Sunday, December 24, 2006

Quality Citizen - Mr. Ilitch - "As a Veteran I Salute You" (updated 12/24/06)


I originally wrote this post last August 3rd. There is an update below for Veterans Day - 2006

Mike Ilitch Hits a Grand Slam!

Mike Ilitch owner of Little Caeserrs Pizza, the FOX theater, the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings hit a big home run yesterday with qulityg. qualityg loves to write about CEOs who give back to the community (i.e., Fox Theatre, youth sports, charities, etc...) and is a friend of veterans.

Mr. Ilitch traveled to Paducah Kentucky and provided Sgt. Robbie Doughty with a Little Ceasers Pizza Franchise. Sgt. Robbie lost both his legs in Iraq.

Mr. Ilitch was quoted as saying that he is "lucky to be in a position to help others." That is true Mike, but we are lucky to have you in our community.


Updated 12/24/06

Mitch Albom
MITCH ALBOM: What it truly means to stand up
December 24, 2006

Excellent Article by Mitch Albom on Robbie Doughty @ http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006612240584&GID=tSnWUFIf11dZR404rQ7ILBFvTgrZsIxO9ILulPXcL+I%3D





Mr. Ilitch, as a Veteran, I salute you. He shoots, he scoooores!


11/11/06


Mr. Ilitch creates a Little Caesars Veterans Program
Just in time for Veterans Day, Mike Ilitch, Little Caesars founder, plans to launch a program that would make it easier for American veterans to open their own pizza businesses.


PURPOSE

To provide honorably discharged veterans with a business opportunity when they transition to civilian life or seek a career change, and thank them for the sacrifices they and their families made for our country.


POST-MILITARY CAREER: Ilitch wants vets to get a slice of the pie
Former recruits join Little Caesars ranks


Story at http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006611090347

BY GRETA GUEST
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

Friday, December 22, 2006

Leadership --> Mr. Quality - "Dave Bing - Humanitarian" updated 12/22/06

When I think about all the great athletes that played in Detroit one always sticks out above the rest. Many would say Barry Sanders, Gordie Howe, Al Kaline, Isiah Thomas or Steve Yezerman.

All great athletes, but the one I would want my kids to look for in a role model is Dave Bing. In nine seasons with the Detroit Pistons, followed by two with the Washington Bullets and one with the Boston Celtics, Bing amassed 18,327 points in 901 contests (20.3 ppg). His efforts earned him a spot on the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. The league's Rookie of the Year for 1966-67, he went on to make the All-NBA First Team twice and the Second Team once, and he played in seven NBA All-Star Games. In only his second season, 1967-68, he led the NBA in scoring with 27.1 points per game.

I admired his basketball skills because he overcame obstacles involving his eyes as a child (at five, he tripped and fell in to a nail that went into his left eye) and as a player (partially detached retina in right eye). Yet what I found to be his best qualities are his skills as a human being. Mr. Bing is the ultimate example of professionalism, businessman, gentleman, class, dignity, and humanity. Basically he cares; there is no finer “quality” than that in a world of me, me, and me.

Let me share a “few” examples of what he has done for the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan. Mr. Bing whose auto supply company employs 1,400 and expects to have $575 million in annual sales this year (he opened his first plant in 1980 with $5 million dollars), has a plan to fix Detroit: one neighborhood at a time.

His Bing Group houses six of its 10 companies at its headquarters in the northern part of Detroit near the Highland Park and Hamtramck borders. He opened his first plant with $5 million in 1980 and hopes the group will reach $1 billion in sales by the end of the dacade.

His automotive activities include the assembly of car seats, the production of steel blanks and welded sections, and stamping services. The company sells its services to auto parts manufacturers and metal furniture and appliance makers.

Bing Industries is not unlike many companies today that are looking for a more skilled workplace. His company has spenthundreds of thousands of dollars training his employees in the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic that should have been taught in the schools.

He did not sit back and whine about the problem, he gets involved and he has been doing something about it for years. He even avoids the politics of the local so called do-gooders who criticized him for doing business with a man from outside of Detroit who also wants to help the Detroit School System. Dave Bing is his own man.

He supports 15 charter high schools,he even set up a technical high school near his steel company that is part of his plan to transform a dying community into the productive and safe place it once was.

Mr. Bing’s most current project is helping to give a new lease of life to Detroit's north side by building 40 middle-income homes. His group is building the brick homes, ranging in price from $170,000 to $200,000, next to his Bing Group headquarters.

Dave Bing is a graduate of Syracuse University, where he earned a Bachelor ofScience degree in economics. If you think the leaders of other organizations don’t appreciate his talents and skills take a look at some of the boards and organizations he is involved in: Bing serves on the boards of directors of Detroit Edison, Standard FederalBank and Steelcase, as well as Detroit Renaissance, Economic Club of Detroit,Michigan Minority Business Development Council, National Association of BlackAutomotive Suppliers and Oakland University Foundation.

He also serves on the boards of advisors of Boy Scouts of America Council,Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, Caring Athletes Team forChildren's/Henry Ford Hospitals (CATCH), Children's Hospital, Detroit BlackUnited Fund, Detroit Urban League, Junior Achievement, New Detroit, Inc., and Share House Drug and Abuse Center.



I think it is time for local papers and newscasters to address Dave Bing, as a humanitarian and business man who used to play basketball for the Detroit Pistons.

Respectfully,



qualityg


More great work from Mr. Bing!

Dave Bing part of Detroit plan to redevelop, strengthen 6 areas

A riverfront condominium project headed by Detroit industrialist and sports legend Dave Bing took a step closer to reality.

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006612130308

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/pistons/2005-08-24-rebuilding-detroit_x.htm?csp=34

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

"Who Wants A Buyout? How About A Forceout?" update 12/12/06

If you just looked at the Headlines one would think that everyone is looking for a buyout to escape from their company and get a chance to start over.

Corporate Buyouts are not new and have been popular for at least 20 years. I can still remember the first one my company gave out in 1986. It was presented that if a certain number of managers did not accept the buyout there would be force layoffs and the package would be substantially smaller.

This went on from 1986 each year until I left (no buyout) and went to another company in 1997. However, the buyouts at Ameritech continued on and are still going on after being acquired by SBC.

