Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Foundation has been Laid!

Sometimes as a coach you're talking to your team, trying to get them going...sometimes you speak alittle louder ( wink-wink), sometimes you challenge guys, sometimes you go at your best player(s) and still...sometimes they won't get going! Well Monday night in Hampton was one of those days/nights. I'm not sure if it was because it we played 5 games in 9 days, the hour between the time we spoke in the locker room and the start of the game (the women's game went into overtime, then they had a discrepancy on the score) or the 30 or so minute wait after the cheerleader hit her head (hope she is okay btw...we said a prayer for her on the sideline) or these cats could have just been out of it. Whatever it was, it was one of those days! You always get one or two of those games a year and hopefully this one and the Saint Francis games were our two! We were 9-17 from the free throw line, 0-8 from the 3 point line (first time in the 3 years we've been at Morgan) and we still had a chance to win or tie the game at the end. We drew up a play and one of the guys went to the wrong spot. But hey...Mama said it would be days like that!

With all that...we were still successful in clinching the regular season title for the second consecutive year. It's a big accomplishment and I'm extremely proud of the guys. It says alot of where we've come as a program and it's important to recognize Morgan State basketball as a program now. When a program can lose the Player of the Year, the Defensive Player of the Year and the starting point guard and come back and win the conference again...speaks volumes! We are going in the right direction. I'm proud of the guys and we owe a lot to guys like Ron Timus (came back to play his last year when he didn't have to), Boubacar Coley, Jamar Smith and Jerrel Greene for taking the first steps and laying the first bricks! Thanks again fellas!

That said...WE got work to do this Saturday (Senior night at Morgan vs Del State), next Thursday ( last regular season game and it's at Coppin) and the MEAC tournament March 10-14 where we will be the number 1 seed. We want to finish strong and the only reason I'm even discussing it wit ya'll is because we've clinched the regular season already. I'm just getting in from watching the Prince George's County 3A/ 4A championship game at Wise Sr. High School this evening and thought I'd share my thoughts....we have practice at 11 a.m so ima chill and start da shut down process...I'll Holla

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Busters of da Bracket? Rodney Dangerfield or What?

The Bracketbuster is over for this year and I'm gonna share my thoughts on the topic from Morgan State's perspective anyway! Now don't get me wrong...we were definitely excited to participate in the bracketbuster and be the first HBCU (Historically Black College University) to ever participate but we were looking for a different opponent. No disrespect to Towson but we wanted to play one of the better teams in the CAA or another conference. I mean we are 18-10, first place in the MEAC and we've had some good win outside of our conference. I thought we earned the right to not have to play against a team in the bottom of another conference. It was kind of a slap in the face! As a competitor you always want the toughest competition you can get and on top of that...I heard that before the game we (Morgan State basketball program) was looked upon as part of a favorable schedule coming up for Towson!

Wow! I'm not one to put things out there and I definitely took the high road in the press conference but to be true to da folks dat Blog wit Boze...I have to speak on it alittle bit. Still taking the High road just made a slight left turn. :) The conference was just happy to participate and I understand to a certain degree but we could have made a legitimate argument to play a team with a better record. I mean the point of playing in the bracketbuster is to show where you are in regard to other teams around the country that are similar to yourselves. It's suppose to help towards the NCAA tournament selection and I know we are not in a position for an at-large bid but we still deserved the right to be matched against a team with a winning record. Sure...we lost some early games in conference to couple of teams with losing records but conference play is different. Conference teams know more about you etc. so it's a different game...hence Maryland defeating UNC even though UMD didn't have a winning record in conference play (don't start trippin folks, I'm not taking a shot at UMD...just making a point).

N T way...the fellas were ready to play and Itchy continued to impress with his leadership. He scored 14 points in the first half to carry us until the second half and the other cats got involved. He scored 2 points in the second half but in true PG fashion he scored when he needed to then got his team mates involved. He did finish with 9 assist also. We had five guys score in double figures and we'll continue to press for that day when everything clicks! But at this point in the season it's a good thing to be able to win some games eventhough we haven't hit on all cylinders yet. I'll take it could be worst huh?

