Keeping It Real

 

You know. You’d really be hard pressed to find a trainer more blessed than I am with the clientele I’ve worked with over the past year and a half. I say that from the perspective of – it’s been expressed, and shown to me, that my students and their parents have an extreme level of trust in me. And in a world where it’s easy nowadays to be skeptical of pretty much everything and everyone, I’m thankful they believe in me the way they do. I will not let them down!

 

Basketball is a great love of mine, has been since I was a kid. I’ve made this game a priority in my life for such a long time. I’ve turned it into a business and a major part of my livelihood. With respect to that, honesty has in every aspect of what I do been first and foremost. So, I’m going to give it to you straight because that’s what you deserve.

 

 

I’ve had several students here recently, with the start of the new basketball season tell me that their basketball coach wishes to change their form; and that they are uncomfortable with it. Parent and student both have communicated to me, they believe in the process and the principles involved in my form – and have seen results they like. No fault of the coaches who are just doing what they think is best, and I say this with the utmost respect to all who are coaching the youth, there are not many coaches who specialize in shooting the basketball the way that I do. In many instances because they have not studied shooting the ball in depth the way that I have – they harm the process and don’t help the cause in attempts to change a kid’s shot. It’s an extremely tough situation especially for the kid – who has received training and been shown a certain way to do things and now all of a sudden it must be changed. I’m not going to lie – that bothers me!

 

Having said all that, at the end of the day, that kid plays for a coach who holds in the palm of he or she’s hand their playing time. Parents, because ultimately you have the greatest influence over the decision making of your child and their mentality at this stage in their lives; you must help your child understand and weigh the importance of these two questions. Do I listen to my coach? Or, do I listen to my trainer?

 

Students of mine both current and of the past, I, as your trainer, hold the keys to a quality jump shot. I have the ability to teach you how to make an impact on the game when the opportunity presents itself; but, the coach gives you that opportunity to display that skill. Parents, once again, I urge you to help give your child some perspective and encourage them to listen to their coach. “JC, this is your business why would you say that?” Well, because that’s truly what is best for the kid, to be given a chance to play and enjoy the game. Do not though, take on the mindset that it is pointless to come and see trainers like myself who are teaching special skills within the game. As kids grow and move forward playing basketball, having the knowledge, being equipped with valuable tools such as a quality jump shot, will benefit them greatly.

 

 

Personally, I would love the opportunity to help relieve some of the pressures on a kid when they encounter situations like the one I just described above. How can I help them adjust to the situation? How can we find a way to stick to the form, principles and foundation of a quality jump shot while also pleasing the coach? I am here for you! If you are not already booked with me and have questions you may need answers to concerning basketball, please feel free to email me at jcleebarnett@gmail.com.

 

Role-ing Into The New Season

Young hoopers!! I know you’ve been working your tails off all off season to better yourself. And now, the season is here!!! Tryouts have started and already happened for many of you to begin a brand new basketball season. What an exciting time! As you begin your season I wish for you to walk into it with a fresh new perspective.

 

Selflessness.. . We all know and recognize basketball as a team sport. But, there are five individuals out on the basketball floor who all have a role to play. Ideally, everyone comes together collectively to impact the team for a greater cause than for self – I know though, how easy it is to get caught up in making that role about you, instead of the team.

 

Understand that as insignificant as you feel your role may be right now, you have a purpose. You matter; just as much as the leading scorer, the leading assist man, or the leading rebounder. Your attitude, your hustle, your encouragement to others means just as much as any other role. Ultimately, when everyone does their job – everyone wins. So play your role with pride, and perform with some dignity.

 

Have a great season everyone!!!

