March 2008

Seattle, Washington...March 23, 2OO8...

Okay, I'm over my "rants"...maybe...I think that sometimes the World is flat when I read the papers and see the stories and comments of educated people (or are they?)...When I have been to various parts of the world, teaching the game to kids, players, coaches and parents, and complete my sessions for the day, I always have been able to collect my thoughts and reflections of the day by looking up at the stars and seeing the Big Dipper, Lil Dipper and other reminders of the universe bigger than our planet...And during these quiet moments, I remind myself just how small I really am, kudos to the late Buckminster Fuller, Astrophysicist, MIT, who inspired my mortality many moons ago when I lived in Belgium, when I could get up and down a basketball court professionally...He was a Professor of notoriety at MIT, and architect (Geodesic Domes) when he saw what was happening to our planet as he knew it back in the day (early 70's), and would greet his "new" enrollees with this provocative introduction to "life" as they didn't know it at the time: "Today, we learn about the universe..."...He would pull down a white screen in his auditorium and have the lights turned out and then project a slide of the universe on the screen...He would then take a pointer and explain the mysteries that they were about to engage upon and point to a "speck" on the screen and reflect: "this is Earth...so for anyone here who thinks they are significantly important in the grand scope of their existence...you're not..."...And that is his introduction to "his" world and theirs, and he would begin his class for the semester...I have never forgotten that simple explanation to our world and the universe in general, so now whenever I pause and reflect with my eyes towards the heavens, ol Bucky Fuller comes to mind, not a jump shot that Michael Jordan hit to win a game or a Home Run by Mickey Mantle...Little did I realize that my "awakening" would carry over from one continent to another, reminding me of my quiet reflections from years past to this present moment in my life...The last two weeks have been a burden of sorts, knowing that there is a region in the world whose people are suffering for being independent, meditative and most definitely peaceful...They too look to the heavens above, reflecting, wondering why they are tormented and abused by educated literates, censored for asking people in the "free" world to hear their pleas for help and assistance...I could name the country and the small region, but knowing that my blog is monitored and that I may someday return to this large country, I think it is best to not engage in a political war of words and critique, but trust me, as an Ambassador to the world in my small but effective way, I have some unfinished work to be done there in a peaceful application, and through that model, believe that one can do more with a ball that bounces and can be shot at a basket than a "scope over"...I pray for peace, world peace, and know that this summer of sports regalia will go on, but not without a distraction or two by the world's athletes in their own way...Let us all hope that their voices, performances and competitions will acknowledge the freedom of speech and expressions in non-violent manners will hopefully do more for affecting change than the other alternatives...Had to get that off my chest tonight so I can rest peacefully...

Hope all are well who take the time to read my musings and what knots now and then...have a great week and I'll try to blog again tomorrow...Happy Trails to you...until we read again...Coach tom 

With the close of the basketball season, Coach Tom Newell discusses how expectations turn into frustrations at the end of the season, especially for parents. Upon reflection, the target of that frustration is misguided.

More information on reflecting on the season and setting goals during the off-season is available at:

BobKnightPeteNewell Bob Knight, former coach at teams in Texas Tech and Indiana, introduced Coach Pete Newell at his induction into the Breitbard Hall of Fame in the San Diego Hall of Champions. He said "I don't know anyone that has contributed more to basketball over a longer period of time than Pete Newell has."

Video is available at http://video.nbcsandiego.com/player/?id=226045

Sports Illustrated's Chris Ballard reports on the dunk in the NBA, asking the question is it just two points, or an important part of the game?  Included is discussion of our "For the Love of the Game" exhibition, which raised the hoops to 11 feet. 

Some in the hoops community don't share Kerr's admiration for the dunk. "It's very bad for the game," that most esteemed of basketball men, John Wooden, once said. "If I want to see fancy play, I'll go see the Globetrotters." This is the fate of the shot: alternately celebrated and derided and, at one time, banned (from 1967 to '76, by the NCAA). Perhaps we're now entering the jam's postmodern period, when the shot itself no longer evolves but our feelings about it do. 

