Tyler Hansbrough and Fathers and Sons

A year ago, I was feeling pretty crappy. Today, I still feel pretty crappy (from the post-MBA Gala malaise), but couldn't be happier.

Kelly and I watched the game with ~300 of our closest friends at Spice Street in Chapel Hill. We screamed like idiots when Tyler made the game-clinching jump shots down the stretch and happily chirped "Carolina Victory" with my friend EJ after the game ended. And then I called my dad, as is the post-game custom.

When I called him, I felt a surprisingly startling emotion beyond the excitement of having just won the big game. I've written before how, when I was a child honing my game on the driveway, my dad would coach me by describing how Tar Heel legends Phil Ford and Bobby Jones did it this way or that way. I obviously knew who these people were, but I didn't get why he referred to them with such reverence.

For a split second after my dad picked up the phone, I remembered those times on my driveway and tried to imagine the touchstone Carolina basketball moments in his life, realizing that I was in the midst of one of my own.

And it made me realize how lucky I am to be able to call him after the game.

How To Shoot A Basketball

Here's a video of a somewhat impromptu speech I gave on the first day of my Mgmt Communication class. We had to speak for 5 minutes about a multi-step process that would be interesting for our audience.

We could talk about whatever we wanted, so I chose to teach my class the "Modified BEEF Method" for shooting a basketball.

The ticking you hear in the background is my instructor taking notes.



I Can't Believe I'm Not Watching The Game

The Heels open their season tonight against Davidson and I'm too busy to watch.

It's really a strange feeling because I usually go to great lengths to rearrange my life to watch Carolina basketball - either at home on TV or (preferably) at the Dean Dome.

We're tied with 4.49 remaining. I hope we win, but if we lose I'll find solace in the fact that every time Roy Williams has lost his season opener, he's taken his team to the Final Four.

Go Davidson!


Apologies for the lull in Boggs Blog action.  As much of my constituency already knows, Kelly and I are in the midst of a 17 day jaunt through Italy. 

Because I'm paying 2.7 Euros per hour here, I'll keep it quick and list some of the highlights:

- Jet lag worked in our favor on our first morning.  Both Kelly and I awoke at the crack of down and decided to just start our day at 6AM local time.  We took the metro to Vatican City and enjoyed a fairly empty St. Peter's square and Basillica.  Lots of good photos.

The place was PACKED a few hours later.

- Our 2nd night in Rome, we walked up on a barricaded street.  One of the many nuns wandering around the street that evening told Kelly that the Holy Father would soon make his way up the street as a part of the Corpus Christi tradition. 

Sure enough - 30 minutes or so later, the massive papal procession rolls up with the Pope bringing up the rear, riding on a platform built into the bed of what looked like a 70s model Chevrolet pick up truck.  (Not joking.)  He rolled by about 10 feet in front of Kelly and me. 

Sadly - he wasn't wearing a funny hat.

- 3 days in the Cinque Terre.  Google Image Search results will have to suffice until I can post my photos.  Best scenery and best food of the trip so far.

- On our first night in Florence, Kelly and I stumbled upon the BeBop Music Club for America Rock Tribute night.  Good times - no cover, decent beer, and the surreal experience of watching a band of 5 Italianos blast GNR and Bon Jovi covers.  "You give low-ve a bad name." and "Reminds me of childhood mammaries." were a few of the lyrics hilariously lost in translation.  Interestingly, the song lyrics and our conversation with Giovanni, one of the managers, were the only words I heard spoken in English the entire night.

- Unlike the US, cheap wine it Italy is actually pretty good - especially when consumed heavily, with cheese, in public squares or scenic vistas.

- I've grown an Italian beard and both Kelly and I have tried to dress so as to blend in.  (No fanny packs, tennis shoes, or baseball caps here.)  As such, locals have greeted us speaking Italian on numerous occassions - at the train station, in shops, etc. We're so cool!

Sadly - we quickly blow our cover when we just smile politely and say "Non parlo Italiano."

That'll have to do for now.  We're in Florence for 3 more days - including day trips to Pisa and Siena (via rental car) and a tour of the Uffizzi Gallery.  Then we're off to Venice and then back to Rome to wrap up our trip.



NBA = Liars

I'm sorry David Stern, but I'm going to have to call "shenanigans" on your latest announcement:
The NBA finished the 2006-07 regular season with the highest average attendance and the highest total attendance in league history, for the third consecutive season.

