ON ZZZABUU VI

May 1, 2022

May 1, 2022

You were reintroduced to Zzzabuu one year ago. He had arrived earlier in 2003 from the planet Zzokki in a faraway galaxy, having been dispatched to Earth on a fact-finding trip involving politicians in the United States. More recently, Zzzabuu had been selected once again for a special assignment by The Superiors in 2021 to determine details (both pros and cons) of gambling investment opportunities on Planet Earth. As per instructions from the Superiors, Zzzabuu met with a retired, often confused, outspoken, nefarious chemical engineering professor (who shall remain nameless) in order to obtain background material and guidance prior to preparing his report on this assignment.

As promised, this third of five articles on gambling is concerned with casino gambling. This piece is particularly appropriate since New York State is now expanding casino gambling. In any event, here is my take on this betting activity.

Let’s proceed directly to the bottom line. For me, there are four modes of gambling in casinos: slots, roulette, dice, and blackjack. Before discussing each of these games, I should note two factors: all are games of chance (unlike pari-mutuel wagering – see August 1, 2021 article) and thus all chances of winning are a function of the takeout. Remember, the takeout represents the amount of money returned to the bettor after the result of the bet has been determined, e.g., with a 5% takeout, the casino returns 95% to the bettor and retains 5% as profit. In any event, here is the lowdown on each of the 4 above games of chance.

SLOTS. Depending on the casino, the takeout here ranges from 1-10% with 3-4% a reasonable norm. Although it is the most popular game, I rarely – if ever – play the slots. Why? The takeout is simply too high. The game is easy to play: you simply press a button after inserting your money and wait for the results, hoping for a lot of noise.

ROULETTE. Once the game of royalty, the takeout here is approximately 3.5%. This one is also not for me. The game is easy to play: you put money on red or black and a number ranging from 1 to 35. The roulette wheel is spun and you hope for the circling ball to fall in the right slot.

DICE: My game. Some refer to it as craps. I just love playing dice; it is all I play when I am in a casino. The takeout here can be as low as 0.5%; this effectively means you have close to a 50-50 chance of winning. Here is how I recommend you play. Put your money on PASS and roll the dice. If a 7 or 11 comes up on the first roll, you win and the game ends. If a 2, 3, or 12 comes up on the first roll, you lose and the game ends. If a 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12 doesn’t come up on the first roll, then 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 must come up, and the game continues. Whichever number amongst these six numbers come up on the first roll becomes “your number.” You then continue to roll the dice until either a seven (you lose) or your number (you win) comes up. The game then ends. However, after the first roll, you are provided the option to double your bet on “your number.” You should definitely avail yourself of this opportunity since the takeout on this latter bet is 0%. For example, if you roll a 4 or 10, or 5 or 9, or 6 or 8 on the first roll, the odds of winning become 2 to 1, 3 to 2, and 6 to 5, respectively. That’s it. Do not get involved with any of the other available bets on the dice table.

BLACKJACK. Often referred to as 21. Not my favorite; but it is the game of most of my gambling degenerate friends. The takeout is close to 0%! Many years ago, a group of MIT students started winning at the casinos by “counting.” A book describing their approach makes interesting reading but essentially involves counting cards. In the game, the dealer gets two cards (with one face-up) and the bettor gets two cards. You may request additional cards in an attempt to get as close to 21 as possible, BUT not go over 21. Whoever goes over 21 first loses. If no one goes over, the winner is the player closest to 21. Counting? If a lot of high cards come out during the game, the bettor is at a disadvantage the next game. If a lot of low cards come out, the bettor has the advantage and should increase the bet the next game. How do you count? Here is a simple method. I suggest assigning a -1 to discarded cards that are 2, 3, 4, or 5, and +1 to those that are 10, J, Q, or K. If your total is in the negative regime, increase the bet the next game.

I leave you with this: A day at a casino is a great day out, particularly for seniors. Follow my suggestions and you almost certainly will not get hurt. You want more? Go to the library and pick up a book on casino gambling or simply go on the Internet.

Contact me if you have any questions. Once again, just remember that LOTTO has a 50% takeout, and is therefore an ideal game for those poor in arithmetic.

I return later this year when Zzzabuu will report on sports betting.

P.S. For those readers residing in East Williston, remember to vote NO on the school budget this month.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS

JUNE 1:                      Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXXI

JULY 1:                      On Great Eats V: Pastrami

AUGUST 1:                On the Constitution

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Aging

OCTOBER 1:             On Water

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Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Practice strategies to employ for offense(s) near the end of a game.
  2. Practice strategies to employ when attempting to gain an offensive rebound following a foul shot.
  3. Drive to basket at the end of game if trailing; in effect, help the official blow his whistle.

