Tags Posts tagged with "UCLA"

UCLA

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Timberwolves, Kevin Love, UCLA, stitches , tooth popped, Shaq, Shaq
The man who used to terrorize my Stanford Cardinal basketball team in his one year at UCLA. Photo: Werner Muenzker/shutterstock
This past monday we had a bunch of the Timberwolves players in town all together to finally play some pickup ball together with a lot of the new guys. Yes, this was the first time that I got to meet Kevin Love. The man who used to terrorize my Stanford Cardinal basketball team in his one year at UCLA. Well, on the last play of the day, Kevin Love went up for a dunk. I tried to block it and the next thing I knew I was making two unexpected trips after practice.

1) To team physician Sheldon Burns (he is also the USA Basketball head physician) to get 12 stitches in my chin,

2) To visit Matthew Alm of Brookside Dental (Minneapolis), to get my front tooth popped back into place.

Thanks Kev. 🙂

I’ve played with two big men in my career whose passing skill is off the charts: Shaq, and Shaq. People don’t realize it, but Shaq has a lot of games where he gets five or six assists. And I personally used to watch Oliver Miller whip behind the back passes FROM THE POST to our shooter on the three point line. I predict Kevin Love to be in this group in terms of making other people around him better. Despite being very close to giving me a new gold tooth in my smile, I saw some impressive things from K. Love in just our first day. He shoots, he’s very athletic, and he rebounds….and he’s unselfish. That’s a very nice combo for a big man in today’s game. He’s going to make a serious run at rookie of the year in my opinion. Kevin also gets something that he didn’t get in college playing here in MN. He gets to play alongside a budding all star in Al Jefferson who along wth Tim Duncan and Shaq are probably the 3 best pure post players in the league.

Just over one week until training camp, and I’m excited. My stitches are almost out, my tooth is almost in place, and I’m ready to get some wins this year. Maybe I will see some of you guys out around Lake Calhoun or something.

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UCLA Bruins, Ben Howland, NCAA, Stanford, Florida
Ben Howland is an American college basketball coach and former player. He served as the head men's basketball coach at Northern Arizona University from 1994 to 1999, the University of Pittsburgh from 1999 to 2003, and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) from 2003 to till date. Photo: shutterstock.com

UCLA made a great decision when the hired Ben Howland to become the new coach of the UCLA Bruins. As a “Pac-10” guy I watch UCLA very closely as well as the rest of the Conference and in two years Howland has been in the NCAA Finals and in the semi-finals. As one who played on a Final Four team myself at STanford, I can attest that it is not easy to advance in the NCAA tournament. To get the the Final Four two years in a row is incredible. But the thing that impresses me most about Howland is his graciousness in defeat. I just finished watching the interview with him and all I can say is that Ben Howland is a complete class act. He was the same way last year also. He complimented Florida and gave them all of the credit even though inside we all know he was really hurting.

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Coach Casey, NBA, Timberwolves, Basketball IQ, Best Defender, March Madness
Talking about Week 19. Photo: shutterstock.com

The season is coming to an end and while all of us are very disappointed that we’re not going to the playoffs, I’ve seen some real positives lately from the team. I really think that Marcus Banks has come into his own, as he’s earned more minutes from Coach Casey. Marcus may be one of the quickest players alongside players like Earl Boykins of Denver and a few others. He has done a great job of pushing the tempo and creating easy opportunities for other people. In Sunday’s game, he drove the lane and missed a shot, only to then out-jump all of Golden State’s big men, grab the rebound and finish in the lane with his left hand. Additionally, Marcus has been great in the locker room. His sense of humor has loosened things up and he likes to get other people laughing, which is key during a long season.

Rashad McCant’s development has outpaced everyone’s expectations, especially on defense. I was reading online after a recent game and came across this quote from Dwayne Casey, “He’s continuing to improve. I never thought I’d say this, but he’s probably one of our best defenders, behind Trenton (Hassell), as far as focus, paying attention to detail.” It’s amazing the way Rashad’s dedication and hard work has paid off at the defensive end. I think right when Trenton went out with injury and Rashad began starting, the refs were calling a lot of early fouls on him because that’s what happens to rookies most of the times. He made the adjustments and has really shown people that he is a great defender. It’s obvious that he’s unbelievably talented on offense, but I’m glad people are starting to recognize his defense. A few games ago (I think against New Jersey), I was sitting next to him on the bench and he said something like, “The next play they run is going to be a post-up for their big man.” I think Rashad was right and when I asked him how he knew, he said that he watches the opposing coach and the opposing players very closely and listens to what they’re saying and reads their plays. Everyone in the NBA always talks about “basketball IQ” and Rashad’s is extremely high.

