Various NBA Quotes

Samuel Dalembert, on fear:

“I would say that fear gets in my way. I want to be able to make a mistake. But the fear of being penalized when you make a mistake - that’s the biggest fear. Sometimes you don’t have that leverage, so you make one little mistake and you don’t have the opportunity to make another one.”

Darius Miles, speaking a few years ago on how he’s changed:

“When I got here, they made this a business. They took the fun out of it. They really made me miserable. I had fun with the Clippers. I had fun in Cleveland. Imagine if your boss took the joy out of (your work).”

Classic exchange when Scott Skiles was coaching the notoriously rebounding-averse Eddy Curry in Chi-town:

Reporter: “Scott, what do you think Eddy can do to improve his rebounding?”

Skiles: “Jump”

More from LeBron:

“I don’t fight. That is so grade school. I stopped fighting a long time ago. I don’t need to fight anymore.”

Paul Pierce on his relationship with Gerald Green:

“I tried to take him under my wing. I tried to work with him. There were days when I’d come in and play some one-on-one with him and show him some stuff that I do to get better. But you’ve got to have the work ethic.”

Mike D'Antoni: "The Great Contrarian"

The Table Brought a Whole Lot to D’Antoni

Published: May 16, 2008

On the day Ethel Kennedy arrived for tea, Mike D’Antoni was a 9-year-old blur skittering through the family kitchen. A West Virginia boy had more pressing concerns than who would lead the free world.

Kennedy had gone to the D’Antoni home — the political hub of tiny Mullens, W. Va. — to stump for her brother-in-law John F. Kennedy. It was a critical time in a critical state for Kennedy’s presidential hopes. Betty Jo D’Antoni, mother of four and dedicated Democratic activist, was hostess for the afternoon.

“I’m sure I ran through it on my way to the basketball court,” Mike D’Antoni recalled. “I didn’t slow down too much to say, ‘How you doing?’ ”

Yet the path that led from Mike D’Antoni’s bedroom to the basketball courts of Mullens, Marshall University and Milan, Italy, to Denver, Phoenix and finally New York, included many, many stops at that kitchen table. In the D’Antoni household, sports and politics were always on the menu. Debates were lively and opinions mandatory.

Betty Jo D’Antoni’s family included a sheriff, a judge and a prosecuting attorney. Mike’s father, Lewis, a highly regarded high school basketball coach, was also the school principal. They were well connected in Democratic circles. The kitchen table was a daily gathering place for policymakers of all sorts. The discussions did not stop until everyone went to bed.

“We were expected to participate and hold our ground,” D’Antoni said. “That was part of growing up.”

When D’Antoni decided last week to leave the Phoenix Suns and snub the Chicago Bulls to coach the woebegone Knicks, the decision shocked everyone — except those who know him best. D’Antoni has made a career of going against the grain and challenging others to prove him wrong.

In the words of one former associate, D’Antoni is “the world’s greatest contrarian.” At the D’Antoni kitchen table, being contrary was as natural as asking for second helpings.

“I don’t want to go with conventional thinking,” D’Antoni said Thursday. “I don’t care if it’s always been done this way. Now, that might be the right way to do it. But that’s not the reason to do it.”

Mike D’Antoni inherited his basketball passions from his father. His mother, an assistant county clerk, valued more intellectual pursuits and wanted him to become a doctor or lawyer, not a basketball player. She might have had a point.

After graduating from Marshall as the career assists leader, in 1973, D’Antoni spent four years as a basketball vagabond: two-plus seasons with the N.B.A.’s Kansas City Kings, 50 games with the A.B.A.’s Spirit of St. Louis, and, finally, two games with the San Antonio Spurs, who cut him in 1976.

Disappointed but undaunted, D’Antoni took his game to Milan, where he became one of the greatest point guards in Euroleague history. It still was not good enough for the N.B.A. — he failed to make the Chicago Bulls in 1978 before returning to Italy.

“It leaves a mark,” D’Antoni said. “I lost my confidence at a couple stops.”

D’Antoni was knocked in the United States as a weak shooter. But he led Olimpia Milano to multiple championships and became the club’s career scoring leader.

“The basket was the same size over there as here,” D’Antoni said.

The experience taught him not to label players — or to place much faith in the labels they already have. Boris Diaw was just another soft foreign player when the Suns acquired him in 2005. In Phoenix, he became the N.B.A.’s most improved player and helped the Suns make the Western Conference finals.

The Knicks won just 23 games this season, but D’Antoni had nothing negative to say about his new players when he arrived in New York. Some will surely be gone by next fall, but the rest will have a clean slate as D’Antoni looks for ways to make them productive.

“That’s a big part of how I try to coach,” he said. “I was a much better player in Europe than I was in the N.B.A., and lot of that had to do with feeling comfortable psychologically and believing in myself.”

He added, “It’s easy to say, ‘This guy can’t do that.’ I think they can.”

This, of course, has been the D’Antoni way. Amare Stoudemire was not a center and Shawn Marion was not a power forward — or so they both said — but D’Antoni put them there and turned the Suns into a sleek, high-speed scoring machine. Even as the Suns averaged 58 victories over four seasons, D’Antoni had to continually defend his run-and-gun style.

“There was the debate that we couldn’t do what we did in Phoenix, it wouldn’t last half a season,” he said. “Then when it lasted half a season, then, ‘You can’t do it all year.’ Then we did it all year. And then, ‘You can’t win in the playoffs.’ Well, we get to the conference finals two years. ‘Well, you can’t win the championship.’ And they’re right so far. It finally got to the point where they’re right.”

The good-natured rant conveyed everything: D’Antoni’s defiance, his contrarian nature and his competitive fire. The last part, too, was learned at the kitchen table. Dan D’Antoni, his older brother, recalls raucous board-game competitions — Monopoly, Risk, canasta, bridge, hearts.

“You had to hold your own there, too,” Dan said. “We kept a list of who wins and who loses.”

Rest assured that Mike D’Antoni does not expect to lose much in New York, despite every justifiable bit of skepticism coming from every corner of the N.B.A. universe. Surely, he is just being contrary. Dan D’Antoni has another theory.

“Maybe that’s just the excitement of seeing a challenge,” he said. “Some people like to climb a mountain. Some people like to sit down and look at it.”

Tiger Woods: "The Most Coachable Student"

Tiger Woods is ready, his coach says
By MIKE KERNPhiladelphia Daily News

Renowned golf instructor Hank Haney got a surprising wake-up call the other day. The voice on the other end belonged to his most renowned pupil, Tiger Woods, who is recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Tiger dialing his number is hardly news. But the timing was.

"I don't think he knew I was [at home] in Dallas," said Haney, who was in town for a CBIZ Business Clubs of America event, as the featured speaker for some 300 Philadelphia business executives. "When the phone rang, I looked at the clock and it was 7. He usually works out in the morning. He doesn't start practicing until 9 or 10. So he was out early. That's a good sign.

"He said, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'Sleeping.' "

Woods underwent surgery on April 15, two days after he finished second in the Masters. It's the third time the knee has been scoped. The U.S. Open gets under way June 12, at a course - Torrey Pines, near San Diego - where he has won a jabillion times.

Haney believes Tiger will try to play in the Memorial, where he also has enjoyed all kinds of success, 2 weeks before that. The only thing Haney knows for sure is, he won't compete again until he believes he's ready.

