Sunday, September 28, 2008

Momma said KNOCK U OUT!

Today…Today…The Redskins whopped the Cowboys’ BEHINDs! Yes Sir…I can’t wait to talk to all those hating Dallas fans! My man Jason Campbell is growing up in the Quarterback position! I can’t say enough to emphasize the excitement! They (all da Dallas fans) will down play it and I refuse to entertain any of them today! I know they are sitting back wondering why I haven’t called them yet. Don’t worry…it’s coming! How bout them…Oh…REDSKINS! We shut down Texas stadium! Hail to the Redskins…Hail Victory! Hail to the Redskins…FIGHT for old D.C! Yeah…Boyeeeee!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The road less traveled....learn ur lessons thru the lessons u learn

Today, Sam Cassell, of the world champion Boston Celtics spoke the team. Sam’s a good dude and I’ve known him for some time and really appreciate him taking time to share with the young fellas on the Morgan State University hoop squad. He shared his views on winning and what it takes to win (he has three NBA championship rings). He also gave our guys some good stuff on being a student-athlete and following your dreams and goals. I really like the fact that a lot of what he shared in terms of succeeding as a player or competitor were a lot of the same things that we as a coaching staff say often. Now he said those things without us speaking before he spoke to the guys. He asked the group who thought the Lakers were going to beat them and YES, I raised my hand! In the words of the late, great Bernie Mac, “I ain’t scared of them …..ers!” HA! HA! Anywho…he goes on to explain that they said they weren’t going to lose to a bunch of cats that weren’t even from the United States…the place where the game originated! And he said that when the team returned to Boston at 12:30 am after game 5, he and K.G went into the gym to work. He said K.G worked on his game for about 2 hours and when they walked through the training room (where Kendrick Perkins and Tony Allen were getting treatment in the wee hours), he shouted, “We gonna be world champions tomorrow baby!”

It’s not an accident that he’s been in the league for 16 years and knows how to win. He told the guys that when he got traded to the Clippers he asked Mike Dunleavy for tapes of their games so he could study the team and find out why they couldn’t win even though they had a lot of talent. It boiled down to the little things. Hey, I always say…the game is simple, players make it hard. Sam plans on being a coach after he retires and he traveled a different road to the NBA. He didn’t qualify for a scholarship out of high school (after signing with DePaul), went to prep school, still didn’t qualify, went to JUCO, then went to Florida State and after being passed over for lots of other guards, he was drafted late in the first round and 16 years later he tells the guys it’s an honor to play in the NBA not a privilege. Thanks Coach Cassell and by the way…Kobe is from here… homeboy!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thanksgiving isn't always just in November!

Today the fellas had a representative from Bank of America speak to them. It was a good presentation regarding bank accounts, opening an account, balancing a check book and keeping change. The guys were attentive and some have bank accounts, some don’t but they all pretty much asked questions and so…it was a good day. I think it’s important to attempt to provide these guys with information and tools that will help them beyond basketball. Some of the questions were regarding establishing credit and maintaining credit. The fellas really had their minds on their money and their money on their minds. Lol! Some of ya’ll will get that, some won’t!

Today is also Dr. Richardson’s birthday and I was glad I had a chance to see him and to congratulate him on his recent announcement that he will be retiring in December 2009. Doc has been the president of Morgan for 25 years, has done tremendous things for Morgan and deserves to chill and watch the fruits of his labor. After he hired me back into college coaching, I told him that I wasn’t having anymore children, but if I did, I would name the baby after him. Now, my baby girl would have a tough time explaining why her name was Earl but a promise is a promise! :)

Regarding his retirement, I told him that I was happy for him, sad for me. Of course he said, you’ll be just fine…that’s Doc’s way. He’s a really good cat! No disrespect intended I’m just keeping it real with the way I’ve been doing the blog ya’ll. So stop tripping! At least the term “Cat” is from his era and he can relate to it! THANKS again Dr. Richardson…for believing in one of the young Cats and GIVING him an opportunity to continue a dream!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dream On, dream on....Dream ur self a dream come true...

One of my favorite TV shows is “The Biggest Loser”! First of all, I don’t watch a lot of TV other than sports or major events, but I really like “The Biggest Loser” and American Idol. Anyway, I really like these shows because I really enjoy seeing people reach their dreams and goals. I have to admit that I tear up sometimes when the winners are crowned. You can see the relief in their faces and body language. Lives are changed on these shows and on the biggest loser, lives are saved. We all need help sometimes and this is reality TV at its best.

