When I first heard about the planning stages for an event called “Media Madness” I grew very excited: I finally had the chance to steal Matt Bucklin’s spot on the team. But once I heard that Coach Fox “borrowed” the idea from Coach Tom Izzo at Michigan State, I reconsidered taking Buck’s place. There is an obvious trend going on here. First, Tom Izzo is Bucklin’s uncle. Second, we use Michigan State’s tactics with the media. Third, we follow Michigan State’s lead to the final four. Boom. (Note: Pictures coming soon)
The first thing Coach Fox had the media do was stretch out. After getting loose, we split up into four teams to run some drills. Our team had a couple of guys from the AJC, and naturally, (I mean really, this guy exists in every basketball circle) we had the older guy wearing rec-specs and appropriately, his last name was Hummer. If I told you nothing else of this man, would you have guessed that he was the wily veteran with a mid-range game? Of course you would have. We also had a shooter and uh, not much else.
We shot some free throws, worked on rebounding, ran some passing drills and finished up with some ball handling. The ball handling was by far the most entertaining aspect. We progressed through some exercises starting with right-hand dribbling, then left hand dribbling, then a figure 8 between our legs. The last task was one I dubbed the “ball buster.” We bounced the ball between our legs with both hands and had to catch it at shoulder height behind our backs. Do not try this at home. Luckily I was able to avoid harm. Others weren’t so lucky. Travis Leslie thought this was the funniest thing in the world, though it should be noted that he claimed he was unable to complete this drill either.
After we fined tuned our fundamentals, each team was paired up with a coach. Our coach was Coach Mark Pope. We then participated in some shooting competitions. We cheated our way to victory in round one, courtesy of an early start which we elected to count despite being caught by Coach Fox. We proceeded to lose the next three rounds despite a few more questionable tactics but finished strong with a legitimate win in the final round.
Coach Fox then announced we had 8 minutes to practice with our teams for a scrimmage. Coach Pope drew up a couple of plays on offense and installed a 2-3 zone defensively. This left us in a bit of trouble because Coach Fox again became wise to our tactics and promptly banned any zone play. Coach Pope then told us to do it anyway but to call “switch” anytime a player got in another zone. Once our first scrimmage started, this too was quickly make illegal. After our scrimmage came the real deal. Our team faced off against Coach Johnson’s team.
We almost immediately abandoned our offensive scheme because no one ended up in the positions we “practiced”. Our defense was also forgotten because we’d been warned about our 2-3 zone. However, it seemed the other team faced similar travesties. I played rec-basketball (TFWP STAND UP!) for many years in high school and have never been so amused at the vast number of mistakes being made. At one point, I scored 4 points in a row and had an assist. Then the world realized what was going on and caused me to slip at mid court on a pool of sweat causing a key turnover. Thanks. We ended up losing a heartbreaker 11-10.
After the emotions wore off, I went over to Coach Pope and threw down a challenge for a game of HORSE to be filmed and put on our website. He foolishly accepted, pending Coach Fox’s approval, and we’ll do battle sometime in December. He also keyed me in on some breaking news. Coach Fox has finally caved to fan (my) pressure and given the go ahead to activate his twitter account! WOOO! I first prompted Coach about twitter in this podcast and it’s clear I finally broke him down.
Until next time, Ball Hard.