Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Basketball Tuesday

Outside The Lines

I hope everyone watched Outside The Lines on ESPN. If not try to catch this past weeks repeat when it comes on. They did a great story on how HS and Travel Team coaches are competing for kids, and who actually is controlling recruitment and basketball decisions.

Great program that brought up some interesting topics. Showed Nick Irvin, one of the sons of legendary Chicago basketball power broker Mack Irving, coaching HS basketball. Seems a potentially great player transferred from another Chicago HS to Nicks school right before the playoffs started. Interesting that this kid also competed in the summer for the Irving Families AAU/Travel Team. UMMMMMMMM! Nuff Said!

They also had 3 guests in the studio including the HS Coach at Labron James old HS, John Baeline of Michigan, and our own Gary Charles sitting with a hat on his head and a frown and serious look on his face.

The topic was who is at fault? All three gave great answers but John Baeline is definitely a high profile coach now as he seemed to be very careful with his words because he did not want to piss off from the travel team or HS community. Boy was it different seeing him like this compared to how he was at LaMoyne, Richmond, and even West Virginia.

The HS Coach, who I remember being a big Sonny Viccaro guy years ago, also walked the fence. I am sure he remembers how he got to where he is and I would bet he is still involved with Labron in some capacity.

But the guy with the Hat and frown made the most sense as usual. Gary Charles, despite the frown and Hat indoors is one of the true good guys. He also is a professional who works as a bank Vice President during the day. Gary said the new term is grass root basketball. He also mentioned that yes HS coaches should have a say but so should the guy who worked with the kid from when he was in 7th or 8th grade. The HS coach gets the finished product in most cases and only has to do a tune up on the kid was the point he seemed to be making. I think he is correct and on point. Every HS Coach is not making players great. Many kids show up as 9th graders with great potential.

I also think there is a role for everyone. But there are some bad AAU/Travel/ Grass Root folks working with kids. But there are also some horrible folks coaching HS and even College basketball who could care less about players.

Some kids would never get exposure if they did not play summer travel/Grass Root basketball. For every HS coach who works hard to get his or her players into college at the D1, 2, or 3 level there are 5 who do nothing. In fact NYC still has that dumb rule that a coach has to be a NYC Teacher to coach. Because of that we still see many schools with coaches who know nothing about basketball. I still go back to that HS game I saw in NYC many years ago where the coach read the NY Times during the game and the other coach socialized with other teachers sitting behind the bench. In Northeast Pennsylvania I see very good HS coaches WHO DO NOTHING for players after the season in regards to colleges or exposure. But most are very good x and o guys.

On the other hand there are few travel team/grass root guys who would not welcome an opportunity to call and talk basketball with anyone, especially a college coach. So when it comes to pushing players, these guys get it done. Unfortunately some make deals on the side. Others use the time to network for jobs in coaching. And others make money based on running events and getting sneaker deals although most of that money has dried up in recent years. Guys like Jim Salmon in NJ, Gary Charles in NYC, and even Kyle Lowery's Brother in Philly, most likely spend more money out of their pocket than they bring in. Jim runs alot of events to support his program. It is like a full time job. But I would bet his financial rewards are nothing compared to the satisfaction he gets seeing kids go on to college and become successful. Ditto Gary Charles, despite the frown and the hat!

Local College Teams

Not trying to be controversial but I honestly think this season we will see alot of improvement on the college level with some local teams. In fact one local team could be outstanding if the players get along and jell. Another will be much improved and surprise people. However one local team in my eyes is in a holding pattern and would need a Rick Pitino Providence College type transformation to be better. Either that or play NJIT 4 times, St. Peters twice, play home and home against Delaware State, play St. Francis of NY, and St. Thomas Aquinas of Rockland County. But even that schedule could be a hard one if players are not focused and show dedication and improvement.

Recruitment of Area Players

Looks like the area kids are again looking at the same programs to attend in upcoming years. It is becoming harder and harder for programs to convince local kids to stay home. Kids are going away to find the programs of their dreams. If you look at where kids are considering, many are only listing some local schools as a courtesy. These kids talk all the time and they know what is happening on every campus. NUFF SAID!

Will A Local College Team Ever Make The Final Four? Who has the best chance?

My answers later.


Fordham_57 said...


To those of us who follow the local scene, it's quite obvious which of the local teams fits each of your descriptions. Why are you being so coy? Not that it's that important, but it's not your style, AND it serves no purpose.


