Breaking Down the Bigs


Like last season, we expect to be coaching a great group of young men. Practices have been spirited and competitive. Let’s break down the progress of the bigs today, then the guards and wings tomorrow.

Best surprise — Jaylen Johnson. His downfall has always been his poor conditioning. He has worked hard on transforming his body. Results: More energy, better decisions, and more activity rebounding the ball. If he stays conscientious, a big change will occur in his junior season.

Ray Spalding — had minor groin surgery to alleviate a problem, which set him back in his strength and weight gain. Psycho Ray should have him back in no time. He is working hard to cut down his turnovers and is improving his jump shot. He has to enjoy more contact, but the sky is his limit potentially.

Anas Mahmoud – He lost 13 pounds when he went home to Egypt. His response: they eat very healthy over there. My take: he did not eat four meals a day and didn’t lift weights. Bet with me, because when I questioned him further, his nose grew like Pinocchio. Besides the weight loss, he is improving in many areas. The major focus must be developing a consistent jump shot and staying healthy. Loaded with talent, now must develop Jaylen Johnson’s energy.

Matz Stockman — Came back from Norway in good shape. He brought his girlfriend from California (U of L student) with him. She was constantly passing the ball to him in every gym in Oslo. Now my nose is growing!!! Bigs take time to develop, and the potential is there. Must learn to keep the ball up high on rebounds and not bring it down. His footwork is improving and his offensive game from the low post is getting better. Shot blocking is his next hurdle. With his incredible length, that must improve. Timing is the issue.

Mangok Mathiang is out for the summer. Should be ready to play on November 1st.

Dwayne Sutton — Even though he is a wing, I will include him in this group. Hard worker and boundless energy. Terrific athlete and solid defender. I’m excited about his potential. A good mid-range shot must develop a three-point game. Great to have another athlete from the Ville.

I cannot express in words the quality of young men we are coaching. These last few years have been amazing. Congrats to Nanu and let’s hope Damion and Trey hook up with a team here or overseas.

Our schedule is the toughest that any Louisville team I have coached will face. I made it this way because of the character of these young men. They will compete with relentless passion.

You will hear coaches use the word “potential” over and over!

How to reach your potential:

  • Have an organized plan of attack.
  • Stay focused on the plan with very few distractions.
  • Your plan must be executed with well-thought-out drills that lead to success.

The pitfalls which prevent people from reaching their potential:

  • Listening to people tell you how good you are. Staying humble and not believing you have arrived is essential.
  • Distractions — You have a plan, now execute it on a daily basis. Everything from technology (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) all takes time and distracts away from your organized plan of attack.
  • Hurting your body — The body needs positive food and fuel. Stay away from alcohol and foods that hurt the body from performing.

We will discuss the guards and wings tomorrow.

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