Thursday, March 5, 2015

Tournament madness


#12 Kentucky got past Vanderbilt, 67-61.

#18 Texas A&M used balance to put away Auburn, 57-47.

Georgia downed Missouri, 75-64.

Arkansas dispatched Ole Miss, 72-61.


Wake Forest upset #22 Syracuse, 85-79.

Virginia Tech upended Pitt, 51-45.

#15 North Carolina routed Georgia Tech, 84-64.

Miami topped Virginia, 62-52.

Pac 12:

Washington State held off Oregon, 66-64.

UCLA thumped Arizona, 80-62.

Colorado took out USC, 75-63.

Washington vs. Utah is still in progress.

Big Ten:

Minnesota edged Purdue, 82-78.

Michigan State thrashed Michigan, 69-49.

#23 Rutgers defeated Indiana, 63-52.

Nebraska pounded past Illinois, 86-71.

Atlantic 10 scores.

MAAC scores.

Big South scores.

Southern scores.

West Coast Conference scores....some games are still in progress.

All scores.

Feast your eyes on this feast

Player news:

Oregon State's Gabby Hanson is providing a spark off the bench.

Devotion to basketball at Michigan has paid off for Cyesha Goree.

Aerial Powers has risen in MIchigan State's down season.

Amanda Zahui B. is dominant as Minnesota enters the postseason, and teammate Carlie Wagner is at ease as a starter. Shae Kelley is excited.

Alaina Coates will be a force for South Carolina.

Rutgers' Betnijah Laney has the DNA of a star, but she 'hated' basketball as a kid.

LSU forward Sheila Boykin shares a special bond with coach Nikki Caldwell.

Quinnipiac senior Gillian Abshire is ready to attack the MAAC.

Virginia freshman Mikayla Venson has followed an "odd path" to success.

Team news:

The Lady Vols are planning on a Final Four run.

Louisville is set for a tough ACC tournament.

Short-handed Ohio State thrives on a fast pace.

Why has Stanford fallen off their perch?

Oregon State is putting the rest of the Pac 12 on notice.

Coaching news:

Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff is going full speed ahead.

Minnesota is following the lead of coach Marlene Stollings.

Virginia coach Joanne Boyle's adopted toddler is building a life with the team.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

First rounds in the books for three conferences

Big Ten Tournament:

Purdue slipped by Wisconsin, 58-56.

Indiana edged Penn State, 68-63.

SEC Tournament:

Vanderbilt took out Alabama in the first round, 66-56.

Auburn trounced Florida, 71-49.

ACC Tournament:

Virginia Tech stole one from NC State, 57-56.

Georgia Tech routed Clemson, 80-53.

Wake Forest rounded Boston College, 69-53.

All scores.

Player news:

UCLA forward Kacy Swain talks about living and playing with diabetes.

Coaching news:

University of Southern Maine coach Gary Fifield is retiring after 27 years.

Big 12 postseason awards:

Coach of the Year: Kim Mulkey, Baylor (15th season)
Player of the Year: Nina Davis, Baylor, F, 5-11, So, Memphis, Tenn.
Freshman of the Year: Gabbi Ortiz, Oklahoma, G, 5-9, Fr, Racine, Wis.
Newcomer of the Year: Peyton Little, Oklahoma, G, 5-11, So, Abilene, Texas
Defensive Player of the Year: Chelsea Prince, TCU, F, 5-11, Sr, Fort Worth, Texas
Sixth Man Award: Khadijiah Cave, Baylor, C, 6-2, So, Augusta, Ga.


Tamika Catchings:

Catch has a man, and is excited for retirement.

NBA players to urge support for women:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg has enlisted NBA stars LeBron James, Stephen Curry and some of the basketball league's other top players to convince more men to join the fight for women's rights at home and at work.

The players will deliver the message in public service announcements aired during NBA games on major TV networks over the next few months.

Full story.

Conference tournaments are coming

Conference tournament previews:

Big Ten.

Five questions about the Big Ten tourney.

Can any team stop Maryland?

Pac 12.

Coaches are prepping for the Pac 12 tourney.

The Pac 12 Conference will hold the tournament in Seattle for at least one more year next year.

