Finally, I Have a Team
I have now been in India for over 3 months. It is starting to feel more like home. Granted, there have been many cultural adjustments but overall I love the people and I have a passion for my assignment.
Afer scouting three different tournaments (Savio Cup, Senior Nationals, Federation Cup) and watching the Indian players compete for their respective states and club teams it is finally time for me to call them my players. We have just finished our first week of training camp. I have used the morning sessions primarily for player development and the evening sessions for team development. Although we have a long way to go I have been pleased with the overall attitude and effort. If you know me, those are top priorities for building a successful team. Because of some language barriers with some of the players I am learning to talk slow and constantly demonstrate the drills I am asking them to perform. My assistant coaches, Jora Singh and Prasad Rama Linga, have also done a great job in helping me to communnicate. Really, many of the players our quite proficient in english.
I am really fortunate to have Coach Jora and Prasad. They are a couple of the top coaches in India as well as being great men of character. I look forward to spending more time with them and really uniting as a coaching staff. We will be together at least through the Asia Championship in August.
This past week we had a reporter and photographer from Sports Illustrated with us. They are doing a feature article on basketball in India. They spent time in New Delhi, Mumbai and some remote villages in the north part of the country. We had a great time with them. As most westerners experience, (including myself) they saw many things they have never seen before. The article is supposed to come out some time in March.
We have 3 more weeks of this training camp and then Chawn and I plan on coming back to the U.S. for a short time. While in the states we will spend some time in New York watching our daughter, Tori, play softball. She is a freshman at Nyack College. From there we will go to Ohio to see Chawn's side of the family and then down to Florida to spend some time with my Dad and his wife. I will then head up to Atlanta for the NCAA Final Four and the basketball coaches convention. I look forward to seeing many of my friends in the coaching fraternity. My brother, Dean will be joining me there. Then back to Ohio for a few days and on to India.
I keep telling our players that we have a chance to make history. It is an opportunity to do what no other Indian team has ever done. I know we have a long way to go and the past is not in our favor. You have to believe and put in the work now that will bring results later. I have never run away from a challenge in the past and even though this may be my biggest to date I don't plan to settle for less here. I do know this, we will have to put team above self. The players are hearing me reiterate this almost every day. All I can do right now is help them get better everyday until we reach our full potential. Let's see where that takes us. Even though we are keeping our eyes on the goal I hope and pray we embrace the journey.
I will update you on our training camp in the near future. Go India!