Sincerely, Charlie

 

It’s usually the case that the best of the best in their craft make it to a Hall of Fame of some sort. Those individuals possess an intangible quality about them that set them apart from everyone. In the case of Charlie Hall, he couldn’t have a more fitting last name because the ‘Hall is exactly where he deserves to be; the Indiana basketball Hall of Famer is at home in the enshrinement of the greatest players, coaches and minds the state of Indiana has ever seen. Charlie is a bit before my time, but I’d heard the stories of how Charlie “the Snake” Hall could really play. As a coach, I witnessed the magic of his ’02-’03 Lady Kats basketball team as they made their undefeated run to a state title. There is an indisputable value Charlie brings to everything that he touches, that’s been evident in his time as director of Indiana All Stars. I’m pretty sure I know the reason why – he’s blessed me and touched my life with his remarkable character.

 

Hall with his girls after winning state championship in 2003.

 

It’s been 14 years since I’ve graduated from Kokomo. Often I think about when I was in high school and the wonderful time I had while I was there. Every year of school I had a weights class first thing in the morning. At the time, Kokomo’s facility was probably one of the nicest high school weight rooms in the state of Indiana. At the very center of that room was a small table, and at that table sat Mike Wade and Charlie Hall my weights instructors. Mike Wade I credit and forever indebted to for giving a little guy a chance; for believing in me enough to start me at shooting guard in competitive high school basketball, getting the chance to compete against some of the greatest competition in the state. Across from him sat Mr. Hall. In the many interactions I had with Charlie over the course of my time at Kokomo, he was such a pleasant man to talk to. What was most striking about him was that he always gave me the sensation of being full. From the age of 18 to now, it’s taken me this long to fully understand why it was I felt that way. When he and I would speak, he was always saying something that revealed something about me. A special quality that I possessed, something that he saw in me – that I could do, or noticed something that I didn’t think anybody could see in me. To anyone, especially a young man, that does so much for their self-esteem – not only that, it has great influence on that person’s next move or step in life. A single moment can leave a lifelong, lasting impression.

 

 

I’ll never forget – my senior year it was a Friday morning in weights class, and it was basketball season. When class was over and we were making our way down the steps to the locker room, a good friend of mine was asking me about the game coming that night. We were playing Richmond in Richmond, and facing a tough ball player in Dominic James. Up to that point I had seen no one as impressive or explosive as Dominic. Standing at 5’10”, the guy could literally jump up and look down into the basket. That night he went for 37 points against us and caught an alley-oop dunk with his elbows at the rim. In a losing effort we took that game into double overtime and lost on a buzzer beater 3 point shot. In the middle of telling my friend about how incredible James was, a voice from behind me says, “he doesn’t have anything on JC though!” When I heard it I looked back to find Mr. Hall standing there; so I smiled thinking he was just joking around, but he was genuine in what he said. Those are the kinds of things that set Charlie apart from everyone else to me; I received from him a regular dose of encouragement whether he realized he was doing that for me or not. I knew that I didn’t hold a candle to James, but that night against Richmond I had 12 points on 4 three pointers, and two of those shots were a huge reason we were able to battle and stay alive in overtime. Those words instantly gave me the feeling that I could do anything – and that night I made special moments and many other big moments throughout the season.

 

Indiana All-Star Devin Davis of Warren Central High School poses with game director Charlie Hall after receiving the series Most Valuable Player Award against Kentucky on Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. (Photo by Gannon Burgett for The News-Sentinel)

 

When my time came to an end at Kokomo, Charlie your kind and inspiring words did not stop there. In a final send off to me you wrote me a very special letter that I still look at to this day. And so because I just have such a high regard for you, I wanted you to know what I thought of you. Thank you sir

 

Very special letter of recommendation Charlie wrote for me my senior year.

 

(You can find a small bit of the Richmond game footage in the tribute video to Ricky “Minnesota” Cardwell starting at the 3:43 mark.)

