The secret to success in the game of basketball is plain and simple: Practice!
The women’s basketball program at Western Michigan University is well aware of this. To get better, the school’s athletic department hires male practice players to help push the females in the many intense practice drills.
“Most schools, including us, want their players to compete against players that are bigger, faster [and] stronger, and often times there aren’t too many females in the normal population that are usually bigger, faster [and] stronger than your scholarship players,” Western Michigan head coach Tasha McDowell said. “So it’s great to have males that know the game and are willing to be a part of a practice squad to benefit the team. It helps us to react quicker, to defend harder and to be able to go against an elite level of athletes.”
This has become an integral piece to the organization, and it is not often recognized. In my spare time, I like to help the team and it is a joy to see them implement the skills that we have worked on in practice into a game. In a sense it’s like coaching… but not quite.
With the help of WMU senior Marcus Voelz behind the camera and the genius of Chyn Wey Lee on the editing, I was able to put together this piece.
Eric Woodyard-The Flintstone
Louisville Men’s Basketball Coach Rick Pitino has some explaining to do. After news broke weeks ago that some woman was trying to pull a Tony Soprano on him for his bank, Pitino has come clean that he had sex with this woman. Some of you probably are saying that you’ve heard this before. That may be the case, however, Pitino admits he had sex with this woman at a Louisville Restaurant back in 2003. Then he admits to paying her $3,000 for an abortion.
What!!!! The most high profile coach in college basketball is posting up some woman in a restaurant! It gets better… the woman years later wants some money and attempts to blackmail Pitino in order to keep from dropping dime.
You have to read a great account posted on USA Today online. The piece is by Andrew Wolfson, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal.
As the Michigan State Spartans get ready to make their run in the NCAA Tournament, I can’t help but reminisce of the 2000 team that was esoteric towards success. This year’s Spartans bring a smile to my face every time that I watch them because it seems as if they also possess this same knowledge that made those Spartans, who won the National Championship, led by the ”The Flintstones” so successful.Sophomore guard Kalin Lucas, 2009 Big Ten Player of the Year and team MVP, runs the show much like Mateen Cleaves did. Senior Travis Walton, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, voluntarily locks down the opposing team’s best player much like Charlie Bell did. Junior Raymar Morgan picks up the scoring slack in the clutch much like Morris Peterson did.It doesn’t matter that the only two “true” Flintstones on this year’s roster, Tom Herzog and Marquise Gray, dont make much of an impact. They continue to make the original’s efforts interminable.
Not only does MSU have the knowledge, they also have the hunger and “dog” to get gritty when games get tough. Just look at what they did to the University of Michigan’s Manny Harris (7 points, 2-10 shooting)…let’s just say he agrees.
The stage is set for this team to win the National Championship this season! They have what it takes…the “it” factor.
On Friday, March 20, tune in to the revival of the 2000 Michigan State Spartans and the ”Flintstones.” With the Final Four in Motown this year, The Spartans have no choice but to represent the state of Michigan proudly. Starting at 9:50 p.m., Robert Morris University will become the first victim on the road to redemption for the Spartans of MSU!
I can tell a lie…but I’m not going to tell one here to be politically correct.
College athletics at the highest level is the most immoral, hypocritical, self-serving run business in this country. That being said, I make sure I make my point clear so there is no confusion. If you are a high end student-athlete that can take advantage of any scenario on your college campus and benefit from it, I don’t look down on you for doing so (except gambling or throwing games). This noble idea of fair amateur competition does exist on some campuses, but look at your major universities in major conferences with major monies coming in from boosters, shoe contracts and of course radio-television contracts, and ask yourself this question?
Everybody benefits from the labors including the student-athlete by getting access to the educational opportunities available at the school, if they take advantage of the access, or are allowed to. Those that really benefit these days are the NCAA, six and in some cases seven figures salaries the athletic departments pay major university football and basketball coaches, the university that makes major monies on the shoe contracts, television revenues received for broadcast rights, monies made on NCAA bowl bids and NCAA basketball tournament births as well as fans and boosters who get to brag on their schools success because of these great athletes playing there. I wish T. Boone Pickens was a UW-Whitewater alum.
The reason I blog about this is the recent tales of former USC & Heisman Award winning running back Reggie Bush and the allegations made against USC Guard O.J. Mayo. The stories are so similar and sound like all these rumors or whispers you hear about the best athletes at the major colleges. They have “associates” that promise them from the time they are showing any athletic promise to the place that gives the most under the table, or once they become the big person on campus have “intermediaries” broker deals for their future in the world of professional sports to the ones willing to kick back what they want.
The reason I say this is I find it hard not to take a little piece of the pie when you go to the bookstore and see a jersey with your name on it selling for $75 dollars a pop, and you have .75 cents in your pocket. Or how about turning on ESPN and seeing your name featured for the big game coming up, or watch boosters with money and access to things in life one will never have, bending over backwards to meet you, shake your hand and tell you how much they love they way you rep ole state U. How about coming to practice where your coach just came in from doing his TV or radio show that helps to pay his six or seven figure salary in his Lexus truck.
Now don’t forget if someone comes along and gives them the bigger better deal they can roll out with the only penalty being a contract buyout that is usually picked up by the new school. If your favorite quarterback or point guard try to leave that university for a better opportunity, or don’t perform to that coaches expectations, there are so many obstacles and deterrents that you almost have to be willing to sacrifice a little piece of sanity to transfer.
I know it is not the norm, but it is what it is…because if that university asset gets hurt, can’t play or runs out of eligibility, they get thrown to the curb for the next recruiting class of fresh assets. I know there are you out there that say, “”but they get this high end education” and to you I say, if that is the case give them a percentage of what they generate for the university, a cut on the marketing and promotion of which you use their likeness and jersey numbers and allow that to pay their room and board and in some cases, give them the balance left over.
I’m sorry I could tell a lie but I won’t, if you want to clean up the seedy side of college athletics, give these young people some of the big pot, stop hiding behind traditions that are out-dated and unjustifiable.
Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee