Monthly Archives: March 2008

Tips for Arizona Basketball

I went to the grocery store at around eleven o’clock last night. Wearing my Arizona basketball jersey, I stood in line annoyed at yet another first round exit from the March Madness tournament.  A Sun Devil fan walked by in a t-shirt with that horrid yellow color, which to Wildcat fans, has the same effect the color red does on a raging bull. My matador smirked at the sight on my jersey, smugly walking by to let me know his side of the rivalry won this round.   I hate what UofA basketball has become.  I’ve come up with five tips, all of which could be applied to the workplace if you so choose, for the Wildcats to consider if they want to keep that twenty-three straight seasons of postseason appearances alive next year.

1)  We all know about the candidate, player, or recruit with the perfect credentials.  Degree from Harvard, 4.0 GPA, quick first step, a McDonald’s all American.  Very rarely do these types of people have the impact on an organization or team that you’d like them to.  They are the individualistic and/or egotistical that play for the “I” in team. 

Tip: Make them (aka Jerryd Bayless) humble.  Don’t allow them to put themselves on their own pedestal.  Teach them how to play as a part of the team, and don’t allow them to play until they learn that lesson.   

2)  To be successful in any organization you need a leader with a vision.  A vision gets everyone on the same page.  A leader empowers others to work towards that vision.

If a leader kinda has a vision, or if they are leading with the mindset they just want to get by without making any mistakes so they can really get em next year, then they will never be able to lead others.  

Tip: Find a new leader (aka head coach. Sorry Kevin)

3)  Companies pride themselves on culture.  The culture of an organization can greatly enhance, or severely hinder people in their success.  If the culture of a company relies on name or buzzwords alone, that is not culture.  A culture exists within each and every person that operates in an organization.  

Tip: Just because the name Arizona is labeled across the chest of every jersey does not mean other teams fear you.  If anything, it fires them up.  Opposing teams can sense the lack of heart and leadership within the culture, and know that if they are able to bring just one person with heart or talent down (Fendi, Jordan Hill, Nic Wise) the rest of the culture will crumble.  Build a new selfless culture that puts emphasis on the word “team.”  Maybe have everyone write “I will play as a team” a thousand times on the blackboard.

4)  An organization cannot exist without clear communication.  Especially when that communication is coming from the top.  This year Lute Olson temporarily resigned, then resigned, then was coming back, then wasn’t.  It left the team in limbo all year.   

Tip: Lute, I love you.  I don’t know what happened this year, but I hope that you communicated with your team, because it didn’t look like they were ever on the same page.

5) Life deals all types of things that are unfair.  Things we don’t agree with.  Things we would dispute.  But it all comes down to the same thing: you have to deal with it 

Tip: So what if the ref didn’t call a foul.  Maybe it was a block instead of a charge.  Control what you can control.  Shut up and play.

You should not be happy with yourselves as a collective whole right now Zona.  The committee put you in the tournament instead of the Sun Devils (who deserved it more, btw) and you did not give them any reason why they should let you in next year.  There’s a lot of work to do.   

Have a good off-season, gentleman.


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Initiation to the Real World

Last night I went to the Golden State Warriors vs. Phoenix Suns basketball game. This post is not about basketball and the millions players make, nor how it was very nice of Mary Gilbaugh to provide me with complementary tickets, but rather about the initiation college graduates have when entering the “real,” working world.

Brandon Wright around this time last year was the most recognized figure on the North Carolina campus. His lanky six foot nine frame and fifteen points per game scoring average was the subject of many basketball commentators praises as NBA scouts drooled at the opportunity of drafting him. Buying into the hype, Brandon decided to forgo his final three years of college and go to the NBA.

With the third overall selection in the draft, Brandon went to the Golden State Warriors, after parting ways with J Rich.

Being a huge Golden State Warriors fan and Bay Area native, I have had the privilege of enjoying the best year the team has had since the ’91-’92 season. I have also seen very little of Brandon (the Mr. Wright is completely unnecessary considering he is three years younger than I). He has averaged about four points a game while appearing in half the games this season, with the other half being spent on the bench.

Last night Brandon did make an appearance in the game, albeit for about six seconds. As he joyously responded to the call to put him in the game, he was briefly corralled by the head coach before reporting to the scorers table. Brandon’s first impact on the game was immediately fouling Shaquille O’Neal, which the big man did not take a liking to. For a minute I thought Shaq was going to break Brandon’s braces with one swift jab. With that, Brandon was quickly taken back out of the game and took a seat on the bench, where he would not move from for the remainder of the contest.

What Brandon did for the Warriors is what an entry-level college grad would do for his first employer. Fouling Shaq was like getting a cup of coffee, or washing the boss’s car. Both are meager tasks only assigned to rookies, for no other good reason other than to give the message of “welcome to the real world. If you think you’re going to own this business in six months you’re wrong. Now take a seat back on the bench/cubicle.”

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