Our team, the East Lansing Trojans boys varsity basketball team lost last night to Grand Ledge 59-53.  It’s the first regular season loss for the Trojans since March, 5, 2015.  We had won 45 straight.  In the CAAC Blue, we were riding a 34 game win streak. Pretty impressive, I know.

But losing a game in the regular season, well, it’s okay.  With all due respect to our opponent, we’re still tied for 1st place in the conference. We play them again and there’s also 10 more conference games to play.

Anything can happen.

That’s why we should all take losing as a lesson.  A very important one at that.

Losing helps you understand what you need to improve on.  Losing makes you hungry. I’m not sure if they wanted it more than we did last night but I thought they had a little more energy and juice. But that’s okay, because now we know we have to bring the juice every game.

The great thing about high school basketball is that there’s another game; in two days we take to the road for a conference game vs the Holt Rams. But before the game we will watch the game film from last night, hit the weight room and then practice on Thursday.

We will not feel sorry for ourselves nor will we pout and sulk. We’ll handle our business and get back at it.

David Schwartz once said, “How you think after you lose determines the next time you win.”

We have a growth mindset at East Lansing. We’ll work harder. Try harder and study harder. We will confront these challenges and develop into a better basketball team. We will make our best effort in the next few days. No one will feel sorry for us.

Just because you fail, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure.

To close, Michael Cain’s character in “Batman” had a great line.

“Why do we fail? So that we can learn to pick ourselves back up.”

When you fail at something, you have to go back to work.

And that is a valuable lesson.

-Coach Finamore



I think Nike should give every high school varsity basketball team in the country team shoes. In exchange we can do some community service work. Or, reward schools with high GPA’s. If a team clocks a 3.0 or higher, ship them some kicks.

My guy, Carlton Douglas Ridenhour better known as “Chuck D” said it best:

“I like Nike but wait a minute The neighborhood supports, so put some money in it…”

As a kid, my mom couldn’t afford the expensive shoes. Can’t imagine how hard it is on some parents…



At the start of every basketball season we hear a new word or phrase used by a coach or even the players.

Trust the Process” has been a popular one this Fall.

New York Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek is in…

It may be a slower process, but our guys are working hard to do the best we can. You got to find the combination. Brett Brown has figured out a good way to do that. It’s hard as a coach because you want to win. You understand the process you have to go through.

You try to not sacrifice what you’re trying to do to build just to win some games. Obviously you want to win, but you have to find that balance. You can’t get frustrated. You got to keep the team going, and when teams are going through that process, it’s hard, but you got to stay positive.

Marc Berman of the New York Post with the full piece.


Sad news about Howard Garfinkel passing away today. He was 86.  There’s thousands of stories about “Garf,” co-founder of the Five-Star Basketball Camp. Here’s one.

I am in Columbus, Ohio.  It’s the late 90’s, spring time.  I know this because it was warm but I still carried a light jacket with me.  I had been living in East Lansing, Michigan for two, maybe three years.  The drive from East Lansing to Columbus wasn’t too bad.

Jerry Watson was putting on an AAU event.  Paul Biancardi was an assistant coach at Ohio State. Jim O’Brien was the head coach.  Paul and Jim are good guys.

On the second day of the tournament, Saturday afternoon to be exact, Garf and I are sitting in a half-empty gym watching a game.  We’re sitting in the front row of the bleachers at half-court.


The action is going up and down. Two solid teams. Caron Butler might have been on one team.  Garf and I are talking about each kid. Usual comments you hear when adults watch ball.

Good passer.”

“Great shooter.”


All of a sudden, the official standing on the court working the game, just inches away from us blows his whistle.  I found this odd because the kid with the ball was dribbling the ball at the top of the key running a play. (Half-court set about to be executed).

“YO, THERE’S NO SMOKING IN HERE,” the official said.

He was looking at me and Garf.

I was like, “I’m not smoking!”

I quickly glance to my right at Garf and he’s taking a drag from a cigarette.


Garf didn’t respond. He just took a long drag like it was his last.

“Yo, mister, you gotta go outside and smoke that!” the official said.

Garf looked at the perturbed man, took another drag and calmly pulled the cigarette from his mouth, placed it under his shoe and put it out.



Still, Garf didn’t say a word. I was expecting him to say sorry or something like that.

Instead he sat there, looking out to the court at the players with the look on his face like, “Okay, put the ball in play.”