LB Holds the Keys

 

By now, Lawrence “LB” Burnett should be a name everyone knows in the world of basketball in Kokomo. I’ve learned and taken away so much from him in the past year. For myself, working my way into the player development field – I couldn’t have asked for a better example than him. Lawrence is from Chicago, Illinois – a land foreign to Kokomo natives in the sense that our styles of basketball are very different. I’ve lived in Kokomo all 32 years of my life, and played hoops about 25 of those years. There have been tough ball players produced here; too many to name individually, but in my opinion the culture of basketball overall in the area has always been a bit passive. And that is not necessarily a bad thing – we produce jump shooters, it just comes with the territory. But since the day I met LB, he’s been on a mission not to change – but add to the culture we have here in mid-central Indiana.

 

LB (left) and assistant coach Stacey Pollard listening in on coach Matt Moore’s gameplan during a timeout.

 

In my observance of him I notice that our styles of teaching are different – that’s the reason I believe I’ve always admired his methods. LB is tough man!! And his ability to transfer that toughness into his players is incredible. You can’t buy toughness, sit up on your mantle and claim to have it – it is totally and completely a mentality, a way of life. The way in which he builds that mentality up in kids is quite unique, and effective. With him, you will be respectful, you will listen, and you will perform. After taking careful consideration of the order in which he demands these things, I realize that a kid performs simply because he has taken the time to listen; a kid will listen because he has learned a respect for authority; and respect is taught while they are young and impressionable. In a deeper evaluation of that philosophy it is actually love, that produces these results. LB through his faith, love and passion for connecting with young people is truly a good man. By everyone that I’ve seen interact with him on a regular basis, he has made a great impact on their lives and earned their respect.

 

 

LB has produced and helped along many talented ball players that have a “go get it mentality. The fruits of those gentlemen’s labor are seen in the signing of overseas contracts, and some who have even made their way to the NBA. “Go and get it”, as much as it is about pure desire to be successful by one’s own will, it’s also about the mechanics. The most valuable lesson I’ve learned from LB, is his teaching of counter moves. Out on the basketball court the environment and landscape is changing constantly. He prepares his players to the maximum, how to react to those changes and attack the basket. I especially love to incorporate this mindset into shooting the basketball, because there is nothing more rewarding to me than figuring out a way to rise up into my jump shot in reaction to what a defender has given me. Much of what I teach, more so for the older students is the art of deception, element of surprise, creating space and believe it or not closing down the space. Being a smaller guard, you have to find little ways outside of your athletic ability alone to create an opening to take your jump shot. LB’s emphases on making multiple moves work to your advantage – work! One is never going to just have a clear path to anything, even in life. Learn to create your own way!!

 

LB (middle) with two of his young guys..

 

If you’ve not yet made it a point to meet LB, please do this coming basketball season. There are very few people who know what it takes to get to the next level the way he does, and will actually give you the keys to making it happen. Take full advantage of having a man like that right here in Kokomo.

Giant Man, Giant Voice

As a Kokomo, Indiana kid just learning the game of basketball in the 90’s, the Carver Community Center was the hub of all basketball activity in the area at that time – at least in my eyes. I can still remember the smell of gym shoes, concession stand food, feeling the gentle breezes flowing through the open doors on hot summer days, and the aroma of a freshly waxed basketball court. I can even remember the very first time I’d seen the Michael Jordan painting on the east side gym wall, all lit up with lights that changed color around it. As significant an impact the senses of sight and smell have on the fondest of my early stage basketball memories – I’d have to say my sense of hearing is what I’m most thankful for in this instance. I’ll never forget the first time I heard the biggest voice this side of Heaven!

 

In the summer months, when you’d enter the front doors of the Carver Center for basketball camp, this great big voice that I described was already going. When you’re a kid 6’4” seems like a giant – who am I kidding, to me that’s still a giant; Phil “PC” Cox was that giant to me. I say this knowing full well that, “We Love This Game!!” was not created by coach Cox it was created by the NBA, but as far as I’m concerned that will forever be his trademark. For so many years I watched him with that chant, lead hundreds of kids in breaking it down at the end of the day at Carver basketball camp. I as well as so many others I’m sure, can still hear that echoing in our minds.

