Coaches Corner – 4/7/12

07 Apr

by Yankee Todd,

A real man would never eat, nor order boneless chicken wings.

The other day, while on lunch duty at our high school where we both work, One Office Down and I were discussing Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway.  I swore that I had seen him play recently for someone in the NBA.

I was wrong but when I Googled his name but discovered a fascinating article about “Penny” that gave me a new found respect for the former NBA star.

(On a side note, I had Tracy McGrady and “Penny” confused.)

Did you know that “Penny” Hardaway returned to his former middle school, located in inner city Memphis, to coach a boy’s basketball team?

The school is located on Carpenter Street or “C Street” because it’s located in a Crips gang territory.

What “Penny” has done was recently highlighted in an excellent article on CNN.Com by Wayne Drash. 

All too often we hear the negative side of sports and athletes.  This truly is a story about a man giving back more than money and autographs but the gift of time and love.

One Office Down and I were both middle school coaches.  There is not a lot of glamour in coaching middle school.  But we both enjoyed it.

“Penny” at first stopped by the school and donated uniforms and money to help.  But what he discovered was a true joy and passion that all coaches feel.  Kids and athletes look up to their coaches.  It truly is one of the greatest relationships in the education business.  Most coaches do not coach middle school or high school for the money, believe me, it doesn’t pay well.

A man like “Penny” had earned over 100 million dollars in contracts and he fell in love with coaching.  Like all coaches, he started checking on students’ grades, instituting tutoring and proper behavior in classes.  He started to hold his team accountable and refused to allow them to make excuses about their situations.

He became a father to many on the team.  And oh yeah, along the way, the team became very successful.  In fact, they went 29-3 and won a middle school state championship.

Will any of the players he coaches go onto the NBA?  Who knows?  He does have a 6’4” center named Robert Washington that averaged 25 points and 17 rebounds.  We should probably keep our eyes on him.

More importantly, Hardaway did what all coaches do with their players; made them better people.

The next time you see a high school or middle school coach, thank them for what they are doing.  Thank them for their time and effort.

I often times quote Coach Schott for sports-related texts but I wanted to share a little of his background also.

Coach Schott led his 1989 high school team to the New York state Public and Federation Championships.  He scored over 1,900 points in high school.  He played three years of college basketball at the University of Buffalo before transferring back to Rochester, NY to play at St. John Fisher.  There he teamed up with Big E.

When Coach Schott was finished playing he returned to his high school.  He wanted to coach and teach at his alma mater and give back.

He too is a shining example of working with kids and making a difference that often times goes un-noticed.  Keep it up Coach!!

Parents listen up, the next time you want to go criticize a coach of your son’s or daughter’s team, think about the time and effort coaches put into your child’s future.  If you think you can do a better job, go get a damn degree and do the job yourself.

What’s your take on Kentucky Coach John Calipari?

The first thing that jumps out at you is the rumors/allegations of paying for players and having to vacate past seasons and accomplishments.

I always thought, hell, if I could get the best players all you have to do is throw them out there and they will blow everyone away.  Well, it ain’t that easy.

(Think Knicks)

Well, we know that isn’t as easy as it sounds.

In the day and age of AAU basketball pampering and promising players from an early age, the mentality and false illusions of players has almost ruined high school programs.

Parents pay lots of money for their sons and daughters to play and for that they expect results.

“But my son is a stand out on his AAU team”  or “His AAU coach thinks we should be doing this or that” are common phrases that parents are attempting to use with their child’s high school coaches.  (See above statement about parents thinking they can do a better job coaching.)

Now, not all AAU coaches are giving false promises and hope to players.

A good friend and San Antonio Firefighter, started a local girls AAU team called the San Antonio Heat and ran the program the way that it should be run.  Coach Koby worked the girls hard, built up their confidence and prepared them for successful high school careers.  He didn’t push his way into practices or try to tell high school coaches what they should do.

I saw this first-hand when my oldest daughter Hailey wanted to play AAU basketball.  She wasn’t the level of what Coach Koby had, but he knew that she needed something at that time and agreed to work with her and even brought her to tournaments above her ability.  I will never forget that.

After taking a break, Coach Koby is back on the sideline and coaching again.

I look forward to running an article on the changing dynamics of girls AAU basketball in the state of Texas with Coach Koby soon.

Now, back to Coach Cal.

Imagine getting the best players in the country, having been wined and dined since an early age and put them all one team.

All five of Kentucky’s players will probably be in the NBA.

Anthony Davis will be the top overall pick.

What Coach Cal did was truly remarkable.  He took a team of superstars, shrunk all the egos, got them to play defense and to play as a team.  That was not an easy task.  For that, I tip my cap to him.

Now, if Coach Cal has to vacate this championship, something will need to change.

The great Fab Melo experiment is officially over in Syracuse.  Melo declared for the NBA draft and many experts predict Melo will be a second round pick.

Syracuse is better off without the distractions of Melo.  Melo let his team down and deprived the Central New York school of an opportunity to get to the final four.

I don’t see Melo being a very good pro.  I see his future as a career journeymen.

Chandler Jones, the Syracuse Orange defensive end, is projected to be a first round draft pick this month in the NFL draft.  While undersized, Jones has a non-stop motor and a ton of upside to be a solid NFL player.

Very quietly, the San Antonio Spurs continue to push along and fine tune their roster for a playoff push.  Coach Pop has strategically given rest to his key players, even listing the reason that Tim Duncan did not play one night as “OLD”.

They have won 10 in a row.

I hope I am not biased by where I live, but I think the Spurs could do some real damage in the Western Conference.

