ON PURELY, CHASTE, PRISTINE AND RANDOM THOUGHTS XXVIII

October 1, 2019

Hard to believe. The 28th! Here’s another 25 thoughts of yours truly.

  • It’s a new football season, but I still maintain that Eli Manning is the most overrated and luckiest individual to play the game of football…ever! The football Giants are toast if they don’t go with another quarterback.
  • Had contact with a recently graduated college basketball player who confirmed that two players on his team were paid. Now get this…he attended a mid-major
  • The Mets failed us once again. I thought nobody could be worse than Terry Collins. I was wrong.
  • I maintain that the bulk of the media continues to peddle lies and distortions.
  • Mets reliever Diaz doesn’t deserve the bad press. I believe he has the highest swinging strike ratio in the league – and that is an excellent measure of how good a pitcher is.
  • Just returned from a 3-day visit to Saratoga Springs. It was my 63rd year in a row. Lost some money but had a great time with the family. Finally had dinner at 15 Church Street; it was a unique experience.
  • Recently met democrat Judy Bosworth, Supervisor of the Town of North Hempstead, and was impressed…so much so that I might vote for her next time around. Ditto with Councilman Pete Zuckerman.
  • It’s World Series time. The Mets are dead but I’m still alive with the Yankees (ugh!) and the Braves.
  • My new book on “Water Management” will be out before the end of the year.
  • Mary still gets mad at me when I ask the maître d’ at an upscale restaurant: “Are franks and beans on the menu?”
  • Winter is just around the corner, and I’m not looking forward to it.
  • Lost Richie Dreyer (St. Francis), one of my players, last month. He brought a toughness that was lacking on my Killeen’s Tavern basketball team. He mellowed in his old age and did some wonderful things for AA.
  • I believe that one of our nation’s biggest problems is that family life has been displaced by government subsidies for far too many people.
  • Travel by any mode is terrible in Manhattan. Ditto Brooklyn.
  • Visited Quebec City in late June to attend the annual Air & Waste Management conference and presented two papers. Loved the Canadians and what a great city.
  • When are baseball pitchers going to wake up and figure out that the key to success is to not walk anyone and batters realize to go the other way when the shift is on?
  • Only got to Lot #6 at Jones Beach twice this year. I still maintain it is the most beautiful beach in the world.
  • The New York Racing Association seems hell-bent on destroying thoroughbred racing at Belmont Park. I paid for a season pass but won’t be going back this year; it simply isn’t an enjoyable day anymore. The level of incompetence of this organization is beyond belief. Hello Nassau OTB. I’ll have more to say about this in January.
  • The level of hatred for de Blasio continues to mount; it is almost as bad as that for Trump.
  • Still involved with developing potable (drinking) water processes via the desalination route, but have recently extended my work to include non-desalination methods. This has really been exciting work.
  • Traveled to Monmouth Racetrack (twice!) with several of my players. We visited my dear friend Steve “The Greek” Panos, the toughest Greek since Alexander the Great.  I am forever indebted to Steve for probably saving my life during a riot at one of our basketball games in 1963.
  • It’s all Greek to me. I still love lamb and pastitsio.
  • Recently attended a Kourtakis (maternal) family reunion in New Jersey, and it was just great. Some of us reminisced about life growing up in New York City.
  • Dear friend and noted sports historian Arthur Lovely keeps hitting the nail on the head with his “every day is a blessing”
  • My new quote to those close to me? “I hope misfortune follows you but never catches up.”

 

Tata!

 

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day V

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra Men’s Basketball: 2019-20 Season

JANUARY 1:              On Four Key Issues

FEBRUARY 1:           On the Ultimate Quiz II

 

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ON GREAT EATS IV: DINERS

September 1, 2019

Food has been defined as anything eaten to satisfy an appetite and to meet needs for growth. It maintains all body processes and supplies energy to maintain body temperature and activity. So food is important. But the questions that remains is – where should the food be consumed? At home? In a restaurant? This fourth article on Great Eats is concerned with diners and servers as a follow-up to an excellent May 25, 2019 New York Times (NYT) diner article titled “A Last Cup of Coffee, to Go.”