"We've talked about what his plan would be, if he can't play before the Open," Haney explained. "And what it will be, if he can. He's kind of pointing toward playing. Just so long as he can prepare like he normally prepares. That's all he cares about. The guy works so hard, it's incredible.

"Rehab takes a lot of work. But that's not something that's difficult for him. He'll do above and beyond anything anyone else could possibly do to get ready. He'd like to play [pre-Open], but it's not totally necessary. He's come back after layoffs before and [won]."

Tiger has won 13 majors, second on the all-time list, five behind Jack Nicklaus, the man he's been chasing since he was a kid growing up in Southern California. He has won nine of the last 12 times he's played. To go with two seconds and a fifth. Pre-Masters, there was talk of a calendar grand slam, to go with those four consecutive majors he won in 2000-01. Now that can't happen. Doesn't mean it still can't be another special summer.

"This was the only window he had [for a procedure], without missing a major," Haney said. "He wanted to make sure he'd be OK for the other three. [The knee] had been bothering him for awhile. But he's not a big complainer. At Augusta he hit 13 greens [on Thursday], 16, 18 and 14 [the other three rounds]. It's hard to blame it on your knee . . .
"It's one of the reasons he changed his swing a few years ago, and started working with me. He felt like he was snapping his leg, putting too much pressure on the knee. It's a long-term situation. This is just [about] damage that's been done over time. It's nothing that's going to prevent him from [being Tiger again]."

Good news for Tiger, not so good for the rest of the food chain.

"He's the most coachable student I've ever had," Haney stressed. "I've never seen anyone who wants to learn more. He couldn't care less about anything that he's [already] done. All he knows is, what are we doing today to get better than yesterday. And what are we going to work on tomorrow. That's the way he is, every single day. It's an absolute challenge. My job is to just try and point him in the right direction. He'll figure it out [from there].

"That's what great ones do. With Michael [Jordan], if a guy would say he was going to shut him down, he'd go for 60 [points]. If nobody said anything, he'd just go for 30. So whenever anyone says something I make sure Tiger knows about it.

"For Tiger, this is just another hill to climb. He likes to climb hills. That's what he does. That's why he's Tiger Woods. I've never been around anyone who's such a genius.

"And I'm the guy who can screw it up," he went on, smiling. "[Someone] said it's about the equivalent of being Scarlett Johansson's plastic surgeon."

See you in San Diego, if not before. And beyond. *

Excerpts from Luol Deng's Blog

Some interesting insight into the mind of Luol Deng who blogged on NBA.com throughout a tough year for him in which he was often injured, in a contract year, in trade rumors, and experienced his first coaching change.

On What I'm Reading
I just finished reading a book called Who Moved My Cheese? The whole thing is basically about not being afraid to do something new. Sometimes you get used to what you do all the time, and when a new challenge comes, you tend to be scared or get away from what you’ve been doing. The book is basically about taking on new challenges and not being afraid. It’s really a very good book. I tend to pick books that somehow I will be motivated by or I’ll get something out of, just positive books. The other book I’m reading right now is called The Present. It’s also very positive and motivating.

Basketball – A True Global Sport
In the past you had a few international players in the NBA and when they were doing well it was almost something unusual, something you didn’t see very often. What happened with basketball is it has truly become so global. The way things are today, there are kids all over the world watching basketball and know a lot about the game and the players. They’re getting better coaching and basketball is going to keep getting bigger and bigger with more international players in the league in the future. Players like Dirk Nowitzki, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, all those guys coming over here and playing well, I think it motivates all the kids all over the world. You can count me as from England, but at the same time being from the Sudan also, there are so many African following me. That gives them hope and motivation by just getting on the Internet back in Africa or watching on TV, even if it’s once a month or getting a tape, and believing that if this guy did it, why can’t I. That is just going to help the game even more and make it more competitive.

On the Trade Deadline Looming
I have no idea what the team is thinking in terms of if they are going to trade anyone. As players we just have to keep playing, keep trying to get better and win. What management does, that’s what they’re going to do. I can’t be nervous. If it happens, it happens.

On Rookie Lessons for Joakim Noah
A few weeks ago, there was just a situation in practice where Joakim got frustrated and said some things that he shouldn’t have said. There was no fighting, there wasn’t anything. He ultimately received a two-game suspension to teach him that you have to control your frustration sometimes. Everybody is pretty much frustrated and we’re all going through the same thing. It’s just a learning process. Joakim has been just like any other rookie. It has been an up and down season. I just try to tell him to stay positive and keep doing what he’s doing. He got here because he works hard and no matter what, to just keep believing in what you’ve been doing.

On Contract Talk
I am definitely sick of talking about my contract. If it comes up again, I’m not going to talk about it. We’re halfway through the season and we’re still talking about the same thing. I really think it should be something that is put behind me. I’m thinking about the future and what we’re doing here. Sometimes writers just want to keep talking about it. If I’m asked questions I’ll answer them, but I’d rather leave it alone because it’s past me. What’s done is done.

On the Coaching Change
Coach Skiles has helped me a lot with my game. Since I’ve been in the NBA, he’s the only coach that I’ve played for, so I was just used to one way and I didn’t know any better. I had nothing to compare it to in the NBA. Seeing Skiles go is a disappointment for all of us, not just the players, but the organization and the coaching staff. We feel like we didn’t get our job done. Whenever you’re doing the right thing, nothing changes. But the organization felt like getting rid of Skiles was the best thing for the team and that we could move forward. We felt maybe some players might be traded or something might happen, and something did happen with the coach being gone.

On Saying Goodbye to Skiles
Since he was dismissed, we exchanged e-mails because I didn’t get to see him. We came into practice and we were told in practice that he was no longer the coach. Skiles wasn’t there. He sent an e-mail to all his players. He wrote about not being able to get the job done and how he’s going to try and move on from here, prepare himself, and be ready if his name is called again. I just thanked him for everything, for trying to coach me this far in the league, and I just wished him the best of luck in the future.

Eddie Robinson

An all-around winner Robinson defined himself more by lives changed than by games won
By Roscoe NanceUSA TODAY

