Category Archives: In the Press

What Would You Do With Jadeveon Clowney?

Handling ConflictIf you’ve watched Sportscenter at all in the past few days you’ve certainly heard about the so called Jadeveon Clowney “situation.”

On Saturday, right before kickoff, Clowney told South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier that he would not be playing in the game that day.

In the post game news conference Coach Spurrier seemed understandably frustrated and irritated and the media has been full of criticism, commentary, and speculation ever since.

In Tuesday’s press conference Spurrier explained his feelings a little more clearly and pledged his full support to Jadeveon Clowney regardless of what happens next.

Two questions immediately come to mind:

  1. If you are a coach what would you do to handle a situation like this one?
  2. If you are a player would you ever not play in a game that you were medically cleared to play in? And if you didn’t play what reactions would you expect from your coaches and teammates?

Following are some additional thoughts on coaching from Coach Spurrier as compiled by Pat Williams in “The Ultimate Coaches’ Career Manual”

  1. Support your players every chance you have
  2. Be concerned about injuries to all players
  3. Be willing to suspend or remove a star player if he is disruptive to the team
  4. After chewing out a player, say something positive to bring him back tomorrow
  5. If you think something is a problem then it’s a problem
  6. Stay in control; don’t lose your temper or your emotions


Top 20 Basketball Movies Of All Time. Really?

Recently Dime Magazine posted a list of their top 20 basketball movies of all time and I’m sure there are many who agree and many who disagree as well.

While it is a good list, it is certainly not a perfect one as at least a few of the movies mentioned really have nothing (or at least extremely little) to do with basketball.

They might be good movies but aren’t really good basketball movies. If “6th Man” and “Celtic Pride” can make the list then surely there is room somewhere for “Juwanna Mann” and maybe even “Slam Dunk Ernest” and “Eddie.”

I also find it hard to believe that “The Pistol” couldn’t make the list of top twenty. Few players threw dimes like Pistol Pete Maravich and the movie is a great story about his childhood start in basketball.

Nevertheless, here is the list and we would love to hear what you think about it.

  1. He Got Game  pistol2
  2. Blue Chips
  3. Above the Rim
  4. White Men Can’t Jump
  5. Finding Forrester
  6. Passing Glory
  7. Love & Basketball
  8. Rebound
  9. Hoosiers
  10. Coach Carter
  11. Space Jam
  12. Glory Road
  13. The Air Up There
  14. Sunset Park
  15. One on One
  16. Heaven Is A Playground
  17. Semi Pro
  18. Basketball Diaries
  19. Celtic Pride
  20. 6th Man


4 Questions from Clark Kellogg

Questions to AskMost of us know Clark Kellogg as one of the best basketball analysts on television. What many don’t know is that Kellogg was a High School All-American, was the Big 10 Conference MVP while playing at Ohio State and was an immediate star in the NBA before a knee injury forced him to retire after only three seasons.

While speaking to campers at the famous 5 Star Basketball Camp, Kellogg asked four questions that should be considered by players everywhere.

1. Would you rather be respected or liked?

Anybody can be liked but it is much more difficult and significant to be respected. To be respected your actions must be constantly positive.

2. What kind of attitude do you have?

What is your attitude towards basketball, homework, teammates? Are you a complainer or an encourager? What do you do when things don’t go your way?

3. What price are you willing to pay to develop as a student and as an athlete?

Are you willing to separate yourself from all the negatives of today? You can’t be an A+ student and a partier. Will you create destruction or production with your attitude and effort? What kind of man are you going to be? The kind of man you are is far more important than the number of points you score.

4. Are you applying the lessons you learn in sports to other areas of your life?

The basketball lessons and principles that you apply to hoops will build the foundation for your life. What is your game plan?


How to React After Wins and Losses

How Do You React to Wins and LossesAs last week’s Game 7 of the NBA Finals wound down, I started watching to see how each team reacted to the final score.

I knew the Miami Heat would be happy and excited beyond belief but was really curious to see how the San Antonio Spurs handled the defeat, especially since they themselves had the championship in their grasp at the very end of Game 6 but let it slip away.

Of course the television cameras focused on the winners as they rightly should but they did show a few moments shared between Greg Popovich and LeBron James; Popovich and Dwyane Wade, and LeBron and Tim Duncan.

In those small groups the respect and admiration for each other was visibly obvious.

Marta Fulop, a professor at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, says there are four reactions to winning and four reactions to losing.

