Here is a story about Red and a couple of other legendary coaches.
"Let me tell you something about Rupp. All I ever hear from people is that he was a racist. You know what? He did hate black guys - who couldn't play! He also hated white guys who couldn't play, blue guys who couldn't play, and green guys who couldn't play. He hated Jews who couldn't play, Catholics who couldn't play, and Muslims who couldn't play. That was it. All these people who never met the guy said he was a racist. I knew the guy. I traveled with him, I spent time with him. I never saw any sign from him or heard anything from him that indicated to me that he was a racist or a bigot in any way. "Now cheap, that was another story. He was the single cheapest person I've ever met in my life." Red became friends with Adolph Rupp, the legendary coach at Kentucky, while scouting some of his players. It wasn't often that he got to go watch college teams, but whenever Kentucky came to New York to play in Madison Square Garden, Red would go to see them if he schedule allowed. In those days, Rupp's program was one of the most dominant programs in the game, if not the dominant program. Kentucky won the national championship in 1948, 1949, and 1951. Then in 1952-53 the NCAA shut it down as part of its investigation into the point shaving scandals of the early 1950's that infected - and destroyed - a number of prominent programs, most notably the one at CCNY, the school Red couldn't get into as a high school senior. It was the shut down of the Kentucky program in 1952-53 that led to Red getting the draft rules changed so he could pick Frank Ramsey and Cliff Hagan. Those were the days when Red often socialized with Rupp, sometimes in New York when he went to see his team play and occasionally in Kentucky during the off season. "Once, I'm in New York and I go to lunch with Rupp. We go to the old Gayety Deli, which was a few blocks from the old Garden. I think we each had a couple of hot dogs. The bill came to something like three bucks. I paid it and then left a fifty cent tip. That was pretty much standard in those days. "Rupp looks at me and says, 'Fifty cents! That's way too much.' Before I could argue with him, he picks up one of the quarters - and puts it in his pocket. Never said a word. I was so stunned I let it go. I kept thinking he was joking and was going to give it back to me. He never got around to it." Rupp and Red, along with Bob Cousy, actually traveled overseas together in 1955 to do a series of clinics in Germany. "One of the guys we used in the clinics was an air force guy named Sidney Cohen," Red said. "He was a good player. Without saying anything to me, Rupp recruited him - convinced him to go to Kentucky. Now, if he were anti-Semitic, why would he recruit Sidney Cohen?" One of the other air force officers the two coaches used in the clinics was a lieutenant named Dean Smith. "I think Rupp tried to recruit him too," Red said. "Then he found out he had already graduated from Kansas." Forty one years later, Smith would break Rupp's record for college coaching victories. Smith ended up starting his coaching career at the brand new United States Air Force Academy as an assistant coach. He was also the golf coach his first year there. "I knew I was in trouble," he joked later, "when I realized the first day of practice that I was the best player there." The Air Force Academy golf team was 1-4, the worst record any Dean Smith coached team would ever record. Smith, who is now seventy three and has a memory comparable to Red's Still remembers those clinics vividly. "Red used Sid [Cohen] and me as the main demonstrators at the clinics, along with Cousy, of course," he said. "The thing I was struck by was his relationship with Cousy. There was such a clear camaraderie, a mutual respect, but there was no question about who was in charge. I always remembered that fact later when I became a coach that there was a way to have a friendship with your players while still maintaining their respect. I saw that with Red and Cousy. On that same trip, Red, Cousy, and Rupp went out to eat and sightsee on a regular basis. "Everywhere we'd go, when it came time to pay Rupp would pull out a one hundred dollar bill," Red said. "He'd say, 'Gee, I guess they can't make change.' Finally, we were going into Les Folies Bergere and I said,'Adolph, you're breaking that one hundred dollar bill or we're not going in there.' He'd probably been carrying the thing around since 1956."
And now, a 6'5" wing man out of the University of New Mexico
Jr Giddens !!!
