It’s been a while since we’ve seen one of Coach Cal’s updates on the state of the Big Blue Nation; so long, the phrases “be your brother’s keeper” and “players first” nearly faded from my memory. Not anymore! With a few extra days between games, Cal took a moment to reflect and let his followers know about the “culture for success” he’s building in Lexington. Take a look:
1. Players first
It starts with the players. What it truly means is creating a family atmosphere. Like our own children who come first in our lives, they understand that we love them, that we’re not afraid of them, but we respect them and we have a job, which is to get them to learn and grow. It’s that kind of culture. Players first basically means creating a family.
2. Unbreakable work ethic
Part of that is we recruit in a way that we don’t promise them anything. This will be the hardest place for you to come and play basketball. I’m not promising you shots, minutes, starting positions, none of that. You’ve got to come in and work, so a lot of them come in with the idea that they have to work. That’s how that culture is built.
3. Burning desire to win
One of the greatest compliments paid to any of my teams was when I was at UMass. Fran Fraschilla, who at the time was the head coach at Manhattan, grabbed me and said, “My players said it’s like your team, if they lose, they’re going to the electric chair.” That’s that burning desire to win.
4. Devour practice
Practice is where you break barriers daily. My best teams would just devour practices. They would set out to beat the practice every day, and that’s how they began to break barriers. Nobody is going to feel like coming to practice every day, but you’ve got to fight through that and bring it single day. That’s what I’m trying to convince this team of.
5. Love of team before self
In order for us to accomplish our goals as individuals and as a team, each individual has to play for each other. They’ve got to become their brother’s keeper. It’s a little harder here because we have a new roster every year with a few returning players, but a lot of it’s done with how we recruit and who we recruit. Even after our players leave here, they remain a family.
Someone want to send this to Shabazz?