Monday, May 19, 2014


If you love the game, take a minute to watch this... Link to full size video

Thursday, February 13, 2014


 Grantland wrote a column this week that really hit home. Many athletes have faced a season ending injury such as an ACL tear, or worse yet, a career ending injury. The difficulty in dealing with the emotional side of that injury is something that few can understand unless they've experienced it. The emotional side is often just as difficult to overcome as the physical injury itself.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Would you rather have a reputation as a gifted scorer... or as a great teammate?  The difference lies with your ability to make a positive change on the scoreboard... or make a positive change in the everyday lives of your teammates.



 Is this kid a prodigy... or just a perfect example of a player that is determined to put in skill specific work when he's at the gym? He understands what focused dedication and hard work will do for your game. After the 5th grader scored 91 points in his Middle School game, he was moved up to the Varsity team where he is now averaging 12 points, 11 assists and 4 steals per game.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


A defensive role player adds a lot of value to a team, yet it’s often a position that goes unnoticed and unappreciated by the average fan. 

The average fan typically judges the value a player brings to their team based on their offensive skills, which is the wrong way of assessing value, and not to mention, has NOTHING to do with their ability to play good defense.  I have seen very good perimeter shooters become an instant liability on defense because they look like they have bricks tied to their feet when they’re trying to defend someone.

To be an effective defender… size, speed or offensive talent has little to do with it.  If you have some athleticism, good footwork, the ability to anticipate, and lastly a great work ethic, those are the tools you need to be a successful defender.

So for those of you that struggle when handling the ball, or just can’t consistently make your shots, don’t give up on your ability to contribute just yet. Maybe you should take another look at some of the other things you may be able to bring to the table to help add some additional value to your team.


Friday, November 29, 2013


At my PEC camps, I always repeat a quote I heard from Dena Evans... "the essence of the game is deception." During our lecture sessions, we cover various ways to be "clever" on the court and LEGALLY take advantage of certain situations... but this isn't one of them. 

With 8.3 seconds left, down by 2 points and out of timeouts, Jason Kidd uses his cleverness to get his team a much needed timeout... and a $50K fine as well.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Teams will always have a couple of talented players, but talented players aren't enough to win championships. You have to have mature players. Players that do not yet understand the concept of teamwork and sacrifice, will never be called a champion.

Friday, October 4, 2013


Thanks Rebecca Tillett!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Playing good defense takes a lot of effort... playing great defense takes a lot of sustained effort.  One of the things I would use to help the athletes sustain that level of effort was a simple motivational poster I would keep in the locker room as a daily reminder of what they were capable of.

The poster had the title "Club 30" across the top and the rest of the poster was blank.  The goal was to hold every team we played to 30 points or less.  If the team reached the goal, we would write-in our opponent's name and how many points we held them to as a visual reminder of accomplishing our defensive goal.  As we entered the playoffs, I would reprint the poster with a list of our season accomplishments as a motivator of what is possible if we stay focused on defense.

This was a simple idea that really kept the athletes focused on defense throughout the entire game, regardless of the score.  The closer our opponent got to scoring 30, the more the bench would remind them to stay sharp on defense by yelling "club 30" as a reminder.

The picture here represented what the team accomplished by the time we entered the playoffs a few years ago.  

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Your success or failure has very little to do with your opponent, your coach or the referees. It is a choice every athlete makes within themselves... whether they realize it or not. You must believe it to achieve it.


Love Him or Hate Him, there is a reason Nick Saban has been so successful at Alabama.  Saban isn't about looking behind and living in yesterday's victories... his mindset is focused on 'can we perform better today, than we did yesterday.'  

As a player (or as a coach), success is always within your grasp... the hardest part is being able to hold onto it.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


"Any fool can get a mob to tear down a barn. But it takes talent & skill to get that same mob to help build one." 

The best leaders stay focused on building relationships on the team... not tearing them down.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. Refuse to accept impossible... it's just a word.

Monday, May 20, 2013


Danny Greene has been a rock-solid role player for the Spurs all season and getting plenty of air-time on Sports Center as a result; but there is a reason why... he became a "team player."

"Green's initial contact with the Spurs was thanks to a stint in Cleveland with the Cavaliers under Danny Ferry. When Ferry lost his job as Cleveland's general manager in 2010 and returned to the Spurs organization that had given him his post-playing start, he recommended they bring in Green. They signed him on Nov. 17, 2010, and waived him on Nov. 23, 2010. They couldn't stand him. The Spurs didn't like his attitude and didn't think he'd fit in with their team-oriented culture.