 

Speaking of an echo, Phil has a voice that can shake the rafters of Kokomo’s Memorial Gym. I’ve heard Phil rock the house singing the National Anthem countless times, in front of thousands of people. I’ve heard him singing beautiful songs in praises to the Lord on Sunday mornings, as I made my way to Sunday school class at Mt. Pisgah when I was small. He has used that “giant voice” of his for so much good in his life. For those of you who have read along with me as I’ve written about my journey in basketball, you know how often I express how thankful I am for how basketball has giving me the opportunity to meet extraordinary people. Phil Cox is absolutely one of those special people. His passion for investing in young people through basketball, gave me the chance to be close to him.  Because of him I learned a lot at a young age on a level not many get the chance to witness. In 1972 Phil Cox was Indiana’s Mr. Basketball, fresh off a state championship at Connersville High school – and for those of us fortunate enough to be able to play for him, we had access to a perspective on the game that was quite unique.

 

A young and multi-talented Phil Cox on the cover of a magazine with a microphone in one hand and basketball in the other.

 

The passionate Phil Cox pumping his fist in excitement.

 

Over the years I experienced a ton of basketball with my ol’ coach, traveled a long way. AAU tournaments, Middle school basketball where I competed against his teams, and then eventually high school basketball – one thing always remained constant and that was Phil’s passion and desire for teaching. Boy, if it took you several times to get something right he’d sure let you know about it – and at the very top of his lungs. But when you got it right that very first time, his smile, his reassurance and celebration of you did wonders for building up your confidence. I’ve always appreciated his passion for the game, even more so his compassion for people and even more than that for being so down to earth – all while being basketball royalty in the great “basketball state”. I know that has more to do with the Man Who lives within him – if you’ve ever met Phil the love of Jesus is all over him.

 

Cox with former Wildkat standout Alan Arnett.

 

I’m so thankful for knowing Phil Cox the man. The time he took to spend and invest in us kids means more to me than he will ever know. It was not all about basketball with him – great life lessons have been gained from knowing him, lasting relationships were made through him, entire families came together all for one purpose. As a grown man, I understand now that all those years he chose to be a part of something bigger than himself, he made the decision to fill us up with his knowledge and wisdom of the game – and of life because he loved us. And with that in mind, I know how detrimental that can be to a man’s family. From all different angles but especially emotionally and financially, it can take a real toll on a relationship. So as much as I am thankful for Phillip Cox, I am even more so for his wife Darlene. Darlene, thank you for being such a strong woman and sticking by him all these years while he builds up young men like myself. It takes such a selfless woman who often goes unseen and unnoticed, to keep a strong man standing – otherwise he would surely fall.

 

Phil and his lovely wife Darlene.

Towe, Small Stature – Giant Heart

It’s such a great thrill to me, when I learn of something I’ve been totally oblivious to for so long – and it was right under my nose the whole time. Come on my people, momma – you’re a high school basketball historian!! Monte Towe, why did nobody inform me of the incredible man?!!

 

My beautiful mother..

 

As you would expect, being from Kokomo and watching high school basketball teams from the North Central Conference roll in and out of Memorial Gym, I’d known of Kojak Fuller; standing at 5’7” he is one of the greatest small guards Indiana has ever seen out of Anderson High school. With the recognition he received, how could I not know of Kojak, his extraordinary ability and performances earned him Indiana’s Mr. Basketball in 1993. Being right around 8 years old when he graduated, I was plenty old enough to be a basketball fanatic by that point. Fuller known for his prolific scoring ability was expected to do great things, even having immense promise for the NBA. But well, the Lord had other plans for Kojak – and he is living life for God impacting the lives of young people wherever he goes through the game of basketball.

 

Kojak Fuller looking to make a pass.
Fuller interacting with a young man.

