BOUNCE BACK…

One week ago, on a Sunday afternoon at around 3:30 PM, I resigned my position as boys varsity basketball coach at East Lansing High School.

It happened in a meeting discussing my suspension. (Just five days earlier I was placed on suspension by the athletic director for insubordination)

Me and Malik

The athletic director, high school principal (who has a son on the team) and superintendent of East Lansing schools were all present.  It was a productive meeting. Lasted a little under 60 minutes. I was a bit disappointed that my wife of 23 years was not allowed to sit in with us.

It was a tough decision to walk away.  For starters we still had two games remaining in the regular season and then there was the playoffs.  Our record was 15-2, good for first place in the conference.  Actually, I take that back.  The record was 15-3. During my suspension I missed the biggest game of the year; last regular season conference game vs Okemos.  Regular season championship on the line. We were both tied for first.

I didn’t get to coach in that game.

We lost.

I had numerous people tell me that “if you coached, you guys would have won.”

Over my 8 years at East Lansing I realized one thing; it doesn’t matter how many games you win.

So many people have reached out to see how I am feeling.  The local newspaper wrote about my departure.  Social media was on fire for a bit; but as time passes, mention of my resignation cools down.

East Lansing basketball will be fine without me.

Was I perfect? Of course not. Not even close to perfection. Who is?

I pushed players. Confronted them and demanded their best. Held them accountable.  Did people disagree with my decisions? Of course they did.  Those certified critics told me to my face, they e-mailed and spoke behind my back. Most of the time it was over playing time for their son.

But honestly, I’m good…Seriously. I have never felt better.

I’ve spent the past couple of nights watching the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament.  They are playing it in New York City, Madison Square Garden – the mecca. Or as the late John Condon would say, “The world’s most famous arena.”

Earlier in the week I spent two days at Michigan State University watching the Spartans men’s basketball team practice.  I loved the energy, the spirit and cohesiveness MSU showed; from the players, coaches and managers.

It was clear; the players care about each other.

Special thanks to Coach Izzo, Dane Fife, Mike Garland and Dwayne Stephens for welcoming me with open arms. These guys have been amazing.

Today on CBS at 2:00 PM Michigan State will take on Michigan in the Big Ten semi-finals.  The Wolverines beat the Spartans in their only meeting this year; that game was played in East Lansing. (Big Ten schedule makers need to schedule these two schools twice in a season).

I appreciate everyone who has reached out;  You’re aces.  I’m going to continue to love the game of basketball.  My passion for the game will never go away.  I will always have the spirit and enthusiasm. Outsiders and especially the haters, will never steal my joy.  Matter of fact, I have started the process on writing a book; a book about my experience in the game, it’s sort of like what St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny published (The Matheny Manifesto). A memoir and keys to success.

It’s my duty to promote the game of basketball. It’s my job to make sure the game is being played the right way, both on and off the court.  Whether I am coaching a team or not.

Always Play the Right Way,

Coach Finamore

Hoops135@hotmail.com

 

Advertisements

JB BICKERSTAFF

“You’re going to play the right way no matter what. No matter what you get, it’s going to be earned.  If you’re not playing the way the team wants to play and you’re not playing unselfish and playing hard, there’s room on that bench for you to sit down.”

CHICAGO CUBS

Miguel Montero means business…

“The reality is we can’t take anything for granted and right now, I feel like we do,” Montero told reporters following Tuesday afternoon’s 10-4 loss to the Rockies in Game 1 of a split doubleheader. “Honestly, we’re just not playing at our highest level. We have to shake it up, wake up. This will be a good wake-up call for us. We either come to play the right way or we’re going to have a short season.”

50-50 BALL

We are one week into the NBA playoffs.

Never have I been so excited to watch these games.

Like my guy James Edwards told me, “I love the playoffs.”

Yeah but bro, you also said you fell asleep last night and missed the end of the Jazz-Clippers game. Come on bro! You’re 25 years-old…

Speaking of the late game last night, the Clippers went into Utah and beat the Jazz 111-106.  Forget about the final score, or the fact that LA leads 2-1, you need to see CP3’s behind the back move late in the game.

