Do you wanna be coached hard?

I got a bit of a surprise today when my class got out early. On my way home I was behind a Lotus and at first mistook it for an Eclipse with a bad body kit on it!  Oops, not sure that the Lotus folks would like that…

When I turned on ESPNU there was live feed from the NCSU practice facility, Coach Gottfried was miked up, and there was running commentary from experts.  I did not know that live practice on ESPN was a thing, but it was an enjoyable way to maximize the free time that I did not anticipate having.  Coach was telling Calvin Leslie (he does not call him CJ) to make himself better with every exercise and the Pack was concentrating on defense in anticipation of the UConn game.  This game is the culmination of Jimmy V week and in honor of the 30th anniversary of NCSU winning the National Championship led by Coach Valvano.  The players will be wearing a commemorative jersey that honors that win.  In place of their names on the back the quote, “don’t ever give up” will be displayed.  I think that is not a bad idea.  It can help remind your players, in the words of UNCG’s Wes Miller, “it’s the name on the front [of the jersey] and not on the back that counts.”  Team play is important even when you have superstar players on the team (think Tyler Hansbrough,  Michael Jordan, or even Cody Zeller).  Being reminded of that is important.  That came through in Coach Gottfried’s practice today.  He asked his athletes, “do you want to be coached hard?”  At first, I thought that was an odd question.  As an elite college player in a premier league, I thought getting coached hard would be a given.  With reflection, and a little chatter from the EPSN commentators, many of these players have been the stars of their high schools or league and don’t know the difference between being coached and being critiqued (something I see in many of my own classrooms).  I like that Coach G is taking the time to work on that concept!

This is a busy time of year for me- as a student, as an instructor, and as an employee-but there is so much basketball going on!  Last night, the Spartans dropped a game 90-79 to cross town rivals NC A&T.  There was lots of hustle on the court, but UNCG could not get simple shots to fall.  I think layup practice might be in order for the Spartans.  Kelvin McNeil showed some strong Spartan leadership on the court last night, both offensively and defensively   I am pretty sad that we only get to watch this smart player for one year.  Another stand out was first year player Kayel Locke.  He scored a career high 22 points and had hustle on both ends of the court.  I look forward to watching Locke mature as a player and team leader.  Both teams were respectable in their free throw  percentages:  NC A&T at 72% and UNCG at 75%, but as a testament to the hard fought game the Aggies attempted 47 FT (making 34) and the Spartans attempted 40 (making 30).  The ref’s whistles got a workout last night!

The ACC-Big Ten Challenge wrapped up with it’s first ever tie. So the series stands at 10 for the ACC, 3 for the Big Ten and this year’s 6-6 toss up. So, the rules state that in an event of a tie the previous year’s winner (Big Ten) retain the title.  ACC needs to work a little harder to get that one back!  Of course, what the ACC is going to look like this time next year is anyone’s guess.  Yesterday, Louisville was taken into the ACC on the heels of the Maryland exit.  That means that I have to watch more of Coach Patino (ugg), but hopefully this means the conference shuffle is over.  I guess this is fine, as conferences are leaving their regional roots, but I don’t want to loose things like in-state rivals and traditional venues.