Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gardening 101....the first seeding

So we played our first game of the Canadian exhibition tour last night. I wanted to blog about it last night but was really tried and turned in right after dinner. There was a ship on the river that set off fire works late last night that lit up my entire room. It was nice and must be a tradition here because there were hundreds of folks sitting out by the river enjoying the event.

Well, we lost the game 85-78 but it really gave me a chance to learn a lot about my team. First of all, I knew coming into international play that the officiating would be a challenge so my main focus was to allow the returning guys to blend with the newcomers to form their personality. I believe each year, each team develops it's own personality from the core or the stronger players. The way we play and the discipline of the approach is always the same but each team has a different personality. We are here without 3 players and Gene Johnson (probably out for the season and expected to have surgery soon) and Marquise Kately (knee soreness) didn't play. Please don't interpret the details as an excuse cause they are not. It's really, really early and it's important to learn your team now, introduce things, get valuable tape( to teach from cause tape don't lie) and allow the young guys to get their feet wet. We did some very good things out there and I was please overall with the effort and the fact that they didn't quit. We actually led by 12 or 13 in the first half but the score keepers continually jacked up the score board and the time. Hey part of it....I didn't respond to any of it because the purpose of the games was exactly what I stated earlier. Desmond Thomas, Sean Thomas, Kevin Thompson and Ameer Ali did some really good things and showed a lot of toughness. We clearly haven't been through pre-season conditioning or individual workouts and it showed. The fellas are definitely out of shape but trust me...they will get there. The good thing is that the players all realize it and made the same comment. Growth baby....that's what we're looking for! Buford Foote and Troy Smith, the JUCO transfers did some nice things and will contribute nicely this year. Rogers Barnes, Jermaine Bolden and Reggie Holmes did the bulk of the scoring and were good leaders as well. Oh yeah big Rodney Stokes showed signs that he has grown as a player but got a big gash under his eye and had to leave the game. Probably will get a couple stitches and might not play today.

Both teams made 32 field goals, we made 2 more 3 pointers than them but they were 14-23 from the free throw line and we were 5-8. Enough said right? We do have to learn to play better defense without fouling. I don't like losing games or anything for that matter but I know you have to keep these things in it's proper prospective. We're planting seeds baby...just gotta water and nurture them now. We play at 1 p.m today against the home/host team who got beat up by Southern Illinois last. SIU literally put a physical beating on them. They, meaning SIU, are a really tough team and play extremely aggressive and that's why all of their guards were fouled out of the game. But they held on and won so now it's our turn to go at Windsor University. Let me go check on my seeds cause before you know it, it'll be harvest time! Yeah...that's what this whole process is about!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Old friends and "OLD" friend! and The Canadian Rush!

We arrived in Windsor last night around 9:30 p.m.. We left Baltimore at 2:07 p.m. for Chicago to connect to our next flight to Detroit. While in the airport in Chicago I ran into Cole Aldrich (Kansas Jawhawk center that I coached at ABCD camp one summer). I had a chance to congratulate him on winning the National Championship (I haven't seen him since camp but talk to his coaches at Kansas all the time) and rap to Bill Self (head coach of Kansas) and Kurtis Townsend (assistant coach at Kansas and one of my former assistants at Cal). I know there are quite a few teams in Canada this weekend playing exhibition games. The Kansas team was headed to Ottawa for three games. We joked around and wished each other luck on the trips and the upcoming season, they caught their connection and Mike Cannon (our trainer) and I ran to terminal 3 to get some Garrett's popcorn! If you don't you need to try the Carmel and Cheese mix! It's off the hook! Anyone who has had it or lives in Chi town will tell you! They just opened up a store in the airport and there wasn't a line. That won't last for long!

Once in the big D, we got our bags and proceeded to our bus (freshmen have to carry the bulk of the bags....uniforms, camera etc. A rule I've always had. Yes! Jason Kidd carried bags as a freshmen). After a rather lengthy stop at customs we arrived at the Hilton ready to eat. The hotel is right on the Detroit river and we are looking at Detroit from our hotel windows. Detroit is the location of the 2009 Final Four. So we're getting a scouting report on things to do during the Final Four cause from what we hear, a lot of the coaches functions will take place in Windsor.

Well if your looking for me to say we ate at great ain't gonna happen. The rest of the staff ate what was suppose to be Gyros but it wasn't very appealing to me so I took down their insurance information, had them write down what they wanted me to say to their loved ones and went next door and had some pizza. lol They all wished they had waited and had some pizza pie! Throw back saying huh? When we got back to the hotel around 12 midnight or so...I ran into the basketball team from Southern Illinois. They are in Windsor playing the same teams we are playing. I had a chance to rap to Chris Lowery, their head coach and meet his wife for the first time. Chris and I know each other and have rapped before but I didn't know that he was a player on the Southern Illinois team that was in the same NCAA region with my Cal team in 1993. That year they lost to Duke in the first round and we beat Duke to advance to the sweet 16. Damn! I told him....I feel really old now! Chris is doing a great job at SIU and they are lucky to have him.