Eddie Robinson taught his players to believe in the American dream. He lived it. "America is the greatest country in the world," he often said. "We try to get our guys to understand the system. You've got to understand the system. "I tell them, 'You're not living in Germany. You're not in Spain. You're living in America. If you dream these dreams and work at them hard enough, they can come true. But you've got to work at it.' " Robinson, who died Tuesday at 88, lived by that advice. He worked exceedingly hard for 57 years as football coach at Grambling State in Louisiana, where he won 408 games, most in history at the time he retired in 1997. "I'm rather embarrassed when people talk about 'the winningest coach,' " he said. That sort of humility made Robinson well-respected among his peers. "He was like Mount Fuji in Japan. He was always there, and he was always majestic," said Marino H. Casem, former football coach and athletics director at Southern and Alcorn State universities. Robinson said one of the high points of his career came following the 1992 season when he became the first black coach and first from Division I-AA to win the Bobby Dodd Award as coach of the year. In accepting it, he said: "Martin Luther King Jr. said he had been to the top of the mountain. Well, I've been to the top of the mountain in my profession." He didn't win coach of the year from the Football Writers Association of America. But its Eddie Robinson Award is named for him. Robinson always said he wanted to be remembered as a coach who cared about his players and tried to mold them into citizens. His credo: "You have to coach 'em as though he were the boy who was going to marry your daughter." He added a corollary: "You can't coach 'em if you don't love 'em." Robinson was a father figure to many of his players and remained close to many long after they left Grambling. "The greatest man I've ever met," said James Hunter, Grambling grad and former Detroit Lions cornerback. "I've been in the corporate world for a few years now, and I haven't met anyone there who could move me the way Coach Rob did." Knowing he had that impact on his players meant more to Robinson than wins. "When you take a long hard look at the guys that you coached: What kind of men are they? This is the thing," he would say. "I can't go to a football meeting and talk all X's and O's. We're talking about drugs. We're talking about going to class. We're talking about studying. "It's hard to tell what (some) coaches … are in the business for. Are you for the glamour? Are you for the wins? Or are you trying to make the people with whom you're working better people for having participated in the game?" That approach endeared him to players. "He wasn't just about football," said Tampa Bay Buccaneers executive Doug Williams, an All-America quarterback at Grambling and MVP of Super Bowl XXII. "He was about human beings." Robinson was involved in almost every aspect of his team. He'd go through the dorm at 6 a.m., ringing a bell to wake his players for breakfast. At practice he'd demonstrate proper drops for quarterbacks and correct patterns for receivers. "When you love a profession, when you're doing something that you love every day, it differs from when you're just doing something," he said. He enjoyed winning, too. After Grambling went 5-6 in 1987, Robinson hinted he might retire. The Tigers rebounded with an 8-3 record in '88 and followed that with a 9-3 mark, a SWAC title and a I-AA playoff appearance in '89. Robinson and Grambling fell on hard times at the end of his career. The Tigers had losing records in each of his last three seasons, and he retired under pressure. Robinson made Grambling a household name in college football circles. He produced more than 200 professional players. In 1971, 43 Grambling players were in training camps, a pro football record that still stands. "Eddie opened a lot of doors for black college athletics," said Walter Reed, ex-athletics director at Jackson State and Florida A&M. Robinson's teams were an attraction wherever they played, and they played just about everywhere. Grambling beat Morgan State 42-16 in Tokyo in 1976, the first U.S. college football game outside the country. Robinson adopted the motto "the stadiums of the world are our home."

Leaders learn focus from crossing 'freakout point'

By Del Jones , USA TODAY

To first-time parachuters, the "freakout point" arrives 2 miles above the ground when the plane door opens to a sky of noise, the pressure drops and jumpers are struck with such anxiety that they can hardly breathe. "When you step on that strut, it is the moment of truth. Total focus," says Howard Putnam, former CEO of Southwest Airlines and Braniff International, who first jumped 24 years ago and went for it a second time this month. "It was good for my internal ego. It really makes you focus on the priority at the moment and forget all your other stress or problems." The freakout point is that fear threshold you must push yourself past. CEOs say crossing it provides lessons useful in business and life. There's the significance of knowing that what frightens can be survived, as well as the importance of concentrating when concentration is all but impossible. Preparation is key to facing freakout points, they say, and it's important to react yet not over-react. CEOs say the experience teaches that opportunities lost from inaction are often riskier than action, and the best way into a cold swimming pool is not by tiptoe, but by plunge. Confronting the freakout point attracts people from all walks, but CEOs and others of accomplishment seem to have a special passion. Not every CEO is a moth to the flame. Certainly, many find thrill enough in an elevator ride to the penthouse. But others like to be scared to the point that they no longer understand simple instructions. The freakout point isn't just about jumping from planes. CEO surfers know what a freakout point is. Skiers do. Certainly mountain climbers do, and Canadian businessman Werner Berger at 69 is about to try to become the oldest North American to scale Mount Everest, a quest that has taken the life of one climber for every 11 who succeed. He hopes to reach the summit sometime in late May. "I wonder why am I doing this. Am I nuts? What am I trying to prove?" Berger asked in an e-mail sent from base camp. Good question. Tom Purves, CEO of BMW North America, rides motorcycles in the rain on twisty roads. Micron Technology CEO Steve Appleton flies aerobatics. In 2004 he stalled and crashed from 25 feet off the ground and survived with a last-second rudder adjustment that elevated the plane's right wing. He wonders why teenagers take risks when they have their whole lives ahead of them, while those older and accomplished play it safe. Why do CEOs line up like teens at a bungee jump? Most say it isn't thrill-seeking. Former 7-Eleven CEO Jim Keyes hates amusement park rides, yet he used his first paycheck 30 years ago to begin flying lessons and recently decided to get a helicopter rating to "push the envelope on his comfort zone." Some push that envelope more than others. Berger wrote by e-mail that his biggest test came on Cerro Aconcagua in Argentina . At over 22,800 feet, it's the highest mountain in the Americas and the Southern Hemisphere. He encountered a mountain stream with no safe place to cross. Finally, after 40 minutes, he jumped across, landing on an 80-degree slope with but a single foothold and hand grab between life and death. "The adrenalin was pumping. I knew it was risky and at the same time I knew I could make it," Berger wrote. "The euphoria when I landed was worth the risk." Different kinds of freakouts Freakout points don't require the risk of injury or death, just enough fear to take the breath away, enough that it takes fortitude to keep from backing out. To some that could be as simple as singing karaoke at the company party. Perhaps the most common freakout point comes with public speaking, and Iron Mountain CEO Richard Reese remembers being drafted early in his career to do a last-minute presentation on a technical subject he knew zero about. Sun Microsystems' Scott McNealy, who excels in hockey and golf and is one of the best athletes ever to rise to CEO, was replaced in 2006 by Jonathan Schwartz. One look at Schwartz and his ponytail tells you that he won't be taking any body checks on the ice, but he became one of the first CEOs with enough guts to write a blog that invites relentless online comments from critics known as "flamers." That may not rise to the level of freakout point, but leaders dating back to Napoleon have been insecure about accepting criticism, and there remain few CEOs of major companies who blog. There seems to be little chance of encountering a freakout point on the golf course. Unless you're Ruth's Chris Steak House CEO Jim Miller, an 18-handicapper, who found himself paired in a pro-am with Tiger Woods two weeks after Woods won the 2005 Masters. Miller has delivered speeches to groups as large as 3,000, but nothing compared with the heat of TV cameras and thousands of eyes from the gallery. He addressed both ball and freakout point to hit his first drive 200 yards down the middle of the fairway and went on to a solid round. With freakout points, success isn't critical. The internal mileage comes from facing down the fear. Alfred Edmond, editor of Black Enterprise magazine, entered his first bodybuilding competition in 1999 in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., walking on stage oiled up and in "skimpy shorts." He finished last in the most-novice division, yet he describes the same fear and euphoria as those who jump from planes. Willingness to embrace discomfort and face an occasional freakout point may be what separates leaders from talented desk jockeys and "really smart people who work for other people," Edmond says. "If you don't test the muscle by putting yourself in uncomfortable situations, the muscle doesn't grow. It shrinks," he says. Edmond says he takes comfort in knowing that he won't panic in a business crisis. Having finished dead last, "What's the worst that can happen?" Miller says his "big take away" from the round of golf with Woods was that "focus and concentration can overcome stress," and the lesson helped him four months later when Ruth's Chris was forced to relocate its headquarters from New Orleans to Heathrow , Fla. , after Hurricane Katrina. Personal growth on the slopes Skiers of all abilities encounter freakout points on bunny slopes to glaciers, says Dan Egan, a pioneer of extreme skiing and author of Courage to Persevere. The only variables are speed, trees, deep powder or vertical drop, whatever combination brings them to an apprehensive stop. Egan is regularly hired by CEOs and other executives for $550 to $850 a day to confront freakout points on skis. He uses the "rubber band" method of taking them to the freakout point and then back temporarily to expand their comfort zone. "We try and teach people to use fear as a motivator to do things correctly," Egan says. "Success is learned through failure, and confidence is gained as skill levels build." One of Egan's recent clients was Michelle McTiernan of London . The 33-year-old chief financial officer of DDB Healthsays she is not an "adrenaline junkie," but she recommends an occasional freakout point to "open your mind." Egan describes McTiernan as an intermediate skier, but "within two hours we were skiing 3,000-foot vertical runs in untracked powder in Val d'Isère, France ," Egan says. He says his clients tell him that when they later face an obstacle at work they often recall how they conquered their freakout point on the slopes. "I see bright people every day at work who are rigid in their approach," McTiernan says. "It's a huge barrier to success in a fast-moving world." She says risk never looks all that risky from the bottom of the hill. "Pushing your limits helps with being comfortable under pressure. This is a great asset for any leader." Former U.S. Army Ranger David Hart conducts teamwork and leadership seminars tied to the lessons of sky diving to groups of 20 for $5,000 a day. But fear almost always turns into broad smiles at the point of no return and smiles captured on video. All participants land with highs and lessons learned that they say pay dividends. Putnam, author of the book The Winds of Turbulence, was first taken parachuting by his collegian daughter, Sue, as a diversion when he was leading Braniff through bankruptcy reorganization in 1983 at the age of 45. It was from 2,800 feet near Birds Nest Airport in Pflugerville , Texas . He was 69 when he jumped out of a plane for the second time on Friday the 13th with Sue, now 44. This time it was from 13,500 feet over Warren County Airport near Lebanon , Ohio , and five weeks after Putnam had rotator cuff surgery. "We're still on a high," he said. "We might do it again." Alberto Martinez, the 57-year-old CEO of Talecris Biotherapeutics, a North Carolina biotechnology company with $1 billion in annual revenue, says he learned "intelligent aggressiveness" from his days on a Brazilian sky-diving team during his 20s. Sky diving comes with risk, but very calculated risk. Like business, it is not for the stupid, Martinez says. His parachute once failed to open because of his own packing mistake, but he was equipped with a backup. He says business mistakes are unlikely to cost your life, but "the same seriousness applies." Meeting job freakouts head-on Bob Rich, author of the book The Fishing Club and chairman of food-processing company Rich Products, with $2.5 billion in annual revenue, says he tends to play it safe in business. But on a personal level, "I'm motivated by quests, some of which entail risk and even danger," he says. Rich's big freakout point came when he went after a marlin on 50-pound test line in the Bahamas in 1999 — from a 28-foot boat unequipped with a radio or even a compass. The wind was blowing a steady 25 knots when he came to a reef called Matanilla where large waves broke with the roar of Niagara Falls as the ocean's depth jumped suddenly from 4 feet to a thousand. The boat had to pass through a "wall of water" that took Rich on the edge of what he considered safe. "I find these experiences to be simultaneously intimidating and exhilarating, then strangely relaxing," he said. Edmond, of Black Enterprise magazine, says it's important to face freakout points off the job because, like it or not, freakout points will present themselves on the job. After finishing last in his first bodybuilding competition he went on to compete again. Though he never won, he steadily improved. "I may not have turned defeat into victory, but I learned that I can survive to fight again," Edmond says.