We'll practice this morning before heading down to Hampton for our second conference ESPN game of the season. We'll have 2 more conference games at home (Delaware State) and one on da road (Coppin State). Man...let me get out of here and get to practice....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Get N over da Hump on Hump Day!

The win versus Howard was a good one considering we've swept them every year we've been here and they had won 5 straight at home this year and also opened their season with a victory over Oregon State. We didn't p[lay great but it was good enough for a "W". Please don't misunderstand...believe me I won't rest on that but sometimes you have to just grind out wins and keep it moving. Itchy and Marquise carried us and they should being two of the three seniors. We are trying to establish a tradition in the program where the seniors carry/ lead the team and dictate alot.

Last nights game started our stretch of 4 games in 7 days. We'll give the guys fellas the day off today and get back at it Friday for our ESPN Bracketbuster game on Saturday at Towson. We are not playing at the level that we want to play yet but we are not playing at the level we were playing at before. We're gettin better that's for sure. Every division One win is a good win so we'll take it! I'm chillin da rest of the day ya'll! Peace

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Depth has it's Advantages

Hey...last night was another grind and we learned that we can win games without our significant low post scorer rebounder playing a major role. Kevin didn't play alot, mainly because of foul trouble. Rodney Stokes had some good moments and continues to get better but Kevin Thompson is the main cat inside for us. The perimeter cats carried us thru and we survived. I thought we allowed Bethune Cookman (who by the way are well coached) to control the tempo in the first half. We probably played our worst half of the season...scoring only 19 points at half! We were able to get a lead and keep it for the rest of the half but it was a grind. Sometimes I think guys make things tougher at home because their people are in the stands and what not! They tend to get into their feelings more at home. For you folks that don't get that...gettin into feelings means...being sensitive or acting like Hey whatever you filled in the blank, you said it not me! :) Anyway, thank goodness for depth!

From Monday on we have 4 games in 7 days. We will practice today at 4 p.m and we play at Howard University on Wednesday, at Towson in the ESPN bracketbuster on Saturday at 4 p.m i think and then we travel Sunday to Hampton for an ESPN game Monday night. Matter of fact I need to be watching more tape...ima holla at ya'll soon. Peace

Sunday, February 15, 2009

One Bad apple don't spoil da whole bunch! Or does it?

You know...folks always complain about officials and sometimes it justified and sometimes it's not. I do understand that they are human and will sometimes make mistakes. But do they? Huh man? During the game we played last night vs FAMU I was and still am actually as upset as I have been with an official. He was totally inappropriate, disrespectful and bad! Not only that...he officiates in the Washington, D.C area and I NO respects the guys! Now, I know you guys are saying Wow, Boze you're really going at this guys. I've always said that if anyone can affect the outcome of a game it's an official and until the Tim Donaghy incident not many people believed it. Well, I said, they are human, with feeling etc. and so are coaches and we take all kind of harassment from fans etc. There is always a line that shouldn't be crossed. Some cross it most don't. Well, I expect the officials to do a good job every night and I have never had a problem if an official talks to me. Coaches and officials should be able to communicate with other on the floor unless and coach is getting out of hand. If he or I do then Tech the cat and keep it moving. But if you miss a call or are wrong then admit it and keep it moving but correct it. Now this a*$ gave me a tech because I looked at him! First, it took me 10 seconds to get the officials attention because the shot clock hadn't started and when I did get his attention and he began to address the folks at the scorers table, one of them suggested that it should be set at 30 something and I interjected that it couldn't be (they eventually set the clock at 17 seconds)...well this dude shouts to me to "mind yo business!, This ain't yo business!" HUH? Obviously I reminded him that this is my business...he then walks towards me and says..."That's it don't want to hear anything else from you!"