 

As one might suppose, the word diner has come to mean different things to different people. Webster defines diner as “a small restaurant built to look like a dining car and equipped to serve meals” while the NYT offered “factory-made lunch cars, often with stainless-steel finishes and neon signs.” Others might describe it as something between a step above a simple eatery with a limited menu to a restaurant with an extensive menu, fancy booths, full bar, take-out menu, etc. The former would probably best describe my father’s “9 stool – 3 table business at the North end of Hell’s Kitchen prior to being evicted by Robert Moses, while the latter would best describe the first two of the diners to be described shortly.

 

But, then again, why a follow-up article? The NYT article keyed on diner history and diners located in New York City. This article expands the diner story to include not only those in Queens but also Long Island. What follows is a short writing on a diner in Queens and five diners on Long Island. I asked each diner owner to comment on their background, their business, the present state of the diner business, and the future of diners. Here is some of how these six individuals responded.

 

  1. The Old Westbury Diner (formerly Seacrest), 4 Glen Cove Road, Old Westbury.

The premier upscale diner on the Island. Owned by Stavros Dimas, who emigrated (legally) from Greece in 1980. He has expressed major concerns with rising labor costs and believes only the large diners will survive in the future. My Take? One of my favorites. Great breakfast, full bar, expansive menu, excellent food, easy parking, very pleasant owner who is concerned with the community, and excellent service. This place is also the closest thing to a classy restaurant.

 

  1. The Apollo, 630 Merrick Avenue, East Meadow.

The Apollo is owned by Jimmy (son) and Harry (father) Constantotos. Harry emigrated (legally) from Greece in 1963 and has owned the Apollo since 1976. Perhaps my favorite. As Jimmy put it to me, they “provide basic services, good food and a clean environment.” It features an expansive menu, full bar, ample parking, large portions, very reasonable prices, and excellent service (ask for Nicoletta to be your server). They appear optimistic about the future but expressed concerns with existing competition, labor costs, and the real estate market.

 

  1. Uncle Bills, 307 Stratton Place, Linden Place, Whitestone.

This one is owned by “Aki” (little one in Greek), a big brute by my standards. This lovable Greek emigrated (legally) from Cyprus in 1973 and has owned Bill’s for 16 years. Aki claims it is the cheapest diner in Queens (I think he is right). He is concerned about the future because of rising salaries, rent, and competitors. My Take? The place is a local gem with lots of good dishes, easy parking, and the price is definitely right.

 

On to the next two. Both are Mary’s favorites.

 

  1. Thomas’s Diner is located at 325 Old Country Road, Carle Place.

This place is Mary’s favorite. The diner opened in 1946 and has been owned by the (Thomas) Koukoulas family since 1973. Tom indicated that diners will have difficulty surviving in the future because of “chain restaurants where the quality continues to improve. The old school diner will not be around long as many families are not passing the business along.” The place has a limited menu with great food at very reasonable prices. Despite limited parking, this landmark joint is always (and I mean always) jammed. Mary’s favorite (not mine) and an absolute must for diner lovers.

 

  1. The Mineola Diner, 138 Jericho Turnpike and Willis Avenue, Mineola.

This is one that has survived the relentless passage of time. Michael Alpert purchased the diner (from a Greek) approximately 10 years ago. One of Mary’s favorites, it features excellent food at reasonable prices. The place is small, parking is a problem, and is only open for breakfast and lunch. The menu is limited but there are nearly 100 items to choose from. Not my favorite, but another landmark that has survived the times and one of the better ones that belongs on everyone’s go-to-place list.

On to the sixth one.

  1. Station Plaza Coffee Shop and Diner (breakfast and lunch) at 206 Station Plaza, North Mineola (facing South at the train station).

A newcomer and a relatively unknown, it is usually packed. Probably the cheapest diner to eat at. And, the good news is that the food is excellent and plentiful. Lots to like here even though it doesn’t look like a diner. But as the old saying goes – try it and you’ll be sure to like it. Only negative: metered parking is a problem. New owners, George Arniotis (and father) and Pete Vatakis – Greeks, of course – are there for 2 months and are optimistic about the future of diners. “Give them good food and they’ll keep coming back.”