Imagine Yourself at Your Own Funeral

This strategy is a little scary for some people but universally effective at reminding us of what’s most important in our lives.
When we look back on our lives, how many of us are going to be pleased at how uptight we were? Almost universally, when people look back on their lives while on their deathbed, they wish that their priorities had been quite different. With few exceptions, people wish they hadn’t “sweated the small stuff”so much. Instead, they wish they had spent more time with the people and activities they truly loved and less time worrying about aspects of life that, upon deep examination, really don’t matter all that much. Imagining yourself at your own funeral allows you to look back at your life while you still have the chance to make some important changes.
While it can be a little scary or painful, it’s a good idea to consider your own death and, in the process, your life. Doing so will remind you of the kind of person you want to be and the priorities that are most important to you. If you’re at all like me, you’ll probably get a wake up call that be an excellent source of change.
-“A Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff Treasury” Richard Carlson, PH.D

CLinic Notes: Bill Walton & Bill Russell

BR – Practice personal integrity so it becomes a movement, not a cause
His dad told him: “If you get paid $3/day, give him $4 worth of work. Then you become more valuable than him and you can look him straight in the eye and tell him to go to hell.”
Find out what you do and figure out how to mesh it into the program.
McHale VS Nique – They told McHale to front him. The game started and Nique kept catching in the post. Call timeout and asked him why he wasn’t fronting. He said, “I am a shot-blocker. If I front, I can’t block shots.”
Love, trust, confidence, mostly hard work
Wooden – his only promise was: if you do well socially and academically, we will allow you to tryout
Scouted my team first
**Red Auerbach had ability to listen. Always asked for input into the system so the players would become part owners.
Rattles off Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success” and quotes Wooden
Kareem had all the records, Shaq had all the money and Wilt had 20K girls
Not how big you are, it’s how big you play
Nash is the same player as Bill Russell…..make teammates better
Wooden: It is the things you learn after you know it all that really count
Red was really strict
9:00 practice – if you came at 8:45 you were late. I cam at 9:05. Made a rule that if someone was late, nothing would be said to the player. It was just an automatic $10/minute fine
I hate practice
2ND YR in NBA – played first 10 mins, sit 2 mins, and play the rest of the game
If playing 46 mins/game, how smart is it to wear him out in practice
One day a player said: “I am tired of watching Bill sit and drink tea while I work.” Red said: “ok, I will trade you!”
When Red starting getting old and ill, Russell would call to check on him. “I would ask him how he felt. If he said he was feeling ok, I would say ‘bye’. I wanted to know how he was. I didn’t want him to have to take care of me by telling me he was ok.”
There was never a clique, it was always the whole squad.
Referenced the movie the “North Dallas 40”
Wooden never walked out and asked: “what do you want to do today? It was his job to lead us.”
I got in a lot of fights
I had an agenda
Get an education. Take it and learn
Find out how good a player I could become
All that gave me an immense quality of life. I worked hard so I could be content
Today, I admire intelligence (on court?)….(today’s guys) have athletic ability but they play in isolation
Playoffs = predictability
We were never worried about what we did wrong. Figure out what worked.
Preparation was always positive.
If you go into Wooden’s house, you will see picture of Abe Lincoln and Mother Theresa.
A game not played for others is not a game
Magic and Russell would walk out and say, “How can I make my teammate the star!”
Wooden always upbeat and positive
Question to Walton – “How would Wooden deal with today’s egos?”
Answer: “He wouldn’t select Iverson, Artest, etc….he would select Duncan, David Robinson…”
Wooden never stopped learning

Bob Huggins Clinic Notes

Down 17 fairly late in game. Called timeout and said that Kenyon Martin had to touch the ball on every possession. If anyone shoots before Kenyon touches it, he won’t play again….start rallying, getting stops, scoring. Cut the lead way down. Trim the lead to 2 points. Get a steal with time running out and pass it down the court to Dermar Johnson. Johnson stops at the free throw line and holds the ball. Everyone is screaming for him to lay it up. Then Huggins realizes that Johnson must think that they are ahead. Finally, he goes ahead and makes the layup to tie the game and send it to overtime. They go ahead and win in OT…..as Huggins and Johnson walk down the tunnel to do media, Huggins asks Johnson why he waited so long before he shot the layup. Johnson said, “I couldn’t remember if Kenyon had touched the ball yet, and I want to play!!”