Well, I've received 3 technical fouls in 3 years and whenever an official has told me basically to chill...I have. Well, against my better judgement :) , I walked away! As play continued the action swung to our end...I was standing on the sideline as the action passed by...God forbid...I looked at the dude posing as an official. Well, he gives me a tech! I didn't open my mouth, no one from the bench said a word and even one of the other officials came by and asked me what I said. When i told him nothing...he laughed. He knows the dude is awful as well! He didn't say it but you know what I mean! Needless to say I placed a call to the Supervisor of officials as I will do if I feel an injustice has occurred or want to discuss rules etc. This guys is BAD and shouldn't be a position to affect livelihoods. If that game was close and that tech factored into the game...dude is a closed!

Ok..I got that off my chest! Whew!! Aiight...hey it was a good team win and we will continue to grind! Hey sorry I gave the cat that much attention but da blog is about the life & times of a college coach! lol Just keeping it real ya'll! Keep rolling wit a brotha! It didn't spoil my Valentine's Day that's for sure!! :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Causal Wednesdays....4 Minnesota Fatz!

Wednesday is the day that we give our guys off. The NCAA requires each team to have one day off per week and I know I've explained it before but we chose Wednesday, because we have a Saturday/ Monday schedule in the MEAC conference and I like to discuss, review, work out the kinks etc. while it's still fresh in their minds. So we practice Tuesday's, call it a mental practice, watch tape of the previous game, make adjustments if necessary, lift weights and keep it short and sweet! Once we are done with a game (the next day included) I like to move on...good or bad. That way Wednesday is a complete day weights etc. just class and we are back on the grind Thursday going hard for two days gettin ready for the weekend games!

Wednesdays are also good to run errands, get da wig cut, take care of paperwork, see recruits, do the expense report and basically to chill! I typically like to really relax on Wednesday's and free my mind, recollect my thoughts, read, return lots of phone calls (I'm so zoned out during game days and in between) and reenergize! works for me!

The NBA All-Star weekend is coming up and it's in Phoenix, Az. The last time it was there I was coaching at Cal and we just happen to be in town playing the Arizona schools. That's where I met David Justice, Kenny Lofton and some other major leaguers while we were all out shooting pool one night. Of course I won...what kind of question was that? I'm mean on pool table baby! It was poppin in Phx that weekend and I'm sure it'll be on again this weekend! I hope everyone has a safe weekend! bout an Old Timers Dunk contest! Wow..did I just say that after wishing everyone a safe weekend! LOL

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Da Formula! P+O=Success

Whew! Tough game vs South Carolina last night and I will say that we are growing as a team. It was a team win and Ameer Ali really came off the bench and gave us a big lift! He did a great job on their big...Jason Johnson (who is really good!), especially in the 2nd half. He also grabbed 14 rebounds! Quise also answered the call as well! It wasn't a pretty win but was a win none the less! Every win in division one is a good win...I've learned! I was proud of how they respond to the challenge!

I keep trying to impress upon these cats that everyone will get an opportunity to help the team at some point but you have to be ready when the opportunity comes! It's the same in life and you never know when that opportunity when come! Haters will call it luck but I don't believe it's luck. Success is Preparation and Opportunity meeting up! To be have to be prepared when the opportunity comes and when the opportunity have to be prepared! And know that the opportunity is never late...either you weren't really prepared or it wasn't the right opportunity! Keep grinding peoples! :) Da bus leave at 8...we got a long ride back to B More but it's alot easier ride after a "W"...huh man? :)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Blame da Man N da Mirror & Ur vision B comes Clearer!

