Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Origins Of Basketball

The Origins Of Basketball

Do you know the origin of basketball?

The origins of the game of basketball can be traced back to a gentleman by the name of Dr. James Naismith. In 1861, Naismith was born in Almonte, Ontario, Canada. During his early school days, Naismith would play a game called duck on a rock whereby the child would endeavor to knock the duck off the top of the rock with a toss of another rock.

Later on, Naismith would go on to McGill University in Montreal and would later become McGill University's Athletic Director. He would subsequently move on to YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts and in 1891, the game of basketball began.

Given the cold Massachusetts winters, Naismith needed to find a recreational activity that could be played indoors and he preferred a sport that would develop skill and one that was not exclusively relying on strength. The first game was played with two peach baskets for goals and a soccer ball.

Further to his credit, Naismith became a medical doctor specializing in sports physiology and a Presbyterian minister. Naismith was able to see his beloved sport of basketball, gain acceptance in numerous countries through the YMCA since 1893. As well, the sport of basketball was brought forth at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. As we speak, the game of basketball has become a very popular professional sport.

About The Author

Catherine Kenyeres is a freelance writer and publisher for Catherine has written numerous articles for the sports enthusiast.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Viewing the Journey as the Reward in Sports and Spirituality

Viewing the Journey as the Reward in Sports and Spirituality

Whether you are a gifted athlete, a weekend warrior, or one who simply enjoys reading the Sunday Sports section, you will enjoy Spirituality of Sport: Balancing Body and Soul (St. Anthony Messenger Press, January 2004, paperback, 137 pages) by Dr. Susan Saint Sing. Saint Sing, a gifted athlete and inspirational coach, shares her own story of tests and triumphs as she shares her thoughts on the important connection between mind, body and soul inherent in all play.

In this wonderful book, Saint Sing shares stories of heroism and championship – both her own and those of many other talented people. I loved this book for its emphasis on the fact that one’s journey in life is to be fully embraced and revered – that the reward comes not from winning the medal or having the fastest time, but from that wonderful connection of spirit, soul and body that gives glory to our Creator through our every action. As a back of the pack jogger, I don’t run the race to win – I run to give glory to God through my participation, counting the blessings that give me the good health to participate and to share the day with those around me. I was enthralled by Spirituality of Sport and am pleased to share the following interview with author and Olympian Susan Saint Sing.

Q: Please tell our readers a bit about your background and your own personal faith journey.

A: This would take pages, but briefly, I am from a small mountain town of Berwick PA. It had great sports teams and I was lucky enough to have had great coaches and friends and very supportive parents. My brother Bobby and I played catch and football and shot arrows, water-skied, hiked, snow skied for our entire growing-up years. This stuck with me through high school and college athletics - later led me into coaching.

If there was one pivotal moment for me spiritually, it was when I broke my neck and back in a gymnastics accident. It changed me. Also, I had a deep religious conversion at a prayer group at Penn State - Bread of Life. Two wonderful priests, Leopold and Joe were terrific spiritual guides for us, and I later went to Assisi, Italy - because of my love of St. Francis, and there I met Fr. Murray Bodo and Damian Isabel, who welcomed me as “Brother Susie” into their pilgrimage experience. I have been a lay Franciscan for over 20 years.

Parallel to this experience, I participated in sports and sport writing and coaching and pursued rowing to the highest level of the US National Rowing Team, in 1993. I also coached at Xavier University, Kent, and Penn State where we won a national championship. My athletes inspire me, and I consider it my privilege to coach them.

Q: What is the major premise of the book and what prompted you to write on this topic?

A: The premise is sport and spirituality. The book takes personal accounts of deeply spiritual moments in sport that contributed to athlete’s insights, faith, and Olympic experience. These insights are related to the reader in a non-religious manner - that is to say no one would be offended, as no religion per se is being “pushed” - just the spiritual nature of play, games, and sport.

Q: You discuss the Greek concept of “arĂȘte” - how does this sense of balance of body, mind and spirit translate to athleticism and to spirituality?

