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Monday, June 2, 2008

Proudest Coaching Moment

Good coaches aren't in the business because they like winning. They aren't in the business because they like the game of basketball. Good coaches are in the business because they like to help players grow. They like to teach life lessons through the game. Basketball is a great way to learn about life.

This past weekend was the State AAU tournament. We have been entered into it since March. It has been on our schedule since February. For one reason or another, we only had 6 guys for our pool games and then 5 guys for the bracket play portion. It was very disappointing in many respects, but it might have turned out to be a good thing for the guys that were there.

The first day we played two tough teams. One team was 10 deep and play a very unselfish brand of basketball. The other was super athletic and poised a different kind of problem. We won both games in narrow fashion.

Sunday, we were down to 5 guys. No subs, no resting, no assistants on the bench, no one to come bail you out if you let the team down by picking up silly fouls. It was the definition of having your back against the wall and your only way out was to fight and claw your way through. That's exactly what my team did.

In quarter final play, we played a quarter and half with 4 guys on the court. We had the game tied with two minutes to play. The other team was stalling and we were trapping with 4 guys. How do we get turnovers playing 4 versus 5? We needed to win. We didn't want to win...I swear our guys needed to win. We didn't just get one steal off of it, we got two on back to back possessions. That is pure desire and heart. Something I have questioned with my team time to time. We ended up losing, but it was one of the greatest team efforts I've seen. Especially in the AAU circuit.

We bounce back and beat a solid team that had 12 guys by 31 the next game. We played harder than they did. Less than an hour after playing a game with 5 and 4 guys. That is shear willingness to outwork a guy. That's a life trait that those players will be able to rely on for the rest of their life when things are tough and it seems like there is no way to get the job done. They've been in the position before and they know they can get it done.

The weekend could have been a disaster and a huge disappointment. We had thoughts of pulling out on Friday night. It turned out to be the proudest coaching moment of my young coaching career. I will always remember that tournament and the players that busted their ass like crazy to compete.

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