I tell you what...we won the game last night at Winston-Salem but I want the fellas to understand where they are and accept responsibility more consistently! I don't know if I can say that that way but I did and hopefully you get it! lol We were down 1 at half and I thought we were lucky to be down by just that with Marquise Kately only playing 4 minutes, Rogers Barnes only playing 5 and Reggie Holmes with one bucket. Itchy carried us thru the first half playing extremely hard but I was really disappointed in how some guys would come out of the game and immediately have an excuse for the their actions! That drives me crazy! When we are playing well you can almost always bet the guys are accepting responsibility and moving on. It's something about success and young folks now. They forget quick, what got them to the point of growth. It reminded me of the movie the Bad News Bears when in the beginning of their quest they would make mistakes and argue with each other and blame. By the end of the movie they were working as a team...helping each other, accepting responsibility for their actions and winning not just ball games but winning in this game we call life!

One example I can point out quickly was, one of our guys got beat back door. He immediately turn to another team mate and started to shout something to him and I jumped up and dug in his %#@ for not only over playing the play (which they are taught not to do...we don't deny the wing) but attempting to blame someone else. There are more examples and I even read the guys a quote from Muhammad Ali where he said his fight were won during all the running, training, sparing, crunches etc. far away from the actual ring. Some of the mistakes...THE mistakes the guys make are the same ones they make in practice and I'm big on perfect practice makes perfect not just practice. I have even stressed thru my on failures and mistakes how I accepted responsibility for my actions in the past and ONLY then was I able to move on! During my transgressions I never spoke out on another coach, the university or the NCAA. I took the hit, paid my dues and moved on. It was extremely hard but necessary. Failure humbles you and embarrasses you but the good news is if you are open to why you failed you allow yourself to grow and get better. The one thing I've learned over the years is EVERY successful person has failed before. And failure isn't really failing because you really only truly fail when you quit!

We left Winston-Salem last night (We did play better the 2nd half and on one occasion a player, after making a mistake said, "I'm sorry coach I messed up"...growth baby!) and are now in Orangeburg, SC and we'll practice today at noon for our game tomorrow vs South Carolina State. It will get better cause I won't stop teaching and making them look at the man in the mirror! You didn't get THAT! :) Michael Jackson....Damn....keep up! :) lol

Saturday, February 7, 2009

U don't Come HERE alone...U shouldn't leave that way either!'s 4:20 am on Saturday morning and I'm one those cats that the minute I wake I just get up out the bed. I've always done it...never could lay and look at the sealing. Up...feet hit the floor and let's roll! Well we are in Winston-Salem, NC for our game vs Winston-Salem State University today and I'm sitting at my laptop wit George Howard playing on my iPod. As usual my mind has ALL kinds of thoughts and before i go for a run i wanted to rap wit ya'll or blog. :) lol Come on ya'll just roll wit it!

This week I found out a young fella that I coached in high school died. Now I know things like this happen alot and believe me I've seen alot of folks pass, as you've read in my blogs but I have to get this one out. R.I.P Deveran Ashe! Deveran (mid to late 30's) was a very nice and kind kid who always wanted to do right. He and this story are great examples of what I mean when I tell parents that all flowers don't bloom at the same time and if your child is excelling at sports at a young age...please be humble and try to nourish them and not think that they have arrived and that sports are not the only avenue to succeed.

