Sunday, July 27, 2008

He who has the gold ... rules

We're not going to get carried away with it but we will from now on be posting non-WAC-related articles -- but with a basketball focus -- that we find interesting. Here's our introductory post, one that lays bare the fickleness of sportswriters and sports talkers.

We do recall that Doc Rivers was being trashed by many as not up to the task as the head coach of the Celtics -- that is, until the Boston talent base exponentially expanded and suddenly Rivers became the toast of the town -- as silly a transformation in the minds of the public as his earlier derogatory-laden rep. Always keep in mind this nuggest from Damon Runyon: "The race is not always to the swiftest, nor the battle to the strongest, but that is the way to bet."

Cheering Section
In Coaching Universe, Genius Wears Sneakers
Vincent M. Mallozzi
New York Times
July 27, 2008

Am I a genius, or what?

The past two seasons, my teams of 7- and 8-year-olds have dominated the basketball competition in the St. Joseph Elementary School league in Keyport, N.J.

I enjoy strolling the sideline and watching my big three — Matthew Fitzsimmons, a mini Bill Walton; and Shane Keenan and Ryan Knoeller, the league’s most dynamic backcourt — wreak havoc on the hardwood.

“You’re the Red Auerbach of recreation basketball,” Matthew’s father, Tom Fitzsimmons, recently said to me.

That is high praise, considering that Auerbach is largely viewed as having been a coaching genius, as was Red Holzman. Pat Riley and Phil Jackson top the list of modern-day geniuses.

One day last month, I had an interesting conversation with Kevin Loughery on the subject of basketball brilliance. Loughery, the former coach of the New York Nets of the American Basketball Association, seemed to have a hoops I.Q. as high as Julius Erving’s Afro when Dr. J was leading his Nets to two titles in the 1970s.

Just before the 1976-77 season — the first season after the A.B.A. merged with the N.B.A. — the financially troubled Nets sold Erving to the Philadelphia 76ers. Without Erving, Loughery’s defending champions fell from the A.B.A. throne to the N.B.A. cellar with a 22-60 record.

“Suddenly,” Loughery said with a sad chuckle, “I got dumb overnight.....”

Go here for the remainder.

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