The four reactions to winning include:

  1. Joy: gleeful enthusiasm
  2. Satisfaction at one’s competence
  3. Denial of the win: feeling a strong need to mask their inner joy
  4. Narcissistic self-enhancement: a malicious feeling of superiority over the loser.

The four reactions to losing include:

  1. Aggression towards the winner: envy, anger, hatred of the winner
  2. Denial of loss: doesn’t care, tired, bored, emotional divestment
  3. Self devaluation: I’m no good, I’m a liability to my team, extreme embarrassment
  4. Sadness and disappointment leading to a graceful acceptance of the loss without ill will or blame.

How do you react after a win or a loss?

Hopefully, it’s #1 after a win and #4 after a loss.


Do You Think Like Ray Allen?

Do You Think Like Ray Allen?As you’ve probably watched 100 times on SportsCenter already, the Miami Heat’s Ray Allen hit arguably the biggest shot of his illustrious career in the recent Game 6 of the NBA Finals when his corner 3 pointer sent the game into overtime.

If that 3 doesn’t go in with five seconds left in the game, the San Antonio Spurs would have won their 5th NBA Championship instead of the Heat tying the series up and then eventually winning their  second championship in a row.

To me the most interesting and insightful part of that whole sequence came during the post game press conference when Ray Allen was asked about the shot.

He very casually replied that he thought he did a great job getting himself behind the three point line and putting himself in a position where he could take the shot.

The same reporter then asked “Well what about the shot itself? What were you thinking as the ball went in?” (Remember, the shot literally saved the game, the series, and ultimately the championship for the Heat!)

Ray Allen’s response was classic. “Of course I was ecstatic… but I expected to make it all along!”

Do you think like Ray Allen?

Do you realize that the hardest part of nearly every shot comes before the actual shot itself as you are getting yourself ready and in proper position?Do you look to take the big shot in the big game or do you shy away from the challenge and hope someone else takes on that responsibility? Do you honestly expect every shot to go in, even if that shot is taken with five seconds left in the biggest game of the year and your team is down three points?

If you don’t think like Ray Allen, why not? Is it possible because you don’t practice and prepare like he does? if that’s the case, then why not?

How To Be Like The Spurs’ Gary Neal

PlayoffsI don’t care if you’re a Heat fan or a Spurs fan, on Tuesday night you had to be a Gary Neal fan! Neal is a player who was never drafted out of college but somehow latched on to the Spurs roster after playing a few years in Europe and for the last two days has been the talk of the basketball world.

Coming off the bench Neal hit 6 3 point shots and scored 24 points to help lead the Spurs to a pivotal 113-77 win over the Heat in the NBA Finals. Here are 3 steps you can take if you want to be like Gary Neal:

Be Prepared

The scoring skills he demonstrated on Tuesday didn’t come to him overnight and so he has obviously continued working on his game even though he knows he is only going to get limited minutes on the court. It’s easy to get frustrated, throw in the towel and ask yourself “Why should I bother if I am never going to play much anyway?” but that’s obviously not the approach he took.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Winston Churchill who once said, “There comes a time in every man’s life when he is offered an opportunity unique and fitting to his talents only. What a shame and a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work.”

Stay Confident

Henry Ford used to say, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” Remind yourself of past successes. Play your own personal highlight tape over and over in your mind.

If you want your coach to share your same level of confidence, show him you can do it each and every day in practice. He’s never going to have confidence in your ability to perform well unless he sees you performing well in practice.

Go For It

Take advantage of every opportunity you get no matter how small it initially seems. Gary Neal wasn’t worried about how he was going to play 5 games from now – he just wanted to play well right away!

Who knows when the opportunity will come again so don’t put yourself in a position where you look back and say to yourself, “I wish I had played harder and done more!”



A Lesson From Roy Hibbert

Lessons From a PacerLet’s be honest here – Roy Hibbert said some things he shouldn’t have when talking to the media after Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals and he was understandably fined $75,000 for his comments.

However, Hibbert did say something very profound that I’m afraid has been overlooked because of the other things that he said. Here’s what I’m talking about:

I tell Paul (George), I have his back all the time. If he gets beat, LeBron has a large launching pad, I don’t block a lot of shots all the time, but I try to alter it as much as possible and not to give up any easy plays.

Because the momentum could have shifted right there if he got an easy dunk. There was what — was it Game 3 here? I really felt that I let Paul down in terms of having his back when LeBron was scoring in the post or getting to the paint, because they stretched me out so much.

But I wanted to be there for [Paul]. He’s the future. I mean, I think he has a chance to be MVP of this league next year. Every guard needs to have a big guy to have his back. So I’m that guy.

