Recent antics of Knuckleheads Club: JR Smith tries to untie shoelaces of opponents, a strategy so subtle that it only took a referee one second to figure it out. I can just imagine what was going through Shaun Marion's mind as he looked down at Smith. I hope the word "knucklehead" was part of his thinking. Check out Smith's eyes. Nobody's home.
Speaking of Knuckleheads. How about Dennis Rodman as the president of the Knucklehead Club for his attempt at basketball diplomacy with one of the worst abusers of human rights in the world, North Korea's present dictator?
On the literature side of the North Korea thing, try reading James Church's wonderful Inspector O detective mystery novels set in North Korea that provide a marvelously nuanced view of a totalitarian state. It would serve Rodman right if Inspector O arrested Rodman on some trumped up charge and sent him to an indoctrination camp.
Sacramento Kings Watch:
I remember the first three years JJ Redick played in the NBA with Orlando. The Duke star, a first round draft choice, looked like a washout. To his credit and honor, he worked his butt off and learned how to play in the NBA. That, coupled with an undeniable long range jumper, has turned him into a valuable asset on the court. Could this be what will happen down the road with Jimmer Freddette? This year I see some steady improvement on defense, which was (and perhaps still is) his principal problem. Even though he lacks NBA speed, it appears like he's learning how to play D. More power to him. And, like JJ Redick, he's learning how to free himself for his jumpers.
I want to make sure that when Kings rookie, second round draft choice Ray McCallum, becomes a premier point guard in the NBA for whatever team he is on (I hope the Kings' recognize his potential), I want my belief in his talent to be on record early. What I don't understand is why the Kings are not moving this kid along a little faster.Take minutes away from Marcus Thornton who doesn't really understand how to play D and is strictly a catch and shoot guy. In fact I don't see any reason to keep Thornton and his hefty contract.
DeMarcus Cousins is a power center with an accurate mid-range jumper who can dribble and pass and grab rebounds. What potential! And, he appears to be learning to control his emotions. Let's hear it for growing up. I was always struck by how much more mature my freshmen kids were once they reached their senior year. Looks as if Cousins might be in his junior year. What do you think?
I continue to be astounded by the shooting technique of most basketball players from high school through the pros. (Just watch some of the pros on the freethrow line. Makes me want to gag). It's not that there aren't good models available to learn from. Most frequently what I notice are shooting hands and extension. What should the hands and arms look like? Easy. Vidotape Ray Allen, Kevin Love, Kobe Bryant, Steph Curry's shooting form. Have players watch and imitate. (parrots and monkey's can imitate, right?). If your form does not conform to these player's shooting forms, you're NOT shooting correctly. And please, please, coaches, don't allow your players to shoot FLAT shots. Kids who shoot FLAT have to be so much more accurate than shooters who put a 45 degree arc on the ball that allows for the full 18 inches diameter of the rim. If you don't know what I'm talking about COACHES, then you might want to go back to COACHING SCHOOL.
As the Sochi Winter Olympic Games approach, I've become fascinated with curling. Here's a poem on this deceptively difficult sport.
The Curlers at Dusk by David Roderick
At first we look like nomads plodding
against wind, black-booted, fur-clad,
with forty pound stones chained
to our backs, cut we have come to shoot
in the hack, to hurl stones
over a glistening ice bed at dusk.
As our quoits slide across ice, one by one,
and knock against others or spin alone,
we bellow songs of warmth and swig
from bladder-bags of cider and gin.
With brooms we whisk ice-dust
to guide each stone into the hours:
that faint target we stained to the river
with the blood of a barren sow.
See us now, caught in the torchlit flow
as the final quoit curls from the hand
of a bowed silhouette in the distance,
that decisive stone gliding
across ice, our shadows yoked
in the low arc of the fading light.
What my musings are all about...
Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.
The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.
The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.