Man-to-Man Defense
Cut the floor in half.....guard the box….keep the ball there….(as ball goes to wing, the box shrinks….ball to corner, it shrinks more)
Look at what you do!!!!!
Game has changed
People shoot 3’s off direct passes. Step-in 3’s…..easiest way to score is off direct passes. Example: shooting drills – we throw perfect, direct passes
Passes that hurt us are direct passes, not lobs, bounce passes, wrap-arounds
Now, help & recover is “in-line” instead of ball level
Old days, defense off-the-ball was flat triangle
???Lots of people teach to see “ball & man”. They teach to point with the “pistols”…..that is great if the ball and your man never move!
???We don’t want the ball in the center of the court, but we deny wings!!
Defend direct passes and 2nd shots
???4 on 4 shell….we help across the lane with our weakside big and expect our 6’ guards to help back and box out a 6’10” guy who already has inside position!
Get to the ball!

“4 on 4 +1”
- The 1 is in the post – can’t throw straight to him
“4 on 4 +1 at the top” (for penetration)

Football Quotes

"I don't expect to win enough games to be put on NCAA probation. I just want to win enough to warrant an investigation." Bob Devaney / Nebraska

"At Georgia Southern, we don't cheat. That costs money and we don't have any." Erk Russell / Georgia Southern.
"Football is only a game. Spiritual things are eternal. Nevertheless, Beat Texas ." Seen on a church sign in Arkansas prior to the 1969 game.

"After you retire, there's only one big event left....and I ain't ready for that." Bobby Bowden / Florida State

"The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it." Lou Holtz / Arkansas

"When you win, nothing hurts." Joe Namath / Alabama

"Motivation is simple. You eliminate those who are not motivated." Lou Holtz / Arkansas

"If you want to walk the heavenly streets of gold, you gotta know the password, "Roll, tide, roll!" Bear Bryant / Alabama

"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall." Frank Leahy / Notre Dame

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you." Woody Hayes / Ohio State

"In Alabama , an atheist is someone who doesn't believe in Bear Bryant." Wally Butts / Georgia

"You can learn more character on the two-yard line than anywhere else in life." Paul Dietzel / LSU

"It's kind of hard to rally around a math class." Bear Bryant / Alabama

When asked if Fayetteville was the end of the world. "No, but you can see it from here." Lou Holtz / Arkansas ...

"I make my practices real hard because if a player is a quitter, I want him to quit in practice, not in a game." Bear Bryant / Alabama

"There's one sure way to stop us from scoring-give us the ball near the goal line." Matty Bell / SMU

"Lads, you're not to miss practice unless your parents died or you died." Frank Leahy / Notre Dame

"I never graduated from Iowa , but I was only there for two terms - Truman's and Eisenhower's." Alex Karras / Iowa

"My advice to defensive players: Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in a bad humor." Bowden Wyatt / Tennessee

"I could have been a Rhodes Scholar, except for my grades." Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State"

Always remember..... Goliath was a 40 point favorite over David." Shug Jordan / Auburn

"They cut us up like boarding house pie. And that's real small pieces." Darrell Royal / Texas

"Show me a good and gracious loser, and I'll show you a failure." Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

"They whipped us like a tied up goat." Spike Dykes / Texas Tech

"I asked Darrell Royal, the coach of the Texas Longhorns, why he didn't recruit me and he said: "Well, Walt, we took a look at you and you weren't any good." Walt Garrison / Oklahoma State

"Son, you've got a good engine, but your hands aren't on the steering wheel." Bobby Bowden / Florida State

"Football is not a contact sport-it is a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport." Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State

After USC lost 51-0 to Notre Dame, his postgame message to his team: "All those who need showers, take them." John McKay / USC

"If lessons are learned in defeat, our team is getting a great education." Murray Warmath / Minnesota

"The only qualifications for a lineman are to be big and dumb. To be a back, you only have to be dumb." Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

"Oh, we played about like three tons of buzzard puke this afternoon." Spike Dykes / Texas Tech

"It isn't necessary to see a good tackle. You can hear it." Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

"We live one day at a time and scratch where it itches." Darrell Royal / Texas

"We didn't tackle well today but we made up for it by not blocking." John McKay / USC

"Three things can happen when you throw the ball, and two of them are bad." Darrell Royal / University of Texas

"I've found that prayers work best when you have big players." Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

"Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble this football." John Heisman

Sweating Details

Garnett sweating details
Celtic works out early, and often
By Marc J. Spears, Globe Correspondent September 4, 2007
LAS VEGAS - It's 8 a.m. in "Sin City." Many of the "what happens in Vegas . . ." tourists are either asleep or just getting to their hotels. As for Celtics new star forward Kevin Garnett, he's already up and working out on Labor Day.
Garnett is among more than 20 NBA players working out under the Abunassar Impact Basketball system at the Tarkanian Basketball Academy, but none may be taking it more seriously. For more than a week, the 10-time All-Star has been the first player to arrive for his six-day-a-week workouts. In fact, Garnett has been starting at 7 a.m. since arriving Aug. 27, and he began an hour later yesterday only because Joe Abunassar wanted his employees to have an extra hour of sleep on the holiday.
"I like my footprints to be the first in the sand," Garnett said.
Said Abunassar: "He's a [workout] freak and always has been. He likes to come in and get it done."
Abunassar has been working out Garnett for seven weeks this summer, the majority of the time in Los Angeles. The regimen includes about 90 minutes of weight training and 90 minutes of basketball drills and five-on-five scrimmages. While Celtics training camp doesn't begin until Sept. 30 in Rome, Garnett already seems to be in prime shape.
In one drill yesterday, Garnett showed how strong he is. Wearing a belt with a cable connected to it, Garnett was immovable as one man tried to yank him from the post with the cable and Abunassar tried unsuccessfully to steal the ball several times.
The 6-foot-11-inch, 253-pounder also sprinted while pulling a man with a resistance cable. After the drill, a sweat-drenched Garnett made the majority of his free throws while pumping himself up.
"C'mon Kevin. C'mon Kevin. C'mon Kevin," he said.
Garnett preferred not to talk much about his tough regimen. Abunassar said Garnett is private about it and doesn't like fanfare, and he could be the hardest worker of all the players Abunassar trains.
"He's so focused about getting ready," Abunassar said. "He's a leader by the way he is. That's why he's Kevin Garnett."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers would like his players to be in Boston for pre-training camp workouts by Sunday. According to Abunassar, Garnett is expected to arrive in Boston as early as tomorrow.
Celtics executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Garnett and guard Ray Allen have been calling their new teammates to get in early for voluntary workouts. According to Ainge, 8-10 Celtics have been working out, voluntarily, at the Waltham facility on a consistent basis. Ainge also wasn't surprised to hear Garnett has been working out hard.
"He's looking forward to this year," Ainge said. "Work ethic isn't something he's lacked."
Ainge said second-round draft pick Glen "Big Baby" Davis has signed a contract, with an official announcement to come today. The ex-Louisiana State star, the 35th overall pick, in the second round, averaged 12 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocked shots in five games of Summer League play.
"I like his versatility," Ainge said. "He can shoot the ball. He's a terrific rebounder, quick feet defensively. He played well in Summer League."
The Celtics have 13 players with guaranteed contracts; rookie forward Brandon Wallace is partially guaranteed and guard Jackie Manual signed a make-good contract. Ainge said the Celtics might not bring anyone else to training camp, and if they do, it probably won't be a big-name player.

