Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Syracuse is the best team in the Big East

In a strong Big East (despite preseason thoughts that it would be down), to me it looks like Syracuse is the class of the conference.

I know, they sit half a game behind Villanova entering day, with a 7-1 mark compared to Villanova's 7-0, but I think they are the better team. They routed Georgetown 73-56 last night to improve on this mark, and are undefeated on the season save for a lone loss against overachieving Pittsburgh.

Everyone thought this would be a down year for the Orange (myself included), after the loss of Johnny Flynn, Paul Harris, and Eric Devendorf, but this looks like Jim Boeheim's best team since the one that featured Carmelo Anthony. They have been efficient shooting the basketball, and are outscoring opponents by about 19 PPG.

The star has been Wesley Johnson, one of the most athletic players in the country. He averages 17 points and 9 rebounds per game for the Orange, leading their very balanced attack. They have 5 players that average in double figures, and 8 that average at least 6.5 PPG. They have a lot of different ways to hurt you.

But the biggest difference this season is how active and athletic their zone has been. Instead of sitting back in the 2-3, they can get out and challenge shooters and ballhandlers. This aspect was sometimes missing over the past few years. It is a big factor in why I think Syracuse is the best team in the Big East and one of the best teams in the country, with a good chance to win the national title.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Review of "A Game Plan for Life" by John Wooden

I had the good fortune of receiving a copy of "A Game Plan For Life" by John Wooden, and I enjoyed the book immensely.

The book has an interesting format, as the first half is written by John Wooden, and he talks about 7 people that were mentors to him in his life, including his father, his wife, and former coaches. The second half of the book is written by 7 different people, people who were mentored by John Wooden, including former players, NCAA coaches, and his granddaughter.

The book focuses on the importance of having mentors in your life, and in being a mentor for other people. It talks about how you can learn something new from every person and from every day, and it is that continuous learning that helps us grow. People can mentor by the things they say or the things they do, and lessons can be taught at all times.

The book also talks about how you don't have to actually know someone personally to be mentored by them. You can simply read their words, or watch how they lives their lives, and learn from that. For example, two of John Wooden's mentors that he writes about are Mother Teresa and Abraham Lincoln, neither of which he met.

The book is definitely worth a read, especially if you are a fan of John Wooden and his writings (and really, if you have read anything by him, how can't you be?), or are just simply interested in being a better person. Check it out if you get a chance.