 

I would be remiss if I did not comment on three other diners. Presently, the diner of all diners is The Neptune (Astoria Blvd. and 31st Street). It was my favorite 65 years ago while growing up in Astoria, and it still is, and is the diner by which all others should be compared. Unfortunately, its days are numbered; it opened its doors for the last time TODAY.   (Update:  Interestingly, the media had reported that the diner was closing but apparently, the lease was extended.)  Another is Mykonos (not the one in Great Neck) – a hole-in-the-wall, semi-diner; it is named after an island in Greece and located in Tarpon Springs, Florida, a community overrun by Greeks and Greek-Americans. Finally, one of my early (pre-teen years) memories that has yet to leave me was dining out on Sundays approximately once a month. It was a Greek eatery – The Acropolis, located on 60th Street, just west of Central Park. I wish it were still around. I can still taste the roast lamb and pastitsio, your author’s two favorite Greek dishes.

 

Finally, diners remain near the top of my list of restaurants to frequent. Why? Six reasons.

 

  1. The food is always fresh
  2. The price is right
  3. Expansive menu
  4. Generous portions
  5. The ambiance is usually casual
  6. Rarely a wait

 

In addition, I still think diners have a bright future despite concerns with dwindling customers, rising rents, lost leases, shrinking profit margins, etc. Some of this is true, but most of the new restaurants reviewed in the literature are hellaciously priced. I make every effort to stay away from these joints; they simply are not worth it. The diners have been hurt by credit cards and a more strict enforcement of the tax codes, i.e., they can no longer rely on patron tax charges that often served as the margin of profit. Two options that can help diners survive is to modestly increase prices and provide a more compact, rather than expansive, menu.

 

A closeout? I need to mention my current favorite of favorites. It is the Triangle Diner located in Saratoga Springs, home of summer thoroughbred racing in August; my recent visit to SS was the 64th year in a row (see pics below).  The diner is a “garage,” similar to an old-fashioned diner located in the middle of nowhere during the depression era.  It is surrounded by some really great 4-star restaurants, including 15 Church and Pennell’s. Yet, it is the 3rd highest rated restaurant in SS. Fantastic breakfast and lunch at extremely reasonable prices. A local gem and a must for all SS lovers.

 

 

 

Below are three pics.  One at our hotel, another at the racetrack and the third at the Triangle Diner.

 

Please drop me a note about your favorite diner.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

OCTOBER 1:              On Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXIX

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day V

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra Men’s Basketball: 2019-20 Season

 


ON THE ULTIMATE QUIZ

July 1, 2019

July 1, 2019

From my files. Here are 25 questions worth four points each. Good luck. The answers appear at the end of the article.

 

  1. What world-renowned philosopher said: “Revolutions break out when opposite parties, the rich and the poor, are equally balanced; and there is little or nothing between them; for, if either party were manifestly superior, the other would not risk an attack upon them.”
  2. When and what famous and charismatic individual wrote a Broadway musical play last year that no one gave a second thought?”
  3. Can you describe the origin of the term “subway” as it relates to tipping (gratuity)?
  4. What famous actress said: “don’t kiss me, I just took a bath.”?
  5. Who is currently involved with developing new potable water process systems in order to solve a major problem facing mankind?
  6. What famous actor said: “We’ll always have Paris.”
  7. What immortal movie character said: “After all, tomorrow is another day.”?
  8. What famous actor said, “Go ahead, make my day.”?
  9. What President said: “Government’s view of the economy can be summed up in a few short phrases: if it moves, tax it; if it keeps moving, regulate it; and, if it stops moving, subsidize it.”?
  10. What author said: “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”?
  11. What famous television newscaster said, “We are not educated well enough to perform the act of intelligently selecting our leaders.”?
  12. What famous world leader said: “I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”?
  13. What famous philosopher said: “In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party to give it to the other.”?
  14. What famous author said: “No man’s life, liberty or prosperity is safe while the legislature is in session”?
  15. What famous individual said: “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free!”
  16. What President of recent times decided to rewrite and reinterpret history?
  17. What famous world leader said: “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessing; the inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.”?
  18. What famous personality first described Barack and Michelle as “The Entitlement Kid” and “The Last Lady,” respectively?
  19. What famous American said: “A Government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have”?
  20. If Joe Biden isn’t the dumbest individual in the swamp, then who is?
  21. Can you offer a comment on the 10 senators who questioned Kavanaugh?
  22. What do Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff, Gerald Nadler, etc., have in common?
  23. Which democratic presidential hopeful would best serve our great nation?
  24. What would have happened to our great nation if The Hill, and not Donald Trump had been elected?
  25. Is it possible to Make America Great Again?

