Tuesday, November 14, 2006

N Apostrophe T

My kids and I really enjoy the Electric Company DVD set. The show is a happy childhood memory for me because I learned a lot about reading and enjoyed Morgan Freeman's work long before he was buying bus tickets to Fort Hancock, Texas.

I thought of those DVDs last night and this morning, in the aftermath of ND's loss to Butler in the Preseason NIT, when I read how it's difficult to get a post feed late in a game or how the young guys have a hard time against older competition or one- or two-and-done players probably won't choose ND.

I can't remember if it was Rita Mareno or Judy Graubart, but the sketch I thought of concerns a young lady who is always saying no to things. Suitors approach and are rebuffed time and time again. She thrives, she says, on "N apostrophe T".

I don't want to hear that out of any Notre Dame basketball person's mouth this season. I don't want to hear or read quotes from any player or coach that ND isn't / wasn't / can't / won't / shouldn't / couldn't do or be anything anywhere at any time. That's the kind of thinking that leads to conservatism, and conservatism is the absolutely last thing the Fighting Irish need this year.

If someone asks Mike Brey whether he believes Kyle MacAlarney could sink the winning three-point basket and then float to the top of the Joyce Center on gossamer wings while dropping a deuce on the opposing coach's head, I want him to respond, "Hell yes, we work on that every day in practice. Think that'll go well with Pitino's hair gel?"

If someone inquires about Luke Harangody's new shoes, I want to hear he bought them so when he leaps from the foul line for a monster dunk, he'll look good in the poster.

It has nothing to do with truth and everything to do with attitude. Until coaches and players alike learn, they won't believe, and until they believe, they won't win consistently. If you don't believe ND can win, you shouldn't be at ND, period.

We saw the old conservatism last night. Four guys with more than 31 minutes, three of them over 34. Limited substitutions. Over-reliance on the perimeter, especially late in the game. The result was a carbon copy of last season -- a hard-fought, close loss, with the Irish playing poorly down the stretch in both halves. And then the n-apostrophe-t's came out in the postgame.

We didn't see that conservatism in the first three games. We saw a deep bench -- a nine-man rotation that got double-figure minutes apiece. We saw a lot of energy for thw whole game. We saw the ball pounded inside and players like Rob Kurz and even youngsters like Harangody responding with monster efforts. Granted, the competition level wasn't high, but let's remember in the last two seasons, even the gimme games were worry-inducing. This time, they were easy-peasey victories. And afterwards, we heard a lot about what the players could do and what the program could and should do.

I believe there's a relationship there.

Will they win them all? Of course not. Young players make mistakes, and mistakes are likely to cost the team wins here and there. But if they don't make the mistakes and then learn from them, they'll be making the same mistakes as sophomores and juniors, and that's when a team really has problems.

If you have the belief, you have the keys to a win. If you don't have the belief, you should turn your keys in.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was present last night to see ND lose again to Butler. It was tragic. Butler - great ball movement and finding the open man as well as penetration and either a lay up or a successful dish off. ND lack of ball movement and unable to continue with a lead. Outcoached and outplayed.....come on its Butler and living in Indianapolis, I am unable to believe ND cannot play at their level. This is not the Big East....it's Butler. Opposing teams know we do not know how to finish and sustain a lead. A coaching change has to be considered.

11/14/2006 08:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off, I think Butler is a better team than most people would care to believe. But these are the games that ND should win. Last year I defended Brey, saying that we should give him one more year. Well, that one more year is here, and last night was a game we should have won. Therefore Brey receives a "strike one". I know we aren't going to win all of our games. Heck, we probably won't even make the NCAA tournament, but two more "strikes" like last night and Brey should be "out".

11/14/2006 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous adomer said...

Can't we at least wait a couple of days before asking for coach Brey's blood.

Winning every game, no matter what anyone says, isn't everything. Getting a good education and a degree should be first.

It's simple stuff..

11/15/2006 08:11:00 AM  

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