LFBall said...

lolol. Just to create conversation and make folks question just who I am talking about. maybe I am talking about who you think, maybe I am not lol. But the bottom line is that is how I wanted to write it when I did. Folks who read my stuff should understand what I am saying despite me not mentioning names. Not so sure what the big deal is with somthing so obvious. Look for some potential contraversial things in the next few weeks.

By the way I am stunned no one is mentioning the travel team/grass root stuff. That is what will help or hurt your respective programs. This thing could turn ugly with kids deciding to play Travel team ball year round and forget HS basketball.

Portside said...

I have to take you to task for what you said in a previous post about J.R. Inman. I think J.R. had a solid career and has nothing to be ashamed about. Just because someone is 6'9" can shoot, dribble and is athletic does not mean that person should play in the NBA. People just don't understand the numbers. The NBA is global sport and only around 160 players in the NBA stand 6'8 or taller. There are only about 350-400 people in the US making a living playing basketball in the US. I'm not talking about some guy playing in Hungary for 50K a year hoping he gets paid on time. That person would be better off getting a job trying to make VP/Director at some place. That's a discussion for another time however. Over the years I have seen guys much more talented than J.R. Inman not make it to the league. As a junior J.R. averaged 12 points per game. To put it in perspective a much more physically talented and mentally prepared player Blake Griffith averaged 21 points per game. When I say mentally prepared, I mean that he was groomed to be a star basketball player at an early age having a father who was coach. It would be great if all 6'9" kids were at 18/19 years old as mature physically and mentally as Chris Webber but it's not realistic. Taller people mature physically much later in life. I remember seeing a friend who was 6'8" and not a good college player but was dominating a pro summer league game. He was dunking on people and shooting threes and I couldn't believe it. He said I could do things at 26 that I couldn't do physically at 19/20. I also think J.R. doesn't like the game. Many tall people get forced into with unfair expectations. Since you have good knowledge of the game I would think This is a combination that has kids playing the game not for the love but as a means to an end. By the way you can be doing a lot worse in life than taking a commuter bus into the city going to a six figure job.

LFBall said...


I wonder what post you are referring to? Anyway allow me to be straight and clear with you. I aagree that there are worst things to do than take a commuter bus into NYC and make 100 K a year. Unfortunately there are not many folks taking a bus into NYC making 100K or more these days! But 75K is not bad either! In this economy we are seeing guys with masters degrees working as foot messengers in NYC! Trust me two of my friends just hired folks with those credentials to go along with the folks they have hired who worked in banking, social service, and entertainment. So I would never put down my friend for life JR Inman! In fact what ever he does in life, I will be supportive.

Basketball wise you would be surprised what folks are saying about Rutgers and the JR Inman/Farmer/Griffin treatmenmt and lack of development. In fact their story is being used by other schools in the recruitment of players.

JR might never play an NBA game. But after his freshmen year many, many NBA types were following him closely! I know because I happen to know a few NBA guys on a personal level. And if you think the only criteria for a big to make the NBA is scoring, you are wrong. I have seen guys with great atheletic ability drafted after averaging 11 points a game. I have seen guys drafted based on strong D and the ability to run and explde. I have seen guys drafted based on coming from winning programs despite averaging very few points. If scoring was the main criteria you could see alot of bigs from The NEC, MEEAC, AE, JC and other places.

The bottom line is JR did not seem to like basketball at RUTGERS! He never ran the court despite being a very good athelete, was scared to shoot as a senior, showed little intensity, and accepted a lessor role at the request of his coach. Funny thing is almost every coach I know on the D1 level says the same thing and I will not repeat it here. But the message is consistant.

I end this response to you by saying that your openning had me wondering If I said somthing that put JR down. I know that would never be my intention. So if that is what you were saying, you have it wrong. As far as him commuting and making a six figure salary...Only if that is what he wants to do. Last time I checked, he wanted to play basketball. Remeber there are alot of zombies catching the 5-6:30 AM bus going into the city to make six figuires doing jobs THEY HATE! I know because I did it for years for SIX FIGURES and suffered more than you can ever imagine. By the way, nothing wrong with making $50,000 tax free enjoying life playing basketball when you are in your early adult years as oppossed to catching the 6 AM hating life because you are not doing what you want to do in life!

Great communicating with you and I do understand some of your points!