The company I went to was eventually bought out by AT&T, which also had yearly buyouts that also continue to this day after being, acquired SBC.

I eventually took an early retirement (buyout), which has allowed me to go into education full time, which is always what I wanted to do since going back to college in 1976 (I am Lucky, or maybe I was prepared).

There is a small percentage of people in each buyout that welcome the news because they also are at a time in their careers where they also qualify for benefits which makes there next job search much easier. I was one of those fortunate people. It always seemed strange to me that I requested an early buyout 5 times before it was granted.

Now for the rest of the folks it is a Forceout (aka Downsized). Forceouts leave little options because the company gives you ultimatums that basically say if you don’t take our generous offer of crumbs you will be forced out with little or no crumbs (crumbs = no benefits).


Today the Buyout/Forceout is getting major headlines because the auto companies are announcing plans weekly. For example, Ford Motor Company announced that mid-lower level managers have until January 5, 2007 to decide if they want to buyout. Ford also announced if they don’t hit some ”bean” counters (finance people) number they will be forced to involuntary cut workers. The key is Leaders never let you know what the numbers “really” are and how many have taken the buyout so you are forced to play Russian Roulette with your career. In addition, you will never be told about how many Senior Leaders are being forced out nor the “true” amount of their golden parachutes.


How about the Big Boy GM? They have been forcing out regularly over the past year and still announced more next week. A major portion of their buyouts is to Union Workers. Mostly workers deny the offers because of Health Benefits. Unfortunately they don’t realize the price they will have to start paying (no longer free) will be just as bad as being let go and starting over.

The only advice I can give here is to take a good amount of your buyout and put it in some guaranteed savings and pay your own Medical. I know this cuts into the cash but in reality it will be about the same that would be coming out of your check if you did not leave.

Now let’s look at what else goes on behind the scenes with these so-called buyouts. First, the number of Union Workers especially in the UAW is dropping at an alarming rate. GM and Ford and soon Chrysler will be back filling with younger worker at much lower wages. Soon there will be so many low paid workers they will be just glad to have a job at negotiation time the retired workers will be paying more and more for their benefits.

The younger less paid workers are needed to fund the older workers (just like Social Security) pensions. This is not a new strategy it is just the timing is right because major corporations in trouble can also take out what they conceived as roadblocks under the disguise of going out of business.

Needless to say Financial leaders never use Systems Thinking when addressing the numbers to Forceout, after all many of the mid to lower level finance folks will also be affected by the cuts. The problem is the morale of the workers both management and non-management stays in at least in a two week funk each time their department is hit by these type of cuts. Believe me no work gets done. These cuts have even surpassed the other major moral letdown each year and that is rating and raking time and who gets the bonuses and who does not.

I have also written before on the lack of training and knowledge that is being lost and passed to new workers. This takes years to recover from in a manufacturing environment.

http://qualityg.blogspot.com/2006/06/quality-leadership-another-example-of.html


People must realize that the problems we face result from the “bad” decisions made by managers (they own the system) over time. Selfish and Me attitudes that resulted in poor decisions 10 years ago are just filtering up through the organization and then people blame the government or the competition instead of the piss poor decisions they made years earlier when dealing with contracts, suppliers, customers and employees.

Don’t forget that less money will send children to college, less taxes for communities, less bonds being passed in local communities, less homes being bought, etc… What you will find is more Banks, Credit Unions and other Loan Type companies being built in your area, this is so they can lend you money and later get fat off the interest or your total belongings.

And the beat goes on …



and so quickly ...

12/12/06

More Buyout/Forceout Offers at Ford
10,000 additional salaried jobs need to be cut

Another week at Ford Motor Co., another massive buyout/forceout offer.

"I wore all black today," said a single, thirtysomething engineer who was offered a buyout early Monday.



Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans (Wonder if she is in Finanace) said it is far too soon to know whether the company is on pace to reach its reduction target. Salaried workers who accepted buyouts during the first wave aren't expected to leave the company until Dec. 31, she noted.



"There are a number of heads down and people heading out of the building quietly."

One worker with nearly 20 years of experience said he wasn't sure if he would take a buyout. If he takes the deal, he said he would get a salary for 12 months. But if Ford must fire workers in his department to make its goal, he would only get nine months' salary. Then, he would face the challenge of finding a job, possibly uprooting his family and trying to sell his house. He said he is balancing that challenge against Ford's uncertain future.



"It's dire and getting worse," he said.



"We need a true discussion on how we keep a middle class in this country," he said.



"I always thought a college education meant better opportunities," said the Ford employee at a Starbucks



Several of the employees said they wished they were offered the same generous deal secured by UAW leaders for union members.



qualityg says ...
I heard all this before, as far back as 20 years. I wrote then that if other industries did not start looking at what was happening with competition and the Demise of American Management (Dr. Deming wrote about it 25 years before me) they too would be facing what was going on in the Telecommunications Industry. Too bad people are selfish and will not understand "Systems Thinking."



and the beat goes on ...


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Quality Service - Dirty Dirty "Lowes" Down


"Lowes" Hits a Low With Me


My wife recently bought seven light fixtures for our house, rather expensive ones I might add. She hired an electrician to install the fixtures. It was determined two of the seven were defective (missing parts, shorts in wiring).


We decided to take them back tonight to get a refund and express our displeasure that we had to pay the electrician per fixture and because the two were defective it cost more because of the hourly rate.


When explaining this to the so-called Customer Return Specialist she said rather loudly that we should report the electrician and his company to the BBB. When I explained that Lowes should be responsible for having defective products on their shelves she again said loudly that "Lowes has no control over that!" I responded by asking how would I know if there were any missing parts when I go to buy the next two and she replied "Your guess is as good as mine."


I was now ready to teach a lesson on Quality and Customer Service. After all if 2 out of the 7 fixtures we bought (all by the same company - Portfolio and style family) were defective (28%) is a bad rate. Why would Lowes not have some sort of customer supplier agreement going on with Portfolio?


I walked away and left my wife to deal with the Customer Specialist. I guess it's like the old Quality saying that many dissatisfied customers will just go away and tell ten other people. In my case it will be much much more.


When we went to pick out the replacement fixtures my wife became concerned that what would we do if there were parts missing out of these boxes? You see "ALL" the boxes had been taped, perhaps someone does do a check to make sure all the parts are included. I decided to cut the odds and the box with my pocket knife to determine if the inside contents had been disturbed.