Well when I got out of college and started coaching at Potomac Sr. high school (by accident and I'll tell that story another day), Taft Hickman (the coach at the time now, at Kempsville High school in VA Beach), had a boat load of talent and his young group had huge potential. Anyway, there was a group of four that were to be the next bigtime recruits and Deveran headed the group! If you have been in the D.C area long enough you know this name. He dominated the AAU & Youth Game scene (he was 14 years old)! He was the best 14 year old in the D.C area by far! The least talented of the group was the one that i gravitated to. He was a nice kid, long & lanky but just aiight as a player. Now I grew to love all these cats but the underdog (or "under doug" as they say in Baltimore...yes that's how they pronounce it!) needed someone to help get him going & I just took the kid under my wing but tried to be there for the others but you know the story. If you got talent, everybody wants to help and be your friend! Anywho, one nite one of the kids steals his sisters car and decides to go pick the fellas up & give everybody a ride where ever they wanted to go. The problem (beside the fact that he didn't have permission) was he didn't have a license (not everyone knew that part). Well two guys get in...the other (wit da single super strict Mom who wouldn't let him go that day) didn't get to go. Long story short, they were coming around a corner and the driver loss control of the car and hit a telephone pole. Car totaled, Deveran was in the front seat (Monty, the slightly taller kid who wasn't there would have been & been in da front seat cause of the leg room) and he sustained and very serious injury to his leg. Everyone in the car (the other 3) required surgery of some kind. One had a rod put in his leg, one had hip surgery and then there was Deveran. Damn! Just like that these young cats athlete careers changed forever. They all eventually played again but it's was never the same. The one that was in the car...Monty Williams, went on to grow to be 6-8, maintained a 4.0 G.P.A, play at Notre Dame and get drafted by the New Knicks, play 10 seasons in the NBA and in now an assistant coach with the Portland Trailblazers. Monty's story is a whole other blog/story but Monty and Deveran stayed in touch for the most part until about 5/6 years ago. I even spoke to "Dev" sometimes and everyone always tried to help but that pride bug stops folks from asking for help sometimes. I don't want to get into details about the events around how Dev got to where he was and why he left this world alone (NO one should go like that). A friend searched the local hospitals in New Jersey (where Deveran was bunking wit some friends) because she hadn't heard from him and found he had passed and the hospital didn't know who to contact! Sad story and there is much more to it. I kept the other cats name out for a reason and after I told Monty the news (and we reminisced)...he asked me to make sure I shared that story with my children but thought I would share it wit ya'll too! Sorry "Dev"...R.I.P young brotha...see you on the other side!

I know it was a long blog but I wanted to share, get it off my chest, whateva you want to call it! There will be a chapter with full details in my book that I have been planning on writing for a while now. Aiight ya'll! I'm going to workout and get ready for our game today. It's on ESPNU at 6 p.m then we are off to Orangeburg, South Carolina for Monday's game at South Carolina State!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Get UR Mind Right!

Ok...So Tuesday's are our mental days! What I mean is, it's the day after a game (The MEAC plays Sat. & Mon.) and I don't really like to take the day after a game off so we come in, watch game film discuss the previous game, situations etc and really try to teach the guys. We continue to talk about roles, the importance being motivated everyday and try to get the fellas talking about the game. We do get on the floor and run thru some things but we really try to grow the mental part of the game. NCAA rules require that student-athletes get one day off per week and we give our guys Wednesdays off so we can talk about the game while it's fresh in their minds and then give them the next day off. We'll be back in the gym Thursday morning at 11 am and will leave Friday for Winston-Salem, NC for our game vs WSSU on Saturday and then we play South Carolina State Monday night and will back in B-More Tuesday. Yeah, that's the routine every week.

So my Tuesday was spent watching my brother's team (George Washington University Women) practice at 11:30 am, we had lunch at Johnny Rockets then I headed to B-More for our practice at 4 pm then jetted across the city to Fairfax, VA to watch my son's high school team play at 7:30 pm. I'm really proud of how my brother handles his team and teaches those young ladies. They run some good stuff and have a lot of good young talent. Blake's team won by 20 plus and I got some quality time rapping to my seed on the way home. Full day of hoops huh? Wonderful huh? lol :) YESSIR!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Grinding & Growing with "Pride"

Last night we won a nail bitter at Delaware State 57-54. Whew! Del State is always tough to play and especially in Dover, Delaware. Last years game was a 38-36 victory and seemed like we played half court make it take. Young folks won't get that! :) Anyway, we made some really bad plays which were a direct result of a lack of focus and hopefully we can grow from it. I told the fellas that we really need to learn from those mistakes even after victories and not just from defeats. Sometimes young folks have to suffer before they learn from an experience. Maturity is learning even when things are positive or going well! Every possession was important and in the end we made free throws and Itchy made a big defensive play and converted free throws at the end to seal it for us! Grinding baby!