There is no way that the average NBA game drew more than 17K+ spectators. I've endured watched more than my fair share of NBA basketball games this season, none of which had more than a handful of fans in attendance.  (Perhaps I'm just not seeing the 15K silent fans tucked away in the upper level?)

Until you pack the house night in and night out, you're only setting "ticket revenue" records, not "attendance" records.

Orange Serpents Season Recap

The Orange Serpents capped off of an undefeated season with a rousing comeback against the Red Team this past Saturday.

We were down 4 to begin the 4th quarter. (For those of you that haven't seen a 7/8 year old basketball game recently, 4 points is a nearly insurmountable lead.) We made a couple buckets to tie the game with about 4 minutes left, one of which was a sweet put back in traffic by Liam. Once we tied the game, it was clear - considering the horrific shooting and scrambling defense - that the next team to score would win.

A couple minutes late, Isabelle - one of our best defenders, but not a consistent shooter - hoisted a 15 foot jump shoot that hit nothing but the bottom of the net. Her shot left us gave us a 2 point lead with about 2 minutes left. So, we only needed to make a few stops and we'd win the game.

The last 2 minutes were so exciting! The crowd was going nuts and the other team was playing very aggressively, but my players kept their poise. I called timeouts (yes - in a 7/8 year old game) after possession changes so that we could set our offense/defense. After each time out, the Serpents did exactly what they were supposed to do.

I was proudest of my team on our last defensive play. I warned Xavier - our toughest player and one of our point guards - that the other team was going to come to his side and try to screen him - which they did. He saw it coming, played it well and defended the shot. Liam snagged a tough rebound - just as he had the entire game - handed it off to Xavier once the defense cleared.

Xavier walked the ball to halfcourt and I called timeout before the defense could swarm him. We threw the ball inbounds in the backcourt without any problem. (My inbounds play was predicated on the "no pressing in the backcourt" rule.) We easily melted the clock and took the victory. My kids went nuts! They were so happy to finish 8-0.

I'm sad that the season is over. As we progressed, the games and practices became such fun. After the first 5 or 6 weeks, my kids had learned the basics - share the ball, play defense without fouling, spacing on offense, keep your spot on defense, etc. Thus, I spent our practices teaching them to set picks, block out, and hit the deck for loose balls. They loved the drills and games that I taught them and I loved feeling like I was coaching the greatest 7/8 year old basketball team every assembled. (This is an arguable point. The 1988 Gastonia YMCA Bucks with me, Joel, and Andy were pretty good, too.)

I hope that I have time to coach again next winter. I also hope that my career path meanders in such a way that I end up on a sideline coaching a high school basketball team. Considering the fun I had coaching children, I simply can't imagine how much fun I would have coaching players that can really play and that I could berate and run to death when they displease me.

Teams I Hope We Get A Chance To Beat

Assuming the Heels take care of business with Eastern Kentucky and the winner of the Michigan State/Marquette game - which is a big assumption considering last year's George 'Effing Mason debacle - I hope we see the following storyline unfold:

The 'Horns will be a tough out with Jesus Christ Kevin Durant on their team, but I think the 'Heels have the personnel to get it done. If we run Ginyard, Terry, and Wright at the Christ child, he'll have to contend with fresh legs and differing defensive styles throughout the game.

A Sweet 16 victory avenges our 2nd round loss to Texas in 2004, the 1995 Rick Barnes/Dean Smith fiasco, and my absolute disdain for Rick Barnes...and the stupid "Don't mess with Texas." attitude...and George W. Bush.


After seeing the SI.com "expert" bracket picks, I've decided that Georgetown is now my 3rd least favorite team in the field, behind the aforementioned Texas and Duke, who's irrelevance and overall suck-itude leaves them beyond the scope of this article.

We already beat Georgetown with John Thompson and Patrick Ewing in 1982. Surely we can beat them in the Elite 8 with John Thompson III and Patrick Ewing, Jr. Plus, does anyone honestly think a team running the Princeton offense has the juice to win a national championship?

Ohio State

I watched us beat the Greg Oden-less Buckeyes at the Dean Dome this past November. It was probably the most exciting game I watched all year. The Buckeyes made every single shot they heaved and the Heels matched them shot for shot throughout the game. We pulled it out in the end thanks a late run and a big effort from Tyler Hansbrough.