Luckily they had not and we purchased two more fixtures hoping that these would not have shorts. My wife became nervous when an employee approached my while cutting. I looked up and said "Do you have a Problem with me checking to make sure all the parts are here?" Ah, no sir and he walked away.


I can tell you now two days later the fixtures are mounted and working fine, and oh yes I had to pay the electrician to come back again and no I'm not calling BBB.


What I will do is be much more selective in the places I shop and the suppliers they deal with for obtaining their products.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Why I Like Girls Basketball - Season 1 - The EOY Banquet


LADY MONARCHS - 2006
From a helper's notebook & camera

PART I

I did not always like girls' basketball; in fact I hated it the first time I saw it being played. I'm not sure of the year (60s) but I remember passing a gym and watching a game I thought was basketball. Girls were making weird passes and stopping at certain places on the court and standing there as if quicksand would engulf them if they moved out of there section.

I could not believe my eyes, who in the world would play this game and I am sure Dr. Naismith did not create this game.

Perhaps some history is needed:

Basketball was invented in 1891. Dr. James Naismith was a teacher at the YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. One day, while trying to find a way to interest his bored gym students, he made up the game basketball. In his version, players used a soccer ball (of course they couldn't use a basketball because it hadn't been invented yet). For hoops they used peach baskets nailed to the lower rail of the gym balcony. There were nine players per team instead of five. Oh yeah and they were all male.

It didn't take women long to catch on. The first women's basketball team was started just a few weeks later when teachers from a nearby school saw Dr. Naismith's students playing and thought it looked like fun. A few miles up the Connecticut River was the Home of Smith College for girls in Northampton. In 1892, the physical education teacher, Senda Berenson used it in her classes.



The purpose of the game was for physical fitness for her ladies. Senda would change some of Dr. Naismith's rules to strive teamwork and cooperation, rather then competition. She would break the court into 3 zones and 9 players would exist on each team. Each zone would have 3 players in it. No player could leave her zone. The player could only hold the ball 3 seconds and dribble the ball 3 times before passing. No grabbing or stealing of the ball was allowed as well. This reduced the ability for single players to become stars and required the effort of all.

Basketball was incredibly popular among women in the early 1900s. Women and men's games were often played together in "double headers." However, during those early years, girls' basketball was a far different game than the fast-paced, run and gun style to which we are accustomed today. The girls were always appropriately attired, which usually meant some form of bloomers or a dress.


Because of the risks of physical exertion on such delicate frames, the rules for girls adopted in 1899 provided that the floor was divided into three sections. A player assigned to that section could not leave it. No player could dribble more than three times, and stealing the ball was prohibited. The halves were fifteen minutes each, with a ten minute 'rest' in between.

Teams could field anywhere from five to ten players. The starting lineup was composed of seven players: a center, a right, left and center guard, and a right, left and center forward.

In 1923 the first lady, Mrs. Herbert Hoover caught wind of the double headers and created a national committee to check it out. The committee was shocked by what they found. Young women athletes playing in front of male audiences? Reprehensible! The practice was stopped. Soon after states began to close women's sports programs. It was believed that women were too dainty for vigorous physical activity.

Things began to change in 1972 when Congress passed amendments to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Among many other cool things, Title IX of the Federal Education Amendments Act of 1972 made it illegal to prevent people from participating in any educational group or activity that got government money for support. Classes and extracurricular activities had to be offered to all students. Girls began playing with five players just like the boys and the rules with some variation (i.e., size of ball). That amendment really changed things for female athletes:
- In 1970-71 - 294,000 girls played high school sports.
- In 1976-77 - that number increased to 1,645,000.
- Today over 13.5 million females play basketball!

Present Day

In the mid 1980s I started liking girls basketball, it has increased steadily and my fondness for the game increased when I saw the passion and work ethic that high school girls put into their game. I began coaching girls in the early 1990s.

The 2000s brought me to scouting and helping a number of friends/coaches who coached girls in high school. I continue to do it to this day. Why do I do this is a question I often get asked. Answer - I like being around others who have a passion for the game AND because I am not a coach, I am not on any set schedule, I just help when needed.

Last weekend I had the privilege to spend time with a local high school team at a pre-season camp that has a rich history in girls' basketball. It was my pleasure to hang out with the Freshmen, JV and Varsity Coaches. All of them are knowledgeable in the game and are devoted to leading, coaching and teaching the girls the correct way to play the game and stress fundamentals.


Click on PICS to Enlarge


They are good people who are devoted to the game care (on & off court) for the girls and make sure all get time to play and best of all they allow them to have fun. The girls are eager and listen to each coach intensively because they want to improve their game and become part of a winning tradition.

That is the BIG difference between the boys and girls game. The girls are a joy to be around, why because they listen, and they execute to the best of their abilities what the coaches have laid out in the game plan. They practice hard, lift weights and run as much as any boys team. Did I mention they listen and execute?

I no longer will coach boys because I love the purity of girls' basketball, it is played the way the game was intended and it is played as a team.

It's going to be a great season, stop back for updates --- qualityg

updated 7/31/06

PART II

Wow! The girls finished another 3 - day weekend camp. The outside temperature for the three days was in the low 90s. No telling how hot it was on court side. The girls played a total of 11 games in 3 days and continue to execute and reduce the mistakes from the previous camp.

So why do I like girls basketball? Not once did I hear the girls complain about the heat, not once did I hear anyone want to go home and not once did I hear anyone groan about getting home at 10:00 pm and getting back the next day for a 9:00 AM game.

As I walked through the different courts and saw the various teams (over 30) relaxing between games I never heard loud music, loud voices or foul language. I wish I could same the same for boys camps.

It's also gratifying to sit and talk with our team coaches about basketball, everyone has input and they compliment each other very well. Each one learns from the other and each week their collective knowledge grows.


The girls now get a 2 week downtime with no coaching or practices (w/basketball) with 3 or more players. CLIC PICS to ENLARGE

The girls are planning their own conditioning program to get ready for tryouts Monday August 14th. I hope to join a few sessions so I can lose a few pounds. I'm really proud of the seniors and how they take charge and make sure everyone is doing OK.