My son Andrew and I just got tickets to see the Spurs and Cavs play on my birthday, April 22.

While many experts believe the recent Heat and Thunder game was a preview of the NBA finals, the Spurs are quietly lurking in the shadows.

Did you know the Spurs are 2-1 vs. the Thunder this year?

When the Knicks signed JR Smith, they knew that you would have to take the good with the bad.  The end of the Knicks terrible loss to the Pacers was truly the bad.  Smith got into an ugly altercation with less than 10 seconds remaining in the game.

The Knicks epic collapse and defensive implosion allowed the Pacers to score 40 points in the fourth quarter and they blew a 17 point lead.  This can’t happen in a playoff hunt.  The Knicks have to close out games.  Otherwise, the PA announcer can que up the classic Willie Nelson song –“Turn out the lights, the party’s over.  They say that all good things must come to an end.”

Did you know that Steve Novak is shooting almost 50% from the three point line?  He has hit 99 of 207 shots from behind the line this year.

Tyson Chandler is leading the NBA in field goal percentage.  Chandler has made 200 of 296 shots for and incredible .676.

Dwight Howard should be embarrassed of this entire season and himself personally.

First we had the “I want to be traded, no wait, I want to stay” soap opera.

Then it’s leaked that Howard wanted his head coach Stan Van Gundy fired.

Then he goes out on the court against the Knicks and scores a pitiful 8 points.

I don’t think partial Nets owner Jay Z’s song “Ball so Hard” would apply to Howard’s performance.  The Magic have lost 5 in a row.  A team that was once a contender in the East is now a joke.    The Nets were better off not to get Howard.

I know my man @davechazzer has been on the ‘Kevin Love is a top 5 player in the NBA’ bandwagon since the beginning of the season – but more and more of us are attempting to buy seats on that wagon now.

Playing in Minnesota, Love is quietly dominating the league and putting up stats that you can only put up in video games.

Love currently is third in the NBA in scoring and second in rebounding.  He is also seventh in 3 pointers made.  Say what?  Those stats usually don’t go hand and hand.

After Ricky Rubio, I am not sure I could name another member of the T-Wolves.  Is former Niagara Falls HS and Syracuse Orange standout Jonny Flynn still playing there?  Michael Beasley?

Off topic, because that’s how I roll, whatever happened to Paul Harris?  I loved his game at Syracuse and he was teammates with Flynn on a magical NY State high school championship team.

Back to the Wolves.

With the Rubio injury, the T-Wolfs are technically not eliminated from the playoffs yet.   Why is that?

It s Kevin Love, who like Kevin Durant, is only 23!!

I will say it again.  If Love played in New York, LA, or Boston, he would be the face of the NBA.

He just might be if he continues to put up these astronomical numbers.

Do you think the Portland Trailblazers regret passing on Kevin Durant to sign Greg Oden?  Do they cry only during the season?

Alright, let’s talk Yankees baseball.

The Yankees open their season against Tampa.  It s only fitting considering many experts are predicting the Rays to win the American league.

CC Sabathia, my pick for the AL Cy Young award, will again be asked to shoulder the team.  With Michael Pineda, once slotted for the number two spot behind Sabathia and now headed to the DL, CC will need to be the dominate ace he has been in the three years since he arrived in the Bronx.

Phil Hughes had a tremendous spring and earned a spot in the rotation.  Ivan Nova did not have a good spring but last year proved to be rock solid.

Freddy Garcia is a survivor and every fifth day should keep the Yanks in ball games.

Former Dodger Hiroki Kuroda  is a question mark.  I am not sure what to expect with him.

Andy Pettite is rumored to be shooting for a mid-May return to the Bronx.

Here is my biggest concern with the Yankees and their playoff chances.  The AL East is stacked.  Tampa and Boston are legit playoff teams.  Toronto is no slouch.  Baltimore is more famous right now for the hit HBO show the Wire than for baseball, but under Buck Showalter you can always expect a competitive team.

So these teams will beat up on each other during the year.

Compare that to the AL West.  The Rangers and Angels will battle but they will also get to fatten up on Oakland and Seattle.  Next year when Houston moves into their division – please.

So the Yankees really have to win their division.  I don’t see the Yanks, Rays, and Sox all making the playoffs.

How can we do that?

A-Rod has to be A-Rod. 

Robinson Cano, my pick for AL MVP, has to continue to be one of the most feared players in the game.  Former Boston Red Sox manager and current ESPN broadcaster Terry Francona thinks Cano could hit .370 or .380 this year.

Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher and Brett Garner need to have big years.

I think Garner, if he isn’t injured, could steal 75 bases this year.

Would someone please tell Curt Schilling to work a salad into his diet?  Good gravy, I was watching Baseball tonight or something on ESPN.  He was standing to show his profile and he looked HUUUGE.

While I did like his comments regarding the Red Sox clubhouse experiencing chaos before the season starts, the man needs to work out.

And just for the record, I think the “Bloody Sock” was a fake.

Former Saints Defensive Coordinator Greg Williams is heard on audio talking about a player ACL injury and another player’s history of concussions.

Most of the conversation is normal coach talk attempting to fire up a defense.  I take exception to the fact he named players and linked them to their injuries.  Let’s face it, the NFL is a violent sport but nobody wants to see another player critically hurt.

Did Isiah Thomas really say that he was shocked that he was fired as coach at Florida International?

Follow me on twitter@yankeetodd1











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One response to “Coaches Corner – 4/7/12

  1. Jean Bloomer

    April 7, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Another great one, Todd!


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