 

Bonus question: Can you explain the difference between investigating and spying?

 

Here are the answers to the 25-question quiz. Each question was worth four points. How did you do?

 

  1. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.); Politics, Book V
  2. It was last year and Lou Theodore.
  3. A soda/beer concessionaire at the old Jamaica, Aqueduct and Belmont racetracks in the late 50s would bellow out “subway” when a customer left a nickel tip (a generous one in those days) – the same cost as the fare on the subway.
  4. Barbara Stanwyck
  5. Why your favorite author, of course.
  6. Why Bogie, of course – Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca, 1942
  7. Scarlett O’Hara, Gone with the Wind, 1936.
  8. Clint Eastwood, 1983
  9. Ronald Reagan, 1986
  10. George Bernard Shaw
  11. Walter Cronkite
  12. Winston Churchill
  13. Voltaire, 1766
  14. Mark Twain, 1866
  15. J. Rourke, Civil Libertarian
  16. Jimmy Carter, and more recently, BHO
  17. Winston Churchill
  18. Lou Theodore, 2010
  19. Thomas Jefferson
  20. Nancy Pelosi and BHO are a close second and third, respectively.
  21. In a very real sense, they are traitors.
  22. They too belong in jail
  23. Sorry! I wanted to lighten the presentation. The question is obviously a joke.
  24. You can find out by electing a liberal/democratic as president in 2020.
  25. It is possible, but there is only one who can do it and, no matter what you think of him, our nation will forever be grateful for saving us from The Hill.

 

Bonus question answer:

To investigate is to inquire in order to uncover facts and determine the truth about an individual with his knowledge. To spy is similar except the inquiry is conducted secretly without the individual’s knowledge. In other words, Trump was spied on by HBO’s administration.

 

I had fun writing this one. Prepare for another quiz in the not too distant future.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

AUGUST 1:                On Engineering as a Career

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXIX

OCTOBER 1:              On Barack Hussein Obama Update VI

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day V

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra Men’s Basketball: 2019-20 Season

 


ON THE ANALYSIS OF THE HOFSTRA 2018-19 BASKETBALL SEASON

April 1, 2019

April 1, 2019

Here is part of what I wrote at the start of the Hofstra Men’s 2018-19 basketball season. “The 10/28 Newsday headlines blared away ‘HOFSTRA TARGETS NCAA: WRIGHT-FOREMAN KEY TO MAKING MARCH MADNESS.’ I disagree. Wright-Foreman and defense will send Hofstra to the Promised Land. The backcourt, led by superstar all-American candidate JWF, may be able to carry the club and overcome any deficiencies upfront…and this will be determined as the season goes forward.”

 

Well, what about the players this year? Superman (Justin Wright-Foreman) emerged as a star. My discussions with 7 NBA scouts suggest that he has a 25% chance of making it. His major drawback: physical size and body strength. I like his chances for two reason: backcourt drafts are preferred and JWF has continued to improve with each season. The rest of the team? Buie and Ray also continued to improve and Coburn was the most pleasant of all surprises. To top it all off, Taylor, the center transfer from Purdue, improved significantly as the season progressed; he proved a more than adequate replacement for Rokas with his shot blocking and stellar defensive play, as well as his ability to make layups and foul shots. The team appeared unbeatable midway through the season.

 

And, what about the team’s performance this year? I’ll make this short. The club had what I would consider a turn-around year. They won the CAA Championship but failed to win the tournament, losing to Northeastern in the finals following a lackluster performance in their previous 5 CAA games. They closed the season out with a loss to a quality opponent in the first round of the NIT…an ultra-solid game in which they played great and could have won with a couple of breaks.

 

It is fair to conclude that the personnel was there for the team to go further. Here’s my analysis of reasons on why they didn’t.