A: It is a very ancient concept of grace and beauty in strength. I think this quality is lost sometimes in sport in our headlong pursuit of winning, or money. If one pursues excellence – arĂȘte - then you win more than just a medal.

Q: You describe sport as, "a communion, a sacramentality in several layers", and yet many of the serious athletes with whom I'm acquainted shun formal religion. Why is this sometimes the case? How do you blend the two and how does sport enhance your own spirituality?

A: I don’t think the numbers of athletes that shun formal religion are any greater than any other group of society. Some people just are into religion or any structured worship at all. But for me sport is an extension of the beauty of creation - it can be the perfection of the physical creation, and that is what inspires me.

Q: For those who are not seriously athletic (or even couch potatoes?), how can participating in a physical discipline enhance one's spiritual life? How can someone who is not exercise oriented develop a regimen of balance of physical and spiritual activity?

A: Well there are many physical activities even a “couch potato” can enjoy—such as yoga, or reading about mountain climbing (a particular hobby of mine), walking, gardening, bird watching - all of these can be deeply satisfying life-time activities that bring one closer to nature and to fun - the essence of play.

Q: How do you make time for both prayer and activity with your busy schedule?

A: I meditate at night—usually when the world is quiet and still, I play my guitar. During the evening I try to walk on the beach.

Q: What message would you hope that readers would take away from their experience of reading your book?

A: I wrote the book hoping to share my privileged insights from the World Championships with others who might never get there. The journey to the Worlds was my reward - and I try to encourage others, especially young athletes to follow their journey and recognize it as the reward itself - rather than seeking only medals and fame.

Q: How can we, as families, teach our children to love and glorify God through play and through their experience of nature?

A: In the book I talk about this and, in my opinion, play is the essence of freedom and we are to play without fear, at the feet of our Father. I think if parents and kids can play games together, go on hikes, fish, whatever avenue your family enjoys as play, is a great way to make good friendships, enjoy being outside, be active. I think there might be too much emphasis on structured youth sports - to where the element of fun and spontaneity - like just going outside and shooting hoops - is lost because people are on the move in vans going to the next practice.

About the Author

Lisa M. Hendey is a mother of two sons, webmaster of numerous web sites, including and, and an avid reader of Catholic literature. Visit her at for more information.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

he Youth Sports Coach

Coaching youth sports is a challenge. Most of our kids are really happy to have us step up to the plate and coach and, despite the time we give up, most parents find the experience equally rewarding. However, there are some major things that every coach needs to do and understand before they start the season: 1) coach with the proper attitude; 2) coach with the proper fundamentals; and, 3) learn and teach the difference between the “Dad Hat” and the “Coach Hat”.

Coaching the Right Attitude

We all love our kids and, let’s face it; we also love playing sports with our kids. For me, it’s the way that I spend most of my free time and it is right up there as one of my favorite things to do. That being said, I also need to realize that statistically, none of the kids that I coach will ever play professional sports, nearly all of them will not play sports in college, and many of them will not even play varsity sports in high school. So, what does this mean for us as a coach? We need to emphasize all the other aspects of sports and the life lessons that make us love playing the game. Mostly, we need to make the experience fun!

In 1988, Robert Fulghum wrote the book “All I Really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten”. I’ve often told people that you can learn everything you need to know by playing sports – especially youth sports. Many of the same lessons apply, but on an even bigger scale where kids learn success and failure, wining and losing, sportsmanship and teamwork, and how to respond in many pressure situations. None of these are easy lessons. Winning with grace is just as hard to teach as losing with dignity. How can you do this and make sure that everybody has a great season? That’s the trick.

Every team you ever coach, especially teams with younger kids, will be split between kids that are talented and kids that are not. The goal that you have as a coach is to make sure that every one of those kids has a great experience and wants to play again next year. I take the most pride in the job I did as a coach when the worst kid on the team loves the sport and keeps playing year after year. The way that I do this is to emphasize things other than on field performance – I try to stress effort, trying your best and hustle.