Unless you followed his college teams (Kansas and New Mexico) or caught the NBDL games in which he played in (for the Utah Flash), you probably don't know much about Justin Ray Giddens. I won't pretend I do either. So, what I will do, however, is give you my personal assessment of his game, his potential, and what I think his future role will be for the Boston Celtics, and in a few years, you can see how close or off the mark I was. How does that sound to you, Jr?
(I'll take that as a Yes)
So what are Giddens' strengths? From what I see, his main strength is his hustle. Now often times, the term "hustle" is used when a player isn't that good, but he tries hard and that's the nicest complement you can give him--but this isn't the case with Jr. His hustle, when combined with massive athleticism and basketball knowledge makes him quite a weapon. He's a player who can impact a game and make his presence felt without being the marquee name on the floor--the prototypical behind the scenes contributor. The kind of player you don't really notice until after the game, when you see the box score and it shows you all the ways in which he helped the team. His hustle makes him a solid rebounder, especially for his height (despite being only 6'5", he averaged 8.8 rpg in his final year at New Mexico). He'll also pick your pockets with his pressure defense, and with his jumping ability and long arms, he can also block a few shots.
Of course, athleticism is also a big strength of his. He's a bit jerky with his action, but he's quick and explosive. He's an excellent leaper who looks like he glides on the air on his dunks.
As a scorer, he may not be a go-to guy whom you give the ball in isolation to and ask him to carry the team. But as a complimentary scorer, Giddens is just fine. He'll get his fair share amount of points off of putbacks, as well as drain buckets off of switches and drives to the basket. He may not have a consistent jumper, but he can hit them in rhythm.
From my perspective, Jr Giddens has the potential to play in the NBA for a long time. He's definitely athletic enough, and he's got enough basketball talent to keep himself employed. His ceiling is not that high, but you don't have to be an All-Star for teams to be interested in you.
I think his future role is as a bench player who comes into the game and affects the tempo and excites the crowd with his energy. And his occasional breakaway dunk will bring the house down.
That's pretty much what I can comment about Jr Giddens for now. Check out his YouTube video to get a better idea of his game.
The Celtics announced today that forward Bill Walker underwent successful right knee arthroscopic surgery today at New England Baptist Hospital. Walker sustained a meniscus tear on the first day of training camp. The team did not set a timetable for his return, but the Globe's Gary Washburn reported yesterday that Walker is expected to miss 6 to 8 weeks with the injury.
I really feel for this kid. Just like Leon, he can't seem to catch a break. After all the work he has put in, he tears the meniscus on the first day of camp. Just doesn't see fair. I'm hoping that unlike in Leon's case, the Celtics will be patient and give him a shot after he heals. In the meantime, this gives Tony (9-Lives) Allen yet another chance to try to prove that he can play. It may also open the door for JR Giddens to get a chance to play.
Here is the story of how the Celtics got Bill Russell and the role that Cliff Hagan played in it. The phone call that turned the Celtics from pretenders to contenders care shortly after New Year's in 1956. Red's old college coach Bill Reinhart had just taken his team to the West Coast to play in a tournament. One of the teams in the event had been the University of San Francisco, the defending national champion. The Dons, who were in the midst of a fifty five game winning streak, were led by a six foot nine center named Bill Russell and a superb point guard named KC Jones. In those days no one had scouts. Red was the coach, general manager, chief scout, and marketing guru. He attended as many college games as he could and watched what little there was on TV. there was no such thing as getting film of a player either. So for the most part he relied on friends to tell him about players he might not have a chance to see. He was also one of the first pro coaches to call college coaches and ask them for their assessment of players - those they had coached and those they had coached against. As soon as he returned from California, Reinhart called Red. "I've seen the guy," he said. "I've seen the guy who can make you into a championship team. You have to get this guy." Red trusted Reinhart implicitly. Reinhart described his defensive dominance, his ability to get rebounds and trigger the fast break. "How is he on offense?" Red asked. "Not much," Reinhart said. "He's not a very good shooter at all. But it doesn't matter. One way or the other, you have to get this guy." Red kept tabs on Russell for the rest of that season. He was certainly impressed with the fact that his team never lost; San Francisco went on to a second straight NCAA title. Reinhart was right: he didn't score much. Winning in college was different from