The in-game and post-game story, however, was all Oden. The talking heads just wouldn't shut-up about his greatness, how he would completely change the game if he were healthy, how he's developing his left hand while his right hand is injured, etc. The telecast cut to shots of Oden on the bench at least 25 times. (I know because I always record the game and then watch it again when I come home.) Read the post-game recap to get a sense of what I'm talking about. It was REALLY irritating to have an inactive player get so much attention.

So, Greg Oden has it coming to him. Like Durant, he's a media darling and must be broken. He'll get his in the Final Four.

The only way we face the Jayhawks is if we both make the championship game. The story lines are endless! Dean! Roy! Larry Brown! Danny Manning! Danny Manning's father! Matt Doherty! "I could give a shit about North Carolina right now!"

In my ideal scenario, we clobber Kansas to take the title behind a man's effort by Tyler Mansbrough, a few timely jump shots from Wes Miller, and key defensive play by Marcus Ginyard. After the game, Roy weeps on national television and Bill Self remains a loser.

Please make it so.

(Yes, I realize that this will never happen now that I've taken the time to articulate the PERFECT scenario.)

Thoughts On The Tyler Incident

As if he already hadn't done so, Tyler Hansbrough DEFINITELY secured his place in the Carolina Basketball pantheon today.

Tyler Hansbrough and a bloody nose

For one, he put up 26 and 17 in a must win game against Dook. If we lose, we end up the #5 seed in the ACC Tournament and have to play in a dreaded Les Robinson Invitational game on Thursday night. Instead, as a direct result of Tyler's herculean effort, we share the regular season ACC title with UVA and get the #1 seed in the tournament.

For two, he now has his iconic moment. Just like Eric Montross' cut under the eye in 1992, Tyler's busted nose will be a holy act of bravery and sacrifice that Carolina fans talk about for years to come. It doesn't matter that it happened at the end of the game or that it was an accident. (I am one of the very few Heels fans that thinks that the elbow from Gerald Henderson was nothing more than the by-product of aggressive play.) 10 years from now, everyone - me included - will remember that Tyler ended up bloodied in a Duke game as a result of a "questionable" play by some nameless Dookie thug (that never amounted to anything in the NBA) and that Tyler's blood sacrifice rallied the team to victory.

My favorite part of the incident? After taking the blow, Tyler fell to the ground and lay still for a brief moment. He then gathered himself and stood up looking for a fight. He wasn't just mad - he was crying mad, with blood streaming down his face and tears welling in his eyes. For me, that will be the lasting image and the lasting emotion. I suspect that the tears were from the pain of a busted nose, but I like to think that they came in part from the competitive fire that burns in his gut.

When I was a kid, my dad always exhorted me to play the game with heart like Tar Heel legends Phil Ford and Bobby Jones. If I'm fortunate enough to have a son, I know that I will (attempt to) inspire him with tales of Tyler's grit, his whirling dervish effort, the fanatical gleam he gets in his eye when he's on the court, and, of course, his bloody nose.

Serpents Victorious Over The Green Team, 32-20

The Orange Serpents moved to 2-0 with a 32-20 win over the Green Team this afternoon.

We jumped out to an early lead that dwindled down to 2 points midway through the third quarter. However, once our big three - Xavier, Austin, and Liam - entered the game together with 4 minutes left in the third quarter, we quickly regained control of the game and cruised to an easy victory.

The unquestionable highlight of the game was when Xavier and Austin ran "screen low", a simple inbounds play we learned in practice this week, to perfection. Xavier scored an easy bucket off of Austin's screen and Liam's good pass. I think I'm going to teach the play to the whole team this week so that we can set up our other players with easy shots under the basket, particularly those that normally don't get to shoot.

Serpents Win Debut

My 7/8 year old basketball team - the Orange Serpents, as named by my kids - tipped off our season today at noon.

Prior to the game, I was a little nervous. We've only had two practices and I was pretty sure that my kids had not absorbed a single word I said during either one. I only had time to teach the two-line lay-up drill and a defense that somewhat resembles a 2-3 zone. Needless to say, I was prepared for an afternoon of complete chaos.

After the game, I'm wondering if I have the greatest 7/8 year old basketball team ever assembled. We won the game 30-16 easily and would have won by much more had I not called off the dogs in the 4th quarter. Our best perimeter players, Austin and Xavier, made seemingly every shot they took and Liam, our big man and best passer, grabbed every rebound and loose ball within his reach. My players stood exactly where they were supposed to stand on defense, shared the ball on offense, and even pointed to "thank" the passer after a made basket on a few occasions.