 

  1. How many teams that made the Sweet 16 played zone defense? If you answered hardly any, you’d be right. And, there is a reason why the better teams do NOT play zone defense. Over the years, only Syracuse’s zone has withstood the test of time, but they too have fallen by the wayside in recent years as more well-coached teams have figured out how to destroy this defense. Hofstra, once again, committed to a zone defense this season and that, more than anything else, lead to their limited success. Case in point: During the CAA championship game between Hofstra and Northeastern, Mary (my wife) kept questioning why Northeastern was getting so many easy open shots while Hofstra struggled to get a good shot. I explained what happens when a team plays zone defense. Accept it – nothing can replace the intensity of an in-your-face man-to-man defense. NOTHING!!!
  2. I keep repeating this after each season. You are inviting trouble when you commit to a 7-man rotation, with 5 players rotating around 4 positions. A successful team needs season-tested layers not only when players are in foul trouble but also at tournament time when confronting either a 3-game/3-day or 4-game/4-day schedule.
  3. Coach Mikalich and his staff have done a superb job in recruiting — when it comes to offensive players. But defense is as important as offense, right? All coaches agree with this irrefutable statement, but few do anything about it. Bottom line: Recruit for defense as well as offense.
  4. The object every season for any club in a mid-major conference is to win their tournament, NOT their conference. Iona College, with essentially mediocre seasons, has won the MAAC tournament the last 4 years in a row. Does Tim Cluess know something that other coaches don’t know? I believe he has figured out that the corrupt NCAA has stacked the deck against mid-major teams, and the only way to survive and prosper is to win their tournament. Bottom line: Play to win the tournament, NOT conference games during the season. How does a team do this? I discussed this very topic in the 2nd edition of my “Basketball Coaching 101” book.

 

I also noted earlier that this might be a do-or-die season for Hofstra since the club is top-heavy with seniors and only one freshman along with two sophs. But things have changed. My spies have informed me that Buie has been granted another year of stay (eligibility) and Jalen Ray – who continues to grow (physically) – has become as a quality guard/small forward with some defensive skills. Add to this that Pemberton, although short at times on defensive output, will emerge next season as a scoring machine. Also add to this the performance of Coburn this past season. I’m good at math and it seems that they will have an excellent starting 4 that may be devoid of a center. Hopefully, one of the transfers or one of the freshmen or a new recruit will fill this void. Bottom line 1: a quality center could bring another CAA championship next year. Bottom line 2: playing man-to-man may insure 1. In any event, I’ve changed my mind and now believe that 2019-20 will be another good year.

 

I return at the start of next season.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

MAY 1:           On the 2019 East Williston School Vote

JUNE 1:          On the Theodore Healthcare Plan

JULY 1:          On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVIII


ON PURELY CHASTE, PRISTINE, AND RANDOM THOUGHTS XXVII  

March 1, 2019

March 1, 2019

Here we go once more…my 27th. This one’s a mixed bag, with both sports and personal commentaries.

 