Any who…when you watch the show and see these people become who they once were or always wanted to be…it’s really special. Presently, the show has Family biggest losers. There are teams of two, father/son, mother/daughter, and brother/sister etc. and they work with these trainers at a ranch for weeks at a time. I won’t go through the whole process but hopefully you get the picture. This is the same feeling I get when young people (players, managers and coaches) come through the program and we play a small part in helping them reach their dreams and goals. Now…back to your regularly scheduled program…..

Monday, September 22, 2008

Homie Don't Play That!

Man…all I needed was a red nose and some extra big shoes and they would have been calling me Homie da Clown. I have a friend I grew up with that approached me back in the summer, during my camp at the Bowie Gym, and asked if I could conduct a semi clinic/birthday party for her son, Freddie. I told her I would take care of her but told her to call me later after I was done recruiting, etc. and we would talk. I had every intention to get someone to do the birthday party for her (someone to do it right now, not just to do it). Anyway, I agreed to the birthday party and to have my son, Blake, and my nephew, Okoye, assist me. WOW!

WOW again! Hey, I entertained those 5 and 6 year olds for almost 2 hours and they completely wore me out! They were cute kids and energetic but not particularly interested in the finer points of what we refer to as basketball. We did trick them into learning or participating in ball handling drills and some of the parents were amazed that we were able to hold their attention the way we did. We did relay races, played duck, duck goose and dribble tag, etc. and when the gym monitor told me the time was up….whew! I don’t know who was happier, my helpers or me! My body was beat up for sure, having played the women’s softball team Saturday and entertaining the land of the little people on Sunday, but I got my church on earlier and the Redskins won so…all is good! Some parents actually asked me if I did this on a regular basis for birthday parties and after a nice laugh, I told them…NO WAY! :) That was my first and last time! Homie Da Clown won’t have to worry about me!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Batter...Batter! Don't Start None, Won't Be None!

Well, I know you want to know all about the softball game we had today. First of all, it was A LOT of FUN! We had a good time and really enjoyed ourselves. The ladies were really good sports and the guys hammed it up as usual. I pitched, just so you know. They let us have 10 guys in the field and they also shared their gloves with us. We thought we had some gloves but Coach McClain’s friend accidently took them out of town with him. The fellas did a little chant before we got started and Mr. Carson took a picture of all of us that I can’t wait to see and put on my office wall. Then... we got it ON!

The ladies took it easy on us and didn’t throw too much HEAT! Some of the pitches were tight and I know they weren’t use to such large pitching pockets (I know I’m saying it wrong but you guys know what I mean). We started out the first inning down 2-0. The ladies were all over us! Chanting, cheering and chanting…it looked like it was going to be a long day. I actually asked Coach Bozier if we could play a couple of games, not knowing how beat up my body would feel after 7 innings. Well, needless to say, the Men’s Hoop squad came back in the game and won 6-2! As I said, it was a lot of fun and the ladies were good sports. We talked about mixing the teams up next time. It was a good day! Hey…I think the pitching was “Da Difference”! LOL

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Each One Teach One...

We started our Speaker's Bureau today. That’s a program we have where we bring in professionals from all facets of life to speak to our guys. It’s a program that I ran in my Cal days and I thought it was very productive. The speakers will range from Police officers to Nutritionists to Bank Managers to Attorneys to reformed drug addicts. In the past, I’ve had speakers that were HIV positive, media consultants and retired NBA players, so the range is far reaching. We also have a program where we will read to kids every week to put our guys in a position to give back to the local community. The obligation is to teach these guys more than just basketball and to show them how life and basketball, or sports in general, mirror each other.

We have a softball game on Saturday verses the Women’s softball team. These young ladies are really coming after us. I didn’t mean to insult or instigate anything when I proposed the game. I just wanted to do something where we could have some fun. We were planning to play the people in the financial aid and admissions office but settled on the women’s softball team and Coach Bozier has generously accommodated us. I was driving to campus the other day and some of the ladies taunted me! How bout that? I really hope they take it easy on us cause lord knows we can’t hit those speed balls they throw! We’ll see though…as Master P use to say…”We Bout, Bout It!” Bring it on ladies! lol

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Body Double Needed....Work That Body!