Work Better: Attitude & Perception

Make your work easier What is difficult and what is easy? Very often, it's nothing more than amatter of your perception and your attitude. When you decide that something is difficult, you're sending a message toyourself that you expect to struggle with it. And whatever you expect,you are indeed likely to get. What usually makes something difficult is your reluctance to do it. Eventhe most complex challenge can seem relatively easy when you'resincerely enjoying yourself as you work your way through it. The way to make your work easier is not by avoiding it or resenting it.The way to make your work easier is by embracing it with gratitude andenthusiasm. Imagine how truly dangerous and grueling daily life would have been ifyou had lived a few thousand years ago. Look at your tasks for todayfrom that perspective, and you'll be thankful for the opportunity to bedoing them. Choose an attitude that will make your work not only easier, but also more effective, creative and purposeful. Feel great about what you'redoing, and what you're doing will surely and reliably bring greatthings. -- Ralph Marston

Hard Work for the New Celtics

ESPN The Magazine: A Fresh Coat

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the October 24 edition of ESPN The Magazine.

Kevin Garnett has always been the crazy one, the one who looks as if he's hopped into the shower in full gear and sneakers. His workout sessions are legendary, causing trainers to marvel and onlookers to gawk. Rookies in Minnesota have been awed. Vets working out in Vegas this summer were humbled. The force of his focused glare has made arena attendants afraid of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. You know, stuff like "You okay?" or "Want some Gatorade?"
It's the kind of crazy that helped make the 31-year-old Garnett the biggest thing to hit the Celtics since Larry Legend himself. Which is why, when KG first stepped into the Celtics' training facility in Waltham, Mass., he came brandishing what was sure to be a fresh ethos: Prepare as intensely as you play.
Instead, KG was the one who got the lesson.
It was 8 a.m. in early September, and Garnett was … late? Usually the first one in the gym, he walked in and found Paul Pierce, who already had been there long enough to work up a thick sweat. Pierce was too busy doing sit-ups and pounding the treadmill to offer a drawn-out hug. When KG looked through the window at the indoor court, he realized he wasn't even the second Celtic to have started his day. Ray Allen, also dripping, bolted around the floor, launching jumpers at a feverish pace.
Garnett looked back at Pierce, now grunting on the pull-up bar, then once again at Allen, now walking into the weight room to pick up some dumbbells. And that's when it hit the 12-year pro: He was with kindred spirits.
"When I'm in the gym, I see mugs looking at me like, What's wrong with him?" KG says, clenching his fists while his voice rises with each word. "I was looking at Ray and P the same way. But inside I was like, Yeah! This is what I'm talking about! That right there told me a lot about how we are going into this year."