  • Still fighting to keep my weight down. My diet, described in an earlier newsletter, has really helped.
  • Humanity can survive without numerous amenities. However, it cannot survive without energy or potable water.
  • Had a successful visit with three of my guys to the simulcast facility at Monmouth Park Racetrack and (naturally) dropped by their Sport Book. My bets? The Nets (750-1) to win it all. The Mets (22-1), Atlanta (18-1), and Diamondback (750-1) to win it all. Virginia (15-1), Buffalo (75-1), Tennessee (16-1), Kentucky (17-1) and we have Marquette (25-1) to win the NCAA. Partners with two others. Wish me luck.
  • Working on desalination projects. Hoping to come up with a viable economic process that will provide potable water. Someone is going to get rich in this area but it won’t be me. My best so far involves geothermal energy. My associate and former classmate is working on mangroves and hybrid processes.
  • I’m also still working on accident and emergency planning/response issues, particularly as they apply to terrorism. Stopped giving seminars but my book is still selling.
  • NYRA is a disaster; they have effectively destroyed Belmont Park, the most beautiful racetrack in the world. But hope springs eternal. Kay, the CEO, has thankfully left. We now await another Cuomo political appointment who no doubt will also fail to right the ship.
  • I used to think that energy and water were the critical issues that mankind needed to address this century. Nope! It’s water, and solely water.
  • Go Mets!
  • I should stop complaining. I still go out for dinner, walk almost 2 miles a day, do 8 pushups on awakening, write books, keep pace with my newsletter, go to the track several days a week, bet horses every day, etc.
  • A few of my guys are now claiming they have property in Oz.
  • Insecure people use profanity.
  • There are days when I wish I could go back in time and relive my Killen’s Tavern basketball memories.
  • I have tremendous difficulty throwing anything away, particularly things related to my books. And yet, when I go, they will certainly find a home in a circular file.
  • I’m still addicted to hot pastrami sandwiches, hot dogs with kraut and mustard and hamburgers. Perhaps Trump and I have something in common.
  • People continue to ask me out to lunch or dinner. My usual response: “Can I have the money instead?”
  • Please remember that the fanatical green environmental self-defined experts-engineers and scientists alike – who have certified (*!*$#%*) the existence of a global climate/warming problem would be out of business if no problem actually existed.
  • I’m often asked: How am I doing? I often respond with “How good could I be doing if I’m talking to you?” Is that a politically incorrect response?
  • I’ll be 85 come April. Hard to believe! But I’m still good looking…well, sort of.
  • The major effect of breaking my back (fractured vertebrae) 1 ½ years ago is that I am now 2 inches shorter. Not good for a guy like me.
  • Let’s hope one of the sports will ban players from spitting. It’s disgusting, particularly in baseball.
  • The second edition of my Basketball Coaching 101 book is now officially on hold due to numerous other commitments.
  • I hope to soon publish details on my basketball “umbrella offense.”
  • Travel has now become such a hassle. Visiting Florida is the only place that has been acceptable. There obviously will be less travel in the days ahead.
  • I’m hoping to do an article on taxes in the near future. Here is a checkbook list of mine: Federal, State, County (Nassau), Town (North Hempstead), Village (East Williston), and School (East Williston). Add to this sales, gasoline, gambling (when I occasionally win), etc. Twenty percent tipping has added to my woes.
  • Legendary sports historian Art Lovely (my dear friend) recently celebrated his 90th birthday with his beloved Red Sox winning the 2018 World Series. Unfortunately, I needed the Dodgers at 8-1.
  • Kudos to yours truly. I hope sports officienadoes will finally come to agree with me that Eli Manning is the luckiest and most overrated athlete (not just quarterback) of all time. Thank you Lou for letting us know early on.
  • Blew a couple of big consulting jobs as an expert witness…more and more people are apparently questioning my claim to be the world’s premier environmental authority.
  • Every time I meet someone socially, I ask about the $20 they owe me. One guy recently and a gal sometime back took me seriously.
  • Every one of us is aware of the lazy, indifferent conduct of government employees…and most of us accept it. But now, their conduct has expanded to include criminality. The best way to solve the problem is to eliminate most of these positions.
  • Baseball pitchers (and managers) have yet to figure out the truly negative results produced by walks.
  • Hunkered down for another winter. Ouch! But I still have The Queen, the kids, and the grandkids, along with my other activities.

 

Feel free to get back to me whether you agree or disagree with my comments. Happy hunting till XXVIII.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

APRIL 1:                     On the Analysis of the Hofstra 2018-19 Basketball Season

MAY 1:                       On the 2019 East Williston School Vote

JUNE 1:                      On the Theodore Healthcare Plan


ON BASKETBALL COACHING 101- 2nd EDITION

February 1, 2019

February 1, 2019

My book “Basketball Coaching 101” arrived on the scene in mid-2015. The bulk of the book was written in early 2012, and completed (well, sort of) in the spring of that year at the beautiful Sandcastle Resort in Sarasota, Florida. Some token additions were made in 2013, 2014, and in March 2015 at The Sandcastle. The manuscript was finally sent to the printer in mid-April 2015 after some unexpected (and long) delays.

 

The writing of this non-fiction basketball book was particularly exciting. It took me out of my 60 plus year comfort zone of doing my own thing and forced me to interact with nearly 100 basketball people; many of these legendary individuals were total strangers. The project was also a rather unique undertaking. Rather than prepare a book on coaching in the usual and traditional format, I considered writing a book that highlighted the expertise of those involved with basketball. The book would hopefully serve as a manual and/or training tool for those individuals involved directly or indirectly with coaching basketball. Because of the pragmatic approach employed, it provided both on-the-court and off-the-court information in this field. Thus, this is a book that was primarily written for those of you who love the game, but in particular, for those of you who are or have been or will be involved with coaching.