winning in the pros. Still, he needed a center, and he needed a rebounder. He decided to trust his old coach's instincts and go after him. Of course that was easier said than done. The Celtics were scheduled to draft seventh that season. There was no way Russell would still be around at that point. At the end of the season, Ed Macauley had approached Red and asked him if it might be possible to makes some kind of trade that would allow him to return to St. Louis, which was his hometown. He had a child who had been ill, and being away for taht much time in the winter was just too tough. Red could certainly relate to a dad dealing with a sick child and the notion of missing them during the season. He had promised Macauley he would make some kind of deal to get him back to St. Louis. So he called his old boss Ben Kerner, who by then owned the team in St. Louis. He offered Macauley and a swap of first round draft picks - Kerner's number two slot for Red's number seven slot. According to Red, Kerner said, "Deal." There was still, however, the issue of Rochester, which had the first pick. That was when Red came up with the idea of having Walter Brown call Rochester owner Les Harrison and offer up the Ice Capades as compensation for not taking Russell with the first pick. Harrison accepted and everything seemed set. Then came another phone call from Kerner. "I need more to make this deal," he said. "More than Macauley, who is an all star and my number one? "Yes." "But, Ben, we had a deal." "Deal's off unless you add another player." "Who do you want?" "Cliff Hagan." Red almost gagged. He had been waiting three years for Hagan and had figured he would slide into Macauley's spot on the front line after the trade. Now Kerner wanted both of them. "I had to decide if I was going to put all my eggs into one basket, because that is what I was doing." he said. "I already had people telling me I was crazy to take Russell, that he couldn't shoot or score. But I believed two things. One, I believed Reinhart knew what he was talking about. Two, I believed we needed to change. We were a good team, but we weren't a championship team. I had to let Macauley go to St Louis regardless because I'd made him a promise that I'd do it. Hagan was talented, but with him we were going to be the same kind of team. With Russell, we were going to be different. I decided to take the chance and make us a different team - for better or worse." He called Kerner back and told him he would give up Hagan too. Then came the sweating out the days until the draft, hoping Harrison wouldn't change his mind and decide that Russell was a better first pick than the Ice Capades. On draft day, the Royals selected Sihugo Green, a talented shooting guard from Duquesne, with the first pick. Auerbach immediately grabbed Russell. The deed was done.
It seems that Rasheed Wallace has joined those of us who are big Perk fans. Celtics.com posted this tweet:
RW: "Whoever coached Perk taught him the game the right way (defensively). You don't see that often from guys who come out of high school."
Perk is one of the most underrated centers in the league. Everyone talks about how important KG and Rondo are to this team, but Perk is every bit as important. Glad that Sheed is now on the Perk bandwagon with me!
The Globe is reporting that Bill Walker has a meniscus tear in his knee and he will be out 6-8 weeks.
An MRI on Bill Walker's right knee revealed a torn meniscus and he will miss six to eight weeks, meaning the Celtics would have to carry an injured Walker on their roster into the regular season. Walker left Wednesday's practice with a sore knee and returned to Boston for further examination.
Walker has had major surgery on both knees and has yet to reach his vast potential. He spent most of his rookie season in the NBDL. He played in 29 games last season.
This is really a tough break for both Walker and the Celtics. I was really hoping to see him get some minutes backing up Pierce in the preseason and get a chance to show what he can do. It seems that the poor kid can't catch a break. Let's hope that Danny doesn't decide to dump him like he did Leon because he is injured. I'd rather carry an injured Walker into the season than an injured Tony Allen. Walker not yet gotten a chance to prove himself while Tony has had chance after chance after chance and still hasn't proved anything.
Walker update: Walker will have right knee arthroscopic surgery tomorrow morning at New England Baptist.
I was reading some blogs the other day in ponderous thought, and I read that Rasheed Wallace won’t have much of an effect on the Boston Celtics. The first thing that popped to my mind was, “That’s Felonious”. Sheed averaged 12ppg 7.4rpg and 1.3bpg last year for a Pistons team that didn’t have much effort or heart compared to previous installments. Don’t expect to see the same kind of Sheed when he’s playing for the championship contending Boston Celtics with their intimidating starters that are sure to make opponents quiver now that they have an even stronger bench. Sheed doesn’t add one specific trait or identity to this team. Don’t make the assumption that The Sheed is a one-dimensional player, and most certainly not a one-dimensional person.