Today is Wednesday and it’s an individual workout day. We have four groups of four players each that we workout for 30 minutes until everyone gets an opportunity to improve their skill level. It’s an intense session and we’ve had other coaches (High school and college) sit in on the sessions to observe. This is also my third day in a row swimming. I’m trying to incorporate another form of exercise to keep my blood flowing and my weight down. I’ve been running in the mornings and swimming in the evenings, trying to shock the old body. Next week I will alternate the days and pace myself. That swimming is a beast! I’m not sure if there is another form of exercise where you use every muscle in your body. I started out with just a few laps and will increase it each day until I can do 20 laps straight and roll out! Just know that I am sleeping good at night 4 sho!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Closer I Get 2 You!

Today(Sept. 15th) marks the first day college basketball teams can start team workouts. You get an hour per week to workout the entire team. That is in addition to the workouts with no more than four players at a time and the conditioning. Makes for a long week huh? That’s the life of a college basketball player. Today’s workout was cool. We introduced some defensive concepts and will slowly incorporate our defensive schemes and principles. We still have guys throwing up because of the work. Hey I know the returners told all the new guys that, “Boze” is crazy and you better do some extra running on your own to prepare. I am excited about this day because it gets us closer to October 15th or based on the rule, we can start practice on the 17th because it’s the closest Friday to October 15th. I'm excited, but my guys will tell you that I’m always excited….I love practice, what can I say!

Friday, September 12, 2008

What have you done for me lately?

It’s Friday morning and I just dropped my baby girl off at her bus stop. As I was driving back down route 50 I reflected on yesterday’s individual workouts and was encouraged by the competitiveness of “The Bigs”. That’s the big men on the team if you’re not following. They competed in yesterday’s workouts and it was good to see. Coaching is so satisfying when you see young people grow and become more confident in themselves and their ability to go beyond what their minds initially thought they could. As I always tell the fellas though, one good day doesn’t make you a player. Anybody can have a good day (a broken clock is right twice a day), anybody can have a good week. Can you be consistent? Can you motivate yourself every time you step on the floor or wake up for that matter?

We will have a conditioning day today and we are participating in a parade tomorrow afternoon. We were invited by the mayor’s office to participate in the Parade of Champions in the city of Baltimore. The starting point is at Patterson Park but I’m not sure where it will end. It’ll be an opportunity for the fellas to receive some recognition for a successful season last year. We have to move on though and not continue to stay on last season because last season is exactly that, LAST season. We’ll have one more acknowledgement of last season when we receive our rings for winning the conference regular season title last year. We will get them right before we start our first official practice of the year on Midnight Madness. Man, let me go get my workout on cause my body keeps reminding me that the working out I did last week ain’t gonna carry me through this week! Anybody can have ONE good week huh? :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

No Pain...No Gain!

Individual workouts are done in groups of four. We generally put the point guards in a group, the 2 guards in a group, the wings in a group and the bigs in a group. They rotate in the gym every 35 minutes and go through a series of drills to fit their particular positions. This is the time to incorporate the shots the guys will get in the games and teach them the pace that we want to play. It also serves as a conditioner as well. The individual workouts are on opposite days of the team conditioning. I love this time of the year cause you have an opportunity to help guys get better, which is what you promise them during the recruiting process. So far the guys are working hard but we've had one pass out, one run to the rest room to vomit and one that couldn't finish a drill! They don't make em like they use to huh? It happens every year and whenever you try to prepare incoming guys for the difference in the level of preparation, they never truly understand until they hit that wall on the very first day. To quote one of the newcomers, "Coach, it's more than I expected, but I'll be aiight!" And in the words of Chuck Brown...."Sho your right!" :) We've got 3 more weeks of pre-season conditioning to go and it only gets worst! "Run Joe, Run Joe"....only the Go-Go folks will get that!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Boot Camp! Let's Get It On.....!

We started our conditioning program Monday afternoon. We put our guys through a test to gauge what kind of shape they are in and to no ones surprise...they still have a long way to go. The thing I will never understand is how a college athlete can ever really get out of shape. At the risk of sounding like Mr. Johnson(the old cat at the rec we all know who made us take our hat off every time we came in the door)...I wonder how a college athlete could ever get out of shape. I do realize that game shape is different but as a former college athlete...I always ran in the summers and worked at staying in some kind of shape. Hey, I would stay in shape just to avoid that burning you get in your chest when you just start to get into shape for the first time.