See http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/the_bonus/02/20/dunking0225/index.html 

February 17, 2008...I'm on our "hometurf" now, having arrived on Thursday night from Beijing...Jet Lag? Hmm, listen to this schedule: Friday afternoon went to Bellevue Community College and took in the Skyline HS vs. Issaquah HS game...Issaquah won going away, but not without having to overcome a double digit effort...then visited Seattle to see my close friend, Dave B., and politely excuse myself as "another" game beckoned my desire to watch another student of mine perform...This time it was Kentwood vs. Kentridge, with the latter winning handily...The young fella who I was observing was Josh Smith, Jr...Joshua has been a student of mine now going on 4 Springs and Summers...he is a gifted, patient student of the game, and has many many more competitions ahead of him...Then on Saturday morning, Coach Ernie Woods and myself took in a 5th Grade Boys basketball game at Canyon Park Junior High in Bothell, watching a very young and talented basketball aspirant by the name of Sean Perry, whose Papa is Guy, and the youth coach of Sean's team...It was a fun game to watch, as one team's mistakes lead to another's treasure and the disappointment to many parents in the stands...YIKES!!...and then as IF I didn't have enough American hoops to absorb, I attended the Northwest University vs. College of Idaho game...There are two players on NU's team whom I have helped over the last couple of years, and I wanted to see them while their season was still underway...NU won by 20...David Rengo and Greg Peters, the two players I know, came off the bench and contributed solid defense and timely baskets when the opportunity presented itself...It was so much fun to watch this level of competition, as the players compete just as hard as any D-1 player; shoot with accuracy like D-1 players, the only thing lacking may be that there aren't ENOUGH D-1 schools for players today...Greg hails from St. Vincent Grenadine, and is not afraid of competition "indoors" , considering he's only played outdoors all these years...

The date has now fast forwarded to February 26, 2008...I am sitting in a Starshucks "thinking" that I'll be able to "hookup" free and go WiFi...UNTIL, Howard-baby is now providing a "pillow" from T-Mobile to his bed and, of course, somebody has to pay for it: US!! So, after being able to on occasion, WiFi in China FREE at most Starshucks, I now have to "sign up" and pay which collectively and figuratively means another FREAKN Password!!!!....Does anybody out there get tired of the same ol schtick that keeps pressing us daily when we "want" something on an interactive basis? I mean at what point does Bill G. and Steve decide to tell their R & D Boyz to "come up with a simple voice activator that a "User" can identify him/her self with their favorite song...I'll give you an example: I'm in Cali and need to go WiFi and the prompt comes up "Sign In with Password"...And of course, I start singin the Beach Boys "I get around...round round round round round r o u n d...I get around..."...Then my IE illuminates my screen, I'm "on" and life is good...Or, I go to New York and same thing applies there in Grand Central Station...The prompt comes on, I go ahead and start belting out, Frankie Blue Eyes fav jingle: "New Yahwk New Yahk...", and all is good...Or, I go to Hawaii and belt out, Don Ho's Island Classic: "Tiny Booobles..."...Do you agree with me, how wonderfully simple that could and WOULD BE?? I mean NO ONE on this planet sings as BAD as I do, therefore my datavoice would either work or CRASH if someone TRIED to impersonate me signing on...Just had to revisit that issue again...I find myself digressing, regressing and depressing sometimes when it comes to the technology and convenience issues today when I blog and/or signon with memorybanks, fingerstrokes and other means for being "wired"...