He’ll have tremendous effect on the team and the lineups that Doc Rivers can utilize. He’s versatile in the fact that he can effectively guard the 4 and 5 spot, something even fellow Celtic Kevin Garnett prefers not to do. He’s a nightmare on both sides of the courts and will make sure the Celtic’s brand of defense never lets up, which will certainly make opponent’s blood turn over. Defense wins championships, and Sheed knows a little something about winning championships too, adding some extra experience to a team with already a surplus of playoff battles. Sheed brings lots of questions and negatives with him which are the attitude, effort, and technicals. Looking at the Celtics team and its foundation of players like Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and the wizard of all these stars Doc Rivers; I think it is safe to say that won’t be a problem with Sheed.
When Rasheed is trying hard, playing tough defense, and grooving with his shot he is basically a menacing monster. It’s chilling to think of the possibilities Rasheedilicious will bring to this already proven team. The Boston Celtics almost beat the defending Eastern Conference champions without Kevin Garnett and an effective or solid bench. Imagine what will happen with a healthy Kevin, a motivated Sheed, a stronger bench, and improved Perkins and Rondo. Not to mention, a Paul Pierce without bone spurs, and a Ray Allen who is in the best shape of his life. There doesn’t seem to be a good reason to bet against the Celtics barring any injury, and even with injuries they still are deadly because of Sheed. On paper, and in basketball talk, the Celtics are daunting and are looking to take the Championship back from the fakers.
Sheed isn’t that simple of a man though to only talk about his basketball skills. He’s talented, and certainly an all-star caliber player who will almost mimic the influence to the bench that KG had to the whole Celtics’ organization in his first year. Aside from that, he’s a complex individual with an interesting personality. He’s not crazy like Marbury doing live feeds, but he’s a very outspoken and entertaining person who will certainly liven up a locker room already filled with great influences. You could spend countless nights laughing at Sheed interviews on youtube, seriously go do it. Anyway, KG and Sheed already have a great friendship that allowed them to always show love and respect before a heated playoff battle. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce have played countless times against Sheed and will know what kind of player and person he is. Sheed won’t have trouble fitting into this locker room, and all the dynamic personalities. You have a lunatic in KG who would die with his effort, the classy role model in Ray Allen, the warrior and leader by example in Paul Pierce, the forbidding Perkins with the endearing smiling that shows once a month, and the mysterious Rondo who keeps to himself mostly. On the bench, you have the loony Big Baby, the hyper active House, the redhead comedian in Scal, and the great player coach and motivator in Doc Rivers. Not only will the Celtics have one of the most dynamic teams in the league, they will also have one of the liveliest locker room filled with vigorous energy to fulfill the goal you undertake when you put on that Celtics’ jersey. Sheed, my fellow Celtic fans, is ready to put on that jersey and shut up all the fe-lo-ni-ous predictions and misconceptions.
Once again, Loy's Place is participating in the blog previews that are organized by Jeff Clark. We will be bringing you the links to the preview for the other teams as they are posted and hope you will enjoy reading them. Now, without further delay, here is our 2009-10 Boston Celtics preview.
Team Name: Boston Celtics Last Year’s Record: 62-20
Key Losses: Stephon Marbury, Leon Powe, Mikki Moore (not so sure how key the losses of Mikki Moore and Stephon Marbury are, though)
1. What Significant Moves were made during the off-season? The most significant move that the Celtics made in the off season was to sign Rasheed Wallace. Last season, they were thin in the front court, even before the injuries hit. Signing Sheed, and Shelden Williams, along with bringing back Big Baby address that weakness. Also, the signing of Marquis Daniels gives them a versatile player who can fill the void that was left by James Posey when he left and wasn't filled last season. He can also fill in at the point and the shooting guard positions. These moves make the Celtics' roster one of the deepest and most versatile in the league.