I'm up this morning reflecting on the travel day, listening to Al Green (on my iPod i-Fusion) and getting ready for our 10:30 a.m practice. We play tonight at 7 p.m. I think I need to research how to get my AARP card next! Take Me To The River........Al Green.....keep up folks! :)

Friday, August 29, 2008

To "TOP" it "OFF"!

As I was driving my 16 yr old son, Blake to the subway, this morning for school, I took the opportunity to share my thoughts on the historic perspective of Barack Obama's speech we watched last night. I told him that I really wish his "Poppi", my Dad, and his great grandparents were here to witness that great moment in. I continued to think out loud how far we have come as a people: how difficult it was for a a black man raising a son, or daughter, telling them they can be anything they want to be, but knowing deep inside, that they really couldn't; how generations of blacks folks before us, at one point, weren't allow to learn to read, yet alone, vote and participate in decisions for this country that we were a part of building. I want him to understand the obligation he has to respect the road traveled and paved that creates the opportunities he has today. I told him I feel like a "LID" was taken off last night. Even though we were always told we could be what we wanted to be...there was always a "LID" or a cap (spoken or unspoken) on how far you could really go. The word History doesn't seem like it adequately represents what happened last night! I shed a tear for my Pop and grandparents last night and felt a tremendous amount of pride this morning to be able to tell my son that HE...could be anything he wanted to be....even the President of the United States! WOW! I can't tell you how good it felt as he was gettin out the car and we exchanged our "I love you's", how good it felt to tell him to continue to work as hard as he can cause there is NO limit to what you can do. There really isn't!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Run for the Boarder!

We are ending training camp tomorrow and leaving town Friday for Canada. We will play two games in Windsor, Saturday and Sunday, and return home Monday afternoon. It's been a good ten days of hard work and the fellas have earned some fun! A couple of guys won't make the trip but most will. I'm looking forward to this team developing it's own personality and actually playing some games against someone or a team(s) that you aren't familiar with is a good start. The rim broke in practice today and for the sake of time and not having to wait for someone to fix it tomorrow....I grabbed a wrench and a new rim and replaced it myself. Got to get it done baby! The practice must go on!

I'm really enjoying this present walk in history! Barack Obama receiving the Democratic nod and formally representing the Democrats in the Presidential race. It's gonna be interesting as we get closer to November. My last comment about the Democratic Convention, to this point, is that Hillary Clinton hit a home run with her speech. Let's move on people and right this ship we call the United States. Peace and I'll shout at ya'll from across the boarder! The Northern Boarder that is!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Midnight League....USA Redeems wit this Team!

CONGRATULATIONS USA BASKETBALL! Way to bring the Gold Medal back to the United States! It gives you a tremendous amount of pride when you watch your country win! Dwayne Wade is my MVP for the Olympics but Kobe Bryant was an ASSASSIN tonight! The cat took over the game in the 4th quarter and that's why he was the MVP of the NBA this past season. The team played great, everybody contributed was good stuff. Got to get some sleep....we pratcice at 9am. Gotta love it!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Serving Barbeque Ribs! Or Being Served Barbeque Ribs! Cookout N Canada!

Next summer I’m going to start training for the US Beach Volleyball team! Sike! Man, Dalhausser and Rogers put on a show! Great stuff! I am really enjoying watch all the events in the Olympics.

Ok, that explains why I’m up late every night even though we have been having two-a-day practices this week. We are preparing to go to Canada for Labor Day weekend to participate in 2-3 exhibition games in Windsor, Canada. Collegiate basketball teams or programs are allowed to go on foreign tours once every four years and you are given 10 practice days to prepare. It’s a great opportunity to establish a new personality for your team (if you’ve lost a lot from the previous year) or to implement new strategies for the upcoming season. The practices have been tough and the guys are really hurting right now, but they’ll get over it. Normally when school starts you have pre-season conditioning and individual workouts (you can only workout 4 players at a time during individuals). Official practice in division 1 doesn’t start until the Friday closest to October 15th every year. So you can see that going on a foreign tour is a plus. Teams can take the tour anytime after school lets out and the incoming players can participate as well. Anyway, it’s been great getting back into the gym. I really love practice and have been looking forward to the opportunity since we schedule the trip. It’s business but its fun too and I’ll do my best to keep it lite! :) We leave August 29th and we’ll return on Labor Day. We’ll miss the cookouts or Barbeques as some folks say, but we’ll be doing what we love to do….gettin our hoop on! Of course I’m gonna Blog while I’m there! What kind of question is that? LOL

