Wednesday, February 23, 2011


One mystery that is always synonymous with NBA All-Star Weekend is the trade deadline. Personally, I look forward to the trade deadline. Why? It’s the most exciting time of the season and a reminder to all of us that this game, as much as you may love it, is still a business. Every team owner, general manager, and head coach must assess their current team to see who’s worth keeping and who needs to be let go for the greater good of the team.

The end of February is near which means that 66% of the 1st quarter of 2011 is complete. No matter who your opponents have been or what the goal is for your team, the first quarter can very well set the tone for the quarters that follow. During the first quarter you’re just breaking a sweat, you’re finding out who is in a groove early, where the mismatches are and what plays are going to get the best shots most frequently. The first quarter is also the time when the coach has to figure out who he can count on to make plays consistently from 1st through 4th quarter throughout the season. The goal for your team is to compete at the highest level in order to win each quarter. The difference in your season en route to the championship is that during each quarter there is a trade deadline. Much like professional sports, you have people on your team that you need to evaluate and re-evaluate and just like most professional teammates they think they shouldn't be on the trading block. Why? In their mind they’re doing their job and helping the team. While they may be doing their job and they deserve to be in the league, they may not always be the best player for your team during this season.

The trade deadline is about the following questions:
1) What players have been instrumental to the team’s success thus far?
2) What roles have they played?
3) What do the stats indicate that your team needs the most?
4) Can you make a legit championship run with the players you have?
5) Is the team committed to your system, practice plan, vision for the franchise?
6) Who or what are you willing to give up to get to the next level?

While certain teammates undoubtedly deserve the franchise tag or a contract extension, there are players who may only be around for half the season or one full season. Other players regardless of how long they’ve been with the team may need to be traded, cut, or be sent to the D League. Is it personal? Never! It’s just business. As the player/coach you’ve got to make sure that you maintain your position and your position is determined by your team’s performance. The members you choose for each season will determine whether you just make the playoffs every season or become a storied franchise. The players on your team are fit into 2 categories; those that are in the way and those who are on their way. You’ve got major decisions to make: WHO STAYS and WHO GOES?

Rebound. Rest. Release.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


The title might get your attention or have you shaking your head. Nonetheless, all of my former players are probably smiling or laughing to themselves right now. Why? Garbage Drill, while clearly the strangest name for a basketball drill, is a drill that majority of my former players frowned upon at first but eventually grew to love and request at every practice.

Without a whistle or warning, a coach rolls the ball out onto the floor and the drill is “live”. 3 players chase the ball down and the only way get the ball is to dive on the floor. The first one to get on the floor and secure the ball then passes the ball to nearest open teammate and they all run a fast break with no defense, make the lay-up and their turn is done.

Garbage Drill has 3 rules that are non-negotiable:
1) Everyone has to dive on the floor to get the ball
2) Whoever has the ball must pass it to the nearest teammate while still on the floor
3) Everyone must communicate in order to make the basket and finish the drill

Garbage Drill has 3 Life Lessons that all of us should recognize:

* In order to get the next level you gotta get dirty and do the tasks that may have nothing to with your passion and purpose in
life and do it with tenacity.

* High Risk, High Reward: “diving” on the floor for the loose ball requires you take pre-meditated and spontaneous risks.
Whether you fail or succeed you make progress because you learn. The reward is in the risk.

* There’s pride in every job because every job has purpose. No matter where you currently find yourself working, be advised
that if you don’t do your job and play your role then the team suffers.

GARBAGE DRILL is about doing the work we often despise en route to your passion. This work is not glamorous. However, by doing this work you are creating and developing a work ethic that will eventually allow you to elevate. Take a look at some friends of ours that have benefitted from garbage drill;

Nicholas Cage – Concessions at the Movie Theatre
Russell Simmons- Orange Julius
Jill Scott- Dairy Queen, Cache, Construction Worker (Jack Hammer)
Donald Trump-Rent Collector
Bill Gates-Congressional Page at Washington State House

The only difference between you and everybody else is the willingness to clean up the garbage instead of complaining about it.


Friday, February 4, 2011

REBOUND FOR SUCCESS: Getting The Shots You Want (Step 3 of 3)

Step 3: FINE TUNE YOUR FOCUS / Is the shot in your range?