2. What are the team’s biggest strengths? Once again this season, the Celtics biggest strength will be its defense. With a more mobile Kendrick Perkins, a more muscular Rajon Rondo, a healthy Kevin Garnett and a rejuvenated Rasheed Wallace and the return of Tom Thibodeau, the Celtics' defense should be one of the best in the league. Defense wins championships and the Celtics will have one very scary defense this season.
3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses? The biggest question for this team will be health. With the Big 3 and Rasheed Wallace all getting up in years, there are questions as to whether they can stay healthy through the 82 game season and a long playoff run. KG's health especially is crucial to the team's success. Also, there still is a hole behind Rondo at the PG spot. It's possible that the House/Daniels combo will work, but then the question becomes 'Who will back up Paul Pierce?' 4. What are the goals for this team? The only goal for this team is to win the championship. Anything short of that will be a big disappointment.
5. Other thoughts. In spite of the fact that the Celtics are deeper and stronger than they were last year when they went 62-20 and also than the 2008 championship team, they are getting no respect from the so called experts. I have seen them ranked anywhere from 3rd to 5th in the preseason rankings. The Celtics not only signed Rasheed Wallace, Marquis Daniels and Shelden Williams, but they also are bringing back their own players who look to be much better this season than last. Kendrick Perkins and Big Baby both come in lighter than they were last season. Both came on strong in the playoffs last season and worked hard all summer to improve their conditioning and their games. Rajon Rondo took a leap forward in his development in the playoffs last season and over the summer has put on 11 pounds of muscle and will be poised to be even better this season. His one weakness has been his jumper and he also worked all summer with Mark Price to improve his shooting. The Celtics will be one of the strongest and deepest teams in the league and yet they are considered to be the underdogs. Being the underdog has its benefits, though. While teams are gunning for the "favorites" night in and night out, the Celtics will be quietly going about their business on their way to Banner 18.
Projected Finish:62-20. (Even though they are a better team this season than the one that finished 62-20 last season, their competition has also improved, so I predict another 62-20 finish.) Eastern Conference Champs NBA Champions
Here is a story that shows Red's incredible basketball mind and how he thought ahead of everyone else. It was said of Larry Bird that he was playing chess while everyone else on the court was playing checkers. The same could be said of Red. We also hear about the beginning of Red's famous victory cigars.
While he was trying to sell tickets any way he could, Red was building a pretty good team. In spite of Red's objections, Cousy arrived that season along with Ed Macauley, Sharman and Brannum came a year after that. Then, in 1953, Red made a move that proved to be one of the most important of his career. That season, Kentucky's program had been shut down in the wake of a point fixing scandal. Adolph Rupp told Red that Frank Ramsey and Cliff Hagan, his two best players, were planning to come back for a fifth season even though both were eligible to graduate in the spring. At that time the NBA rules said you couldn't draft a player until his college eligibility had been completed. During the league meetings that winter, Red made a proposal: why not change the rules to allow players to be drafted four years after they graduated from high school? "It's the same as the NFL," Red reasoned. "Why not just do it the way they do it?" No one could see any harm in changing the rules. Why not go along with football? So the proposal quickly passed. "What I always did when I had something I wanted to get through for a specific reason was I waited until the end of the day to bring it up," Red said. "Guys were tired, they wanted to go out and get dinner. I'd bring something up kind of casually and usually there wouldn't be much conversation about it. They'd just go ahead and pass it. That's what happened with this." A few months later, when the draft rolled around, Red stood up and announced that his first draft pick was Frank Ramsey. "People jumped up and said, "What are you talking about? You can't take him. He's going back to Kentucky." Red said, "I said, 'Read the rule. We passed it a couple of months ago.'" In the third round, Red drafted Hagan. Now people were really upset. "Ned Irish [who was president of the New York Knicks] stood up and said, "Hey, fellas, we goofed. Red's right. The rules say he can do this." Neither player would play for the Celtics that year. But Ramsey would join the team a year later and be a key player for ten years, taking over the critical sixth man role that Red had first created in Washington. Hagan had to serve two years in the military after graduation since he had joined the ROTC during the