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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.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What NBA Players Need is a Little Honesty

What NBA players need is a coach who'll tell it like it is, someone like my wife, for example. Here's what she'd say to some of these overpaid children:

Dwight, you've been living on your jumping ability since you were ten years old. It's time for you to become a real center. Learn to pass, learn more than one post move, get your footwork together, and learn to shoot freethrows. No, no, don't tell me you're  trying. Just do it!

DeMarcus, baby, has anybody told you you're a baby? No, probably not. Okay, I'll admit you look like you're giving it a little effort this season, but it is not nearly enough if you're going to be the All-Star you claim you are. Lose that silly scowl, lose ten more pounds, learn how to block shots - players drive the paint against the Kings at will. Give up yelling at the refs; they could give a shit and love nothing better than to slap you with technicals. Stop pretending you're a guard and give the ball up on the break. And learn some more post moves.

Faried, I get it. Everybody gets it. You're the Manimal. Now get some skills. A simply 18 foot jumper would be nice. How about learning to shoot off the bounce?

To the entire Detroit Piston team: Guys, look around the locker room. There's a whole lot of talent here. But you're a bunch of wussies. You play no D, you don't pass the ball, you don't give a crap about your teammates. Drummund,lets start with you, you need to buckle down and learn the game. You won't be given a pass very much longer because you're young. Jennings, you have tons of talent, but you can't guard my grandmother, and you think shot first, not pass. Smith, first, start playing Defense, don't just look like you're playing D. And, for heaven's sake, study the game a little and stop relying on natural talent. Get a mid-range game.

Mr. Irving and Mr. Waiters, the two of you simply don't play any defense. Oh, Kyrie, you look shocked. Waiters, you don't look as shocked. I guess you already know you were never taught to play D in college having played only Zone. So you run around with your arm raised and call that defense. Ask Carmelo how long it took him from Syracuse to now to learn how to guard somebody, and he's still not that good at it.

Carmelo. There's no denying you are one of the great scorers of all time and possess one of the greatest jump shots of all time, but what is missing in your game? Great All-Stars make players around them better. You don't. Why is that? Could it be that you are the quintessential ball stopper? It's not a team game when all the other players are standing around watching you.

DeAndre Jordan, first and foremost you have to learn to shoot a free-throw. Isn't it embarrassing that your coach has to take you out of a game when it's crunch time because the other team will intentionally foul you?
You say you're trying? Aw, poor baby. Trying doesn't cut. Check out your teammate, Blake Griffin, he's substantially improved both freethrows and jumpers.

Mike Dunleavy, you're another guy who couldn't guard my grandmother. How is it a someone with your long arms and speed can't defend? Your father did.

Ricky Rubio, guess they never played defense in Spain, huh. Better learn soon or you won't get the big bucks when free agency comes around. By the way, you're the only European star I've seen who can't shoot the ball from any distance.

Tyson Chandler, you've never learned to shoot, not even a simply jumper from the freethrow line or a little jump hook. How is that? All these years and has nobody told you that all you're good for is the occasional dunk?

Jason Thompson, sweetheart, have you ever committed a foul you haven't shaken your head over in disbelief? How about when you push a player in back going for a rebound? It's pretty obvious.

Jimmer, Jimmer, Jimmer, you could use some footwork, some muscle. You're learning to get your shots, but the man you're guarding can still get by you any time he wants. I don't see a mean streak in you. Better get one pronto.

Andrew Bogut, you need to hire your fellow Aussie and Olympian, Matthew Dellavadova to teach you how to shoot freethrows. The basket is ten feet high and fifteen feet away. The height and distance never changes. Are you listening? NEVER CHANGES.

Well, that's what my wife would tell these professional athletes. I'm convinced that some of these athletes haven't figured out what the word professional means.

I read this morning that the Kings have another power forward. I assume they're working with a plan in mind. as much as I love Reggie Evans's rebounding, hustle, and defense, he's a "Hack a Shaq" candidate. Come on folks, can't any of the dozens of assistant coaches that proliferate on teams these days teach their players to shoot freethrows?

Go Warriors! Has the cheering stopped yet? What a stroke to get Steve Blake. This scrappy point guard is just what the doctor ordered to spell Steph Curry. Blake has been a positive force on every team he's played. He defends with intensity and skill, he looks to set up his shooters, and he doesn't back away from making shots himself. His energy is infectious. At 33 years old, he still has 3 maybe 4 solid years ahead of him.

Has anyone been noticing that Patty Mills of Saint Mary's College, my Alma mater, has found a home with the San Antonio Spurs? Patty may very well inherit the starting point guard position after Tony Parker calls it a career. Go Patty!

And, the Galloping Gaels have another player in the NBA, Matthew Dellavadova, who is proving he too can play at the next level.

First Love  by Carl Linder

Before sixteen
I was fast
enough to fake
my shadow out
and I could read
every crack and ripple
in that catch of asphalt.
I owned 
the slanted rim
the dead spot in the backboard.
Always the ball
came back.

Every day I loved
to sharpen
my shooting eye,
for the touch.
Set shot, jump shot,
layup, hook -
after a while
I  could feel
the ball hunger -
ing to clear
the lip of the rim,
the two of us
falling through.

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