 

Early reviews? Here is what Jack Powers had to say: “The basketball world can now formally welcome to its midst one of the game’s brilliant strategists. His name is Dr. Lou Theodore, and his new book – Basketball Coaching 101 – has established him as one of the premier authorities in the game. The book has it all: coaching hints/strategies that can be employed to achieve a successful and winning program; history of the game; literary revival of the fabulous 1950s and 60s; historical tales of the Killeen’s Tavern basketball team; discussion of the dark side of the NCAA; prospects on the future of the game; etc. There are dozens of stories never told before, many of which are absolutely hilarious. But, more than anything else, this is a book about coaching basketball, and it is a book that will serve as a valuable resource for those who are presently, or will be in the future, involved with this wonderful game.” Here is a part of the write-up from the flier for the book signing: “This unique book is about basketball coaching and includes direct input from coaches, recruiters, conference commissioners, athletic directors, players, university presidents, officials, journalists, media announcers, and fans regarding the qualities that define winning coaches, as well as the qualities a coach should possess in order to create a winning basketball program. The book also addresses hot topics, such as paying student athletes, the dark side of the NCAA, and the future concerns of the game. There are dozens of stories and photographs about the history of the game. This book is designed to help coaches as well as aspiring coaches, to excel at a job that leans more towards a multifaceted and highly challenging vocation. It will also help the average fan better appreciate what the game and what coaching is all about. Don’t miss this special opportunity to purchase a copy of his book and have it autographed! It makes a great gift! If you are unable to attend, you can still purchase the book by going online and ordering it through AMAZON. Refreshments will be served.” I had to get both these quotes in… just to satisfy my ego.

 

It’s been seven years since I decided to write “BASKETBALL COACHING 101.” The first edition was a first go-around for me since I had only written technical books. The objective was to put into print all the aforementioned topics. But then my ego took over and it was decided to include my basketball journey and details of the legendary Killeen’s Tavern basketball team that I coached during the 50s and 60s.

 

A lot has transpired at my end since then, including outlining new offensive and defensive strategies. Of particular interest has been the movement toward an offensive that has been defined as the “triangle offense.” Quite frankly, I couldn’t figure it out after reviewing the literature, but it appears to involve some sort of semi-isolation play. So naturally, I decided to look into it further and came up with what may become the offensive of the future. I refer to it as the “umbrella offense,” and it is based on isolation play.  Introductory details follow.

 

Well, what about the aforementioned umbrella offensive. It is based on player movement and location that leads to a situation where the offensive player only has to contend with one defensive player, i.e., a one-on-one (1×1) situation (The reader should note that it is easier to score in a 5×1 solution as opposed to a 1 x 5; similarly scoring in a 1×1 situation is easier than when it is 5×5). How is an ideal 1×1 situation produced? There are obviously a number of possible 1×1 possibilities that can be set up. 12.3 in the new edition,

 

The umbrella offense obviously would work best against teams that play man-to-man defense. Furthermore, if the defense is geared to play each man close (tight), the adaptability of the umbrella offense becomes more pronounced. Also obvious is that the offense would be less adaptable to a zone defense, but that is another matter that is addressed elsewhere in the new edition.

 

P.S. On the home front, i.e., Hofstra basketball is really rolling (19-3 as of 1/30/19) and the team is performing beyond my earlier expectations (see also 12/1/18 article), blowing away opponents, and appears to be heading toward a CAA conference championship.  Look for opponents in the future to offer challenges that will include slow down offenses, a box-and-l defense of Wright-Forman), and the triangle-and-2 defense (Wright-Forman and Pemberton), etc.  Their all-star Justin Wright-Forman has been unbelievable. I refer to him as “Superman.” One of my players refers to him as “The Magician” while his wife calls him “The Sorcerer.” But off-guard /small forward Tareq Coburn has made the difference; for the 2018-19 team and their NCAA aspirations (as I noted late November), he could play on my club anytime.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

FEBRUARY 1:

MARCH 1:                  On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVII

APRIL 1:                     On the Analysis of the Hofstra 2018-19 Basketball Season

MAY 1:                       On the 2019 East Williston School Vote

JUNE 1:                      On Theodore ??