Right now is a great time for all basketball players, coaches and fans because it’s March Madness. I was particularly intrigued with the George Mason team that had such a great season. When I watched them play earlier in the season, I knew that I was looking at a group of very talented players that liked each other, passed to each other, and were a TEAM. It seems to me that basketball nowadays goes two in different directions. One way to play the game is to amass a bunch of great individual players and roll a ball out and tell them to win a game on talent. The other way is to play like a team and for everyone to complement each other. That is the way that George Mason played the game.

It will be fun to watch the NCAA National Championship. It’s always fun to hear what my teammates think of different college players. I remember when one of Tennessee’s female players dunked the basketball this year. Everyone in the locker room was talking about it and we watched it on replay a lot in the training room. At any rate, I definitely have to go with UCLA (fellow Pac-10 school) as my pick to win it all.

I am always open to suggestions as to what Timberwolves fans want me to write about. If you have a topic suggestion or a question you want me to answer, please feel free to drop me a note atmark@markmadsen.com.

Have a great week. – Mark

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Boston Game, Rotation, Latrell Sprewell, Ervin Johnson, Mike Montgomery, Golden State, NBA Head Coach, Minnesota
Talking about boston game, teammates, old college coach and economic lessons. Photo: shutterstock.com

The Boston game this past weekend was a great example of the need to “always stay ready.” Toward the end of the game the score got closer and closer and the rotation tightened up. Latrell Sprewell, who had started the game, sat on the bench for most of the fourth quarter. Sometimes when you sit too long you can get tight and your mind can start thinking any one of a million things if you let it. But Latrell stayed focused on the game and he was still involved by cheering his teammates on and staying positive throughout. Ervin Johnson always tells us, “You can’t control how much you’re going to play, but if the coach calls your name, be ready.” Spree was ready to go and he knocked in the game-winning shot.

It was good to see my old college coach, Mike Montgomery, last week when we played Golden State. We talked before the game for quite a while and he shared what he loved and the hard things about being an NBA head coach. Mike was one of the big reasons that I chose to attend Stanford over UCLA when I came out of high school. He’s a total family man and as a side note, his wife, Sarah, is from Minnesota. I remember early on in my conversations with coach, he talked about the goal to make it to the Final Four. Finally in 1998 with Arthur Lee and Jarron and Jason Collins, we made it to the Final Four before losing to the eventual champions Kentucky in overtime.

People ask me all the time how athletes at Stanford can go to class and compete in their sport. I studied Economics and there were some classes that were incredibly hard with an unbelievably tough grading curve, and of course some classes that were easier. The trick was to balance things so that you didn’t have more than two of those hard classes during the season.

One year I remember taking two finals on the road in St. Louis during the NCAA tournament. A teammate and I were so worried about this macroeconomics class that we studied on the plane, on the team bus, and pretty much everywhere else during that trip. We both studied so hard we almost got sick. I don’t think I’ve ever studied that hard before or after that class. Our professor arranged for the test to be administered in a conference room at our hotel.

One interesting thing I learned from that class is this: There was an economist named Malthus back in the day who said that the world couldn’t produce enough food for it’s growing population. He added that there would be food shortages and vast numbers of people would die from starvation and that the world’s population growth would stagnate. On one hand it makes sense–there’s a finite amount of land that can be farmed. In this macro class, we actually studied a mathematical model called the Solow Model that showed how the world has been able to grow enough crops to keep up with an exploding population rate. The variable that Malthus did not account for was technological/scientific advances in growing crops. Economists sometimes refer to technological advances as “manna from heaven” because such advances keep happening every year and crop production continues to expand and develop annually.

Well, I figured I’d get at least one economics lesson in too while I had the chance to write this diary. If I forgot anything on that explanation hopefully all the econ majors out there will write me and set me straight. I’ll talk to you next week!

— Mark Madsen