If you've assessed your spacing by determining how far away your goal is (STEP 1) and you've removed all obstacles and determined who or what's in your way (STEP 2) the third step is the most crucial; fine tuning your focus.

Fine tuning your focus requires you to determine if the shot you're going to take is the best shot available. It's not just about being able to see the goal. Often times you see the goal and rush to shoot without considering the score, the time on the shot clock, your position on the floor, where your teammates are on the floor, what play you should be running. Just because you can clearly see the goal doesn't mean that you should immediately take the shot. Each possession will require you to call a different play which entails more passing, cutting, screening, and more dribbling.

Fine tuning your focus is about being realistically yet proactively patient with the offense. Even if you have the green light from the coach and a seemingly clear path to the basket, you still have to consider what is in the best interest of the team each possession. Fine tuning your focus also means pacing yourself even when you have the hot hand. You can consistently break down defenses off the dribble, by passing or screening, but instinctively you must know which shots are truly the right ones to take.

As you are fine tuning your focus you are actually finding your range. Therefore, some risks have to be taken. By risks, I mean you should take shots when you're open, when you're not so open, before the offense has been executed and after the offense has been executed. Why do say this Coach? Making rushed shots against solid defense and missing open shots in your range help you grow. Rushed made shots give you confidence and let you know that the goal is attainable consistently but you must respect the goal enough to be patient with the progress. Made rushed shots also remind you that you can achieve the goal regardless of the adversity that awaits you. Missed open shots let you know that the shot is in your range but your confidence must always be on a higher level that will compel you to keep shooting regardless of how many times you've missed. Whether you make them or miss them, the shots that you take in your range develop a determination and a passion to knock down shots in pursuit of your goal. Getting the shots you want ultimately lead you to learn the lesson you want and need to learn; The only way misses become makes is by shooting. FINE TUNE YOUR FOCUS, FIND YOUR RANGE AND KEEP SHOOTING!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

REBOUND FOR SUCCESS: Getting the Shots You Want (Step 2 or 3)

STEP 2: REMOVE THE OBSTACLES / Who or What's in Your Way?
Insert your favorite person’s (living or dead) right here. Now, take inventory of why that person is your favorite and look at their path. See anything Intriguing? Humbling? Inspiring? Are their obstacles similar to yours? Just as easily as you’ve been blessed with gifts, you’ve been even more blessed with obstacles. Don’t worry, this is not a typo. Obstacles are blessings no matter how vicious and insurmountable they seem, especially when the plot thickens and every teammate, opponent, referee and coach has raised their level. In order to get the shots that you want you have to REMOVE OBSTACLES. Believe or not, your blessings are waiting for you on the other side. There's a lot to be said about a person who is able to get the shots they want to get in this lifetime even when it seems that odds are stacked against them. Believe it or not, obstacles aren’t moved without identification or an itinerary.

IDENTIFICATION: I want to you think about the last goal you set and failed to reach. Now, Identify the obstacle(s). Whatever the obstacle, either you saw it coming and passed the ball or you didn’t see it coming at all and got your shot blocked. As you attempt to clear a path to get the shots you want you have to look at who or what intends on impeding your progress. Once the obstacle is identified let your teammates know if you need them to clear out or set a screen. Clearing out let’s your teammates know that you are fully capable of getting whatever shot you want, you simply need their moral support & trust , while calling for a screen allows you ask more specifically for what you need in terms of their physical support to help you get an open shot.

INTINERARY: Daily you show up to the court to play. Most times you’re late because you haven’t set a time to show up. You often just pick up the ball and start dribbling with minimal tenacity, zero passion, zero focus and expect to get the shots you want. You have no warm-up, no practice plan, no workout regimen and you expect your raw talent to provide a breakthrough. Ultimately when it’s game time you find yourself complaining to the ref about missed calls or blaming your teammates when things go wrong. Ultimately, the biggest OBSTACLE is YOU. Sometimes you get in your own way by not thinking this game or planning to play through it. You fail to plan then expect and demand great things from yourself and your teammates. REMOVING OBSTACLES requires that you thoroughly conduct a scouting report so that you know what lies ahead so that your practice and preparation creates a behavior of relentless pursuit of getting the shots that you want. It requires intense visualization, a detailed practice plan, and a work ethic that doesn’t allow you leave the gym satisfied, but hungrier than you were the day before.