There are several practical things that you can do to emphasize these “other” characteristics. In basketball, for example, instead of emphasizing and keeping stats for scoring, keep stats on hustle, picks set, good defense, rebounds, filling a lane, or just being in the right position. After every game, point out something positive that every kid did during the game. Award a point for each time a kid does something you emphasize and give stars or sew on patches when points are accumulated. You’ll see that these kids will do anything to get a star on their uniform, even pay attention in practice!

Coaching the Right Fundamentals

Kids of any age can learn to do things properly. They may not have the motor skills developed yet, but they can at least try to do it right. One of my favorite misconceptions is that “practice makes perfect”. That’s totally wrong; practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes PERMANENT. What I try to teach is: “Perfect Practice Makes Permanently Perfect”. That’s a pretty big difference!

Of course, this really changes things for a youth coach because we need to teach the correct fundamentals or we’ll simply be reinforcing the bad habits kids develop. The hardest thing to do as a coach is to try and correct a flaw that a kid has developed over years of “practice”. This is even harder when the kid is good, because correcting the fundamental flaw generally means that getting worse before getting better. That means the kid is going to be reluctant to try this “new” way and may not stick it out. In the long run, the difference could be huge. While we’ve already acknowledged that that we’re not developing professional athletes, there is no reason to limit the ceiling on how well each child may develop. Coach’s Corner, Continued

The solution is simple: we need to learn the right fundamentals before we start coaching. It’s a responsibility that we accept when we volunteer to coach. Now, up front, I want to make sure to state that most of us think we know much more about sports than we really do. We think that because we played and we were pretty good that we clearly know how to teach a kid to play baseball or basketball. That’s simply not true. Much of what we learned was wrong. We may also not know the right way to communicate what we know to kids. Or, we may not know anything about the sport if we’re stepping in and coaching soccer or another sport that wasn’t “big” when we were young.

Fortunately, there is help. Many leagues do a good job teaching their coaches the fundamentals of the game. Some leagues even offer mandatory coaching clinics for their coaches. These are really good starts, but generally not enough – especially as the kids you coach get older and better. Before every season that I coach, I’ll watch several instructional tapes to review the fundamentals and also learn new material. I re-watch tapes, often with my kids that we’ve seen before and buy a couple of new ones to add some wrinkles. Of course, at, we do offer 1,000’s of instructional books and videos, but the point of this section is to simply say to use whatever method you choose to make sure that you teach correct fundamentals. Every kid, even young kids, can learn with good coaching and remember: “Practice makes Permanent”.

The “Dad Hat” and the “Coach Hat”

There is a huge difference between being a “Dad” and being a “Coach”. Each has different responsibilities and relationships with the kids. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of overlap between the two roles. I literally have two hats: one says “Dad” and the other says “Coach”. Over the years, my kids and I have learned to separate the two so I don’t wear the hats too often, but it does make the distinction more literal. Coaching your own children is one of the real challenges of youth sports because sometimes, you child wants or expects to have a dad when you’re the team’s coach. If you can separate these roles, and both of your expectations, you and your child will have a much better youth sports experience.

About the Author

Ken Kaiserman is the president of, a leading youth sports website featuring games, sports news, sports camp and league directories, community features, and the Superstore with over 150,000 products.

Ken coaches youth football, basketball and baseball. He also serves on the local little league board of directors as well as the Park Advisory Board.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Pressure in Youth Sports

Pressure is part of all sports and its impact in youth sports is something we need to carefully evaluate. The spotlight is brightest in baseball; there is simply no place to hide. For the pitcher, batter, catcher and anybody the ball is hit to, all the attention of parents and peers is riveted on that player. In soccer, basketball or other sports, it’s easy enough to “blend in”, but not in baseball. I have tremendous respect for every kid who takes the risk and goes out to play ball – especially the kids who are not as talented; it’s not easy. This is especially true for a young pitcher who controls every aspect of the game. Is there simply too much pressure put on kids to early? I don’t think so. As we evaluate the physiological aspects of pressure, the kid’s psychology, our own beliefs, and effective ways to deal with pressure, I’ll let you know why.

