When you think reason is defined, it may be in English...but not in Chinese...

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October 17, 2007, Wednesday afternoon, 3:20pm Changchun City...12:20am, Seattle...We had light practice this morning for an hour and fifteen minutes, going through shooting drills on the baseline and implementing the drop step upon reception, then open up into a jumper...They did really well, some having never thought about doing footwork like that on overplays...I try to implement teaching in our shooting drills that will help them understand "read-react-attack" in their nominal offensive moves...The one player who really excelled with this was Wang Bo, Co-Captain and the leader of this team...He really listens well, and reminds me of Eduardo Najera, Denver Nuggets player, small forward who "brings it" everyday in practice and game...Such is the "style" of Wang Bo...He would not embarrass himself whatsoever in an NBA Rookie Free Agent Camp...Hope that happens for him in his career...Then we went through our scenarios when the opposing Point Guard breaks down our "Face" Press...the last couple of scrimmages we had some major non-communication issues and left shooters open as the Guard made his way into the paint...It appears that when the ball goes up, the players sometimes suffer from convenient amnesia...Kinda like back in the day, you learn how to dance to the Watusi and Slauson and then the Prom comes around and you go blank and get exposed really baaaaaad for your non-dance skills and more importantly: rhythm...

Our guys go through the "motions" really well and then suffer momentary "blankouts" when matching up on defense in the halfcourt...It's okay, though, because we have time to walk through this, talk about it and correct the miscues on rotations...After this practice we went to the indoor track for some minor interval running, which turned out to be a good "cardio" exercise, as the Training/Conditioning coach called in and said that something came up and he could not make the session...No problem, I told Pancake, the Captains and myself will come up with something to get our wheels moving and break a sweat and call it a day...This afternoon, we have no practice, as this has been the custom for the last 2 years...I don't want to "break" tradition, so I pull my "rubberwristband" and adjust to the custom...Good morning workout, for sure...Remember the "Bird flyover on a quiet tranquil beach?"...Stay tooned...

Wednesday afternoon, after returning to my room, I receive a phone call from Joe Guan, Chinese national, who helped me initially with my transition upon arrival from the US to Beijing and on to Changchun...Joe tells me that he has some news for me, but wanted to know if I had "heard" anything first...Now, I gotta tell you about Joe, he is a great person, and a good friend, but way way too negative and paranoid for me...Joe tells me that the papers in Beijing have announced that Jilin Tigers will name the former coach of Jilin from 2003 as the new Head Coach, and "what are you going to do..?"...I tell Joe, that #1, I don't worry about speculation from the Press, and if that is what the owner chooses to do, that is his prerogative and I have no control over that...He says, "but you must prepare...."...I tell him, "Joe, I was hired by the owner to coach the Jilin Tigers back in mid late August...I am the Head Coach until I am not...he owes me for 3 months guarantee and if he is crazy enough to let the "Larry Bird" of China basketball go, then he can do the same with me...it's that simple..."...Then Joe goes, why react like this, you must prepare to accept new position if new Head Coach chooses to keep you..."...I laughed and said, 'Joe, you're not listening to me: I am the Head Coach until I am not...I was hired to be the Head Coach and that is my position...if the new GM wishes to bring in his own Coach and the owner allows him to do this, then I have nothing to say, BUT will comment on it later..."...Well, Joe is beside himself now, he can't understand why I am so reluctant to accept this change...He doesn't know me very well, obviously...I told him that I don't listen to gossip from the press and speculation about what "ifs", and that is all we have to discuss here...then I asked him how his family was etc...I think Joe is a very nice person, and I really like him alot, but don't really think he understands "life" as a professional coach...he was once an assistant coach for a couple of years awhile back and hasn't coached since...He may be a little gunshy, plus he is not a teacher nor does he understand the game technically as I thought he did...But I really like him as a person...As of 3:45pm, I am still the Head Coach of the Jilin Tigers...I have asked for Pancake to call me and await his call...I hope to have the owner meet me at the Hotel so we can visit and discuss all that has gone on professionally the last 5 days...I really like this owner, and felt pretty good whenever I saw him, but then again, I'm an American and see positive in all people and things, or I try to...

What's my next move, you wonder? Well, I've packed my bags about 95% of the way, and if need be, can be on my way back IF that is what happens or goes down here...What a shame...we haven't even played our first game and already they've changed the "Larry Bird" of China basketball, SunJun, and his Asst. GM, the Supreme Commander, ( I gotta tell you, I felt vindicated somewhat when I heard he tried to pull a power trip on the new owner, and the owner didn't back down...)...10 days before our first game...Shucks, I just went out last week and bought my first suit since high school and a beautiful black blazer (first since '02) and a pair of black dress shoes, also a "first" since '96, and was really looking forward to opening night...Guess I'll "save" it for a Xmas social or something that requires black tie...wait, I don't own a black tie...I just have WWF (World Wildlife Foundation) ties that I love to wear when coaching...they're oldie but awfully goodies...Now I know that there are parents out there who are excited about this "latest" development, and I can understand why: tryouts are around the corner and they would love for me to get back into the gym on the Eastside and commence once again the training we had this past Spring and Summer...So, I will meditate heavily tonight, and have a couple of GandTs, and figure out the scenarios that may occur and how I will react to them...First off, I will make sure that whoever informs me of the 'change' understands that I have a contract with the owner and team and it will be honored professionally...If they decide that they wish for me to continue as an Assistant, then we will do a "new" contract for more money and I will consider that option AFTER I sit down with the new Head Coach and hear his words through Pancake...IF that is one of the scenarios...Another scenario could be this: they want me to coach the team BUT also want this coach as my Co Head Coach...Would I do that? I would consider that as an option, we still would be 4 coaches less than Coach Ed Pepple's staff!! Hah! Now you may wonder if I have "already" had a GandT session downstairs, and I can honestly tell you, no, I have great peace of mind and a quiet heart with the speculative news from Joe Guan and his newspaper readings...My "meter" is working well, it's strong and a lot of great "teaching" years ahead, trust me, so this would not be a setback at all, just another "entry" in my basketball journals...

By the way, I received an Official Invitation to direct the first ever Education and Sport Symposium/Workshop in Vladivostok, Russia, after the season here concludes...I made friendships with the President of the Club and his assistant, Victor Egupov, on the last evening of our stay in their city three weeks ago...It was then that I shared with them about the Best Effort Camps and Clinics module that we have introduced in Seattle and Oregon over the last several years, as well as other countries that I have been fortunate enough to visit...The Russian Government in Education and Sports Development in conjunction with the U S Consulate in Vladivostok, Russia, have invited yours truly to be the headliner for this inaugural event, sometime in mid February when the season concludes...I am ecstatic to have this invitation for introducing a training, teaching model to the volunteer youth coaches and other coaches in basketball there...This is what has inspired me all these years, from my first experience as a Player/Coach in Belgium, just out of college in '71 for two years, and never forgetting working in small Belgie villages, no heat, poor lighting and kids so excited to have an American teach them the game...This is my way of being an Ambassador to the game worldwide, and I am blessed beyond words for each experience, trust me...Well, I'll "blogit" tomorrow sometime, unless I hear otherwise earlier...Take care, buckle up, stay warm and give your kids a hug before they leave for school...Coach tom

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