Thanks Ladies!

Updated 8/2/06

PART III

Most of the country has been in a heat wave for the past few days. Today we are predicted to hit 95 degrees (F). Yesterday we tied a record at 97.

I met the ladies at the track this morning and they wasted little time to start their stretching. They all ran a mile under 9:30 (min/sec) and continued with various exercises, sprints, shuffles and encouragement for each other.




At one session they even chased the rabbit (see Pics above).



A few blisters, slight cramps and a lake of sweat (not just from me). No complaints no groaning and moaning the whole workout. It is so rewarding to watch these ladies outside of an organized practice to see how they care for one another. These ladies are true WARRIORS!

Each morning while the team was working out there were two gentlemen walking the track. One asked if I was a coach? I said no, just a helper. Oh, do you have a daughter on the team? Yes, all of them and you should see the ones that are not here!
Part IV - Updated 8/08/06


qualityg "5 E model for player excellence":
Click on model to Enlarge

I have added (9/15/06) another E to my Model. It is called "Execute" and it comes after Empower. There must be proper Execution in order for the performance to be Excellent regardless of how much Empowerment is granted. Many Coaches Encourage and Reward Efforts regardless if there good or bad because they don't know the proper method.

PART V - Updated 8/18/06

Tryouts
Tryouts are always a stressful time for any athlete hoping to make the team. I was privileged to observe both the Varsity and Junior Varsity tryouts this week.


In today's sports world you can not just show up and try out and think you will make the team. Number one you must be in condition and two come with a good attitude and be ready to work hard.


The Varsity girls went through 3 - 4 (JV - 2-3) hours of drills, exercises and scrimmaging that would put any person's head in the puke bucket if they did not take off season conditioning and practicing to heart. My admiration for these girls grows as I watch them gut it out at each practice and come back ready for more the next day.


I'm happy to report that all the girls who tried out for Varsity made the team and there will be enough girls for both a JV and Freshmen team too.

This would not have been possible without the planning, sharing, motivation and teamwork of all the coaches. A great staff and an efficient system is being built.

It is so neat to see past players coming back to coach and share their knowledge with the girls. Great Role Models!

Two weeks until our first game. SCRAMBLE LADIES!

Updated 8/23/06

Pre-Season ratings were announced today (8/23) in the Detroit Free Press by the Son of Swami (SOS). Unfortunately or fortunately our team or players did not get any mention. I'm not to surprised by the team non-rating because we are moving up a class but we have some "really" good players. At least two of them should have gotten mentioned. I am happy for a good friend of mine (P.A.) whose team was rated number one in the state.

I hope to comment again about this at the end of the season because I did send and Email to SOS and he responded in a timely fashion telling me he would have rated two of our players if they were good enough to be rated.



I was reminded from a friend about not putting additional pressure on players because of what is stated or not stated in the newspaper or other peoples opinion. What matters most is the people who are closest to you and care the most about you as a person and not just a player.



Just remember Ladies
"It's not where you start it's where you finish that matters most."

Updated 8/24/06 - 3 Way Scrimmage

The coaches did a good thing in setting up a 3-way scrimmage prior to the season opening next week. Most scrimmages give you the opportunity to work on some last minute gaps in offense and defense and it provides some banging and in your shirt defense that sometimes does not always happen in practice. This scrimmage was no exception.

Many of the girls were frustrated with their performance, but that is OK because they wanted to know what to improve and they also had a good idea what that was prior to their coaches telling them what they thought. Some had off nights shooting and questioned me what was wrong. Nothing I replied just keep playing and shooting when you have a good shot. These girls are prepared and ready, their hard work and talent will take over and they will be fine.

Coaches need to remember to realize that is difficult to try and fix everthing at once, but you can do "something" at once. Prioritize the opportunities for improvement and make sure you are not concentrating on symptoms rather than causes.

Intensity ladies, it must be focused and executed through out the game. Stop thinking so much and allow your mind and body to do what they have been taught through practice and repetition. HAVE FUN!

Part VI - Updated 8/30/06

Season Begins + Scouting Reports

Scouting can be a lonely activity so I try to have as much fun as possible while I sit and write notes as fast as I can while I’m trying to tabulate stats on the side.


Last night was the first scouting trip of the season. It was important because we play both teams (one tomorrow). I document each team for a half. Sometimes I write notes on the wrong sheet.

I often sit as high up as possible in the center of the arena. I have been asked many times why I sit alone, even if I’m not scouting. It goes back to when my kids played and I could not stand sitting next to whining and vocal parents who knew nothing about what goes on at practice and spouting off why their kid is better than the others and should be playing more. Others bitch that their kid won’t get seen and will not get a scholarship and the majority complain about the coach. I can’t and will not tolerate rude behavior and it is best for all that I am isolated from such BS. The team I help with now has a more community atmosphere and it really makes me proud to work with nice kids, coaches, administrators and parents.

Sitting through three games (Freshmen, JV & Varsity) can be a chore so I like to have my back against a wall. Some question why three games? The reason is if the school has a good “system” you can learn much from the plays and defenses run by the underclass players.

Sometimes opposing coaches point up at me (I hope that is the pointer finger) and wonder what team I represent, some know me but others do not. I can be spotted very easily if I’m scouting all black teams. My Duke folder signed by Coach K at one of his coaching clinics also brings quick looks and strange comments.

Last night was no exception. I started out alone at the beginning of the Varsity Game but by the end I had four Fathers sitting close to me in the upper deck. After the game they approached me and asked what school I represent. I told them I scout for at least three teams during the season.

What did you think of the game? Well, I’m not sure if the winners were that good or the losers were that bad. Down by 16 in the 3rd quarter and the losers were still running the same defense and applied no pressure was strange to me even if it was the first game of the season. How does your team look? Very good, we have very talented players and good coaches. When do we play you? We play your team this Thursday and the other in two weeks. Should we be worried? Yes. Short direct answers (yes/no) get them every time.

The part about scouting I dislike is not being able to see our teams play on game night. I check my watch frequently and visualize the coaches giving commands and encouragement. At least I can watch the game videos on the weekends. The coach usually calls me later in the evening and we discuss what took place and the best method for getting ready to play our next opponent.

My goal for a scouting report is to provide enough information that results in 4-6 points whether it be on office or defense.