 

How could this one slip by me though? It took a lady I work with in Fairmount mentioning who he was, for me to hear his name for the first time – ever. Monte is from Converse, Indiana and attended Oak Hill High school and graduated in 1971, he’s a “Golden Eagle”. When the lady I worked with pulled him up on the internet, I was amazed by what I saw probably more because he’s just so close to where I’m from, and I had no idea. A contributing factor that could have played a role in me hearing very little about Monte, is the fact that he’s older. He was born in Marion, Indiana in 1953, that’s one year ahead of my beautiful mother, (who is not ashamed of her age btw lol) and if you’ve ever seen her, doesn’t look near the age of 63. Anyway, Towe also standing only 5’7” was such an excellent high school basketball player he was given the opportunity to play at North Carolina State for Norm Sloan. He played college ball for NC State from 1972-1975 and in his time there won the NCAA National Championship in 1974. Amongst some of Towe’s greatest honors,  was earning All-ACC recognition and receiving the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award as the year’s best college player under 6 feet tall. In my mind probably the coolest thing about Towe is his connection to greatness. To me if it weren’t for Monte Towe throwing up the alley-oop pass for his teammate to drop in the bucket, a young North Carolina kid from Wilmington maybe wouldn’t have looked up to David Thompson as his biggest role model growing up. Michael Jordan was that young kid, and in 2009 when Michael was inducted into the Naismith Memorial basketball Hall of Fame, Thompson was there by his side the entire speech.

 

Duo credited with inventing the alley-pop.
Towe and Thompson came together to win a NCAA National Championship in 1974.
Thompson with Jordan after his Hall of Fame speech.

Towe went in the 4th round of the NBA draft in 1975 to the Atlanta Hawks, but played for the Denver Nuggets from 1975-1977. When his playing days were over he joined his old former coach Norm Sloan on the NC State coaching staff and stayed with him over ten years, even when Sloan went to Florida. Monte himself received the wonderful honor of being inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.

 

Towe as a coach.

 

Monte Towe is just one of so many incredible stories of a small town kid, small in stature – with giant size heart. He as well as many others are living proof that no matter your circumstances growing up, or what size you are – you can do anything.

Matt, Moore Than Just a Coach

 

There are special people in this world that appear to go about their business as all others do – but produce differently. I thank God that He has favored me to have insight into the reasons why some things work the way they do; what is a clouded vision to many, is crystal clear to me. I appreciate that understanding, because it allows me to bring to light amazing people who have touched my life – and articulate why, they are amazing. Transparency is truly what sets us apart from one another. There is no greater component of change and inspiration than being relatable. The ability to open up not only for self – but to want to for someone else is an incredible quality to have. Some may think that being so open means you are at your weakest moment – but it is surely a way to find strength; and a way for others to find it with you.

 

Great leaders – they know how to change the environment in which they work, develop a culture that bears great fruit – because they know how to relate to those who work closely with them. Matt Moore, is as down to earth a basketball coach as you’ll ever meet; my experiences with “coach”, as I call him, are my own – so our views may be different and that’s ok. But the relationship that I’ve developed with him over the course of this past year, has truly been a blessing to me. A man who didn’t know me from Adam – wrapped his arms around me and welcomed me onto his coaching staff as if I was his own brother. I watched him keep a tightly knit group of gentlemen around him on his journey as head basketball coach at Kokomo High school. I seen how he took a group of young men with great potential, and some that were pretty rough around the edges – and helped them grow into men by the end of the season because he demanded greatness out of them; showed them that being a man is more about who you are off the basketball court, than who you are on the floor.

