by Jeff Fox
Like it or not, there are more important things at stake during the NCAA tournament than how your entry in the office pool is doing. Even for the actual participants in the games, there is more at stake than whether or not their team wins or loses (but they won’t admit it). Coaches are auditioning either for a job at a bigger school or a big contract extension from their current employer. And, of course, players are auditioning for the numerous NBA and overseas pro scouts watching the games.
by Russ Bengtson
On some level, Rafer Alston must dread coming back to New York.
It’s not the pressures of playing in front of friends and family—Skip has been doing that for a long time now, both at the Garden and before that on blacktop from Queens to Harlem. No, it’s the hours before the game. More specifically, the media time. Even more specifically than that, the same local reporters who pepper him with the same questions every freaking time. It has to be infuriating.
Photo by Atiba Jefferson
Originally published in SLAM 89
Ask these three Spurs. Basketball sure is fun when you’re winning. – Tzvi Twersky
Self-awareness is good, and depressing: “The decision to practice during this extended break wasn’t Natt’s only tactical change. During the same four-day game reprieve in early March, he threatened widespread benching if there wasn’t more defensive dedication. But little has changed since, leading Natt to admit his uncertain status hinders his authority.
He’s desperate for more playing time: “If Celtics [team stats] fans want to see more of Kevin Garnett, the power forward has a simple suggestion. ‘Y’all pray for me, cross your fingers, call (coach) Doc Rivers - start the ‘Give KG more minutes campaign,’ Garnett said after the C’s 90-77 win against the Clippers at the Garden. ‘I think (Rivers) is going by feel. It’s an open dialogue and we’re trying to figure it out as we go.’”
James is on his Yoga game: “When James first came into the NBA at the age of 18 he didn’t even tape his ankles, sometimes ate McDonald’s an hour before tipoff and his main use for ice was cooling beverages. As he’s matured, part out of necessity and part out of pride, he’s serious about preparing and maintaining his body for the rigors of an NBA season.
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