THE 2018-19 HOFSTRA MEN’S BASKETBALL SEASON

November 30, 2018

 

 

 

December 1, 2018

The 10/28 Newsday headlines blared away: “HOFSTRA TARGETS NCAA: WRIGHT-FOREMAN KEY TO MAKING MARCH MADNESS.” I disagree. Wright-Foreman and defense will send Hofstra to the Promised Land.

I offer the following two comments before proceeding to an analysis of this and last year’s team.

  1. Although the team’s goal should be to win games, the ultimate goal is to win the CAA tournament – and that should be reflected in the team’s philosophy and overall preparation during the season.
  2. Players should understand that the magic word in defense is INTENSITY! And this is where bench help comes into play.

Well, what about last year? They had close to a dream team – Rokas (leading rebounder in the country), Wright-Foreman (CAA Player of Year), Pemberton…etc. It was indeed a dream team, but perhaps from an offensive perspective. They went 19-12, finished third in the CAA, and got knocked out in the first round. Scoring during the season was not a problem but they were consistently inconsistent when it came to defense. The team was further hampered by Rokas’s poor defensive play and his inability to shoot fouls and make layups.

I’ve come to believe that most teams still don’t get it about defense. Case in point: The Knicks recently realized that the team performed better with a defensive guard as opposed to their offensive guard. HELLO! The Nets had the same problem several years ago with their outstanding offensive player Williams who couldn’t guard his grandmother.

Well, what about this year’s team? The back court with Justin Wright-Foreman (JWF), Buie, and Ray is dynamic and absolutely solid. Small forward Pennington is a scoring machine but has yet to prove himself defensively. The forecourt is questionable: transfers 6’10” Jacquil Taylor and 6’8” Dan Dwyer along with returnee Trueheart provide little to the offensive with questionable defense. The back court led by superstar all-American candidate JWF may be able to carry the club and overcome any deficiencies upfront…and this will be determined as the season goes forward.

The club’s record at the time of the preparation of this article was 4-2 with two tough losses coming against NCAA ranked opponents. The back court tandem of JWF and Buie (who I touted three years ago) probably ranks near the top in the nation. Buie’s defensive play has made a significant impact. Taylor may be able to hold his own in the middle against the other big men in the CAA. The team is also playing some man-to-man offensive which is good news since a well-coached opponent would again decimate their zone defense as was demonstrated in their win over Cal State Fulterton where a guard scored 38 points, including 8 open 3-pointers.  Coach Mihalich has apparently settled on a 8-man rotation which will hopefully be enough to carry the team. Bottom line: I’ve gone from being concerned to being cautiously optimistic. It should be an interesting and exciting 3+ months.

I should note that this may be a do-or-die year since the club is top-heavy with upperclassmen and only one freshman along with three sophs. Furthermore, unless Coach Mihalich and his staff have a significantly above-par recruiting year, the team’s front court will have difficulty competing against Division III opponents next year.

Attending Hofstra games for me still remains the best sports buy in the New York Metropolitan area; it’s even cheaper than going to the movies. There is ample free parking, easy access in and out of the Mack Sports Complex, the concession stands are not a rip-off ($3.50 for a dog, $3.00 for a soda, etc.), and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Did I mention that its $6 for seniors and children, and the whole exciting atmosphere is conducive to family attendance? Many home games last year turned out to be thrillers. Share it this year with someone you care about.

In the meantime, my “Basketball Coaching 101” book is still out in the marketplace at either amazon.com or createspace.com for $17.95. It makes an excellent New Year’s/Christmas gift. Consider buying the book – I really do need the royalty money to help subsidize my gambling habits.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

JANUARY 1:              On Liberal News Highlights

FEBRUARY 1:            On Basketball Coaching 101 II

MARCH 1:                 On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVII

APRIL 1                     On the Analysis of the Hofstra 2018019 Basketball Season

MAY 1                        On the 2019 East Williston School Budget Vote