 

 

It did my heart good, to be a part of that environment – and he knew that. He granted me access to whatever I wanted as a coach, and allowed me to have a voice. I’m thankful that he seen something in me he knew would add value to the basketball program. Even more than him allowing me to be a part of Kokomo basketball, I am thankful for his friendship; In so many ways our home life matched up with one another. We both are married and had three kids at one time – he now has a fourth beautiful little baby girl, we worked to provide for our families and we love hoops. On several occasions we had the chance to talk, just he and I, and what I took away from those conversations with him was powerful. I found out more about who I was as a man because he allowed me to access who he was outside of being a brilliant basketball coach. I know I’m not the only person who has experienced this energy from him – but he makes you feel as if you are the only one that exists in that time with him. I know that personality resonated with everyone on the basketball staff, because I seen how that contagious mindset spread throughout an entire basketball organization. It gave us other coaches an unbelievable sense of freedom to do the exact same things he did for us, for others. We as coaches could help, and connect with our players in a way that maybe they’d never had before. What do you think that does for a young man? It breaks down walls, and barriers which possibly hinder them from being better basketball players – more importantly, better people.

 

 

Who we are as a coach of any sport and the success we have, first begins with who we are outside of the arena; and much, much more that involves being a selfless human being. Matt Moore is a great coach, because he is a great man! So, be sure that in whatever role you are currently fulfilling that you are either following selflessness, or leading selflessly. Thank you “coach” for your example.

 

 

Show Versatility

 

I met a young lady a couple of days ago that I didn’t recognize, and that’s hard here in Kokomo, Indiana. I was introduced to her by a distinguished gentleman that I know from the facility I use for my basketball program – her parents were present as well. As he proceeded to tell them who I was and about my business there, I approached the young lady with my hand extended and introduced myself as JC Barnett. Right away I noticed how shy she was. Her mother standing just to the right of her, kind of gave her a nudge to have her tell me what her name was. I then asked her where she attended school and what grade she was in. Again, with another gentle nudge her mother encouraged her to tell me that she was in the 9th grade, and that she was a basketball player. Of course naturally I asked her, “so you’ll be going out for the basketball team this coming season?” She replies with, “I don’t know, I’m not sure yet.”

 

She was such a sweet girl and it was a pleasure meeting her.. . I don’t know what will come of that young lady, or what she will decide to do – but I remember as a 9th grader, having a desire to do everything. I know most people are not like me, or think as I do as far as sports are concerned – that’s ok. One thing I did mention to her before we parted ways that day, was to be involved in as much as you possibly can. Do as much as you can handle, because that’s what helps you to thrive as a human being. The more you can put your skills and abilities on display the more opportunity you give yourself to move into different avenues in life.

 

I credit in large part, hoops, as the reason I have my current job – because of an amazing man I met on the basketball court. Being a decent football player got me a partial scholarship to a Division 3 college, which helped put a dent in high tuition. Football also is a huge part of what helped me build the confidence to be a basketball coach. I had my first experience in coaching a PAL football team in 2005 and then in 2006 I helped coach wide receivers with Aaron Alexander at Kokokomo High school, under Wayne Lance. Running track is where I met coach Byrnes, one of the kindest, most down to earth individuals I’ve ever met – he would do anything to help me or anybody else.

 

Do it all!! It does not hurt you to be an active student athlete in today’s society – it only helps you to move forward in this world.

 

Unassuming People

 

When I first met Eugene Carter, my first impression of him was that he reminded me so much of my grandfather; a kind and quiet gentleman. It’s been about a year now that I’ve known him, since I started using the facility I have for my basketball program – he’s been great, and such a gracious host to me and my students. Our relationship that started as just the occasional conversation here and there, I now make it a point to at least once a week sit down and have a nice chat with my good friend. Most times, sitting on the bleachers in a quiet basketball gym, we reminisce about the days we used to play hoops. I whip out my phone to show him footage of my playing days – and he of course looks at it with genuine interest. Eugene is from Newport, Kentucky – what us more northern Indiana folks would call the south, but it isn’t really too far; Newport is located just south of the Ohio, Kentucky border below Cincinnati. While I felt like I had a lot to share with him about hoops and the people I’ve played against, the more I started to listen to him speak about his experiences, I wanted to say less. That’s not a bad thing though – I’m more than happy to be quiet and listen to Eugene, he is truly a gem.