Just so you know, the guys generally improve their stamina once we complete the conditioning program but as a coach you would hope the new guys take heed to the returners forewarning them that the conditioning/ workouts are a BEAST dude! The next day consist of the individual workouts and then back to team conditioning the following day. It's an ongoing process that ends a couple of days before the first official day of practice, which always starts on the closest Friday to October 15th every season. That's Midnight Madness baby!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Pause for the Political Cause....Rock the Vote!

Vote People Vote! I just hope that people really get out and vote this November. The Presidential race, to me, is already written. People should still get out and vote so the process will truly represent the voice of the people. Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States. I say that because of his ability to communicate, his ability to deal with adversity, his racial makeup, his ability to move people, his calm demeanor, his position on the issues and the fact that he likes hoops! Nah…just kidding on the hoops deal. He has succeeded despite the many obstacles he has faced. No one thought he would defeat Hillary Clinton either and I don’t think women will vote for McCain just because he put a woman on the ticket. I would think that that would be insulting to women to think they would vote for a candidate just because a woman is on his ticket. Sure some folks are voting for Obama because he’s black (some in the black community are and they shouldn’t) but the majorities are not. Plus the cat represents both races and the Democrats wouldn’t just put a candidate up just to get a particular segment of votes.

Hey, the Democratic Convention's audience had much more diversity in it than the Republican Convention did. The DNC also was livelier than the RNC. You talking about boring…hey but I watched it. One, to give them a fair chance to hear what they had to say and two, so I would know where they were coming from and what angle they were going to use. I had my children watch both for the same reasons. Aiight…enough of the political rhetoric but I really do hope people get out and Vote. A lot of folks have sacrificed their lives etc. for all of us to have a right to vote. I am Todd Bozeman and I approve this message…LOL!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back Where We Started From.....

Monday September 1st was a travel day home for us. We had breakfast at Elias Deli. This was a small spot we found the first day in Windsor and it worked. It was like our dining hall. The staff got use to seeing us everyday and it was simple and easy. The bus picked us up at 10 a.m and off through customs we went. As we crossed the bridge back over to the United States, the customs police were searching under cars that were in the long lines and searching the trunks of cars etc.. One officer got on our bus and checked our passports while the others checked under the bus and in the cargo areas. They try to make sure folks don't bring anything back into the United States that's not supposed to be there. We all know that's impossible but they try. The fact that the officer got on our bus and checked the passports actually helped us clear customs faster and we were on our way to the Detroit airport. On the way to the airport we notice that certain exits were blocked off as we rode by them. The bus driver made the comment that someone important must be coming through. Then we noticed the Obama caravan, with the big bus with smoked out windows and several official cars and trucks around it as it cruised down the freeway. We gave a peace sign to Barack and his people and proceeded to the airport where it was confirmed that Barack Obama was indeed in Detroit. We arrived at the airport at 10:45 a.m but our flight wasn't scheduled to depart until 1:40 p.m.

Why they had us connect through Chicago is beyond me but that's the route we had and you know we had to hit the Garrett popcorn spot once we hit the O'hara airport. A burger at Johnny Rockets and I was done for the day. While in the airport I watched some tape of the games we played and shared some of my thoughts with some of the guys on how they can improve. Tape is the best teacher cause it doesn't lie. We really didn't play bad but we do have a lot of work to do defensively. Glad we got a head start! B-more....we're baaacck!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Every Little Step We Take....You Will Be There

Game two was against the home/host team, the Windsor University Lancers. I really thought it would be tough for us to beat the home team especially since they lost their first game vs SIU. I thought the officials would make sure they shot enough free throws or that we wouldn't have enough players on the floor to finish. Hey...I'm just being honest. Look, we are playing FIBA rules, foreign teams and fans view American teams a little different and they were already 0-1 vs the US college teams. But, we won 70-59 and the guys played better. We still didn't shoot well from the free throw line but there were some positive spots and we will build on that during the pre-season work. Rogers Barnes and Ameer Ali led us in scoring and Marquise Kately even played, which makes a difference for us too. We probably could have gotten out of Windsor after the game but our flight was not scheduled until this morning. We will have breakfast at the same deli we've been eating at and catch the bus to the airport at 10 a.m. We are connecting through Chicago so, that means more Garrett's popcorn.

Again, win, lose or draw the extra practice time and the game experience is well worth the time. It was a good trip, the guys had a chance to bond and the youngsters got a chance to play. We learned a lot about our team and tried some new things so now we have a baseline. The guys really do seem to like each other now they just have to get in shape! We took another positive step!