The surprise of the day: SunJun is "fired" by the owner...

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Saturday morning, 8:45am, we're getting ready for our 9am practice...all players are accounted for and this will be the 2nd Saturday in a row that we scrimmage 4 quarters, 10 minutes apiece, 2 Officials on hand, 24 second clock, we got it goin on this AM...We warm up for a half hour, I have two teams, one Red Jersey, the other Black Jersey, and the Black Jersey team is comprised of the players who will contribute the most time and productivity along with 3 other players from the Red team, which includes Steve Castleberry, our 7'er out of Rider University...Our offense is behind our defense in my opinion but closing in fast as we scrimmage at least two quarters a practice during this past week...Our conditioning is probably around 90% right now, with two weeks away from Official Tipoff to the CBA season...The Black Team scored 106 points, four less than what I asked them to come up at halftime when they had 54...We have finally "bought in" to the early offense known as "Denver"...I've used this for many years now, having learned it from breaking down former Nuggets Coach Doug Moe's offense when they led the league in scoring for several years...In my opinion, I have NEVER seen a more simple, uptempo transition attack offense after made or miss baskets in basketball, with the exception of Paul Westhead's Early Offense...Doug Moe may never get into the Hall of Fame, folks, but let me tell you something, he "knows" offensive basketball better than any coach I've ever seen or learned from to date...Our defense had some outstanding "stops" and transition layups off our disruptive pressure system (thanks to Coach Ernie Woods philosophy) and I actually got "goosebumps" several times just watching them prey upon the wing drives by the Red team only to be thwarted by the Black Team's "weakside" rotation and trap or recovery once the dribble was picked up...Did I mention that our new assistant coach was not present at this practice this morning...? Neither was SunJun...which REALLY concerned me AND Pancake, as it meant something "was wrong...but what...?" as Pancake would ask me...Scrimmage was over, teams praised for their effort and reminded to always finish the game the "right way" and not disrespect it by not playing hard to the end no matter what the score is...We had a couple of minutes at the end when several players chose to go half speed and that "caught" my attention in a hurry, but I waited until we finished play...They "got" the message clearly...

Afternoon Session: Weight lifting and light running on indoor track...2:30pm to 4:00pm...We gathered as a team, including the novel appearance of our new assistant coach, and received word from the Team Leader, Happy, that SunJun was "fired" this morning by the new owner and that he wishes the team great success and he will speak to the team on Monday..."..."Splaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat"...

The players immediately went into a catatonic stare, not looking at anyone, anything or anywhere, minds transfixed away from their immediate surroundings, impacted by a language I don't understand yet, their expressions told me that Pancake was about to tell myself, Dajuan and Steve, that SunJun was fired and gone from the team...Poor Pancake, he understood only one leader in his young life as a worker "bee" in the Jilin Tigers team, and that was SunJun, his idol as a young boy growing up and watching him on television...It was SunJun who gave him his opportunity to become a translator last season...For Pancake, today was the most "sad day I ever know in my life, Coachtom...I cannot reach my leader, and I want to go home and be with my family now..."...He asked me what he should do, and I told him that he needed to take time for himself tomorrow and write a letter to SunJun thanking him for his trust and confidence and the opportunity to learn and work under him these last three years..."...Pancake said what will the team do now, and I told him we do our jobs to the best of our abilities until we don't have a job anymore...All one can do is be himself/herself and know that their work was honest, and they gave their best effort...I'm not sure if Pancake believes in "Tomfucious Says"...Oh, less I forget, the owner of this team has not paid the two Americans nor myself when it was due on the 1st of Oct...Pancake says he spoke to the owner and he said he "thought his accountant had made arrangements already..."...Monday is suppose to be the "magic" day...Why do I keep thinking that this assistant coach is being put in "place" by the owner before the season starts...Hmmm, it is what it is, and will be what it will be and that will be that...redundancy in this particular case is acceptable Mrs. Ellsworth (6th Grade English teacher back in the day...)...

Assistant Coach exchange at this afternoon's practice: I am here to assist you, Coach, only to assist you, I was approached by the owner, and he likes you...This according to Pancake...We'll find out if I'm his "American Idol" this Monday...Why Monday? Because he will "owe" both Americans and myself two payments...You see, folks, I have been in this situation a couple of times before on two different continents and nothing surprises me anymore at this time on my "meter"...We'll see, my "gut" feeling is that the owner will honor his contract with me until he doesn't...

Does missing two payments qualify as "until he doesn't?"...not sure, we haven't even played a game yet that counts...Oh, by the way, he also fired the Asst. GM, the Supreme Commander, the night before...evidently the Supreme Commander tried to "pull" rank on him about something and the owner wouldn't have it and basically told him "adios"...or something to that effect...this, according to Pancake...

Stay tooned...I am fine...worried? No...surprised...?...for sure...am I packing my bags? No...will I? No...Why? Because "if" this owner were to change coaches now, he would have done it already and he knows that he would really be bringing "bad" karma upon himself BEFORE the season even begins...And yes, my disappointment in all of this is knowing that I won't be able to work with SunJun...He is a wonderful person, people, and the team he has put together is a GREAT talent base of young players with a couple of veterans that could make us the surprise of the league...Keep me in your meditative thoughts, and if any of the parents out there of kids who I train are "hoping" I come back early, thanks, but I would really like to finish what I started...God Bless America...and each of you...Coach tom

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