I almost forgot we won our opener by 28 points.

Part VII

Updated 9/2/06

Perfect Example of WHY I Like Girls' Basketball

The below article from Associated Press is a perfect example that good sound fundamental basketball will beat a bunch of individuals who are even considered the best in the world as individuals. The influx of foreign players in the United States is further proof that Basketball will circle back to its original roots and be played the way it was intended.

If Street Fighting is not Boxing, then "Why" is Street Ball considered Basketball?

That is why Baseball is the longest running "True" sport in the United States. Little has changed to disrupt the foundational elements of the game & the RULES are ENFORCED.

USA BASKETBALL: Greece carves up Team
As they warmed up before Friday's semifinal against Greece, the U.S. players put on a jam session for the fans. Dwight Howard dunked emphatically. Dwyane Wade bounced the ball off the backboard, caught it and stuffed. Elton Brand jammed an alley-oop pass. Finally, LeBron James flew down the lane for a tomahawk.

As the crowd roared, the Greeks lined up at the other end and shot free throws. The moment foretold Greece's 101-95 victory in the semifinals of the world championships.
The U.S. has dazzling skill; the Greeks are a dazzling team.

"We have to learn the international game better," U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We learned a lot today because we played a team that plays amazing basketball and plays together."

"I think we showed everybody that maybe we're not very good athletes like them, but we know how to play the game," said Greek guard Theodoros Papaloukas, who carved up the U.S. defense with 12 assists. "We are clever."


I wrote in my original post about girls' listening and playing the game as a team and learning the fundamentals. Even as good as Coach K is, he could not get the so-called best players in the world to listen to his team concept.

We won our last game 61-48 (2-0).

Part VIII

Updated 9/9/06

Belly Sprints & Benchmark Games

As a basketball season progresses there are a few games on the schedule that I always consider Benchmark Games. These are game that let the coaches know where their team is in relation to their top competition not only during the regular season but in the state playoffs.

For our team we had such a game on Thursday past (9/8/06). We played a team that is in a class above us and is known for their speed and atheletic players. Scouting reports indicated they were a well coached team and they had three very good players (actually four).

Preparing for this game was both fun and rewarding, not only for the Varsity but the Junior Varsity Team as well. Practices were well planned and the coaches implemented their strategy with great success since we won both games. The Varsity was down by 12 points at one point and came back to win the game by 2 points. Click on PICS to ENLARGE

Both teams turned up the intensity at practice, they even did "Belly Sprints" that left most of the players very sore last Monday. No complaints, many even expressed that the sprints helped them out during the last quarter of the comeback during the Varsity game. That is good because I bet coach has them do it again and again and...

As usual I tried to stay away (voice distance) as far as I could from the bench during the game. I was so proud to see players gutting out these wins. All the girls reached down and played as a team. Oh there were some great individual performances but all in the context of winning the game.

Best shout out at officials (G.C.)

"WE PLAY BASKETBALL HERE, STREETBALL & AAU
ARE PLAYED IN THE SUMMER"

I especially like to watch the coaches during the game and time outs, they are cool, calm and collective. Best of all they are all great role models for the girls both on and off the court.

We won two games last week (4-0).

Next week is rivaly week against our cross town rivals and our number one Catholic nemesis.
Cool Link for Girls On-Line Basketball Magazine




Part IX

Updated 9/16/06


What a week. Last Friday Night was Homecoming and four of the players were on the homecoming court. One of them one and they all had a great time.
Saturday morning (7:00 AM) they were back at practice preparing for Tuesday's cross town rival. Saturday afternoon was the Homecoming Parade and the game was at night.

Tuesday's game had a lot of emotion and proving who was the best team and who had the best players. Some of the girls went to grade school together and play on the same AAU Teams in the summer.


On that night we had the best players, team and coaching staff (including JV and Freshman). It was fun to watch the girls celebrate after a 30 point win (short-lived). Because ...


Wednesday brought a new focus to concentrate on our Catholic Rivals for Thursday Night. The Varsity game was well played by both teams.



We had a 13 point lead in the second half and at one point in the 4th quarter it looked like we would lose our lead. A timely time out and key plays and scores allowed us to win the game. It was an exciting game but not one of our best.


I believe the ladies were playing on emotional fumes by the end of the game. There were more mental mistakes than physical. After the week they had it was a tribute to them and the coaches for keeping focus on one game at a time.


Important Note:
If it were not for the ladies who often sit on the bench during close games we would not be in the position we are today. If you could see how hard they work at practice and push the starters it is no wonder we have some of the top players in our region. Many of them would start on other teams. They improve each week to help the team. They are the heart and soul of our team -
Thank You.




Next week League Play begins and guess what? It is against our number one league rival.
Ladies remember to
"Keep your heads high, butts low and keep your feet moving."

We are now 6-0.


Updated 9/23/06


Part X - On the Road Again

Sometimes getting to scouting games on time can be a real pain in the butt because of traffic and construction. Last Thursday was one of those days. One wrong turn cost me 40 minutes in a construction zone to go one mile. To make it worse they had they huge street cleaning trucks that just blew dust and dirt in to your car while you sat there waiting to inch along.




I arrived late for the start of the JV game (End of 1Q) and the game was already a rout. The Varsity game was better and I gathered some good notes and stats for the coaches. The best part of the evening was listening to parents in the crowd talking about our team and a couple of our special players. They never asked me what team I scout for but they did ask if I had seen our team and were our players that good.
I responded the team is good and the players are the real deal.

When this happens I keep thinking back to the Email I sent SOS (See 8/23/06 update above). We have played two teams that were rated much higher than us and each team had a girl rated in the top 50 players. We totally dominated the players rated and two of our girls had Monster nights (20 + points, 10+ rebounds and multiple assists in each game). Oh yeah, we won both games.


Now that we are in Leauge Play getting ready for teams can be dangerous especially if the better team plays to the level of their opponents. Sometimes players relax (especially on defense) and play partial games. This happened at Tuesday's game but we were still able to win.


The coaches kicked them into high gear for our next game.

Last night's game was pure "Defense Intensity" for two halves and we won by 20+ points. Every player contributed and even though our starters did not play but a half their effort and play was in sync with all ladies playing as a team and each player creating create havoc & turnovers.