Then, Green did something that didn't fit in with our unapologetic, text-message culture. He asked for a second chance -- on a voicemail message he left for Gregg Popovich.

Green says he told him, "I'll do whatever you need me to do. Rebound, defense, towel boy, water boy … whatever you need me to do, I'm going to do that."

Popovich took it to heart. He brought back Green that March and signed him through the end of the 2010-11 season. By the next season, Green started more than half of the 66 games in the lockout-shortened schedule.

"Pop's a really good dude, and he gave me a second chance and I appreciate that," Green said. "The whole way along he's been pushing me and teaching me to be better, and I've grown within the system."

How much has Green improved since joining the Spurs?  He was 27.3% from outside before joining the Spurs and now shoots 42.9%.  He was 66.7% at the FT line before falling into Pop's system, now?  He shoots 84.8% from the line.  Rebounding?  Pre-Spurs Green was 0.9% rebounds per  3.1 RPG. In fact, Greene has improved in almost every statistical category.  

Thanks J.A. Adande |

Sunday, March 3, 2013


Don't look for a shot you think you can make... look for a shot you cannot miss.  Shot Selection is the #1 thing that usually determines whether a team wins or loses.  Sports Center type shots may look really cool, but they rarely go in, which is why they're shown on TV.  High-percentage shots are the shots that win games... and Championships.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


There is no shame in losing to a great team. Many athletes mistakenly assume every loss is a bad loss, and although some losses hurt more than others, this assumption is not always true.

Losing to a great team (I mean like a 65+ point loss) should serve as a measuring stick for both you and your team. If the only teams on your schedule are ones that may as well be considered "your little sister"....well, being able to beat up your little sister is not a very valid way to determine how good (or bad) your team actually is.

Use those embarassing losses to great teams as a way to evaluate what your team does well, and what your team struggles with and needs to work on. If you're not willing to learn from these kind of losses, then you'll never be one of those great teams. You'll always "believe" you're a great team because you didn't realize that all this thime you've been beating up "your little sister."

There is no shame in losing to a great team...IF... you use the loss as a way to show what you need to do to become better.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Most emerging leaders erroneously view and define leadership as the mighty shoves reserved only for the heroic captains of the team. In actuality, however, it's the tiny pushes of leadership that happen more frequently and have the greatest impact over time.

Leadership opportunities are rarely available in the form of dramatic speeches, but most often present themselves in simple, yet significant interactions on a daily basis.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


When your team leaders exhibit confidence, it becomes contagious to the rest of the team... unfortunately, showing a lack of confidence is just as contagious.


You can beat average and mediocre teams in a lot of ways… but there's only one way to beat good teams... and that's with thoughtful preparation, discipline and leadership.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


There is a big difference between Listening and Hearing. Hearing is easy to do... Listening is far different... and much more important. But what does it mean to listen?

Once heard a story about a high school music appreciation class that 
 provides a meaningful answer to that question. The teacher of the class asked for a volunteer to explain the difference between listening and hearing. At first no one wanted to answer; but finally, a student raised his hand. When the teacher called on him, he said, “Listening is wanting to hear.”

Coaches usually use timeouts to make their game-strategy adjustments. Often, the difference between winning and losing - especially in a close game, comes down to whether the players hear... or listen.

(Thanks Bob Starkey)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Don't practice until you get it right. Practice until you can't get it wrong.


Good coaches focus on teaching their players "how to play" rather than just teaching them "plays." 

In this particular picture, the Defense is playing a 1-2-2 or a 2-3 Zone. The corner player forces the low wing defender to choose betwee

n guarding her or the low post player. Whatever decision the low wing defender makes... the corner player will punish her for it.

If she stays home to guard the low post, the corner player has a wide open look from outside. If the low wing defender chooses to come out and defend the corner shot (which she does in this picture), the corner player lobs it over the top to her low post player for an easy score.

Knowing "how to play" is far more valuable than knowing a dozen plays.


A good defensive player never focuses on steals or blocks to reinforce their reputation as being a great defender. Instead, they look to deny what the offense wants to do and force the offense to react to their defensive pressure. Few offenses practice, prepare, or even have a Plan B.