What Is Stress? - Changes, such as sudden trauma, several big crises, or many small daily hassles, cause stress. The human body has different ways of responding to stress; one quick responding nerve-hormonal system involving adrenaline, another long-lasting system involving cortisol, and perhaps others. These systems not only determine the intensity of our anxiety reactions but also our attitudes, energy level, depression, and physical health after the stressful events are over. Stress can also be a source of energy that can be directed towards useful purposes. How many of us would study or work hard if it were not for anxiety about the future? Life is a dynamic process and thus forever changing and stressful. Physiologic changes including an increased heart rate and blood pressure, faster breathing, muscle tension, dilated pupils, dry mouth and increased blood sugar all take place. In other words, stress can also be described as a state of increased arousal. Up to a certain point stress is beneficial. We can perform with greater energy and increased awareness with the influx of excitatory hormones that release immediate energy.

Understanding Each Child – There are genetic, constitutional, and other factors that influence the pressure an individual will feel in any situation and their reaction to that stress. Some of us may have been born "nervous", “happy”, “emotional”, or even "grouches." Almost certainly we are by nature prone to be shy or outgoing, and we also inherit a propensity for certain psychological effects, including our reaction to stress. So, we have to expect that each child will be impacted by and deal with pressure situations differently. It is imperative to judge each child as an individual. Some kids are desperate to bat with the bases loaded or the pitch in a clutch situation. Does your child hope the ball is hit to him so that he can make the play or does hope it’s not hit in his direction so that he can’t make an error? My favorite Michael Jordan quote is: “I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” You want to put kids into a position where they can succeed and to do that you need to understand who they are and how they are impacted by different pressure situations.

Another difference in children can be the way that they act in team vs. individual sports. A friend of mine has a child who is a very good athlete and highly competitive in tennis and golf, but “disappears” in soccer and basketball. The psychology behind this is simply that this person is able to perform when she knows that it’s all up to her. However, she doesn’t want to be the one who lets down the team by missing a shot. On the other hand, some children may react in just the opposite manner and not want the outcome to be totally determined by their own actions

The easiest thing to do is very simple – just ask the kids. You may be surprised at how honest the answers will be. Here are some questions to try:

1.When the game is tied and you’re playing in the field, do you want the ball to be hit to you or would you prefer that the ball is hit to one of your teammates?

2.If your team is losing by one run in the bottom of the last inning, the bases are loaded, and there are two out, do you want to be at bat?

3.If you’re on deck in the same situation, do you want your teammate to win the game or do you want a chance to get to the plate?

4.Would you prefer your teammate make the last out of the game so that you don’t have to bat with the game on the line?

5.Do you want to pitch?

6.Would you want to come in with the bases loaded and your team has a one run lead in the championship game?

Projection of Parents, Friends and Relatives – Projection is one of the defense mechanisms identified by Freud and still acknowledged today. According to Freud, projection is when someone is threatened by or afraid of their own impulses so they attribute these impulses to someone else. For example, a parent or grandparent who is so nervous about the outcome of a game can project their own insecurity and stress onto a child when the child isn’t bothered at all. For example, I know some grandparents, who are admittedly risk averse themselves and protective of their kids (no matter how old they are) are now at least as protective of their grandchildren. They have a grandson who is an excellent pitcher and loves to pitch, but they still feel that he’s under too much pressure and maybe he shouldn’t even be playing baseball. This is an example of projection of their feelings about the child rather than actually finding out how he feels. I know many parents who prefer their child not come to bat in a tough situation just in case their kid makes the last out. While this is very easy to understand since we all want to protect our children, it often isn’t the kids feeling the pressure, but the rest of us.

Dealing With Pressure – Webster’s Dictionary defines “Pressure” as “the burden of physical or mental distress”. Even that definition is interesting because it neglects the possibility that people can perform well and even thrive under pressure and stress. One misconception though with performing under pressure is that stress always has a negative connotation. Many times, "the stress of competition may cause a negative anxiety in one performer but positive excitement in another". That is why one frequently hears how elite players' thrive under pressure, when most others would crumble. As individuals, our nervous systems differ; however, according to Richard Dienstbier at the University of Nebraska, we may be able to modify our physiological reactions by learning coping skills. Not surprisingly, exercise and sports participation are commonly considered as activities to reduce stress from other areas in life. However, if a child is feeling pressure while playing sports, here are some solid stress relief techniques they can employ:

1.Visualization – Before a game, visualize yourself in stressful situations and dealing with them successfully. Put yourself into that place mentally so that you can deal with it better when it happens in reality. During the game, you can remember back to how you’ve already dealt with this situation and are mentally prepared for it. Just so you know where I’m coming from, visualization is simply a shorter version of meditation.