Free Throws need to improve so hopefully we can follow one our key player's follow-through (See wrist & hand, click to enlarge) when shooting for good back spin and shooter's bounce.



We are now 8-0 and rated in the top ten of our class in the State.


Note: A few weeks ago I posted the U.S. men's team, with its roster of NBA stars, was beaten 101-95 by Greece in the semifinals and settled for a disappointing bronze medal.


Now it is the Womens turn. There will be no world championships gold for either U.S. basketball team this year. Russia beat the two-time defending champion United States 75-68 in the semifinals of the women's world championships.


Russia took advantage of poor shooting and sloppy ball-handling by the U.S. to take a 58-38 lead after three quarters.
Sound Fundamental Foreign Team again beats best of United States Players.


Updated 9/30/06


Part XI - The Long Bus Ride To Victory


Last Tuesday I stayed close to home to scout a game against a future foe. The foe is located on an island and often think of themselves as a separate and elite community. They won the game in a "Boring Fundamentally Sound Game." They are a big team and are in a state class (B) above us in size. However, we are a better team and will win the game when we play them next month.


Thursday was fun. I traveled with the teams (V & JV) to a game that was a 90-minute bus ride. Prior to boarding the bus the ladies were treated to sub sandwiches and gator-aide.



The bus ride to the game was a quiet one with little talk from the players while most listen to their I-Pods and did their homework.

The coaches sat in the front of the bus strategizing about the game and going over scouting reports for a game next week. It has been a long time since I rode a team bus and I had forgotten the feel of the hard and upright seats, the smell of bus fumes and the constant sounds of a school bus chugging along the highway hitting every bump it could find. It was Great!

The JVs won their game but my scouting report should have been better. The coaches and players did a good job and we won the game with all players getting into the action and contributing to a team victory.

The Varsity game was well coached by both teams and the players gave there all in a game that we won. I always worry about a team that has good guards and are fundamentally sound regardless of their size. The game and battles are won up top and we have had excellent guard play all year long.

We have players that could easily score 10 – 15 points per game on other teams but we are lucky to have a number of good scorers that leaves other players to shut down opposing players with good defense. These players often go unnoticed except to those who know and appreciate what it takes to make a good team. So take heart and have a "A. Ball."

Remember - "Be Agressive, Be Smart, Stay Agressive."- qg on Defense


The bus ride home was a little (I mean lot) noisier. It was announced that our Freshmen Team had also won their game ( they have worked hard in spight of games getting cancelled) at home so it meant we scored a “Hat Trick (3 goals) for the night.

As the bus rolled out of the school parking after the game many of the players began to eat snacks and left over sub sandwiches. The coaches again sat in the friend going over the game while the head coached reviewed game film through his recorder.

The highlight of the night (other than the wins of course) for me was a song about a Moose, not an everyday Moose, but a “Stinky” Moose named Fred. Perhaps Billie (Ms. All-Creative) will share the lyrics so I may post it here for others to learn and enjoy.

To read about the "Story of Fred" go to http://qualityg.blogspot.com/2006/10/story-of-fred-stinky-moose.html



Thank you all for allowing me to ride the bus and keep using your LEFT!



Next Week - Scouting Future Opponents






Updated 10/6/06


Part XII

OUCH!!!

I scouted three potential future opponents this past week. They are good teams with good records and play a tough schedule. One of them we may see in the Catholic League Finals and two of them we may see in the state district and regional finals.

On Tuesday I scouted a team with an All-State player who is very talented and will play at a Division I college next year. With the game tied at 34-34 she went down with an ankle sprain(Ouch) that limited her time and mobility the rest of the game and her team lost.

I doubted she would be able to play her next game in two days because she went down three times in pain only to keep coming into the game. She scored "40" (Ouch).

While writing notes I try to match-up up our players with the key players on the floor. I envision the game and see our girls playing at their potential (for four quarters) and winning the games with the proper preparation, strategy and game plan in place. We are not good enough to just show up and win, we must approach each game as if our opponent is the best team we will play this year and plan accordingly. I will find the opponents weaknesses, the players need to execute and we will win.

OUCH!

Driving home last Thursday night from scouting I did not receive my normal call from the coaches or place one to him and her asking what happened at our games. We had beaten the team we were playing earlier in the season and I was "somewhat" confident that we would this game too.

Somewhat in the previous paragraph means the last time we played this team and after I reviewed the tape (did not see live) I thought we played the worst two quarters of basketball all year. In addition playing teams for the second time in league competition with us going in undefeated and ranked in the state may have given some players the impression of “Entitlement.”

Well we lost and my worst fear is there may have been a lack of concern, worry or who cares attitude. Some may even say what is the big deal we only lost by two. Some may not want to talk to me with those feelings.

Wisely, the coach called for a meeting last Friday night with the JV coaches to plan and set strategy for the remainder of the season. The coach asked each of his coaches at the meeting for input and all provided good information upon which to build for future games.

The team that beat us last Thursday is also in the Catholic league and they are slotted in our District for the state run. We will review tapes, we will plan, we will strategize, the girls will play to their potential and we will WIN.

"Sometimes it is better (faster & efficient) to show what is right and then replicate as opposed to concentrating a long time on what is wrong and how all the problems will get fixed."

10/15/06
Part XIII

Review, Reflect, Refocus & Recommit = Wins and "The Clash of the Titans"


Only one game this past week and we rebounded from last week with a solid effort and won by a good margin. We had a bye one Thursday that allowed an extra practice with some new drills (i.e., Duke) being implemented that should help us with some future opponents.


The past three weeks have been very tough for the coaches and players because of our leauge schedule. There is not much parity and this allows too much time for other distractions off the court that creep into a team's chemistry.


Through some good communication meetings and listening by the coaches and players I believe they are now back on track and the last game was a good starting point for refocusing to playing Monarch Basketball. Click Pic to Enlarge.



Clash of the Titans

I went to scout a game between to state powerhouses. Both teams even though not in the top class (based on # of students) are rated in the top ten in the state. One of them may be our opponent down the road in the state final run.I hate it when my directions are not correct and I spend time searching for the school. Being a manly "Man" I never stop and ask for directions.

Fortunately I arrived 10 minutes before the game but had to park down the street because the parking lot was full.