My Sabbatical Year by Terry Stotts

Dec. 20, 2007--This is my sabbatical year. I am in a unique position to learn from other basketball coaches as they work with their teams. I have observed NBA and college practices (as many coaches in my position do) but I wanted to take it a step further. With that in mind, I recently took a 19-day trip to Moscow (Russia), Athens (Greece) and Istanbul (Turkey) to observe three of the most respected coaches in Europe. As in any other profession, the pursuit of knowledge and improvement are important in coaching basketball.
Before I go any further, I would first like to acknowledge and thank coaches Ettore Messina (CSKA Moscow), Zelimir Obradovic (Panathinaikos, Athens), and David Blatt (Efes Pilsen, Istanbul). These three men are widely considered the top three coaches in Europe and were all extremely forthcoming, sharing, and open with their thoughts and philosophies regarding coaching, the international game and basketball in general. All of these coaches have remarkable basketball knowledge and insights and their extraordinary success proves it. Like all successful coaches, they have a vision of what they want from their teams and a unique ability to get their teams to play the way they want. Although these coaches have their differences, what is key is that they have found what works for them to be successful.
Most people say basketball is basketball. Well ... yes and no. The fundamentals of the game are the same wherever you go: pass, dribble, shoot, defend, rebound, screen, play hard and play together. However, most basketball observers recognize the difference in styles of play between high school, college, NBA, and International competition. They all have many similarities, but the differences are what make them unique. And I love them all.
Basketball has been evolving for years — just watch some of the Hardwood Classics on NBATV or some of the college games on ESPN Classic. Some things have changed dramatically, some things slightly and some things have come full circle. For example, if you watch an NBA game from the ‘80s, there are very few, if any, pick and roll situations. In an NBA game today, you may see three pick and roll situations in the same possession.
In particular, the NBA has evolved over the last decade. I believe the two major components of this evolution are:
The defensive rule changes in 2001 designed to promote more ball movement, player movement, and skill enhancement.
The growing impact and success of foreign born players on NBA teams.
The success international players have had in the NBA, combined with the success other countries have had in international competition, has opened the eyes of coaches in the United States. It has demonstrated that basketball is truly a global game. Phoenix Suns coach Mike D’Antoni coached many years in Italy and brought many of his basketball thoughts and philosophies with him. Those (and Steve Nash) have translated into great success.
For decades, American coaches would teach “our game” to anyone who would want to learn more. This is something that Coach Obradovic readily acknowledged to me. Now, the teaching and learning has become a two-way street.
Before I continue with my observations, I would like to say that this is neither an endorsement nor an indictment of either the NBA game or the International game; it is just what I saw.
Here are some observations I made during my trip:
It's a Different GameWhen the United States was beaten by Yugoslavia in the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Championships in Indianapolis, Vlade Divac was interviewed after the game. It was a bitter loss for the U.S. and Vlade tried to explain that the international game is different than the NBA game and not to judge the NBA players too harshly.
It is indeed a different game. Coaches Messina, Obradovic, and Blatt all have coached games against NBA teams using NBA rules and all three were quick to point out the rules and the interpretations of rules make it a different game.
Here are a few examples of the different rules:
Trapezoid Lane: This lane is wider on the baseline than in the NBA but narrower at the free throw line. The impact is varied. Post players tend to post higher in the lane, which impacts the spacing on the court. An American point guard told me that the court seems smaller and there is nowhere to drive. This is also part of the reason why big men in Europe will float out to the perimeter.
No Defensive Three-Second Rule: Again, this clogs the international lane which deters drives to the rim and therefore promotes passing.
The 3-point line is nearly two feet closer in international play, which also reduces spacing.
40-Minute Game: Since it is a shorter game (same as our college game), this impacts substitutions, rotations, and effort levels.
No restricted area under the basket, making it easier for players to take charges.
No basket interference once the ball hits the rim. This takes a while to get used to. Then, there are different rule interpretations:
Officiating remains a very difficult job that involves objective and subjective elements. When you play Euroleague games, there will be three officials from three different countries. Needless to say, these differences become apparent during the course of a game. And certainly, these interpretations are different from what we are used to in the United States. Players have to understand:
What is traveling?
What is a foul?
What is a legal screen?
What is legal post defense?
These are just of few of the differences in the rules and interpretations, which have resulted in the game evolving differently over the years.
It's a Team GameI spoke with a couple of American players who have NBA experience and are having successful careers in Europe. Both players felt the biggest difference between the NBA and European basketball was the team concept played in Europe. Twenty years ago, American players in Europe were usually expected to play the full 40 minutes of a game and average 20-plus points a game. Now, if you look at the statistics of the 24 Euroleague* teams, currently there are only two 20-plus scorers and only one player averaging more than 34 minutes. Obviously, the NBA has profited from its league’s stars for decades. Most of the European stars are playing in the NBA; therefore, the Euroleague is not as star-driven.
With that in mind, there is more passing, more willingness to pass and more expectation of passing. The “extra pass” is the norm rather than the exception. Dribble penetration is a BIG part of the international game and the NBA game. Yet much of the penetration in the international game is to look to pass rather than score (unless it is a clear shot). Some of this can be related to the rules for spacing (as mentioned above), that fewer defensive fouls are called on driving to the basket, and more players taking charges.
If there is one frustration that I have noticed among international players whom I have coached in the NBA is that they expect and prefer more team play rather than one-on-one play. This is a basketball grassroots issue and a talent issue. I believe an oversimplified explanation is that the game is taught differently, without restriction at the youth level in Europe; there is a cultural difference regarding team/individual success and there is a difference in athletic ability which has led to this phenomenon.
Practice TimeOur college game is considered a “coaches' game” primarily because of the amount of time that the coach can practice and develop his team, as well as his ability to select his players. From a practice standpoint, the international game takes it even further. The pre-season is as long as or longer than our college seasons, with no restrictions on the amount of practice time. Once the season starts, coaches usually have two or three days of practice before playing a game, with no time restrictions. During the season, most teams will have at least one day a week with two practices.
You can never underestimate the benefits of practice, from both an individual and team perspective. The coaches I observed were all fairly demanding in what they wanted and expected from their players. It appeared from a coach’s perspective that coaching in Europe was a hybrid between the NBA and college. European teams have the benefit of more practice and preparation time -- as in college -- but you are still dealing with mostly grown men making thousands (sometimes millions) of dollars and are concerned about their playing career.
Difference in Talent LevelThere is no question in the disparity of talent and athleticism between the NBA and the European teams. The best players in the world play in the NBA. It is not even close. Almost all of the best European players (46 at last count) are playing in the NBA. The dynamics of European competition has changed in the last 20 years. International players have improved and gone to the NBA. There has been team expansion in the NBA and NBA roster sizes have expanded. The freedoms now afforded by the Eastern European countries have led to more player movement between countries. Also, the European Economic Community has allowed more player movement among Europeans. Additionally, there are fewer restrictions on the number of foreign players on a European team.
X's and O'sHere are some observations regarding the X's and O's.
In general, there seems to be more movement in the European game.
Pick and roll/pop situations are as much or more prominent as in the NBA … Coach Obradovic’s team probably runs more of these than anyone.
Maybe it’s still early in the season, but there didn’t seem to be as many offensive sets.
Different wrinkles on offensive sets … some of which I felt would be effective in the NBA, and others, not so much.
Because there is no “defensive three-seconds,” there are more varied defensive styles and more helpside defense.
There seem to be more charges taken.
By contrast, there are not as many shot-blockers as in the NBA.
There is some post game, but not as much as the NBA.
There are many more baseline out-of-bounds situations.
Teams look to take fouls more readily, especially in fastbreak situations.
Teams seemed to have a better feel for spacing and moving without the ball.
You can set what we consider “illegal screens”, so consequently, big men set more, harder screens.
Finally, here are a few other observations.
Pressure: The best Euroleague teams will play more than 50 games this year. But those are divided into Euroleague play (20-25 games), country league play (20-25 games), and country cup games (3-5 games). Essentially, they are playing three shorter seasons and EVERY game becomes more important.
Road games: Winning games on the road in the NBA is difficult, but the road environments in Europe can be VERY hostile. The rivalry between some teams is so fierce that it can be dangerous. Again, this adds to the pressure faced by the players and coaches.
Physical Play: The international game seems to be more physical in the paint; more contact is allowed on drives to the basket; and the shooter is not protected as much as he is in the NBA. Another reason why there is a premium on outside shooting.
Parity: There is more parity in the NBA. The Euroleague teams do not have salary cap restrictions or a draft, so the top teams usually stay the top teams.
Video work: The teams I saw did as much video preparation with their teams as we do in the NBA, although they do not have the quantity televised games that NBA teams have.
San Antonio Spurs: When talking to the coaches in Europe, they all very much appreciated the San Antonio Spurs. Perhaps this is because the Spurs have done such a good job of combining the best of both games. Certainly they have been the leader of the international player movement over the past few years.
In SumI appreciated having the opportunity to analyze the style, content, and methodology of three great coaches and being able to look at the game of basketball from a refreshingly different perspective. When comparing the American game with the international game, I came to the conclusion that the differences are as much cultural as well as the games’ X's and O's. But as with most things in this world, you can profit from learning anywhere you go, as I did on this trip.
*Euroleague and ULEB Cup – The Euroleague competition is comprised of the top 24 teams from 13 different countries. After a couple of round-robins in pool play, the four best teams compete in the “Final Four” which is like our NCAA Final Four. There is also the ULEB Cup competition, which is the next tier of quality European teams. This competition starts with 54 teams and will finish with a “Final Eight” at the end of the season. See these websites for more information:

From Coach Henson at UNLV: SELF SCOUT!!!!

Coach Henson: "SELF-SCOUT!!!! I haven't worked for many guys, but I would be shocked if anyone spends more time trying to figure out his own team than Coach Kruger (UNLV). I really feel that is a big key to our success. We limit turnovers because guys don't have to "try things". Coach studies their strengths and puts them in positions to utilize those strengths. Coach Kruger's focus on "us" helps us in many other ways. It probably sounds obvious, but seems so huge right now."

A great observation as their squad went on to win 57 games in 2 years and won 3 tournament games in that time!

Quotes from Caron Butler & Lon Kruger

Some more great stuff passed along from Coach Henson at UNLV:

I read in a recent sports illustrated that Caron Butler said he was unhappy with his perimeter play last season, so he dedicated himself to making 100,000 jumpers during the summer - 1,000 per day. The results: averaging career-high 22.1 ppg shooting 50.4% and raised 3 pt % from 25% to 44.4%

3 great quotes from coach Kruger the other day: "human nature is a tough opponent"......"early in the season, we talked about being one of those teams that no one wanted to play"....."run to the fight! Engage!"

