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JONFINEPRODUCTIONS.COM NEWSLETTER 5/16/19.
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THE WIZARDRY OF OS
By Scott Osborne
Assistant Basketball Coach at Central High School

It is May in Louisiana, so NBA basketball is not be a popular topic of discussion.  Nevertheless, I will proceed.
In case you are paying attention to the NBA, let me list a group of players that “shocked” the NBA world last week.  Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut, Shaun Livingston, and Kevon Looney beat the Houston Rockets and their victory was described as shocking.  
The NBA might be the only sport where a group of players, three years removed from winning a record 73 games in the regular season, winning a playoff game is a shock.  Of course, this is the league that the experts believe the team with the most star players will win.
That is why NBA followers cannot wrap their heads around the Celtics making it to game seven of the conference finals without Kyrie Irving, but fall in the second round the next year with Kyrie Irving.  
Yet, throughout the off season and during the regular season everyone will focus on star power.  Who has the cap space to attract the most stars?
The narrative is based on the assumption that the NBA is not really the sport of basketball.  It is a subgroup of the sport where ball movement, player movement, and being connected on offense and defense don’t actually matter.  Triple doubles, making great 1 on 1 plays, making a shot with 5 seconds left in the game, and having the most star players is what supposedly matters in the NBA.
Of course, these assumptions are foolish.  Certainly, it helps to have great duos of star power.  Pippin and Jordan, Kobe and Shaq, LeBron and Wade, Duncan and Parker are a few of the duos that gave those teams a distinct advantage.  Yet, none of those teams won simply on the shoulders of these duos.  
Pippin and Jordan could not have done it without shooters such as shooters like Paxson and Armstrong, and rebounders/defenders like Grant and Rodman.  Kobe and Shaq needed the Robert Horry and Derek Fishers of the world.  Meanwhile, Duncan and Parker had Horry, then Ginobili, and eventually Leonard.  
The ball didn’t stick on any of those teams.  The Celtics of the eighties had great half court ball movement, while the Lakers had great movement in the full court.  In reality, the Celtics could fast break with the best of them too, but the Lakers had the “Showtime” reputation.
Of course these teams had star players.  I am aware that talent is a requirement to winning deep in the NBA playoffs.  I am also aware that Leonard was the star player to win game seven for Toronto, McCollum hit the big shot for the Blazers and Curry made a few incredibly difficult shots down the stretch for the Warriors in game 6.
My point, though, is that there is only one ball.  There can only be one player down the stretch to take the big shot or draw the defense for a teammate to take an open shot.  Robert Horry was “Big Shot Bob” because he made open shots that were the result of a great player breaking down the defense.  Steve Kerr won a championship for the Bulls because he made an open shot due to the attention Michael Jordan demanded.  But many players are only good in one of those roles.  
For some players and personalities, being the star player is less pressure because they take a volume of shots so each shot has less importance.  Those same players can struggle being a role player.  
Meanwhile, the talent of other players and their personalities are better suited taking the open shot out of the flow of offense.  These players wouldn’t be able to handle going 3/15 and still being expected to make the shot with 5 seconds left.  
Great basketball teams have a mixture of these talents and personalities.  Even on good Dream Teams, many players have had to accept a lesser roles than they are accustom.  The bad Dream Teams didn’t lack for talent, they lacked for chemistry.
The Warriors had to make a decision when they acquired Durant.  Down the stretch, who was going to be the one to break the defense down?  To the credit of Steph Curry, Durant became the chosen one.  What makes the Warriors great is that Curry can be the “other” guy or he can be “the” guy.  
Certainly the Warriors are harder to beat with Durant.  They have better depth, he allows them to play small and still rebound, and he makes tough shots.  But just having him on the roster with other great players is not what makes the Warriors great.  At their best, they play together, their great players are willing to step up when necessary, but also step back and play a lesser role at times.  It is the same formula that works for all levels of basketball, football, baseball, and the other team sports.  What is shocking is there aren’t more NBA teams they understand these concepts.