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Born in the USA...I was...Born in the

WOW! WOW! Unreal and a great sense of pride watching Michael Phelps win his 8th goal medal and break Mark Spitz’s record of 7 gold medals in the Olympics! I really love to see people reach their dreams and goals! To be able to watch him break a record that stood for over 30 years was something else. Congratulations MP! The state of Maryland will be bragging and Baltimore will claim to be the swim capital of world now! LOL! The cat is poised and humble as well. Good stuff! He’s going to have his way with the marketing and endorsement deals. And to show how popular basketball is in this country, during the interview on NBC right after winning the gold medal in the relay, Jason Lezak (who swam the final leg of the relay to win the gold) said that when they came out to swim he looked in the stands and saw LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Lezak said that there was NO way he was going to let those guys down. Wow again! Compliments don’t get any bigger than that.

The Redeem Team looked good this morning versus Spain. They are really playing great defense and Dwayne Wade is the MVP so far. Yeah…that’s my opinion. :) The dude is playing with a lot of energy and bounce. J Kidd is driving the Team USA bus (as the unquestioned leader, getting everyone involved…unselfish as always), Chris Paul is getting into the paint at will, LeBron is growing up in front of us being a vocal leader along with displaying his big-time talent and Kobe is being Kobe, the best player on the planet. They look like they are going to take the gold medal for sure but you never know. There is a reason why you have to actually play the games.

Oh yeah...props to Dara Torres for displaying great sportsmanship and winning a medal (Sliver but for all intensive purposes a gold in my book) in the Olympics at 41 years of age! One for us 40 somethings! 40's the new 30!!!

Now, for the sprinter from Jamaica! This dude is off the charts with his talent too! He set a world record in the 100 meters and looked like he was chillin on an afternoon stroll. The cat started celebrating 4 to 5 meters before the finish line. Damn! That was unbelievable! His nickname is “Lightning” and he lived up to it for sure. He looked like a cheetah out there on the track. Unbelievable and the cat is just 21 years old. Gracious in victory he was not but hey, I ain’t mad at him. Do your thing young fella, for now. I’m sure we have a young sprinter in training somewhere that will break his records someday…hey this is the USA!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Changing Times!!! Changing Clothes! 2 text or Not to Text....that is da ?

Ok…so we are in the 3rd day of camp this week but before I go the camp I have a breakfast meeting in downtown Baltimore, at the Center Club in the Legg Mason building, which starts at 7:30 am. Camp starts at 9 am but the staff is aware that I am going to be late. Good thing I have great administrators and head counselors working the camp as well, cause starting the camp day off well is really important to me. Aiight (hey don’t trip, that’s how my son sends text messages to me! “im aiight dad” w/e!), so the breakfast is a networking breakfast arranged by Visionary Marking Group (VMG) titled, Connecting the Dots Power Breakfast. The breakfast was an opportunity for Morgan State athletics, which is one of VMG’s clients, to connect with and influence key target audiences. There were four speakers, which included the head football coach at Morgan State, Don Hill and the cat writing this blog. Coach Hill and I spoke to the vision for our programs and how we could become successful partners with the companies in attendance. It’s a sponsorship program people! C’mon, just kidding, I know everyone got that! Right! Hey I’m just having fun. It was a great presentation by VMG and Morgan State did themselves right (or “a solid”) by hiring LaRian Finney’s group to market the Morgan State bears. It's a great new way to enhance marketing opportunities!Times are changing baby!

Anyway, immediately after the program ended I had to find a phone booth (wow, they don’t have those any more), and change into super camp coach and get back to the Bowie City gym before the campers tore it down. I arrived at camp to find that the younger group, which is called the NCAA division, had rehearsed a cheer for Coach Bozeman that showed him that “THEY” were ready to have a great day at camp. So I proceeded to jump in the middle of the midgets and groove to their beat! Got me going! The older division, which is called the NBA, had made some trades before the trade deadline and were on their way to finishing their fundamental work before beginning their games. A couple of head on collisions, bumped knees, “he took the ball from me and won’t give it backs” and “I’m hungry…when is lunch” later and we were into the last hour of camp. Oh yeah… the T.V at the gym was on the Olympics all day so we got a chance to see Michael Phelps continue to make history!(I think the someone should have given Mark Spitz a ticket...Damn!) Man I watched hand ball for the first time and now no the rules! They actually throw alley oops on the court too! On one play, the goalie got popped in the mouth with the ball from point blank range. Smash! Man, all I know is, is if that would have happen on Georgia Ave. (Washington, D.C), North Ave. (Baltimore) or any Martin Luther King Ave (Anywhere), it would have been on! 4 Sho! Man can’t transition fast enough from texting to correct writing! Whatever(w/e)...I’ll b aiight!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Patty Cake, patty cake...baker's man! Or do Chefs have all the fun!