Okay, spent 4 wonderful days with our Grandson, Carter, who is all of two-and-a-half-plus now and his favorite word is "NO"...We learn the words "Listen...and...YES" while I was there...Ashleigh and Brian, mom and dad, respectively, are doing a marvelous job of raising their babyboy today...I had so much fun with them...One day we went bowling and Carter got a Strike to my none and his Daddy was like *** Webber, makin contact with pins like he's ready for the "Pro Circuit"...I've never been much of a bowler, more of a "bawler" in my early years, as I didn't have much pain threshold for failing to keep the ball out of the gutter...I was so bad as a kid, I thought a great way to keep score for numbskillz like me in bowling, would be to count the NUMBER of pins that still stand AFTER you hit the gutter and come out onto the lane again...Let's put it this way, most of the bowling balls I used back in the day, were "retired" early and probably have been recycled as anchors for small boats...Anyway, that afternoon was totally fun...The next day, Carter wanted to take me to the Zoo and let the Monkees look at me and see how I reacted to them...So we went to the Portland Zoo, and I gotta tell you, it's really a nice, well thought-out venue for people to "view" endangered and captive species from our planet...Carter had a blast, his Daddy, Brian, had a blast and I was in awe of the whole experience...the only downer being the captive Eagle in a net enclosure, which I am hoping the only REASON this great bird is there, is because it is recovering health-wise before taking off for the wild blue yonder, otherwise, I'm bummed over looking at that exhibit...Next we saw a Sumatra Tiger pen...The Tiger was kickin back, BUT checkin us out closely, and I reminded Brian Captive Tigers today are not really happy "campers" as evidenced by the Tiger escapes in SF and now Hawaii...So, here we are thinking like the Tiger on the OUTSIDE "how" would this Tiger decide to leave on a moment's notice...It wouldn't be that difficult as this lil puttytat could leap a building on a single bound, and with that we moved on...It was a great visit to the Portland Zoo, and again, I highly recommend it to any and all...I also was fortunate to visit my dear friends, Lee Larson and Jim Dail from Clackamas, Oregon...The two of them together, coupled with me, makes us the 3 Amigos (hold the "salt"), and we had some great laughs about my experiences in China...It's been a wonderful reentry, Folks, one that has basketball friends, parents, kids and coaches touching base with me and welcoming me back and also for me to see LIVE high school playoffs action again, especially at this time year...I was really excited to see two young students of mine named to the SeaTimes HS All Star Team...Josh Smith, 6'10" (with his shoes on...last time I looked, that's what kids play with on the court...) and Lindsey Moore, 5'10" -/+...both are from Kentwood High School...Josh is a Post Player, sophomore, and comes from a wonderful Family...his lil Bro, J-Mon (Jeremy), is an 8th Grader who is a talent in his own right as well...Josh has been a part of our weekend group now going on 5 Springs/Summers now, and I can't tell you how much fun it's been to watch him grow as young man and Team Player...This young fella "gets it"...His Parents are truly "models to follow" when it comes to the balance between books and sports...Their philosophy is simple: "eat the food on your plate and you get dessert...", in other words: "learn in class, study and DO your homework and you'll get to PLAY sports..."...NOW THAT is a REFRESHING perspective isn't it? Lindsey will be attending the 3 Spring/Summer program with us this year, having been introduced to me by Coach Barbara Berry...Barbara is the Director of "The Way to WIn...", and has a wonderful teaching skills program that complements each of her players' developing skills as Team Players...Lindsey has a "motor" for the game, no question...she competes at a high level, won't back down to anybody and is NOT afraid to make mistakes, take a critical shot with confidence and ultimately make her teammates better with a pass, screen or help on defense...She too has two wonderful parents who are also terrific support models for Lindsey and her teammates...I am blessed by their successes on and off the court, and know that the other kids I've worked with over the years have evolved in a positive, mature way towards improving their leadership and life skills on and off the court, and having a better understanding of the "purpose" of the game overall...

Okay, I'm back in the NW again, jet lag over, I think, although I still have afternoon yawnings that coincide with when I would be going to sleep in China...I've never been into power naps, per se, only on tarmacs and long train rides in the mid afternoons, but I'm beginning to think that it may not be a bad "add-on" to my daily schedule...better than "nodding off" at 60 MPH on I-90 somewhere...I gotta run, have a VIM (very important meeting), that I hope will be shared with y'all before too long...Been workin on this for awhile now, and know that you will be happy to read the progress and advance notice of this "NEWell" event...