Inside, the gym was packed with spectators, news reporters, scouts and big time college recruiters. One team is a private school (considered the best in state) that has produced many of the states top players and won numerous championships. The other school is Charter School that has benefited from the closure of many of Detroit's Public Schools and landed some very good players (our future opponent).


As often happens the game did not live up to the hype. Our future (hopefully) opponent beat the upper class team by a 15 point margin. From a scouting perspective I gathered some good information that I believe will add to creating a solid game plan for us to win.


With so many people in the stands I did not have the luxury of finding an isolated spot to sit. This meant I had to sit by a number of parents (the following happens in every gym). Complain & Bitch about the Varsity Coaches, the Assistant Coaches, the JV Coaches. "My girls does not get enough playing time." "The coaches don't like my daughter so they don't play her." All of the coaches band together and only talk to certain parents and favor their kids." The parents who give the most money make sure their kids get the most playing time." I even hate writing these comments as much as I do being forced to listen to them unles I want to miss the game.


By this time I hope you (reader) have concluded the teams playing are two of the best in the state. Believe me if their daughters were better than the ones playing then something is wrong. However, when their child does sub in (sometimes) it is easy to detect why they don't have more playing time. No wonder many coaches quit. I realize some coaches are just in it for the money, but most of the coaches I deal with truly care about their players as people and students more than they do as basketball players. I for one would not be associated with any program that did not have this ethic.

Speaking for myself as a "helper" and not as a coach who put in much more time than me I am gone 5-6 early evenings and nights a week. This does not count the occasional open shooting on Sunday. Not looking for praise or thank-you just an example of what goes into a regular season.


I have used the following cartoon before but it applies to how I feel sitting in the stands at some games.

As I have written before parents have NO idea what goes on in practice, school, on the bus, etc... that all impact playing time. So many want to relive their miserable athletic careers they try to play through their child. They hate their daughter's coach because they hated their coach for not playing them when they were in school.


I even heard one mother say I'm writing a letter to the Head Coach and AD letting them know how I feel. I bet the gutless toad won't sign it!
We are now 12-1 .
Click Pic to Enlarge



Next Week- PPTPW - Are We Tough Enough? & Poster Week




Update - Wednesday 10/17/06
We are getting tougher.

The "Duke" drill is working and the ladies are responding. Two black eyes, one bloody nose, three elbows to the chops, two bruised butts and a whole bunch of shots being swatted (NF, KA & KM --> oh yeah)!


I now owe 12 double cheeseburgers and 2 large pizzas.

POSTERS & POETRY IN MOTION - I just sat back and enjoyed lady athletes at their best. No pictures, I just enjoyed the moments. Way cool!




BATTLE - "Toughness is OUR choice" - The girls are getting tougher, most even like the new Duke Drill. Those that are sick, no longer make complaints, those that are injured mend fast and play through pain and those that do the Duke Drill in practice and the game will hear "AND ONE."



PPTPW - Players Who Play Tough Play To Win






Next Up --> Identifying Mismatches and I don't mean uniforms!



10/21/06

Part XIV

Starting Phase III - Catholic High School League Championships

Our season is broken down into four phases (Pre-Leauge, Catholic League, Catholic Leauge Championships & State Final). This week we are preparing for the CHSL. It starts this Wednesday (10/25) and ends Sunday (11/5).

We will be seeded number one in our Division and it will take three wins to be Champions. What I did not know is we have never won a Catholic Leauge Championship.

We started off by having a planning meeting last night (10/20). Some game film was watched and the coaches agreed the team needs to step up our tempo, identify mismatches on offense, get even tougher and win the battle on defense at every position on every possession.

We won our last two leauge games this past week.

Our record is now 14 - 1.


I now owe 15 double cheeseburgers and 2 large pizzas and 2 ice cream cakes. Extra 2 ??? if the Bigs (KNK) can get 2 "clean" blocks on the wings.

10/29/06

Part XV

"Special" Seniors Take Charge & Chid 1000+

We won our first Catholic Leauge Tournament game and two familiar foes await in the wings. The Semi-Final Game is Thursday and the Championship Game is next Sunday.

The Seniors on this year's team are a Special group. They are so diversified you can't fit them into the same box. Three of them are captains but they all play a leadership role in their own manner. We have all types; loud, quiet, colorful, and hard workers. My favorite are the ones that "Lead by Example".

Click Pics to ENLARGE


Leading by Example
is the toughest role because it is a season long grueling job that generates the team to new levels and keeps momentum in both practices and games. If you are fortunate enough to be a captain and a "Leader by Example" your role multiplies.

Most of the time things go pretty smooth but there are times when coaches can be a pain in the butt and seem to expect too much from this type of player on a daily basis. Most coaches do this because they know the player can take communications and commands and make sure all her teammates are ready to follow her even if that player feels signaled out and things don't go her way (you see every player has a bad day, sometimes many bad days where they feel the coaches are against them).

We have such a special leader on our team and if this leader has a bad day or game and does not keep up her leadership qualities it affects the whole team AND coaches.

Our team is very fortunate, of all the players that I have been associated with both boys and girls these girls are way ahead in terms of leading by example. Special Is as Special Does!

Chid 1000+

Good Coaches, Good Support and Good Programs produce Good Players. The team I help has all of these qualities. It is very special to see the A.D., the Principal and the Pastor at the games cheering on the team and supporting them both on and off the court.

Some of the folks that get overlooked are the announcers, book keepers, time keepers, parents working the concession stands (plus taking tickets and cooking, etc...) and of course the fans.

The reason I recognized those people is because last week one of our very talented, hard working and most of all a good person scored her 1000th point in her career. This athelete also has one more year to play to add to her legacy in Basketball and each sport she plays. Best of all she is the first person to tell you she could not have done it without the support of the people I mentioned and of course her teammates.

Shout Out For the Week -

"OTHER TEAMS WILL SHOOT 3S, BUT WE WILL GET 3 POINT PLAYS

BY DUKEing IT OUT"



Next Week ... School History?

11/04/06

Part XVI

We won our first two Catholic Playoff games and we now play for the Catholic League Championship of our Division tomorrow. It should be a good game since this team is the only one to beat us this year. It should be a fun game because we are not the same team we were 3 weeks ago.

I can't wait ...