 

Standing at about 6’5”, Eugene is someone you look at and say – oh yeah, he was an athlete; he still has that feel about him. I learned that when he was growing up in the town of Newport, his family lived in as poor a situation as you could possibly imagine. With little to do and a basketball court just across the way from where he lived – he turned to hoops to keep himself occupied. On a dirt court, with rocks that seemed to place themselves wherever you wanted to bounce the ball – causing you to have to chase after it, Eugene developed his love for the game. The 8th grade was the first time he ever played organized ball, and as he puts it, “I was hard to handle! I had to play center, because I was taller than everybody else in my school – but most of the people I matched up against were taller than me. Boy could I leap though, I was already in the air while they were still winding up to jump. Allowed me to score and get a lot of rebounds.” It wasn’t long before he knew basketball was something that he was very good at, and could possibly be a way out of where he lived. He was absolutely right, over the course of his high school basketball career, Eugene posted numbers that would eventually place him into the Kentucky High school basketball Hall of Fame; Of course he had the opportunity to go on and play college ball too.

 

When Eugene speaks – there is a wealth of knowledge that flows, not of only about the game itself but of the people he has encountered. He says in a southern accent, “Cowens used to come by my house and wake me up in the morning to play ball”, and in my head I’m like, I know that last name but is that who he’s really talking about? So I say, “you mean, Dave Cowens?”, he says “oh yeah”. Later on he’s talking about something else and says, “that’s when Unseld and I started to get close”, and once again I ask out of curiosity, “Wes?”, he casually says, “Yes, uh huh”. As he continues to tell me story, after story about his experiences with even more basketball greats, I start to think – how many people in this world have done extraordinary things that hardly anyone knows about?

 

Dave Cowens with the Celtics
Wes Unseld with Washington Bullets

The most unassuming people have done some of the most amazing things in life – and have encountered extraordinary people. Often times we can be thrown by such humble spirits. They are the reason we should make every effort to be kind, and learn more about the people that enter into our lives – otherwise we would never know. They have something to share with us – and we have something to gain. We are more blessed by the wisdom of people like Eugene who are more than happy to share life stories with us; all we have to do is ask and we can walk away with something to apply to our own lives. So young people don’t ever be afraid to engage in conversation with someone you recognize as having a kind spirit. God has a way of putting us in a position to cross paths with someone that could tell us something that gives us a whole new perspective.

Cause and Effect

 

Everything we do has an effect on something else. If you smack a baby on the butt, that baby will surely start crying; if you put your hand on a hot stove, you most certainly will be burned. How do these things pertain to basketball? Let’s talk a little bit about defense.

 

Good hard, solid all around team defense is great for morale – means the play of everybody has been raised to another level, and is full of enthusiasm; it is essential to the success of the team. Let me give you a little perspective – truly, team defense is the effect. When everybody is playing as hard as they can on an individual level that is what binds everyone to create a solid defensive unit. The individuals are the cause of that.

 

What opportunities does that open up for you on the offensive end of the floor? When you play good solid defense, whether it be on the contest of a shot or stealing the basketball – it positions you to score much easier. When you force the offensive player to makes bad decisions, you or your teammate can make a play on the ball. In contesting every shot, I see opportunity in understanding who it is that has a better chance of rebounding the basketball and releasing down the floor. Being a smart defender presents a whole new world on the offensive end.

 

Me (as a sophomore) contesting at New Castle player’s jump shot. — Inside historic Memorial Gym

 

You as an individual have to make a decision on what kind of a player you wish to be. Will you choose to be someone who slacks on defense, and gets little opportunity to score the ball; and who doesn’t love to score? Or, will you be the kind of ball player that puts his heart into playing great defense – giving yourself chance after chance to score buckets? The choice is yours but, I hope you are putting the success of your team first and foremost. That starts with you.