Being a great defender means taking away offensive opportunities before they can ever develop.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Here is an online article written by Coach K that appeared in the Wall Street Journal:

I believe that my work is as much about words as it is about basketball. Choosing the right words is no less important to the outcome of a game than choosing the right players and strategies for the court. As a coach, leader and teacher, my primary task is motivation. How do I get a group motivated, not only to be their individual best but also to become better as a team? I have always said that two are better than one, but only if two can act as one.

After the 1999 season, when we lost to Connecticut in the national championship game, several of our top players left Duke earlier than expected. Shane Battier, who had played a supporting role on that team, was going to have to become our star.

Shane and I agreed that he would need to emerge as the team leader, but there was one problem: Shane had never imagined himself as a star.

After the players had gone home for the summer, I gave Shane a call.
"Shane," I said, "this morning, did you look in the mirror and imagine that you were looking at next year's conference player of the year?"
He chuckled, "Coach, I…"
I hung up.

The next day I called again. "Shane, it's Coach. When you were on your way to work this morning, did you imagine scoring 30 points in a game this season?"
He laughed cautiously and began to respond before I hung up again.
Seconds later, my phone rang. "Coach," Shane said, "Don't hang up on me."
"I won't hang up on you if you won't hang up on you," I told him.

Shane needed to imagine these sorts of things in order to become the player that he could be. Before he graduated, Shane earned National Player of the Year honors while leading our team to the 2001 national championship. He had all of the tools necessary to become a great player, but he fully realized his potential only when he allowed himself to imagine great things.

For motivating Shane, the crucial word to communicate was "imagination." For others, it may be "enthusiasm" or "self-confidence" or "poise." But undefined words are meaningless, and dictionary definitions usually do not suffice. Meaning is understood by seeing a word in action.

I ask teams to understand the meaning of dependability by telling them about my brother, Bill, who never missed a day of work in 38 years of fighting fires in Chicago. I tell them about willpower by sharing the story of my former player and current associate head coach, Steve Wojciechowski, and his last game on our home court: Wojo only scored one point that day, but his sheer determination led our team to an exciting victory.
'Shane,' I said. 'When you were on the way to work this morning, did you imagine scoring 30 points in a game this season?'

And I convey the meaning of courage by telling them about my friend and colleague, the late Jim Valvano, who used his own battle with cancer to raise millions of dollars to support cancer research.
My hope is that, as the players listen, my brother's example may remind them of the most dependable person in their own lives. Maybe the story of Wojo's senior game will make them think of a moment when they were carried through a tough situation by the strength of their own will. Learning about Jimmy Valvano, they may recall a time when they witnessed true courage.

When an audience makes these associations, we have found common ground. We are no longer merely exchanging words; we are being mutually motivated by their meaning.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Unless you are one of the 5 or 6 "star" players on your team, your minutes will always be determined by how much you can contribute to your team.  The players who can consistently help their team win games are the ones who get playing time - it's just that simple.   Want more minutes?  Then you need to understand how to make yourself valuable to your team.

You do this by embracing your role and focusing on things other than scoring.  Sure, you've spent your whole basketball life developing and displaying your offensive game, but suddenly you aren't getting those scoring opportunities in games.  You take thousands of shots in the offseason, you work on your shot before and after practice, yet you may go weeks without taking a jumper in a game.

If you can become really good at things like screening, passing, defending, communicating, boxing out and rotating defensively, you can have a huge impact on your team winning a game.  If those parts of your game become a habit and you develop consistency and embrace whatever role your coach places you into, you are going to be valuable to your team and  you will get more minutes.

A lot of players can't or won't do these things because they don't see the value in it.  However, those that "get it" look at it as sacrificing your own game for the greater good.  This is true to an extent, but you don't just play this way because you are a nice player and you are willing to let other players shine. You do it because you want to win, to be a part of a championship team, and you do it because you want to create value for yourself.  If you come off the bench and you start to take more shots, to take your scoring average from three points a game up to five points a game, not many people are going to notice.  You are doing the same things, just in a more inefficient way. 

On the other hand, if you average only five points a game but defensively you can adequatelty cover the othe team's best 3 or 4 players,  you are going to be able to play plenty of minutes  over your career.  At the same time, your play will have more of an effect on winning than it would otherwise. 

The goal is to try to make it very difficult for your team to replace you, so that they have to do what it takes to keep you around. That's how a player creates value for himself.

(Thanks Nick Collison & Bob Starkey)