I couldn't believe how hard my kids played, nor could I believe how they absorbed the little nuggets I had taught them during our two practices. Given their willingness to listen, I'm confident that we'll be running the jump trap and picket fence by season's end.

The Bumble

Here's a recent post about Kenny George vs. UNC.

Thanks for reading.


The original Bumble (or Abominable Snowman) from the Rankin Bass classic "Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer":


The Bumble that Kelly and I saw today, 7ft 6in Kenny George of UNC Asheville:

This is without a doubt the largest human being I have ever seen in person. For the sake of perspective, Reyshawn Terry, the Tar Heel on the left, is 6ft 8in.

He was pretty lost on the court - slow, uncoordinated, passive. His flat-footed-dunk was the funniest thing I've seen in weeks - my dad even called to laugh about it after seeing it on television. The ball bounced into his hands and he reached up to place it into the hoop without leaving his heels. Absolutely hilarious.

That said, you can't teach 7ft 6in. He's got a chance to make a lot of cash playing basketball if someone can teach him to move his feet and play with some aggression.

We Are All Witnesses, Part II

My previous post about Lebron's playoff coming out party has generated humorous amounts of traffic on my blog. Here are the search terms that dropped folks at The Boggs Blog yesterday:

"We are all witnesses"
"We are all witnesses Lebron shirt"
"email marketing provider"
"We are all witnesses Lebron"
"We are all witnesses shirt"

I'm on Google's first page. HA!

Thus...on with the Lebron analysis and search engine spam!

Some thoughts about his playoff performance vs. the Pistons:

- He has NO supporting cast. Donyell Marshall? Ilgauskus? Give me a break. Give Bron Bron a veteran backcourt mate and go-to low-post scorer and he will dominate for a long time...

- He's not the next Michael Jordan. He's different. (I would say he's more like Magic, but everybody says he's more like Magic.) Michael was a spit-in-your-eye competitor that simply would not be denied. I don't know that Lebron has that quality - despite his late game heroics against the Wizards.

- Tyler is going to eat Lebron's lunch when he joins the Association in 2007.

Thanks for reading my blog. Visit again for more basketball banter.

Sorry I don't have the t-shirts you're looking for.

I Heart the NBA

I more or less ignore the NBA during the 82 game regular season - that is other than checking box scores for Raymond, Rasheed, Vince and other Tar Heel ballers.

I keep up with non-Tar Heel regular season news via the weekly NBA "Starting 5" email newsletter:

NBA Email

This mesage works for me on 3 levels:

1. The straightforward "add us to your address book" line at the top of the message - a classic tactic to ensure delivery to the inbox, not the junk folder. I added the address to my address book - not necessarily because they asked me to, but moreso because the content is good. (Most folks tend to ignore the latter...)

2. The "Starting Five" = 5 content elements.  Always.  With so many games and so much drama (on and off the court), the good folks at the NBA pare down a week's worth of news into 5 digestible elements.  It is convenient for me and it is a good filter for them - they put forth the best and most important content and ignore the fluff.

Why doesn't everyone do this?  Why do so many email marketers drown their contacts with data?  99% of your contacts are only going to read 2 or 3 elements - so why not pick your best and go with it?

3. The "Forward-to-a-Friend" link is front and center.  So many try to tap into email marketing's viral potential, yet so few do it well.  A well-placed "forward this email" link is a very simple first step that can increase the likelihood that your message gets forwarded to friends.

The real reason I like this message in particular?  Tar Heel Vince Carter in the spotlight - where he belongs.  Perhaps I'll pen a future blog about my 1998 pick-up basketball experience with Vince in Chapel Hill...

We Are All Witnesses

Lebron. Lebron. Lebron. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Yes - he's good. Scary good. Chance to be best ever good. Chance to be best ever. (Talk to me when he's working on his 6th NBA Championship...)

He has single-handedly carried the Cavs all season, he is by far the most exciting player in sports and he already refers to himself in the 3rd person. He is without question a basketball deity.

That said, the latest "Witness" ad campaign by Nike is a bit much. "We Are All Witnesses" to Lebron's first playoff basketball - check the site - http://www.nike.com/nikebasketball/usa/ - watch the video at the top right.