2.Breathing – If a kid is feeling stressed during a game, feeling less anxious can often be as simple as taking a few deep breaths. Deep breathing is a very effective method of relaxation. It is a core component of everything from the 'take ten deep breaths' approach to calming someone down, right through to yoga relaxation and Zen meditation. It works well in conjunction with other relaxation techniques such as Progressive Muscular Relaxation, relaxation imagery and meditation to reduce stress.

Conclusion - A lot has been made of the impact of pressure in youth sports and the negative impact, but much of this is simply projecting a parent or relative’s individual beliefs on the situation. While you can argue that I’m doing the same thing, but in reverse, I in fact take a different position which is: 1) to acknowledge that pressure does exist, but 2) to determine how each individual child can deal with the situation. Only by knowing each child can you determine if the situation is, in fact, distress rather than an adrenaline producing pressure moment which the kid loves.

About the Author

Ken Kaiserman is the president of, a leading youth sports website featuring games, sports news, sports camp and league directories, community features, and the Superstore with over 150,000 products.

Ken coaches youth football, basketball and baseball. He also serves on the local little league board of directors as well as the Park Advisory Board.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

NBA Draft Notes

NBA Draft Notes

If the 2004-05 season ended five days ago with the Spurs regaining the crown, then the 2005-06 campaign unofficially began last night with the 58th annual NBA Draft, held at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden. was there, with notes on what its like to experience the draft first hand.

7:00- the gates open outside MSG, (if you’ve never been, most fans enter near Penn Station on 7th Avenue and its unlike entering any other arena. While you can see the arena’s structure from the outside, when you walk in its almost as if you are entering a stadium inside of a building.) The Knick City Dancers greet fans with sweatbands and towels- as a diehard Nets fan, I promptly wipe the sweat from my brow all over the orange and blue Knicks logo.

7:02- As the crowd begins to enter, the talk among the predominately Knick contingency voices their overwhelming affection for Channing Frye. Some Illinois fans are seen as well as a large contingent of Syracuse enthusiasts- there is only so much orange one person can take.

7:05- After walking through the lobby and towards the Theatre, which is separate from MSG itself, the NBA shows that even in the off-season the marketing and draining of millions of corporate dollars doesn’t stop, as fans are given War of the World T-shirts and posters and handheld radios compliments of AMEX.

7:07- Arriving in my seat in the 300 section, I notice that the overly priced ticket I bought is in prime location, dead center and not too far back. I also learn after riding on a train in from Jersey for the past few hours, that Utah has swapped picks with Portland. The fans next to me start exclaiming that they must be going after Deron Williams of Illinois...we’ll see. (We also found out Jiri Welsch was traded to Milwaukee, but no one seems to care). One thing you notice about the setup of the area is that the "green room," which sometimes appears to be backstage or in an off location is actually right down by the front of the stage by all the fans. ESPN’s NBA shootaround crew are stationed to the left of the stage, with Stuart Scott’s interview zone behind them.

7:10- Uber-Knick fan Spike Lee makes his way through the crowd to applause. He seems focused on thinking of new targets to yell at with the retirement of Reggie Miller.

7:10-7:30- I notice that even after the season lets out, everyone loves to rock a jersey. Some of the more notable replicas seen; Bryant Reeves (Grizzlies), Darko Milicic (Pistons), Patrick Ewing (Georgetown), Jameer Nelson (Magic) and of course only in New York, a Mike Sweetney jersey.

7:30- David Stern walks out to a loud chorus of boos and some cheers. One thing you can’t tell on television is how loud and raucous a crowd is at a draft

1st Pick- Andrew Bogut is announced, some fans start a chant of Sam Bowie. The two or three Bucks fans in attendance seem pleased.