Korean War. He ended up plaing on the Andrews Air Force Base basketball team - coached by John Toomay (whom Red had once cut), a man who went on to become a three star general - and finally reached the NBA in 1956. He would go on to have a Hall of Fame career - but not with the Celtics. And yet, his role in making the Celtics the greatest dynasty in the history of basketball is undeniable. "I took my lumps those first few years. People forget that. They think we came out of the chute winning championships and just kept on winning. I wish that were true. But it wasn't the case." Red never had a losing season with the Celtics. In his first season, the team, after being twenty four games under .500 the year before, was 39-30. They became consistent winners, making the playoffs every year, usually finishing with one of the best records in the league. But just as in Washington, Red found himself unable to get over the playoff hump. He had a team built on speed and quickness. He had great guards in Cousy and Sharman and a slew of good forwards, especially after Ramsey and Tom Heinsohn joined Macauley up front. But he didn't have a great center, a rebounder who could start the fast break with consistency in postseason play. "In the playoffs, winning usually comes down to one simple thing," Red said. "You have to have people who can get you the ball. Those first six years we didn't have a guy who could get us the ball." It was during those early Celtic years that Red first began smoking his famous victory cigar. He had been a cigar smoker since his navy days but never smoked during games. It was his concern with bench decorum at the end of a one sided game that got him started on the cigars. "It has always bothered me to see coaches who are up twenty or thirty points jumping up and down and screaming with two minutes or a minute to go," he said. "I see coaches do it today and it drives me nuts. It's such a 'Look at me' thing. My attitude was, when we had a game in hand. I'd get the subs in, sit down on the bench, and relax. Let people know I wasn't trying to embarrass the other team, just get the game over and done with. "But I'd kind of sit there and not know exactly what to do. Cross my legs? Maybe that's too casual. Sit back? I didn't know. Then I noticed that Joe Lapchick [then the coach of the Knicks] always smoked on the bench. Back in those days you could do that. So I decided if we had a game comfortably in hand, I'd smoke too. I'd light a cigar and just sit back. That ended up becoming the signal to people that we'd won the game, so guys started calling it my victory cigar. Then it became a big thing. People waiting for me to light the cigar. I never did it on the road - never. That would have been rubbing it in. Of course one night we went into Cincinnati and I found out that they'd given out five thousand cigars and told the fans when the Royals won the game they should all light up. I said to the guys in the locker room before the game, 'If you don't win this one, I'll kill you.'" The Celtics, of course, won. Red resisted the urge to break his rule about lighting up on the road. "The cigar didn't really become a big thing until we started winning championships." he said. "People in Boston noticed before then, but it became a big thing around the league after we started winning."
Next up will be how Red acquired Bill Russell and Cliff Hagan's role in making the Celtics one of the greatest dynasties in the history of sports.
KG: "It was fun to get back out there with the guys, go through some drills and compete...I'm trying to be patient with it."
KG: "It went well today. I thought Doc was trying to kill me for a little bit, but first day of camp, being my 15th (year), it went well."
KG practiced for the first 75 percent of today's session according to Doc.
Michael Sweetney is the 16th man in the Celtics preseason camp. He knows that it will be very difficult to crack the Celtics rotation and make the team, but if he doesn't, he is hoping to catch the eye of another team in the process. Sweetney said he's been around the team for a month or so, and he expects this team to win it all.
"I've never seen a brotherhood [like this before], how everybody's together off the floor and on the floor," Sweetney said. "On the floor, you see guys competing so hard, and when they leave the floor they don't take it with them. I've just never seen anything like that. It's a great organization to be in."
Of course he has only been on the Knicks and Bulls so he doesn't have much to pick from, but the fact that he sees this in the Celtics is great. Ubuntu is in full effect again this season. This is going to be such a fun season! I can't wait for it to start!
In other news, after saying how happy he was to be back with the Cavs and how excited he was to start the season, Delonte West didn't show up for their first practice. I really feel for him as I know he is battling his inner demons and now on top of the weapons charges, he is going to have problems with the team as well. I still like Delonte and pray that he can get himself under control before he hurts himself or someone else.