NCAA Tournament:

The NCAA Tournament could be missing some familiar names this year.

Player news:

Brene Moseley has embraced her role as a bench player at Maryland.

Betnijah Laney treats rebounding as an art at Rutgers.

Chatrice White leads a new era for Illinois.

Tori Jankoska has sparked a strong finish for Michigan State.

San Diego's Maya Hood handles motherhood and basketball.

Iowa's Kathryn Reynolds is a leader among leaders.

Leticia Romero has found the right fit at Florida State.

Team news:

Pitt has surpassed expectations this season.

Mississippi State and Ole Miss are preparing to boost their postseason resume.

Coaching news:

Kelley Gibson uses WNBA experience to recruit, develop players as Syracuse assistant.

Mid-major news:

Great games abound in mid-major conference tournaments.

College Insider mid-major top 25 poll.

Lauren Hill:

....was named first team of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Pro news:

Q&A with Dream forward Angel McCoughtry on the WNBA in Louisville.

Elena Delle Donne's high school coach says she's one of the best offensive players ever.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Naismith Award player and coach semifinalists

Player semifinalists:

Brittany Boyd California Sr. G Pac-12
Lexie Brown Maryland Soph. G Big Ten
Nina Davis Baylor Soph. F Big 12
Moriah Jefferson Connecticut Jr. G American Athletic
Jewell Loyd Notre Dame Jr. G ACC
Kelsey Mitchell Ohio State Fr. G Big Ten
Tiffany Mitchell South Carolina Jr. G SEC
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis Connecticut Sr. F American Athletic
Breanna Stewart Connecticut Jr. F American Athletic
Amanda Zahui B. Minnesota Soph. C Big Ten

Coach of the year semifinalists:

Geno Auriemma Connecticut
Courtney Banghart Princeton
Anthony Bozzella Seton Hall
Brenda Frese Maryland
Scott Rueck Oregon State
Vic Schaefer Mississippi State
Sue Semrau Florida State
Suzie McConnell-Serio Pittsburgh
Dawn Staley South Carolina
Charli Turner-Thorne Arizona State

Spots of greatness

Player news:

Maegan Conwright has helped Florida State come together.

"So far so good" for Shayla Cooper and Ohio State.

In limited time after a suspension, LSU's Danielle Ballard landed on the all-SEC first team.

Team news:

Princeton continues their quest for perfection.

Rutgers enters the Big Ten Tournament with unfinished business.

TCU's seniors are finding identity on defense.

Coaching news:

Coach Scott Rueck has lead Oregon State to be among the nation's elite.

Chattanooga coach Jim Foster says losing teams don't belong in the NCAA Tournament.

Just a few scores tonight:

Kansas State slipped by West Virginia, 59-56.

Texas smashed TCU, 79-45.

Full scoreboard.

Postseason award time

Pac-12 postseason awards:


Scott Rueck, Oregon State


Reshanda Gray, Jr., F, California


Ruth Hamblin, Jr., C, Oregon State


Jordin Canada, Fr., G, UCLA


Coach of the Year: Vic Schaefer, Mississippi State / Dawn Staley, South Carolina
Player of the Year: Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina
Freshman of the Year: A'ja Wilson, South Carolina
Defensive Player of the Year: Jordan Jones, Texas A&M
6th Player of the Year: Jennifer O'Neill, Kentucky
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Aleighsa Welch, South Carolina

Big East:

IG EAST Player of the Year
Brittany Hrynko, DePaul, Sr., G

BIG EAST Freshman of the Year
Dorothy Adomako, Georgetown, Fr., G

BIG EAST Coach of the Year
Tony Bozzella, Seton Hall

BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year
Daisha Simmons, Seton Hall, Grad., G

BIG EAST Most Improved Player
Alexis Akin-Otiko, Creighton, Sr., F

BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award
Marissa Janning, Creighton, Jr., G

BIG EAST Sixth-Woman Award
Taylor Holeman, Villanova, Sr., F

BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Brittany Hrynko, DePaul, Sr., G

West Coast Conference:

layer of the Year: Morgan Bailey, BYU
Coach of the Year: Lisa Fortier, Gonzaga; Lynne Roberts, Pacific; Paul Thomas, Saint Mary's
Defensive Player of the Year: Sophia Ederaine, San Diego
Newcomer of the Year: Stella Beck, Saint Mary's


George Washington’s Jonquel Jones has been named the Atlantic 10 Conference Women’s Basketball Player and Defensive Player of the Year, while GW’s Jonathan Tsipis was tabbed as the A-10 Coach of the Year by his peers.