2nd Pick- Marvin Williams. Big ovation from the crowd, as the Carolina fans in attendance; family, alumni and those on the bandwagon go crazy.

3rd Pick- Deron Williams. The obvious choice to run the Jazz is greeted warmly, but some fans yell that the second coming of Stockton, he is not.

4th Pick- Chris Paul. Loud ovation for another ACC star, some of the Carolina contingent begin to chant, "Overrated!" Dick Vitale is shown on the screen, beginning his annual spiel of how this kid who went to college will excel at the next level.

5th Pick- Raymond Felton. The crowd once again goes wild as that makes two UNC players in the top 5. Almost 25 family and friends of Felton are sitting behind me, ecstatic that their boy will be staying in the Tar Heel state...and probably the fact that they’ll get to meet Nelly now.

6th Pick- Martell Webster. The first surprise pick, a lot of people didn’t expect Webster to go this high. I notice in between picks that on the ESPN studio setup, nobody seems to notice that Jay Bilas is there. Stephen A. Smith, Greg Anthony, Mike Tirico, they all converse in between picks, but Bilas just sits there with his hands folded.

7th Pick- Charlie Villanueva. Another first round shocker, the UConn faithful applaud loudly. Right after the 6-11 forward exits stage left, the hype begins for the Knicks selection.

8th Pick-Before Stern walks out, the crowd is loud the entire five minutes leading up to the selection. A lot of "Gerald Green" chants go around, followed by some "Channing Frye" uprisings. The buzz continues as the Commish steps to the podium, then all of a sudden, like a Roman emperor speaking to a crowd, there is a complete silence with everyone standing on their feet, then Frye’s name is called to a mostly warm reaction.

9th Pick- Ike Diogu is picked, there are a lot of shocked fans in the crowd. Some of it is because they didn’t expect him to go so high (I personally am upset because I wanted to see him in a Net uniform), the rest is probably because supposed top 5 pick Gerald Green is still on the board.

10th Pick- The Laker fans next to me begin a "Gerald Green" chant of their own. One of them has been talking from the beginning how he wished Green would be available...and now he is. (If you’ve never been to a draft, I say that any real NBA fan who lives in the area MUST go. It’s a few hundred people who all have a deep passion and knowledge of basketball and who talk nothing but hoops for four hours.) Andrew Bynum is selected and there is a sense of confusion by the crowd, but the Laker fans next to me heads drop in dismay as their buddies laugh at them. I wonder where Kobe is at this moment?

11th Pick- One thing I notice, I don’t know if they showed a clock on the screen at home, but the one above the draft board, it always goes to 0:00 and then it takes another minute or so, or whenever Stephen A. Smith stops talking, for them to go to the next pick. Fran Vazquez is the pick and the confusing looks continue through the crowd.

12th Pick- A heated argument breaks out next to me about who is better, Julius Hodge or Rashad McCants. Everyone keeps it cool though, which is what makes actually being at the draft great. Each fan has their own guy they want to see make it as well as their team loyalties, even the Michigan State alum by me who shouts for Alan Anderson before every pick. Yaroslav Korolev is taken. The first reaction for most fans is one of bewilderment, but then you realize it’s the Clippers and it all seems to make sense.

13th Pick- Stephen A. begins yelling throughout the theatre, that how could two star UNC players not get picked before some of the foreign prospects. What do you know, Charlotte takes Sean May, building a Carolina connection for the Bobcats. I can only start to think about a few years back when Chicago loaded up on Duke players...that worked out well.

14th Pick- McCants is drafted next, making Stephen A. look like Nostradamus. The Carolina delegation in the crowd has been quite vocal these past 10 minutes.

15th Pick- The Nets fans by me all want Hakim Warrick, who I wouldn’t mind but would rather have Joey Graham. In utter disbelief, they take Antoine Wright. Knicks fans begin to smirk at the Nets fans in the crowd who definitely wanted a forward.