Oh my!

N.Y.C. all the way. I’m talking Tillary Park, East 5th street and Manhattan Beach style.

Remember when you would see a guy on television make a sweet move and you and your friends would go to the schoolyard and try to copy it? When Scott Skiles was at Michigan State he threw the sickest behind-the-back-pass against Georgetown.  Later that night we were all trying to do the same. Do kids still emulate their favorite players?

Gordon Hayward of the Jazz went off last night…he’s got game. He went to Butler, right?

How about the Celtics flying into the Windy City and beating the Bulls 104-87 to make it a 2-1 series?  Celtics are all good despite being down 2-1 in the series.  Rajon Rondo missed the game for Chicago with a broken thumb.  I picked Chicago in this series but I’m not so sure now. Bulls need RR’s leadership.

My favorite coach of all-time, Kevin Loughery once said, “Shoot ’em up and sleep in the streets,” Celtics made 17 three’s out of 37 attempts. Bulls were 6-21.

Lansing native Denzel Valentine got some burn for Chicago late in the game. He knocked down a three.  Kid put a lot of work in over the last 5-6 years. His time will come.

Speaking of 3-balls, in 22 NBA playoff games thus far, the team that makes the most is 12-6. The other 4 games? Each team made the same amount.

Big Al Horford, by way of Grand Ledge, Michigan scored 18 points and grabbed 8 boards last night. This guy has come a long way. I remember back in the day when he was in high school we would work out, he didn’t like doing full-court dribbling drills.

One more thing on Valentine and Horford; they both played their high school basketball in the CAAC Blue here in the Mid-Michigan area.  Valentine’s dad, Carlton is one of the best. He’s done a fine job raising two sons. His second son, Drew is an assistant coach at Oakland University.

Gerald Green got the start for the C’s.

“It’s a two possession game,” LOL – stop saying that, please. We can count.

Brad Stevens, Fred Hoiberg, Quin Snyder and Billy Donovan all coaching in the playoffs:  who said a college coach can’t get it done in the NBA?  Shoot, a high school coach can get it done in the league. Just put them in a decent situation, put players around them who want to work and a front office that are committed to getting it done, 24-7.

OKC beat the Rockets last night 115-113.  The Thunder now trail in the series 2-1. Russell Westbrook with another triple-double.

Russ, on his team: ”We’re all one team. I don’t have a cast, I don’t have other guys. We’re all in this together and my teammates have been doing a great job all season long.”

Taj Gibson dropped 20 for the Thunder. They need him to continue being a force.

James Harden scored 44. He missed the last shot of the game which would have won it for Houston.

Two Foul or Defend situations last night; both worked. Clippers fouled and Thunder fouled.

Gordy Chiesa, former coach at Manhattan College and Jerry Sloan’s long-time assistant in Utah posts great tweets on twitter. Give him a follow.

Just once,  I want a reporter at the post-game press conference to ask, “what does it mean to play the right way?”  First guy to ask, gets a Starbucks coffee on me.

Love Hubie Brown. He coached, oh I mean he worked the Bulls-Celtics game last night on ESPN.  You get a free coaches clinic listening to him. I learn at least 2-3 things every time I listen to him. Love when he breaks down a screen-down and a curl.

I saw a guy yesterday wearing a Kyle Korver Atlanta Hawks jersey…here in East Lansing.

Do yourself a favor and go check out Ray LeBov’s blog, Basketball Intelligence. http://basketballintelligence.net/

Kevin Garnett is a funny guy.  Love his segment on TNT.  He would be great court-side announcing a game.

Every NBA player complains of a no-call or a call. Come on guys, the kids are watching. Just once I want to see a player go over to a ref and say, “Good call.” Whatever happened to raising your hand when they call a foul on you?

Motown music is the best…download the songs today.

AAU, oops I mean travel team basketball going on this weekend. College coaches out all over the country looking for players.

Yo kids, they are looking for players that “Play the Right Way.”

Happy Earth Day. Think I’ll go out to the schoolyard and get some shots up.

Thanks for reading…

Hoops135@hotmail.com