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HEY REF
BY DENNIS DEARIE
VETERAL LOUISIANA HS REFEREE

        If ever there was a statement (supposedly made by LSU head coach Ed Orgeron) that instantly caused me to have a very large case of the “GO-GO ROUGE” it has to be the one where coach “O” expressed his wanting football officials to be FAIR and CONSISTENT when the subject focuses on when and how to interpret the NCAA’s redefined rules on TARGETING! Give me a second or two to catch my breath……
        I don’t know how other officials feel about his choice of words but I can say for myself it is a complete slap in the face! Most of the officials I’ve worked with take pride in being consistent from the first snap of each and every game up and until the final whistle is blown. In fact consistency is the one thing all great officials have. Consistency isn’t something you find in the rulebook. You either have it or you don’t. And for your entire officiating career you keep working on being consistent. 
From the very first day you open up the rulebook priority one is being consistent in the way you work and enforce those fouls you’ve felt needed to be called. Being consistent in your calls means that if you dropped your flag on something in the first quarter you’ll drop your flag on the same situation in the fourth quarter. Like you’ve always heard “this ain’t rocket science”!
Football is an extremely violent sport and there’s nothing officials can do when you’ve got a few dirty players that have decided they want to intentionally hurt another player. That fact alone means our only way in trying to put a stop to it is by taking those players out of the game by disqualifying them. I remember early on in my training that we, the game officials, would rather see a guy walking to his dressing room after being disqualified then have a player spending the night in the local hospital’s emergency room. 
In my entire 25 plus years of working football games I can count the number of players I’ve thrown out on one hand. Each time I did disqualify a player they deserved it. I don’t know of a single official that enjoys putting a player out of a game but when they have to go to that extreme to keep control of the game the coaches should publically support that official. In private you can call him what you want but there has to be that line if crossed causes a player to make an early exit. 
In this sue happy society officials have to buy million dollar insurance policies at the high school level so that he doesn’t lose his house and everything he owns because the parents blame them for injuries to their kids that would’ve been prevented if they’d thrown out an opposing player. Sounds nuts but that’s the reality of the times we live in. So instead of going backwards and trying to rewrite rules and finding other ways to keep players in the games we should tighten rules to try and prevent dirty play and players from remaining in the game.
Officials are becoming scapegoats in all this. In the past ten days I’ve received three separate phone calls from other officials wanting to know if I planned on returning to the field. Two of the calls were from officials in different associations asking me if I’d decided to change my membership and would I consider joining their associations. I can’t give them an honest answer because there’s this three letter word that’s been taken away from working high school football games; “FUN”.
The “FUN” has become non-existent. There’s way too much stress and in-fighting among officials. I was warned some 7 or 8 years ago when I first considered a return to the field that the “old” way of doing things is a thing of the past. The most essential thing needed for officials to work together and do a great job for the coaches, players, fans and schools will never return to Louisiana High School Football. That “THING” neededis the crew concept. 
What you see now isn’t in the least bit what I’d call a crew concept. Depending on which association that’s assigned to call the game you’ll see either 5 or 7 officials on the field with two in the press box running both the game clock and the 25 second clock. Many of the officials feel they are the only person on the field. It seems for much of the game it seems as though each official is trying to find mistakes made by the other guys. For some unknown reason this makes them feel they’re better than the other guys on the field. 
It seems to me they’re in a competition all year long hoping to call more playoff games and/or get to the Dome in December to call a final. I don’t know but the feeling is there, everybody feels it but nobody wants to talk about it or admit it’s real. In the “old” days we worked as a crew and the message was “WE GET IT RIGHT AS A CREW AND WE GET IT WRONG AS A CREW”!
Coach O, what you’re asking for is there and rules need to be tougher to keep more kids out of the E.R.’s……
Till next week…
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