Charise Wilson of Rhode Island was named Rookie of the Year, while Dayton’s Amber Deane was named Sixth Woman of the Year and Kim Pierre-Louis of Massachusetts was name the league’s Most Improved Player.

Patriot League:

Player of the Year: Jen Dumiak, American (Sr., G)

Defensive Player of the Year: Shaquilla Curtis, American (Sr., G)

Rookie of the Year: Jacquie Klotz, Bucknell (Fr., G)

Coach of the Year: Megan Gebbia, American

ACC teams.

USA Today top 25 coaches poll: changes and more changes

Rising and falling in this week's USA Today top 25 poll:

1. Connecticut
2. Notre Dame
3. Maryland
4. South Carolina
5. Tennessee
6. Florida State
7. Baylor
8. Arizona State
9. Oregon State
10. Louisville
11. Kentucky
12. North Carolina
13. Mississippi State
14. Princeton
15. Iowa
16. Duke
17. Texas A&M
18. Chattanooga
19. George Washington
20. Stanford
21. Florida Gulf Coast
22. Rutgers
23. Seton Hall
24. Syracuse
25. Nebraska

Monday, March 2, 2015

Big Ten postseason honors

Big Ten postseason honors:

Minnesota’s Amanda Zahui B. was named Big Ten Player of the Year by the media, while Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell earned the honor from the conference coaches. Rutgers’ Syessence Davis collected Defensive Player of the Year recognition and Michigan’s Katelynn Flaherty was tabbed Sixth Player of the Year. The Buckeyes’ Mitchell was honored as the unanimous Big Ten Freshman of the Year by the coaches and media, while Maryland head coach Brenda Frese was voted Coach of the Year by both the media and her peers.

Today's results:

Kansas downed Iowa State, 68-64.

#3 Baylor regrouped to beat Texas Tech, 75-65.

Oklahoma defeated Oklahoma State, 66-56.

Full scoreboard.

Washington coach Mike Neighbors on 418 mistakes

In interviewing Washington coach Mike Neighbors for this story, he said, "I made 418 mistakes last year."

I thought he was joking at first, but I quickly realized he was serious. He elaborated on that later by sending me a copy of an old issue of his personal newsletter, which he sends to colleagues, associates and friends. The issue was called "418 Mistakes Later: My Transition From Assistant Coach to Head Coach....18” is further than you think!!"

Here's the intro and table of contents:

Everyone who knows me well, knows I am a “lister.” I make lists for almost everything. I have my Top 1000
Movies of All-Time ranked in order. I have my Top 1000 Songs of All-Time on a playlist. I have my Top 500 this
and my top 25 that. I guess it stems from my love of baseball statistics growing up. Over the years, my lists have
helped me grow in many areas and reach a rhythm with life on the court and off.

So, it should come as no surprise, that last year, I kept a log of the “Mistakes I Made” in my first year as a head
coach. I kept it in a running list format in the Villa 7 Notebook that I received at the Nike event the year before.
The Nike event that finally inspired me and gave me the courage to break out of my comfort zone of being a 14 year
assistant coach. I kept it handy wherever I went because it was very apparent, very early that mistakes could take
place anywhere, anytime. Some were small and probably went unnoticed to anyone watching. Others were huge
and were obvious to everyone. Regardless of the size or the impact of them, I kept the record from Day 1 to Day
365. Grand finale total… 418!! An average of 1.14 per day.

In the end, my conclusion… The 18” you move over from Assistant to Head Coach, is a lot further than you think!