11/05/06

Part XVII – School History Is Made

Today was a great day for the Lady Monarchs. They won their first Catholic League Championship in the school’s history. It was a very competitive game from the start to the finish. It took a full 32 minutes to secure a win. It is possible that we may see this same team again during the State Tournament run that begins Monday November 13th.

Click Pics To Enlarge


Props to the Coaches (MR, JB and MM). Special Kudos to three great Monarch supporters (Mr. Nolan, Mr. Sweeney & Coach Harrison) who go unnoticed but not unappreciated.

There were also a number of awards handed out and the team received their share:

- Two players named All Catholic
- Two players named All League
- Two players named All Academic (my favorite)

I now owe 16 Double Cheezeburgers, 2 Large Pizzas, 2 Ice Cream Cakes, Steaks, and some yet to be decided food from Donut ( Burger King dessert: Hershey®'s Sundae Pie) and the Scrapper Twins.

Additional Pics ...








Phase II is over - We are now 17-1

Next Week ...

Another Benchmark Game & Drive the Devils off the Island!

Update 11/8/06

Last night's win was a key victory to see if the team could keep our intensity after winning the Catholic League Campionship Sunday afternoon. It wasn't the best played game but it was emotional and gut wrenching to the end.

Emotion can be both positive and negative influence. Sometimes I cross the line but I am happy to say I have a good friend that keeps me in line. Perhaps when I see a player get hurt my judgement gets cloudy (even for a short time) as it did last night. We lost one of our key player's in the first half to a knee injury. The team can only hope it is not serious and A.B. will be ready for next week's State Tournament.

This player has worked hard all Summer and Fall to be a complete player. Most importantly she is a great person who works hard in every practice and is an "A Number 1 Teammate."

Part XVIII

11/11/06

STORY BOARDING - DISTRICT

The Ladies won their last regular season game and end the season with a 19-1 record. I missed the game because I was scouting a District Opponent.

Everything that has been wriiten in this post leads up to Monday's game that starts the District Championships of the State Tournamnet for our Class Category. In order for us to win the District we WILL win 3 games this week (M,W,F).

To start preparing for the games we have been reviewing our scouting notes, film and clippings of our opponents.

As for records and standings everyone starts out at 0-0.

11/12/06 - Update
The Team got some nice coverage in the Detroit Free Press this morning. I wish some other things were mentioned but the reporter is correct this team is special and yes "They Really Do Get Along."You can read the article at:

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061112/CFP03/611120363/1110/cfp03



Coach ROpe

I just got back from a Sunday evening practice in preparation for tomorrows game. The coach has a tradition that he does each year with a Rope and a Poem named "Hang onto the Rope." This was my first time and I will always remember watching their faces and listening to the players speak about the season and friendships. I too am grateful ...

I'm not going to get into particulars but it was a very special setting, even for an old man like me. For those of you who are lucky enough to have been on teams that bonded friendships for life you will know what I am writing about.

This program would not be possible if it were not for the efforts of Coach Ro and his assistants (JB, MM, TM & KS) and support folks (TK, MH, JN, TS). He is truly loved by his players and I know for sure how deeply he cares for each one of his players as people first and athletes second.


Monday 11/13/06

A good win tonight, all the girls saw action and Donut fills a hole!

The Buffet is growing with each victory.

I now owe 18 Double Cheezeburgers, 2 Large Pizzas, 2 Ice Cream Cakes, Steaks, Burger King Dessert: Two Hershey®'s Sundae Pies, cheesecake and 2 gallons of chocolate chip ice cream.



Tuesday 11/14/06


Dominique (Don't call me Nikki) - BATTLE!

Move/Push her out of her Comfort Zone --> all game!

11/15/06 - It Hurts

50 - 48. Leading the whole game we lost at the end. Somehow everything is a blur except for the faces of the girls after the game (it hurts). Perhaps I can write more in in the next few days, but perhaps not. Maybe I have written enough for one season (20-2), besides the best memories are those that are kept inside and not shared.

What an incredible group of players and coaches.

Thanks for stopping by this season and sending me the many Emails wishing the team good luck.

11/26/06

PAYOFF PARTY NIGHT & the game

Last Night was fun. I was finally able to pay off just about all my debts. I still owe six double cheeseburgers but I will pay those off during Soccer season to S.S.

The Coach did a great job bring the teams together for a post payoff party. Hopefully this will start a tradition. I will start saving now because I feel this is going to get bigger next year.

We also attended the Women’s Basketball Game between Duke and the University of Michigan. Duke smoked them big time but it did not seem to matter because we went back to school after the game and finished off the pizza, ice cream, cheesecakes, cookies, and pop.


I need to send out some pictures to the Lasses who put 50+ plus pictures on my camera. I must say they are really funny. Sorry the one with me have been deleted.

We have one more scheduled event as a team and that is the Banquet Monday December 4th. I’m not big at attending these types of functions. I prefer to stay in the background like a proud teacher that is sending student players off to there next level of education and athletics. That has always been my hope in both in work, education and sports.

I don't want to be

Anything other than whatI've been trying to be lately

All I have to do

Is think of me and I have peace of mind

I'm tired of looking 'round rooms

Wondering what I've got to do

Or who I'm supposed to be

I don't want to be anything other than me



December 4, 2006 -
The Banquet

Today was the coldest day of the season outside but inside the banquet hall it was warm and friendly as the Coaches introduced their teams from Freshmen to Varsity.

Awards were given and gifts exchanged but this night for me will be the memory of seeing the girls together and seeing how sincere they care for one another, their coaches and families.

Personally I will think of this night as Once Upon A Dream when I was privileged to have been associated with such a fine group of people.

The pictures, cards, letter (SM - I got your back), ornament and surprise will always be treasured.

Six Seniors will be leaving for bright futures but they will always be remembered by this old man. Sammi said it best "This isn't goodbye its just until we see each other again."

To the Cabrini One Tree Hill Girls these shots are for you!

Pass the Double Cheeseburger!

I took a number of pictures and will post them at different times. I will send others to Dominique.

So long for now Lady Monarchs, just wait until next season just you Wait and See!

Click on Pics to Enlarge


Cabrini "One Tree Hill Monarchs"

Cabrini Tradition For Each Player Does Not End With a Season or Graduation