Comcast Sportsnet had approached me a couple of weeks ago about getting some footage of us on a road trip and yesterday was the day. You know as a coach you try to stay as routine as you can and if you do something out of the norm you really hesitate to break the routine. Well I agreed to it and they were on the bus to Dover, put a mic on me for the game and was in the locker room before, during half time and after the game. I showed the movie "Pride" on the ride to Dover, we even sat outside the arena for a minute until the movie was over it was so motivating and powerful! Great movie with tons of lessons! Great for young people and teams in general. It's based on a true story with Bernie Mac and Terrance Howard that lots of folks can relate to. No.....go get da movie peoples! I ain't gonna tell ya'll the whole joint! lol Just know my eyes water everytime I watch da movie!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Game! Super Examples!

Wow! What a great game! I was rooting for the Steelers but I loved the destiny story of the Cardinals! Every year after the Super Bowl we talk about it being the best game ever and then years game is as good if not better! Both teams made plays when that had too! And what a great lesson for young folks about not giving up and playing the entire game. Mike Tomlin the Steelers coach had a great quote after the game when asked how he felt when Arizona scored that touchdown to take the lead. My man said hey if they were going to score I would have rather they score quick so they would have time themselves. The ending of the response was the best tho...he said I felt good because it's been that way the whole year for them in terms of playing for 60 minutes! Young teams can really learn from that game! How many times have you seen folks body language change to the negative when something doesn't necessarily go their way initially. I'm on my guys about that all the time! Body language is huge to me!

Now obviously, there were many lessons to learn from a game like that but I just pointed out one that stood out to me! Great stories on both sides...I love stories of people persevering and reaching their dreams and goals! God is good! Stop tripping ya'll...I'm not saying he was rooting for one team over the other but the fact that we get lessons from so many different arenas. How faith can get you thru anything! It might not happen when you want it to but it will a matter of how bad you want it and how much you are willing to work and or keep working for it! I'm living it baby! James Harrison was cut 4 least once by the Steelers (he was the AFC Defensive player of the year this year), Kurt Warner use to bag groceries, won a Super Bowl, 2 NFL MVP awards and wasn't wanted by any other team at the beginning of the year (only as a back up with the Cardinals), I could go on and on...GREAT GAME and Congrats Pittsburgh Steeler fans! Redskins 4 Life! LOL! The dream lives on baby!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Motivated by the GIFT of another DAY!

Yesterday we won at UMES. We won by a wide margin and that was the second time we've come out strong after a loss. Young folks don't seem to understand but we will continue to try and learn em...chill folks...I know how it's supposed to be said or written! It's my blog! :) lol I stress to them to be motivated everyday...motivated by life itself! They are growing tho so we are getting there. You never want to peak to soon and February is the time that you want to start that real jellin process anyway.

We will practice today at 12 noon but the at 10 this morning we (da family) are scheduled to take some photos for the Baltimore Sun. They are sending a photographer to the house to take some pictures of us for an article that they are doing on me raising my nephew Okoye. He's been with us for almost two years now. My brother Danny passed in 07 and my sister-n-law passed almost two years before that and big brother always said that if something happen to him for me to raise his baby I'm doing what my big brother told me to do. He's a great kid and whenever I get alittle down or start missing my Pops and think of dude and the fact that he loss both parents before he turned 16. He doing great in school, is a football player and runs track. He and my son Blake were tight already and now they hang out all the time.

Practice at this point in the season is mental. We've really broken down the zone offense here lately cause we hadn't seen an awful lot of zone to this point but we most definitely will see alot more in the near future. I usually don't keep them in the gym too long but do try to keep things sharp for sure. I love I can't give up too much! It's another day ya'll!

Super Bowl tonight....I'm picking the Steelers even tho I love the destiny story of the Cardinals! Defense wins Chamionships!