To those students and other players whose sportslife I haven't had the opportunity to bless and share the game with, I hope you enjoyed the "moment" of your season past, and if you are so fortunate to continue towards "State", that you have a wonderful experience and more importantly, SEIZE the MOMENT in your young life to grasp the essence of being on your team and sharing in the emotions and anxieties of warmups, playing, sitting and competing for a Championship...I've always believed that any team at any level that EVER makes the "tournament" in anything should always be considered a "Finalist" and to hold one's head high for the "Kodak moment" that no one can ever take away from them: the experience...All the best, God Bless...Coach tom My next blogit will address the frustrations of accepting "your" coach as your son/daughter's leader today...Definitely a subject we ALL need to revisit and learn from...tn

March 3, 2008...San Diego, California...

I am blessed to have this opportunity to be with my family and visit my father, Pete Newell, 92 years young, over this past weekend and tomorrow night's festivities of him being honored into the San Diego Hall of Champions program...He once was the General Manager of the San Diego Rockets before they relocated to Houston...He is very excited to be able to "live" this experience tomorrow night and we're so happy that he is with us now...Should be fun...

Now to the "heading" aforementioned...I am really REALLY concerned about the level of play that I have witnessed recently in high school basketball, both boys and girls at the 3A and 4A levels...First off, why is it that kids don't know how to make a correct CHEST PASS, BOUNCE PASS, OVERHEAD OUTLET PASS, PUSH PASSes, left hand/right hand? Why is it that kids don't understand that once you pass the ball YOU MUST MOVE WITHOUT IT or you might as well hold a Polaroid Camera and take pictures of the plays 'cause you're NOT a part of the motion any longer...Why is it kids don't talk on defense or anticipate helping a teammate when they get beat one on one? Why is it kids don't block out in late February when you know the coaches have taught them in October? Why is it kids hang their heads when they come out of the game and don't accept the fact that they're NOT helping the team with their mistakes or ineffective play and cast a dirty look at the coach or want to SIT at the end of the bench? Why is it kids who do start and then come out don't "cheer" their teammates who are still on the court competing for the TEAM? Why is it that some kids LOOK to the stands for support of their parents when they can GET ALL the support in the world from their coaches and teammates? Yeah, I'm BACK and not a "Happy Hooper" with the model I see on the courts today...Y'all need to listen to my podcast and hear my rant and suggestions to overcome the negativity that is surrounding our game today at the interscholastic levels...If I "stir" your emotions, good...If you think I'm "losing it"...you better have someone "film" you in the stands and YOUR son/daughter when they play or sit, then we'll see who's "losing" it...I am really upset at this time with what I see as a terrible slack-state of fundamental skills in interscholastic basketball in the NW...The "hype" that is being put upon young people today in newspapers and magazines, is unfortunate and setting up kids and parents for a "free fall" that is bungeecordless and doomed for a "post mortem" on one's high school basketball experiences IF the "expectations" are unfulfilled...Those of you, Parents, Coaches (all levels), Student Athletes and Administrators who KNOW me and my passion for the game, realize that I speak from my heart and trust me, my heart is hurting after watching basketball over the last three weeks in the NW...Listen to the Podcast to hear my feelings if you dare...Nobody ever said "Oral Medicines" were "sweet tasting", and trust me, this "prescription" is not sweet, BUT can HELP overcome the "nausea" that you (parent(s), student athletes, administrators and coaches) felt after the last defeat that eliminated you from District, Regionals, State and in State Finals...

Now I feel a whole lot better after getting that OFF my chest...thank you!! Okay, where do we go from here...Stay tooned, as I have a couple of events coming up for announcement that may or may not interest the parents and their student athletes...a Novel approach once again on my part to share with Family Sports Life Today in the NW...

I am soooooooooooo happy to be back in the NW and with Family and Friends...I thank you each and every one for emailing me over the last several months, encouraging my weblogits, and of course keeping me posted on your lives as well, on and off the court...Drive safe, buckle up and all the best, God Bless...Coach tom