1. I assumed being an assistant coach would prepare you to be a head coach
2. I told people the TRUTH before I had earned their TRUST
3. I got out of shape
4. I got out of alignment between Process and Results
5. I tried to do too many “things”
6. I was afraid to do “what I thought best”
7. I exhausted my daily decision energy on stuff that didn’t affect winning
8. I stopped confronting things that needed to be confronted
9. I let the Urgent overcome the Important
10. I forgot to keep myself “charged”
11. I didn’t realize how tight my friend circle would become
12. I had no idea how to manage a staff or how to “manage up”

The first chapter: "I assumed being an assistant coach would prepare you to be a head coach":

We all know the saying about assuming (ASS-U-ME)… if you haven’t, asked one of your kids to explain. Well, it was never more true
than in the case of me assuming that my 14 years of being an assistant coach would have me fully prepared to be a head coach. While
those years certainly helped and probably kept me from making 936 mistakes, it just isn’t that simple.

The job description of a Head Coach is completely different from being as assistant.

So many of my actual mistakes fell in this category and some will overlap with later topics we discuss. I believe simply knowing that
would have saved me from the first mistake I made that fall under this header. Over the course of 14 years I had accumulated resources
that allowed me to be productive in my day. I had forms for this and that. I had a routine that led to an efficient day. So on
Day 1 as a head coach, I expected that to be the same. But it wasn’t. Not even close.

I didn’t have a form for keeping up with people contacting me for jobs.
I didn’t have a form for what to do when a recruit didn’t want to come to Washington.
I didn’t have a plan for delegating assignments to my staff.
I didn’t have a plan for what do to when one of my “recommendations” didn’t work.

For my entire professional career, I had been making suggestions. Some were used. Some weren’t. Some that were used worked.
Some didn’t. None of them however ever came back across my desk to explain to the media or administration. Now my decisions had
consequences. We will cover Decision Making much more in detail in a later piece.

For the last 14 years my decisions pretty much just directly effected me and maybe my immediate family. Now my decisions effected
the lives of every player, coach, aide, manager, strength coach, athletic trainer, etc.

My biggest mistake was just ASS-u-ming again that “things would slow down” or “you’ll get adjusted to the new demands”… I wish I
would have gone in knowing that it was okay to be overwhelmed. That is wasn’t going to slow down. That it wasn’t going to just
adjust. I needed a better plan. I needed support. I needed help. I wasted valuable time waiting for things to slow down or adjust.

What would I do differently: I would have spent “free” time as an assistant reading up on the area. I would have paid more attention
to the job my head coach was doing. I would have picked their brains about how they manage their time. I would have asked to sit in
on meetings with marketing, facilities, administration. I would have not kept expecting what I knew in the past to be good enough.

My last observation concerning this category of mistakes is also a reminder of my PaPa Neighbors and his sayings. He always said:
“Someone who is good with a hammer always makes everything into a nail.”

I know it wasn’t an original quote of his, but he was the one who best illustrated it to me over my childhood. And it certainly had
application to me and to this situation.

When I was an assistant coach, I believed it was all about Player Development, Scouting, Defense, and scheduling . Recruiting was
over rated. Give me a player that wanted to be there and I could make them good enough through skill development sessions. Give
me enough tape on an opponent and I could help us win a game regardless of the opponent. Offense was for fans, defense wins
championships. Give me the time and I could put together a schedule that would get us a good seed for a deep run into the NCAA
Tournament. NOTHING else mattered. Nothing.

Well, guess what? Those happened to be areas I was in charge of and “had a hammer for.”

I didn’t think all those other duties I had been doing on my way up the coaching ladder really mattered anymore. Since I wasn’t in
charge of them, they weren’t important. Some other coach needed to worry about Academics. Not me. Some other coach needed to
be interested in Community Service. Not me. Housing? Please, don’t bother me with that mess. Per diem on travel? Don’t interrupt
my film session.

That type of thinking can’t happen for a head coach. Everything matters. You need a hammer, a screwdriver, a wrench, a saw, a
shovel, a level, a tape measure, etc. You can’t just be good with a hammer.

If I hadn’t been narrow minded in this area, there is no doubt we might have won a game or two more. There is no doubt my staff
would have been much more sane. And, there is no doubt I would have been a better leader.
In the end…

Just know that your previous experience in the game will help, but it’s not a guarantee your successes there will carry over.

Good stuff.

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