Posts Tagged ‘NCAA’

It’s madness to do the same things year after year and expect difference results.  So, I decide to acknowledge the brilliance of the guy who started the Khan Academy to reform education.  But first, I would like to invite anyone to join our ESPN NCAA basketball groups for the men and women tournaments.  The group names are “Jawja Hoops” in both contests.  Let the basketball and rethink ranting begin.

Rethink Education: Clearly, our education system needs retooling and Salman Khan has a fresh approach.  In my community, I simply wish parents would start with using better grammar 24/7 to stop contradicting what is taught at school.

Rethink College Basketball: College basketball shouldn’t be a stepping stone for the NBA and we should have a farm system in smaller cities (similar to baseball) for those who want to be pros.  Student athletes should be just that.  In other words, the NBA D-League should be developed.

Rethink Politics and Religion: In America, we have the freedom to select our faith and politicians’ faith walks should be the foundation of their character.  They shouldn’t attempt to force their particular church on the population as a whole.  So, Mitt Romney should put the nutty factions in his party in their places about his church and any other faiths that they find “different.”

Rethink Political Leaders: The next crop of political leaders should be much better than the current ones.  On the Right, conservatives should get back to being pro-business and smaller government rather than the promoters of the next Civil War.  On the Left, liberals are actually limiting personal development with their socialist policies.  We need leaders who will speak to the people (straight, no chaser) about the limited role of government and importance personal responsibility.

Rethink Campaign Finance:  My new congressman is Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia and he was a true campaign finance rebel as a candidate for governor.  He spoke wisely of limiting the amount of contributions and that got me thinking.  Everyone knows that money runs campaigns and that those who gave money will later want something from officeholders.  If I designed a congressional candidate from the ground up or from day one, I would tell my guy to take the average income in the area, add a few zeros and that would be the total amount raised for the campaign.  (For example, 32K in average income = 320,000 funding limited.)  If elected, that person would belong to the people and wouldn’t spend time kissing up to lobbyists. 

Rethink Black Conservatives: Peace to my brothers and sisters on the political Right…I feel you…I really do.  To me, your side is right (pun intended) more often than not; but the ugly ways and methods of the far Right make the GOP unacceptable for most Blacks.  There is no place for less bitter, moderate Americans in that party.  If Jon Huntsman won the GOP nomination, I would have strongly considered voting for him in November but you cats gave cool people the boot. 

Rethink Black Liberals:  At some point, it’s not about “the man” holding us down.  It’s about us holding us down.  We must return to the driven African-Americans who beat Jim Crow; the people who knew who they were and whose they were.  The next generation of CBC members must honestly inform the community that improves start in your house…not the U.S. House.   

Rethink Hip Hop: Most of current hip hop stinks out loud.  The music glorifies the worst elements of our community and I can’t tell college students from thugs and strippers.  I know artists are free to express themselves but come on now.


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Wiley Brown, head coach at Indiana Southeast and former Louisville basketball star, grew up literally across the street from me.  We looked up to him because he was 6’8” and because he was a standup guy.  I like to think he honed his skills on the whole court in my backyard—it was dirt but still a whole court.  Brown and my sister were classmates and both basketball players but her tryout as a walk-on at Georgia Tech didn’t last a week. 

When I asked Wiley what should I do about my socks not staying up, he said use rubber bands liked the varsity.  In 1980, Brown and the Louisville Cardinals won the NCAA National Champion but dude never got the bighead.  A few years ago, he was an assistant coach with Louisville and called my sister and her husband to offer tickets to their game against UNC Charlotte.  Since my brother in law is a pastor and sports fan, Brown asked him if he would like to speak to the team and meet coach Rick Pitino before the game.  After the brief devotional, Brown asked the pastor if he would like to hold a clipboard and sit with them on the bench.  How cool is that?  He declined and sat with my sister.

The moral of the story is: when you get married, you miss out on cool stuff.  I would have been on that bench and in the huddle during each timeout. 

For the second time in my life, I will be cheering for Duke this weekend.  You know Duke has that whole Boston Celtic/Nerds v. Homeboys thing popping.  But, Wiley Brown’s late teammate Derek Smith is the father of Duke’s Nolan Smith.  An article in the local newspaper today says that Smith and Brown created the high-five back in the day.  Who knew?  The only other time I cheered for Duke was during the Grant Hill era.  Hill is just good people.   

Things have changed on East Lee Street in 30 years.  This street has produced many PHDs, Master’s degrees and military honors from modest homes paid for with real sweat. When I pickup lottery tickets and cigar wrappers today (you know what the kids do with Blunts), the youth don’t even speak.  Old ladies can’t sit on their porches because the ugliest language in the world gets pumped out of car stereos and foul mouths.  The last time Brown was home I told him we had some good point guards in the area and he looked like “now tell me about their mindset and attitude.”  At the end of the day, team sports are about building character and winning at life.  Some cats aren’t team players.   Personally, I played on the tennis squad–a squad is a group of individuals from the same school. 

Blue Dogs who voted against the healthcare bill are on the squad—not a team.  These local point guards are brilliant raw talents (like Iverson) but can they function inside the team concept.  There is no “I” in team and but their is a “u” in squad.  Okay, that doesn’t really mean anything. 


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I watched NCAA basketball, Ken Burns’ Civil War and the healthcare reform debate on T.V. yesterday.  Options and strategy came to mind involving all three. 

At Gettysburg, General Robert Lee called for Pickett’s Charge when everyone could see that a second plan of action or inaction was needed.  An officer in the field must assess the situation and make wise decisions.   On the second day at Gettysburg, Union General Joshua Chamberlain had his Maine’s 20th Infantry troops pivoted like a barn door on the hill known to history as Little Round Top.  This flanking maneuver stopped the 15th Alabama Infantry.    

In basketball, the “Dropstep” is a classic pivot move for a big player with his or her back to the rim.  The player must decide if he should do a sky-hook, turn and face the defender, drive to the basket or (if the double team comes) pass the ball out to an open teammate for a three-point shot.  The Dropstep move to the rim is a classic because the first step makes defending or blocking the shot difficult. 

With votes against healthcare reform, many Democrat members of congress made their first big step toward this year’s elections.  However, cumbersome southern GOP is likely not flexible enough to assess their options and execute a move to score.  That assessment involves analysis of their strengths and weaknesses as well as those of their opponents.  Is he out of position? 

Great generals and ball players also notice and exploit problems and confusion with the other side like General Washington crossing the Delaware River when his opponents were celebrating the holidays.  Democrats who voted against the healthcare reform legislation had genuine concerns with cost and the size of government.  They knew the November elections would be fine because their GOP opponent would be someone angry and off-putting to moderate voters.  If the GOP has smarter coaches, they would give the voters approachable options since some view those Democrats as Benedict Arnolds.

The GOP has a big man with his back to the goal that is shadowed by a tough defender.  The move would be kick the ball out to a three-point shooter if you have some of them on their team.

The Drop Step


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