Camp started back up today! It’s the first day of my second session of the summer. We hold the camp at the City of Bowie Gym, in Bowie, Md. Today was just registration and evaluation. The day only lasted 3 hours. It began at 1 pm and ended at 4. It’s really good to see the campers after having them earlier in the summer and now catching them at the end of the summer. There is always a lot of growth in them. Some campers that are regulars might have missed the first session, which we held in June, but then returned for the second session to sharpen up their fundamentals right before school starts.

We focus on a lot of fundamental work. We spend a lot of time on ball handling, footwork, team work and a basic understanding of the game and how to play. I always tell the campers that you can’t become a great player by just attending camp. If you want to be very good, you have to spend a lot of time by yourself, working on your game. I try to give them as much as I can in a week session. If they walk away from camp and have learned just one thing, then the mission is accomplished! We have camper that have been attending our camp for years. Some campers have been coming since they were 5 years old and to see the growth in their games is a unbelievable feeling. Yes they play game during the day, but they also spend a lot of time on the fundamentals of the game. I really try hard not to make it a baby sitting service. Most of the campers are exhausted by Wednesday, which is mid-week. You can see the differenced in how they come in each day. I make it a point to personally greet every camper in the morning as they are dropped off by their parents or rides. I know the majority by name and only struggle with the new camper but it’s a matter of time before a situation arises and you are forced to remember their names. Camp is a beast and it really wears you out but, I really love sharing my knowledge with the youngsters! The game of Basketball has been good to me. It paid for my education, it has allowed me to see the world, it has given me an opportunity to make a living and it has taught me valuable lessons. Life and basketball (sports in general) mirror each other and the same components that create success in one are the same that create success in the other. Dedication, Determination, sacrifice, perseverance, over coming adversity, planning and hard work are just a few of the ingredients that will help bake a cake of success! Eat up youngsters! Everyone wants a piece of that cake but, not everyone can learn to enjoy the art of cooking it!

Friday, August 8, 2008

"It's gettin HOT in here".....I wanna take my clothes off

It's just a line from a song folks....don't trip!

The air condition in the athletic department was off at the beginning of the week. Man, you talking about HOT! It was ridiculous! Fortunately for us it was turned back on or re-started by Wednesday morning. It felt like a sauna in there. People were working with the lights off, doors open fans blowing and it was still a sweat box! It’s back to cool now….Thank God!

The floor in Hill Field house is complete and it looks really good! They took the athletic department Bear and placed it center court. They also replaced the baseline art work and placed bear paws on the court as well. It really looks good! Congratulations on a job well done! It’s a big time floor and we’ll have fun playing on it this season. did a story last week and emphasized the fact that we were 12-0 at home last season and for the past two seasons….Hill Field House has been the toughest place to play in the MEAC. The last few home games drew huge crowds and the last two were packed! It was the first time in my two seasons that I actually saw people have to walk up top to find a seat. Hopefully we will build on the momentum from lat season’s home stand. Every season brings on new challenges and this year will not be any different. I’m looking forward to it. I know I was going to talk about our upcoming foreign tour to Canada….but I’ll wait til next time. Volleyball practice starts today! Go get em Coach Bozier, best wishes for a great season! We’ll be there rooting you guys on!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rest and Re...laxation! Everybody needs some

After the last day of the summer recruiting I went to Myrtle Beach for a three day golf outing with 40 buddies. We get together every year and play golf Ryder Cup style. I have to say that it is BIG TIME Fun! We have a blast and it is like going to camp as an adult. I won’t mention anyone’s name but there are good dudes from all around the country and we gather for golf and fellowship! Now, this was the 5th year of the tournament. The first two years that I attended, I finished last. The 3rd year I moved up in the rankings and this year…BAM! I moved up to another level and took a higher handicap! I was unofficially voted most improved for the weekend. That didn’t stop me from getting hit by a ball! I have a serious bruise to show for it too! I really look forward to this weekend every year because the fellas are some really good cats and the guys that run the event are first class and run the event in a first class manner. The crystal trophies(for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place) are great and the team awards are special as well. By the way yours truly was on the winning team for the first time in 4 years! You couldn’t “Tell me Nuthing!”...a little, Kanye West there.

Well I’m now back in the saddle and looking forward to an exciting basketball season. We will have an opportunity to practice a little early starting August 19th. I’ll fill you in later…gotta run.