Busy last couple of days at the Double Pump Dinner and Collegiate Business Conference in Los Angeles. Thursday night's dinner helps raise money for the fight against cancer.
Then, on Friday, there's a clinic featuring various coaches, athletic directors, university presidents, celebrities, media executives, and former players, including Denny Crum, Tark, Kenny Anderson, Jim Harrick, Oz
zie Smith, John Elway, Denzel Washington, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Lawrence Frank, Pat Summit, Mick Cronin, Isiah Thomas, and Chuck Daly, among others.
The Big "O" talked about the key to his development was playing against quality competition (i.e., "guys who could block my shot"). He also stressed that a club's ownership and management are the driving force to winning as "they have to make the right deal."
As an example, in BOS during the Red Auerbach era, "he made the right deals and wasn't afraid to make deals. He always went out and got veteran players and put together a bench that would not lose the game."
Jerry West, who recommend the book "Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World," argued that a team needs nine players to win, including bench players who can come in and not have "lead slippage."
According to Jerry:
- The best year's of a player's career are age 28-33;
- When you're around greatness no one has to tell you;
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar never once bitched about minutes, shots, playing time, etc.
- A great player who can defend, score, and win;
- He didn't shoot in a gym until he was in the 7th grade (to that point, he shot alone on an outdoor goal);
- Your best friends are (1) your mind and (2) dreaming.
During his panel with Isiah Thomas, Chuck Daly talked about the need to be demanding. He also spoke of his "Midnight Rule," which was putting away your feelings about a player by midnight so you can get him ready to play the next night.
Coach Daly recalled how he built up a deep resentment for his opponents (e.g., Boston).
As for his stint as coach of the "Dream Team," Coach Daly said he coached the team "like a ghost," saying as little as possible to the team. His biggest challenge was dividing 40 minutes among 12 of the greatest players in the history of the game.
Isiah Thomas compared coaching a 12-man NBA team to managing 12 mini-corporations at the same time.
He talked about playing for Bobby Knight at Indiana, recalling how he hated Coach Knight at times but, as he got older, thanked him for pushing him.
Isiah described how former Pistons teammate Dennis Rodman changed when he didn't get the contract he believed he deserved with the Pistons, saying "Sometimes the game hurts you."
According to Isiah, "Everybody loves a loser." People don't like winners. Coach Knight wanted to win every night. He wanted to kick your ass.
Tennessee's Pat Summit talked about holding firm to your expectations, holding players accountable, and recording everything.
She discussed how her system emphasizes defense ("all five players must commit to defending"), board play, and shot selection.
Her favorite part of the day is practice, where "every moment is a teaching moment."
Coach Summit does complete personality profiles on every one of her players, saying "It tell you about your players."
She recommends having at least three individual meetings with each player every season. "Have your questions ready." According to Coach Summit, you'll get more feedback from players after a loss than you will after a win.
She's dedicated to promoting the Vols program, recalling how 54 people were in the crowd at her first UT game. Today, the Lady Vols average 16,000/game.