D-I player without right hand 'pretty inspirational'

Jeff Goodman, Foxsports
CEDAR CITY, Utah - It was a conversation with which Dax Crum was all too familiar.
Southern Utah University coach Roger Reid had called Crum into his office. And Crum knew exactly what was coming.
"I told him he could come out for the team, but the chances of playing were very, very slim," Reid said. "In my mind, I didn't think there was any chance he'd ever play. No way."
Meet Dax Crum
Southern Utah provided us with , in which Dax Crum played 16 minutes, hit a 3-pointer and managed to make the opposition forget he was born without a right hand.
However, a half season into Reid's tenure at the school, Crum, who was born without a right hand, has forced his coach into playing him significant minutes.
The 6-foot-2 senior guard logged a career-high 16 minutes, made a 3-pointer and slowed down Missouri-Kansas City's leading scorer, Dane Brumagin, for much of the second half in a 63-60 loss earlier in the month.
"I've coached this game for a long time and they ought to build a monument of him," Reid said. "Dax is all about defying the odds and playing for the right reasons."
Crum was born without nearly his entire right hand. Just a tiny finger sticks out of his nub and is barely noticeable. Crum's parents were given the option of transplanting a toe to act as another finger, but they declined due to concerns with post-surgical rejection.
It's crazy, but many opposing players, coaches and fans are often shocked when told of Crum's handicap after watching him play or practice. UMKC sports information director James Allen was completely unaware throughout the entire game. Southern Utah assistant Ron Carling's wife had no idea after watching Crum play for nearly three weeks.
"Honestly, you can't even really tell he has a disability," said Brumagin, who is averaging 18.6 points per game. "You've got to treat him like everyone else. He's playing Division I basketball and he's a good player. He was right up there with anyone else who has guarded me this year, but he's pretty inspirational. It's amazing."
Crum, 23, was nudged into playing sports by his father, Richard, a former star at Kirtland Central in New Mexico.
"Honestly, when Dax was born, I was angry with God," Richard Crum said. "How can you send me a one-handed boy when you know my sons are going to be athletes?
"But he's taught me that you can do anything," he said. "He's changed my life in so many ways."
Richard and Valerie, who died of cancer a little more than three years ago, decided to go with shoelaces instead of taking the easy way out and buying Velcro sneakers for their son. Four-year-old Dax wasn't allowed to go to school until he was able to tie them on his own.
Once Dax figured it out, his two grandfathers were called into the room.
"Dax sat down in the middle of the floor and at the end, two old grandfathers had tears streaming down their eyes," Richard Crum said. "One of them, a World War II Navy veteran, said, 'You're my hero.'"
Dax Crum could have taken a Division I soccer scholarship, but he was determined to play D-I basketball. And he is. (Deb Hill / Special to FOXSports.com)
Not everyone was as supportive. Richard remembers one woman asking him to take his son away because Dax was scaring her daughter. Another wanted him to have Dax put his arm in his pocket. Little boys stared. Little girls squealed.
Richard and Valerie resisted hiding his handicap.
"It was an awkward situation," Richard said. "But for me to do it would have sent the wrong message."
Crum persevered, especially with his passion on the basketball court, where he earned all-star honors at BYU's camp when he was 12. However, the coach the following year hardly played Crum.
"They treated me like I was 3 years old," Crum said.
His father made certain that wasn't going to happen again. He took a teaching position at Kirtland Central and was also an assistant on the basketball team. When Dax wasn't in the high-school gym with his father, the two of them were in the nearby church working on his game.
Crum became a first-team all-state player at Kirtland Central, winning three state titles, and also starred in soccer, baseball and track. After either the second or third state crown, father and son just smirked at each other when the public address announcer asked everyone to give Crum a hand.
"The irony of it was huge," Richard Crum said. "I just nodded at Dax and he winked back at me."
Despite his success on the hardwood, there were no Division I suitors coming out of high school. He played two sports at Arizona Western Junior College while on a soccer scholarship.
Crum started the second half of his sophomore season for an Arizona Western team that was ranked No. 1 in the country and finished 31-3.
"When I first got there, it was 'good for him,'" Crum said. "Then I started taking some of their playing time and some of them weren't so happy. Nobody likes being beaten by the one-handed kid.
"There were some guys who loved me and others didn't think I deserved to be on the court," he said. "I heard guys saying, 'How good can you be? Dax took your spot.' I just let it go. I just go out and play."
After his two-year stint at Arizona Western, Crum turned down a D-I soccer scholarship at Dayton for an opportunity to play basketball as a walk-on at Southern Utah.
"I wanted to be a Division I basketball player," Crum said. "I wanted to do something that no one has done."
Crum played sparingly two seasons ago under former coach Bill Evans. He redshirted last season and wound up on the football team — as a kicker/punter who also played some cornerback.
Shortly after Reid, who spent seven seasons as the head coach at BYU from 1989-97, took the reigns, Crum decided he wanted to give it another try in his final season of eligibility.
That's when Reid did everything in his power to shoot down the idea.
"I don't blame him. Every coach I've ever had worries about the same thing," Crum said. "If I put him on the floor, are they going to take advantage of him? I wonder if I was coaching me, would I put myself in the game?"
Then Reid watched Crum outwork all of his teammates in practice.
It's a remarkable sight, how much passion and energy he displays when he's on the court. His nickname at Arizona Western was "The Pest." At Southern Utah, they've dubbed him the "Dax-inator" because of his unwavering defensive prowess.
"It's a good thing now," said Southern Utah assistant Austin Ainge, who played against Crum when he was a player at BYU. "I like it as a coach, but I hated it when he was guarding me.
"The amazing thing is he can still go right," said Ainge. "He finds a way. He's clever."
In addition to his pestering defense, Crum is somehow able to make shots with consistency. He rests the ball on his nub, uses his left hand to shoot and is a legitimate 3-point threat with a quick release. He rarely drops a pass and his teammates are unable to take the ball away from him in practice despite only having one hand to dribble the ball.
"To tell you the truth, I didn't know he had one hand for the first three days," said Southern Utah senior forward Tate Sorenson. "He handles himself pretty good and it's not just a charity case. He can play."
"He's the best perimeter defender we have," Carling said.
Crum is also extremely open and light-hearted. One time prior to a soccer game, he walked out for rock-paper-scissors, which would determine what team started the game with the ball. When both players threw out their hands, Crum tossed out his right hand and chuckled.
At times when he's dribbling the ball up the court, he'll hold up his hand with the one finger, smile and yell "Four" to call a play. Crum still gets a kick out of opposing players' reactions in the postgame handshake line.
"It's funny," Crum said.
"He's the first one to make a joke about it," Sorenson said.
The letters have come in from young children and adults. One man lost his arm in a farm accident and wanted to know how Crum does everything. Others want to know how he cuts steak or ties his shoes.
"It just takes me a little time to figure it out my way," Crum said.
Crum is married, has a 3.7 GPA and is working on his MBA. The plan is for him to go into the financial world for a while — at least long enough to support wife Ashley's medical schools bills — before he goes into coaching.
Crum, who worked three jobs until he was given a scholarship by Reid for the second semester, didn't get off the bench in eight of the team's first 13 games.
"The past three years have been rough," Crum said. "I haven't really played. I'll go into a game for one or two minutes, have a turnover and say, "Why am I doing this?'"
Crum knows the answer.
"You work for a couple years just to get a chance," Crum said. "Once you get a chance, it's like, 'Wow.' Just those 16 minutes against UMKC were worth it all to me. That's how much fun it is."

A Snake In the Boat

A man went fishing in a swamp and upon passing under trees watched a snake fall from a tree into his boat. Responding quickly and in fear, he grabbed his gun and shot at the snake. He missed the snake, but managed to hit his boat and create a hole in the bottom. The moral of the story: We as a team will not use the shotgun approach when down in a game or we may find ourselves sunk! One basket at a time, one defensive stop at a time!