Saturday, March 21, 2015

the last book I ever read (John Calipari's Players First, excerpt six)

from Players First: Coaching from the Inside Out by John Calipari and Michael Sokolove:

My primary failure was that I did not put together a roster that made my kids compete against one another. They were too comfortable from the moment they got to campus. I had my reasons for letting the roster take the shape it did. In hindsight I can tell you what they were.

One is that I thought Marquis Teague might be with us a second year because he wouldn’t be quite ready for the NBA. I certainly hoped he would stay, for his own sake—and maybe I hoped a little too hard. That following season I was hoping the Harrison twins, point guard and shooting guard, would be with us. I didn’t want to do anything to mess up their recruitment. And I didn’t want whatever point guard I brought in to get caught between the Marquis and Andrew Harrison eras and maybe never really get a chance.

Clever, right? But I paid for it. And if I’m being 100 percent honest with myself, my team paid for it. I am not absolving them of responsibility for how they played, but nothing in my Players First philosophy says that I should protect kids from competition. It’s just the opposite. I serve them by giving them competition.

I know better than anybody that just having a group of talented guys in not enough. In college basketball you absolutely must have good guard play—and especially at the point guard position. It’s what makes everything else tick.

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