Pin It
Favorite

The Right Way 

Publisher's Note

click to enlarge art19077.jpg

When you answer the phone on a Sunday night, just before basketball season, chances are you’ll be coaching your son’s sixth grade Y-ball team by the time you hang up. That’s what happened to me in October. So I picked up a copy of Jerry Krause’s Basketball Skills and Drills and printed out UCLA Coach John Wooden’s famous “Pyramid of Success.”

I once heard Bill Walton talk about how Coach Wooden literally coached him on how to put on his socks and shoes. In life and basketball, there’s a right way to do everything. At our first practice, just after every kid spent the warm-up jacking three-pointers, I announced my team rule: No shooting threes. My playbook was also three words long: Take good shots.

Mainly I wanted to introduce the idea of team ball to kids who have been led to think basketball is all dunks and trash-talk. I even gave them some Wooden-isms to ponder, like, “The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.”

Now I think of that quote every time I watch the Gonzaga Bulldogs play. This team shares the ball and takes good shots. But it’s not as easy as they make it look. Yes, it takes a team-first attitude, but it also takes the right coaching and the right players. Like Kelly Olynyk, for example, a nightmare matchup with flourishes of Tom Chambers and Kevin McHale in his game. Elias Harris’s one-step-to-the-basket move has left many a power forward powerless as he scores. Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell just do not turn the ball over much — it’s like putting turbo boosters on the team’s offensive efficiency. David Stockton’s genes are showing, as he puts pass after pass in the spot where his teammates would dream it to be. And Mike Hart is living proof of the classic Wooden line: “There is no substitution for work.”

Most important, Mark Few could be coaching someplace like Oregon or Arizona today, but he stayed. Rather than falling into the never-ending search for greener grass that plagues his profession, he decided to build his own pyramid of success right here in Spokane, block by block.

Few has been climbing the pyramid his whole career; he would know that Coach Wooden capped his creation with “faith” and “patience” as the keys. Now all the faith, teamwork and patience is paying off for Zag Nation — from players and coaches to the Kennel Club to kids who wants to grow up to be like Mike (Hart, that is) and to every Zag-shirt wearing fan in between.

But why does America seem to love the Zags, too? Especially after last year’s spectacle of a team with six NBA draftees (many one-and-done) winning it all, sports fans everywhere can feel the karma of a team that is doing it the right way — the Wooden Way. 

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • Class Act
  • Class Act

    Seeing through money differences can build relationships focused on fairness
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Don's Ultimate Con
  • Don's Ultimate Con

    Trail Mix: Trump's birther problems and Johnson's polls
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Transparent Motives
  • Transparent Motives

    One candidate's an open book; the other is shrouded in secrecy. Guess which one isn't transparent enough
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion

Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion @ Mobius Science Center

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Ted S. McGregor Jr.

  • After the Deluge
  • After the Deluge

    Cleaning up Trump's hot mess is going to take some heroic leadership
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • <b>From Crimson &#10;to Purple</b>
  • From Crimson to Purple

    Bob Gregory was a Spokane-bred Cougar through and through; now he's prowling the sidelines for the Huskies
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • Staying Engaged
  • Staying Engaged

    From the Mayfair Cafe to Central Park
    • Aug 4, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


trail mix


Briefs


green zone


marijuana


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Chasing Whales
  • Chasing Whales

    Let's focus less on courting big companies and focus more on nurturing big ideas
    • Feb 5, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation