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Examiner
  • Tim Crone: Tournament shows coaches' passion

  • A lot of people spent last weekend complaining about the weather and wondering if spring will ever get to town. I was not one of those people.

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  • A lot of people spent last weekend complaining about the weather and wondering if spring will ever get to town. I was not one of those people.
    I had the great fortune to work for the TV networks during the Friday and Sunday NCAA Tournament men’s basketball games at the Sprint Center. All six games were very competitive and the atmosphere was excellent. The great thing about the NCAA Tournament is to watch how each team makes a maximum effort on every play.
    I sat on the second level of the press row and was in awe of the amazing athletic ability of all of the players. It is impossible to play at this level of competition unless you are blessed with special talents.
    The players were phenomenal. However, the interaction between the coaches and players was even more fascinating. All eight head coaches in the games I attended had different and interesting approaches. The common denominator among them was a will to win.
    The old saying “there’s more than one way to skin a cat” certainly rings true in this environment. Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy talked about his overly emotional star, Marshall Henderson. He expressed his opinion that the sharp-shooter had a different look in his eyes when he stepped onto the floor.
    Coach Kennedy needs to look in the mirror – he had that same look in his eyes at the first tip off. Wisconsin’s veteran head coach Bo Ryan began working the officials in the first minute of the game and never stopped negotiating calls until the final buzzer.
    At times, I thought we were at the United Nations instead of the NCAA Tournament. Villanova head coach Jay Wright has done a great job with the Wildcat program in his 12 seasons. He is known as one of the best dressed coaches in America.
    Coach Roy Williams needled him about how good he looked in his threads. Coach Wright may look pretty, but he motivates his kids to play hard.
    The two coaches who were less notable, but who really impressed me with their style in handling their teams, were Western Kentucky’s Ray Harper and La Salle’s Dr. John Giannini. Both of these teams appeared outmatched but obviously came to play. Even though athletically outmatched, every member of each of these squads knew their roles and performed those roles at a very high level.
    Of course the local media had eyes focused on the three coaches who have coached in this area. Bruce Weber of Kansas State, Roy Williams of North Carolina and Bill Self of Kansas clearly held all of the attention.
    Coach Weber is a very competitive guy with a business-like approach. The deliberate approach of Coach Weber is a stark contrast to the previous K-State coach, Frank Martin.
    Page 2 of 2 - Roy Williams is the same old Roy who urges his kids to give an all-out effort on every play. Coach Williams spent most of the game on the court motivating the players. Once during the second half of the Villanova game, because he was so emotionally fired up, his assistants double-checked to make sure he was OK.
    Bill Self appeared to be the most demanding of all the other coaches. The man is not afraid to get in anyone’s face and explain to them how it is according to Bill. That includes players, coaches and officials or anyone else who dares to cross him.
    The main thing I took away from this great weekend of watching basketball is NO ONE in the world knows their team like the head coach.
    * I was contacted by a reader who reminded me that I failed to mention that the NAIA tournament is a vital part of the basketball scene in Kansas City. I would like to add the MIAA tournament to that list as well. Totally my bad!
    * I am totally pumped up to hear that Blue Springs graduate Nick Tepesch will be the No. 5 starter for the Texas Rangers. Tep is “great people.” I can’t think of anyone who is more deserving.
    * My quote of the week comes from the legendary Bobby Knight: “You can’t become too satisfied with success. Let’s say that we had a good year and we went 25 and 3. The only thing I’d be concerned with is why we lost those three games. Was there one consistent thing? If there was, let’s do something about it!” Coaches are never satisfied!
     
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