I received good news on Friday that BasketCases was chosen as a Finalist for the 2009 National Indie Excellence Book Awards that honor independently published books across the country. BasketCases was one of two Finalists selected in the “Sports” category. It’s a great honor to be named as a Finalist in a national competition. I continue to say every parent, coach and official needs to read BasketCases. It’s rewarding to have book experts validate what many of you already know. BasketCases is a great book. Below is a link to more information about the Indie Excellence Awards.
Archive for May, 2009
I still don’t know who is going to win the NBA championship this year. I know that Cleveland will destroy Boston or Orlando, whoever their opponent is in the Eastern Conference Finals. I assume LA will defeat Houston, but I think a LA-Denver match-up is a toss-up, with Denver having a deeper roster and more balance, but LA having the home court advantage. A couple of thoughts about the playoffs so far:
* Ray Allen’s performance in Game 6 against Chicago was unbelievable. His long two with a toe on the line over Noah was one of the toughest, clutch shots I have ever seen.
* Doc Rivers is doing a great coaching job, considering how banged up Boston is. Pierce can only bring it every other game these days (he looks tired), Allen can be contained, Marbury and Rondo are afraid to shoot 18 footers and Scalabrine is terrible (outside being able to knock down wide open 3s). Somehow Boston won game five by a point on Big Baby’s last-second shot in a game in which their bench contributed only two points (on a Marbury runner in which I’m not sure if he even called glass)
* Overall, the officiating has been pretty solid, in my opinion. It is maddening, however, to have so many flops called as fouls. The new NBA king of flopping is Rajon Rondo, who learned from the master Sam Cassell. Dwayne Wade, Mike Bibby, Paul Pierce and Derek Fisher round out the all-NBA flop team. These guys are so trained that if a player has two hands on them, they know it’s difficult, if not impossible in some cases, for the officials to tell the difference between a push and a flop.
* I’m bored with the announcing team of Marv Albert and Reggie Miller. Doug Collins is so much better than Miller as a color analyst. It’s like Lebron vs. Rafer Alston.
* I am very impressed with Carmelo Anthony. He has really stepped up his game. So has Dirk Nowitzki, but his supporting cast is not nearly as good.
* As good as the Boston - Chicago series was to watch, the Atlanta - Miami series was just the opposite.
* Shane Battier seems like a good guy. He is playing good defense on Kobe Bryant.
* When was the last time the playoffs were affected by injuries to major stars? Kevin Garnett, Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, Manu Ginobili, Jameer Nelson are all out with injuries. Those five injured players could compete for a championship.
* What was up with Derek Fisher’s cheap shot against Luis Scola? I’m glad he was thrown out of the game and subsequently suspended. The problem with all these flagrant fouls is kids who play basketball watch television and think that is acceptable behavior. I had to throw out a kid last weekend for a unprovoked elbow to the face. I do give the kid credit, though. He apologized after the game, and his coach told me that it was the kid’s idea to apologize, not the coach’s idea.
* Looking forward to Game 7 Sunday night in Boston. There is always great energy in that arena. Boston isn’t the best team in the playoffs this year, but they are usually fin to watch.
One of the tough aspects about officiating weekend youth basketball tournaments is having to switch gears in a hurry. After working a very high level AAU championship game the weekend prior, I recently had to completely change gears and officiate second and third graders the following weekend. Like second graders need to be playing traveling basketball. It’s ridiculous. During one game, I had to tell a dad three times to either get off the court or back up to give me room to officiate on the sidelines. This dad wasn’t yelling at me; he was coaching his kid. I’ve never seen anything like it. This kid is being “in-your-face” pushed so much at a young age that I guarantee there will be problems with this family dynamic. By the way, if this dad is so into these games, why didn’t he volunteer to be the head coach or the assistant coach. Seems to me, you lose that “coaching” privilege when you don’t raise your hand to volunteer.
Some of you may know John Tauer, a psychology professor and assistant coach at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. John is also working on a book about youth sports, his from a coach/psychological perspective. John has coined the phrase WOSPs to describe Well-intended but Overly-involved Sports Parents. This is the group that thinks they are helping, thinks they know everything, but often need as much education as anybody. Read the article about John in the Star Tribune of Minneapolis.