Did you catch that? Hibbert said he felt bad because he really let his teammate down for not doing a better job of giving help and protecting the paint. How great is that?

Have you ever actually felt bad because your defensive help was either late or inadequate?

How many players do you know that instead have the attitude of “If you wouldn’t get beat all the time I wouldn’t have to help so much”? I know a lot!

How much better would our teams be if every player felt a sincere responsibility to have his teammates’ backs on defense just like Roy Hibbert does?

You don’t have to be happy with the insensitive things that were said but don’t ignore the important things as they can make you a better player and a better teammate.


Relentless by Tim Grover – Part 2

relentlessHere are some more powerful ideas from the book “Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable” by Tim Grover.

  1. Being relentless means never being satisfied. It means creating new goals every time you reach your personal best. If you’re good, it means you don’t stop until you’re great. If you’re great, it means you fight until you are unstoppable.
  2. Greatness makes you a legend; being the best makes you an icon. If you want to be great, deliver the unexpected. If you want to be the best, deliver a miracle.
  3. Why do I call them (ultimate competitors) Cleaners? Because they take responsibility for everything. When something goes wrong, they don’t blame others because they never really count on anyone else to get the job done in the first place. They just clean up the mess and move on.
  4. Failure is never an option; even if it takes years, he’ll find a way to turn a bad situation to his benefit, and he won’t stop until he succeeds.
  5. You don’t have to love the work to be successful; you just have to be relentless about achieving it.
  6. All that matters is the end result, not the instant gratification along the way.
  7. If you want to be the very best of the best, it’s the details that make the difference.
  8. You train like a pro by committing to work at the highest level of intensity, every moment, in everything you do, constantly working on your body, your skills, your preparation, leaving no detail to chance.
  9. The true measure of an individual is determined by what you can’t measure – the intangibles. Anyone can measure weight, height, physical strength, speed. . . . but you can’t measure commitment, persistence, or the instinctive power of the muscle in your chest, your heart. That’s where your true work begins; understanding what you want to achieve and knowing what you’re willing to endure to get it.


Jackie Robinson’s Ties to Basketball

42Last night my wife and I went and watched the movie “42” while in Phoenix and was disappointed that there were only a handful of viewers. There are great lessons in the movie for everyone but especially for athletes. In fact, I really think that every coach and athlete, regardless of age or gender or sport should go watch “42.”

Of course the movie only tells part of the real Jackie Robinson story. For example, Jackie competed in four sports – including basketball – in high school, junior college, and then at UCLA.

Football was probably his best sport although he did win an NCAA Championship in the long jump. Surprisingly, baseball was his weakest sport and he turned out to be a much better pro player than he was in college.

After World War II ended Jackie spent a year as the men’s basketball coach at Sam Houston College in Texas before joining the Kansas City Monarchs, which is where the movie “42” starts telling his story.

I know it sounds silly but knowing that he had a basketball background both as a player and a coach has made me feel even more connected to him and the things that he experienced.

I realize that Jackie Robinson went through more adversity that first year in major league baseball than anyone should ever have to experience, but after leaving the theater I couldn’t help but think that we all owe Branch Rickey, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, some gratitude as well.

There were several African American athletes who were capable and willing to be the first baseball player to break the color barrier but there was only one owner willing to give someone that opportunity.

I don’t know what Branch Rickey’s ulterior motives were and truthfully I don’t care. All I know is that every sport, including the one that I love the most, has benefitted from his decision.

Thank you Jackie Robinson. Thank you Branch Rickey.


Rick Pitino on Gaining Perspective

Gaining PerspectiveAbout five years ago, Louisville coach Rick Pitino wrote a book called “The Rebound Rules” which offers a great deal of advice on how to make a comeback after facing life’s difficulties and how to pick yourself up after being knocked down.

As you read the following excerpt from the chapter entitled Gaining Perspective, think of Louisville player Kevin Ware and how he is handling the tragic injury he suffered last week.

  1. Tragedy will test you like nothing else. Keep your faith and rely on it to help you through – even if you’re questioning it at the time.
  2. Let your emotions out and work through them. Catharsis is necessary to avoid bitterness.
  3. Turn your grief into good. Let your hard earned new perspective be the catalyst to a more humble, charitable you.
  4. Don’t demand answers tot he inexplicable. Sometimes there are none.
  5. Don’t miss the lessons you can learn in these trying moments. A child’s act of grace can teach you so much.
  6. Don’t marinate in bitterness or preoccupy yourself with revenge. Both are unproductive.

On the Road to Recovery

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