simplest reason for the Europeans development goes totally
unmentioned: Most European teams dont have assistant coaches,
so there are no breakdown drills. In the U.S., tall players are
sent to do post drills and small players to do dribbling drills;
but in Europe, if a coach wants to work on ballhandling, everyone
must do it because theres usually no assistant to work with
the other group. Something for American coaches to think about.
Brian McCormick, Visby, Sweden
very good point, and yet another example of the downside of specialization.
By the way, after spending the summer in South Africa with Hoops
4 Hoop, in September 2002 coach McCormick takes over the clipboard
duties with Visby Ladies
in Swedens top womens league. He had the Midas touch
as an assistant with the Western Cape All-Stars, which won South
Africas 18-and-under title; heres hoping the Ladiesll
be saying Skol at the end of this season.
enjoyed your book and found myself envious of your incredible
experience. I see youll be in Champaign this Friday . .
. Shaun Livingston is now 65" and transferring to Central
High in Peoria. He has been a disappointment to many, but
this summer has played extremely well.
Mike DeGeorge, Eureka, Ill.
enough, Shaununrecognizably tall, but just as skinny as
I remember himwas in the house at the Ft. Sooy Annual Banquet
in Champaign-Urbana on Aug. 2. He cut out early, thoughhad
to rest up for the next mornings Peoria Macker, in which
he was entered. Obviously, the verdict on Shaun, for whom expectations
have always been huge, awaits.
Also at the banquet was Gary Lemoine, a Ft. Sooy clinician and
Champaign native, who was most recently coach of the Iranian national
team. I first met him in Tehran in June 2000, believe it or notquite
an experience for us both to encounter a fellow American in such
a place. He joins Brian McCormick (above) in urging us to keep
an eye out for Lebanon at the Worlds in Indy. The Beiruters have
several poised and mature players, plus former Ole Miss Rebel
and Memphis Tam Johnny Neumann on their bench.
have a lot in common: After college I too left home to see the world.
Instead of Switzerland I headed south for El Salvador. I practiced
with a pro team in the first division, but couldnt play, as
the national league didnt allow gringos. I did however form
a Peace Corps traveling team that played around the country, and
staged hoops camps that doubled as leadership clinics. The camps
are still being run by new volunteers, and served as a blueprint
for a similar program that the national government started.
Alan Walls, Colorado Springs
shout out to coach Walls, who just hooked on as a coach in a much
less exotic place: the University of Northern Colorado. Hes
got a pretty sweet e-mail address, too: firstname.lastname@example.org.
an outstanding book, which Im recommending to hoop-loving
friends and students as well. But you imply there are not volleyball
nets in gyms, parks and schoolyards the world over. Just so you
know, volleyball is very close to being as widespread around the
world as basketball and soccer.
Nevertheless, thank you for improving Planet Earth by adding your
book to it. At the end of Ball Four, Jim Bouton wrote that
you spend your whole life gripping a baseball, only to find
out at the end that it was the other way around. The same
can be said for hoops, especially the way you examine it.
Peter Greenhill, Honolulu
has rightly called me on a crack I make early in Big Game,
when I point out that volleyball was also invented at the YMCA Training
School in Springfield, Mass., albeit a few years later. In fact,
volleyball does have extraordinary worldwide popularity, although
Id still argue that basketball has an edge in sheer omnipresence
and the way it engages the imagination. Still, I want to make clear
I intended no disrespect for Peters peeps. And the interplay
between volleyball and basketball over the yearsfrom Wilt
Chamberlain, through Keith Erickson, to Adam Keefe and Jud Buechlerhas
always been mutually supportive, and remains a topic worth exploring.
By the way, Peter is the v-ball coach at The Iolani School, where
the boys b-ballers are Hawaii state champs and annually host a terrific
holiday hoops tournament.
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