A week or so ago, we had our Bronco Kick-Off week. During one of the staff training sessions they asked about our favorite teams. I thought of the 1972 Miami Dolphins, (although I thought it was the ’73 Dolphins at the time), but I also thought of what I thought was the best “team” that I had ever seen play. And, by team, I mean a group of individuals that played really well together, forming a synergistic effect (the sum greater than the parts), and that would be how I saw the Davidson Wildcats (basketball team) play during the 2008 NCAA Basketball tournament.
Sure they got beat eventually. They had one star, Stephen Curry, and boy could he move and shoot, but it was the way the rest of the team played… SELFLESSLY, that made this TEAM go much further than I’ve ever seen any other team proceed. Normally, the downfall of a one-star team will be the egos of the lesser players. One guy shooting most of the shots, handling the ball most of the time will eventually degrade into the ball not being passed to the star player as much… or sloppy ball in setting up the star player. But, as I recall, that did not happen by the other players on the team. They worked wonderfully together, setting up and passing to Curry over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. And Curry kept getting open, making moves and putting the ball through the hoop. Oh, yeah, and the team kept beating much more talented “groups of players” and advancing in the tournament.
No mistake, Curry scored the most points, but the other selfless team players made it happen.
So, how did it end? This is how I remember it. Who missed the last shot? Was it Curry? No! One of the other selfless players took the last attempt, and failed. The team had given the game their all, and come up short, and their star player didn’t even have to hang his head because he had miss the last shot.
If you want to teach team play, look to the 2008 Davidson Wildcats Basketball Team.
As I re-read this posting, I recalled the worst group of players, and that would have to be the Carolina basketball team of the 1993-94 North Carolina Tar Heels season. There were enough good players to make two teams. There were the seasoned players (Eric Montross), and the very talented younger group (Rasheed Wallace, Jerry Stackhouse). What happened? They ended up fighting each other. Their egos got in the way of “the team”. Sloppy passing, sloppy shooting, garbage. The group of players had a lousy season. But, here is where I blame Dean Smith for failing to orchestrate a winning season. *He should have created a Blue and a White team, putting the seasoned players on one squad and the young, talented players on the other. What then? Put in each color for a set amount of time. Whichever squad scores the most points, gets bonus playing time. I’m pretty sure that would have produced a winning season, but it wouldn’t have been a normal Carolina “team”. It might have even looked like they were running the score up on their opponents, but it wouldn’t have had a thing to do with most of their opponents. You had Carolina players that hated each other and couldn’t control themselves to become a winning team.