Sunday, December 14, 2008

Coach Gottfried, are you listening?

There are at least a half dozen reasons why we lost tonight's game. The most obvious is that Green has not learned how to play defense with his feet. To quote Wimp Sanderson, "He's been in foul trouble since the National Anthem." Torrance played maybe twenty seconds just so he could shoot two foul shots; and he missed the one that allowed A&M to force an overtime. Jemison has gone backwards since his freshman season. I could go on all night.

We lost another game we could have and should have won for the same reasons we have lost so many others before. Rather than write the same thing I have been forced to type so many times by our team's play in recent years, I think I'll just recycle some ghosts from the past.

Last year at this time I urged our fan base not to call for your firing because you were going to be our coach for the following year. I have abandoned that approach for this season. Instead, here is what I posted almost two years ago. That old post complains about effort. Our players showed good effort last night, but once they got past the first five minutes of the game it was fairly obvious they frequently did not know what to do on either end of the court. The other old posts linked below reference some of our program's persistent problems under your tutelage.

Here's the first one:

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

An Open Letter To Coach Gottfried

Dear Coach Gottfried:

I have long been one of your most faithful and devoted fans. All Alabama Basketball fans (what few of us there are) are truly grateful for everything you have done with and for our young people and our program.

You restored the atmosphere and tradition of winning that we enjoyed in the seventies and eighties. (I'm too young to remember any farther back than that.) You pushed to have all our basketball facilities improved, especially Coleman Coliseum. You have recruited student athletes who represent our university with dignity and character, both on and off the court. You have insisted that our players earn degrees that will be valuable to them in their adult lives. Perhaps most importantly, you have served as an able and capable role model to these young men during their remaining formative years spent away from their homes and their families.

Bama Basketball's ambassadors on the court, in the classroom, in professional sports and in "civilian" life have enhanced our university's image and enriched our communities where ever they have gone. You deserve the credit for all that, and we thank you.

According to an old adage, success breeds success. Apparently success tends to breed expectations too, because the devoted fans of our program have come to expect certain results. Not all of those expectations involve winning.

A fan base that appreciates all you've done for our University and for the young men entrusted to your care would not want success at any price. Your program's small but knowledgeable fan base does not want to sell your players' health or any one's integrity just to win basketball games. Therefore we appreciate and respect all the more the way you have achieved these levels of success with our program.

The bulk of the fan base has, however, noticed one fairly consistent problem with our team, particularly this season. We do not think it unreasonable for us to expect to see consistent effort whenever a player is on the court.

I am not talking about final results or wins. We understand that this team is not a likely Final Four candidate while Ron Steele is hampered by injuries and Jermareo Davidson remains understandably emotionally distraught because of all he's suffered this school year. What we do not understand is why you will let young men stay on the court when they obviously are not playing with the type of effort you, they, and we all know they are capable of giving.

I do not say this to be demeaning or insulting. It simply is an observable fact. Joe Dean, Jr., long has been one of your most devoted admirers and he has been forced to comment in recent weeks that your teams' defensive effort has left a good deal to be desired in most of our SEC games. Like you, Joe is too much of a gentleman to single out particular players or to blame the coach for allowing that to happen. But it is fairly obvious from the stands when a player is not working hard, especially on defense. And we all know where the Bama Basketball buck stops.

I respectfully suggest that you are not serving any one's interests by allowing this to happen. The offending players will learn that they can get by in life without really trying; whereas you and I know life really is difficult at best. Their teammates will learn that you will play your favorites and still lose the game, so there is no reason for them to care enough to work hard every day.

Unfortunately many people who buy basketball tickets are fair weather fans. They will show up only when our team is winning. Many of the season ticket holders will show up only when the game is not on television and the weather is not inclement. Only time and consistent winning bear even a remote possibility of curing those problems. (Those and perhaps the proposal that our program endorse some mechanism whereby people who don't want to come to the games can donate their tickets to worthy charities.)

Those of us who understand basketball also understand that losing is a part of the game. In fact, its one of the things that makes college basketball the most exciting spectator sport known to man. What we do not expect, however, is lazy play and a lack of effort from our players.

I drive up from Mobile for almost every home game. That makes Thursdays very difficult for me, but I am glad to do it to support the players and the program I learned to love before you even knew we existed. Let me qualify that. I am glad to do it so long as I can tell that the players on the court are putting at least as much effort and energy into playing the game as I put into attending it.

Please do not do our players the disservice of allowing them to believe that they can coast through life - or a basketball game - without giving everything they have. You never played that way. You don't live your life that way. Please teach them what has worked so well for you and your family. Please insist that our kids play hard or sit on the bench. Lots of your players seldom get off the bench. They might not play well but they probably will play hard, if you give them the chance.

I will be in the stands Wednesday night making as much noise as I can in support of our team.

Posted by Alias at 11:32 AM

(Link to above post:Here)

My college friends and I are reuniting for the Kentucky game; not because we expect it to be a good game but because it used to be a good excuse for us to get together. If Bama does not play any better in the first half than I have seen this year, we will walk across Bryant Drive to the Sheraton where we will watch a video of a well coached team: I recorded last night's UMS-Wright victory in the State 4A football championship game. Rather than waste time and money driving to and from any other Bama Basketball games this year, I recommend you recycle my posts from the past two seasons. I am confident they will apply to what you can expect to see on the court this year. Here are a few examples.

Where Do We Go From Here?

If Our Team Were A Political Campaign This Would Be Their Button

Additional Attention After Auburn

DJC, you plagiarizing SOB! ;-)

The (Second) Sixty Four Thousand Dollar Question

Are any of you Bob Dylan fans?

I Support The Troops But Not The Mission

Why Bother? Tough Love!

API Apathy

I now quote what I posted at the end of last season, where I quoted Robbie Robertson at the end of the final encore of The Band's final concert, "Good night. Goodbye."


Anonymous said...

to answer your question:

no, he's not listening.

he knows how to coach bigtime college basketball.

just ask bruce pearl. he'll tell you.

or mark's wifey. she'll join you in the stands if you need further explanation.

go ahead. just ask.

Alias said...

Good point!