16th Pick- Joey Graham is taken by the Raptors- some Nets fans sigh. I begin to think though that the previous pick for Wright wasn’t so bad, since they have needed outside shooting for the past 4 years and this kid can supposedly light it up. Plus he was a consensus top 10 pick and maybe luckily slipped into NJ’s hands.

17th Pick- Danny Granger is announced to subtle applause.

18th Pick- Gerald Green goes to Boston, quite fitting that he puts on that color uniform, don’t you think? His crew sitting behind the green room cheer wildly, while a lot of the crowd begins to exit. A "Boston Sucks" chant begins in the back as New Yorkers make sure to show their ever-loving admiration for Beantown sports.

19th Pick- In between picks, Roy Williams walks through the crowd to the delight of the Tar Heel fans. I feel like starting a Let’s go Duke chant. I then think that Hakim Warrick would be a perfect fit for the Grizzlies to team up with or replace Stromile Swift. Warrick is picked up by Memphis and the Syracuse fans go wild. Still no one has said a word to Bilas off-camera.

20th Pick- Julius Hodge, a Harlem naitve receives a warm ovation, perhaps one of the biggest of the night. He probably seems the most happy of any draftee to be there, pumping his fist in the air and smiling the rest of the night through.

21st Pick- Phoenix takes Nate Robinson who a lot of people seem to have forgotten about. The crowd likes the pick and then likes it even more when they learn he may be a Knick as part of the Quentin Richardson-Kurt Thomas deal.

22nd Pick- Jarrett Jack. A guy next to me exclaims afterwards, "Man, the ACC is runnin’ this @#$!" Indeed they are.

23rd Pick- Francisco Garcia. Nice applause but the New York native is absent from the festivities.

24th Pick- Luther Head. Decent reaction from the crowd, but they are beginning to disperse at a faster rate, with about 70% just waiting around to see the Knicks at no.30.

25th Pick-Johan Petro. The Anti-France bashing begins and most fans laugh at the pick. There is a slight buzz after the announcement of the potential trade of the 22nd pick (Jack) to Portland for the 27th and 35th picks.

26th Pick- There seems to be less on the trade front in this draft as compared to year’s past. Greg Anthony gets about a makeover in between commercial breaks, he loves the face makeup. Jason Maxiell is the pick for the ‘04 champs, some of the crowd overly support the pick, some loathe it. Hate it or love it, this underdog is going to one of the top teams in the NBA.

27th Pick- Portland takes Linas Kleiza and almost in unison the crowd says, "Who?" Fans search frantically in their Draft handout booklets to find out who was just taken.

28th Pick- Ian Mahinmi. Most of the crowd may not know who he is, but they love it when a player comes from the pay seats through the fans and onto the stage.

29th Pick- Wayne Simien is chosen to a decent ovation, although I’m sure Dickie V. will burst a vein yelling about how 28 teams could pass this kid up.

30th Pick- The buildup to the pick, the Knick fans overwhelmingly want Chris Taft. When David Lee’s name is called though, they are PO’d and many leave disappointed, a seemingly annual ritual at recent drafts.

2nd Round Notes:
Russ Granik must be the most loved man in the building as he gets a huge response from what is left from the crowd. Before every pick they chant his name and you can tell he eats it up. The fans like Salim Stoudamire at 31 and as typical with Duke players, there is some love, mostly hate when Daniel Ewing is taken at 32. The next two picks consist of Who’s? (Brandon Bass) and Ooooh’s (CJ Miles). I notice that when Granik comes to the podium, Bilas is the only one on the ESPN crew who pays attention to the pick. There is a lot of love for Ronny Turiaf who is sitting in the crowd. They loudly chant his name before he is selected by the Lakers and his family gives hi-5’s to all the fans around. I stick around ‘til the Nets at 43 and don’t even bother looking up who Mile Ilic is. Exiting Hakim Warrick walks by the lobby, shaking hands and signing autographs as well as Fran Vazquez. I leave somewhat disenchanted by my team’s selections, but glad to have come to the event. All I can wait for now is summer leagues to get started and training camp to roll around, only four months left until the new season officially begins.

About the Author

Seth Berkman writes for