Who does all of the little things in practice and in games to make your team successful?
That person is a Glue Guy (or Glue Girl)!
How do you spot a Glue Guy? They are often seen:
• Taking charges
• Diving for loose balls
• Hitting crucial free throws
• Playing tough defense
• Setting solid screens
• Boxing out on every shot
• Cheering for their teammates
A Glue Guy doesn’t care about how many points they score or how many minutes they play. All they care about is theteam winning and knowing they did everything within their role to contribute to the team’s success (regardless of how large or small that role is).
Every team needs a Glue Guy. Every team needs a player who will make all of the sacrifices necessary to hold the teamtogether. Glue Guys are even more important during the playoffs.
If your Glue Guy is also your most talented player… I am willing to bet your team will maximize their potential.
If you want your team to make a serious run at a conference or league or state championship; I suggest you either say a sincere thank you to your team’s Glue Guy; or you become one yourself.
And for those of you who have already completed your season… Glue Guys are equally important in the off-season. After all, who else will hold your team together before the first practice of next season?
Play hard. Have fun. Enjoy the jouney.
Alan Stein
Hardwood Hustle Blog

Building Complete Player by Alan Stein

Great essay on building your game in off-season by Alan Stein...  

Must reading for players.

Building the Complete Player

I realize that a small percentage of high school programs across the country are fortunate enough to still be playing… and in the hunt for a conference, district or state championship.  For those that are, I wish you a healthy and successful end to your season. I hope you can get that ring and hang that banner!
For those of you whose season has ended, it’s time for you to begin thinking about the spring and summer.
While most of you will scoff at the notion, I highly recommend you begin your ‘off-season’ by taking a full week or two off to rest, recover and recharge. Trust me, this recovery period is essential to your long-term success.
Once your battery is fully charged, it’s time for you to start re-building yourself as the complete basketball player.
And that starts by laying a solid foundation.
You see, your athleticism is the foundation of your entire game. That is why the best players in the world are in the best shape.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

IBCA All-State

Congratulations to Sabrina Clay (Jr), and Shayli Florine (Soph) on receiving Special Mention All-State from the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.

Shayli averaged 8.2 rpg and 9.7ppg, while Sabrina averaged 8.1 rpg and 11.7ppg. It will be exciting to have both of them back next year.