ON ONE LINERS: BIDEN’S ADMINISTRATION

March 1, 2022

March 1, 2022

It’s been over a year since an article of a political nature. Here are 30 one (or occasionally two) liners drawn from my Biden file. For some of you: please don’t get upset – these are only my opinions.

A comment on history repeating itself before providing my notes. In 1939, it was Hitler and Chamberlain on Poland with Churchill waiting in the wings. Today, its Putin and Biden on Ukraine with Trump waiting in the wings. Perhaps Putin and Biden should hold hands and visit WWII cemeteries in Europe.

  1. Two impeachments and now a senate trial on the events of January 6, 2021; these have proven to be nothing but bad theater in a useless attempt once again to defame and insult President Trump.
  2. Polls clearly indicate that Biden continues to reject the desires of the voters and has failed miserably on near all of his actions.
  3. Our Constitution might be somewhat flawed but it is still the most ideal way to govern a complex entity such as our country.
  4. The democratic party is infested with career bureaucrats who are cunning and corrupt lawyers / politicians.
  5. The current immigration policy of the democrats will get them voters, which will get them the desired vote, which will get them money and power. In the meantime, they are violating federal law, endangering lives (health and crime), and negatively impacting our economy.
  6. Trump has many faults, but he is devoted to our nation and to its defense; his original mission remains unfulfilled.
  7. The enemy continues to rant about Trump’s lies. I’ve listened to all his speeches and am still trying to figure out what the lies are.
  8. Trump delivered on virtually all his promises prior to his election – particularly providing 3 vaccines and 2 antibodies. And, what about historic peace in the Middle East, Korea, China, etc.
  9. I am really mad at our elected officials. Why aren’t they demanding Biden sever all relations with Russia and move back to Trump’s state of energy independence? Don’t they understand that there is a war and people are dying?!
  10. Here is what we are currently experiencing under the Biden Administration: shootings, murders, vandalism, riots, silencing opposition, defunding police, open borders, pacifying our enemies, inflation, etc. Add to these attempts to abolish the Electoral College, pack the Supreme Court, attempting statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., terminate the filibuster, etc.; perhaps ever worse is their current education policy of defaming our country and also really dividing our country. How about the recent Durham revelations that Trump was indeed spied on.
  11. Obama has blood on his hands with what transpired with ISIS. Now Biden has blood on his hands because of Ukraine.
  12. Biden and his administration claim that government spending does not cost the taxpayer. Is it creative mathematics or a complete fraud?
  13. The fact that 38% of the electorate think that Biden is doing a good job is a tribute to how dumb, indifferent, and misinformed they are.
  14. Biden has unquestionably emboldened our enemies: Taiwan and Ukraine are prime examples.
  15. What the hell is Biden doing? Surrendered Afghanistan, failed our citizens and allies remaining there, and left military equipment for our enemies (that could now be used in the Ukraine). Can anyone be that dumb?
  16. Biden appears more concerned on attacking individuals such as your favorite author than in protecting us from our enemies; I’m also tired of him, his cohorts, and the news media calling me a racist, un-American, a Nazi, a hater, etc.
  17. FOX News, better than anyone, has proven that media bias exists with their videotapes of CNN, CNBC, etc.
  18. The New York Times news reporting is disgusting; just read their headlines every day.
  19. Biden and his family are probably the most corrupt family in American history; the recent news about Pelosi puts her in second place. Virtually every elected official in Washington becomes a multi-millionaire; thank you Donald for opening my eyes to this fact.
  20. Biden’s entire cabinet is made up of career bureaucrats; none have ever worked for a living. And, no surprise, there are no republicans. How’s this for his promise to put forth a competent and diverse cabinet.
  21. Pelosi labeled Biden as “just perfect.” Really?? Wow!! She obviously is lying and she must know it.
  22. Biden called Trump’s COVID testing a travesty, then promised free testing without an ability to provide testing. Another failure.
  23. Perhaps we should pray for Biden because next comes Harris (what a disaster) and Pelosi (is there a more evil person?).
  24. Any chance Pelosi will provide her tax returns given what was recently made public? And what about Hunter Biden’s returns?
  25. The corrupt media is the greatest concern. Many citizens are either misinformed or not informed. Prior to Biden’s election, 30% of democratic voters did not know of Hunter’s activities and 25% of those said they would not have voted for Biden if they knew.
  26. Our nation definitely needs Trump. Hopefully, he will pick a woman for a running mate to pick up some of his haters (perhaps it would be best if he didn’t run with the raw hatred some have for him).
  27. This COVID-19 pandemic came about primarily because of the incompetence and inaction of both the CDC and WHO. Fauci the Fraud, who heads up the CDC’s 50-billion-dollar program, has caused the death of many Americans.
  28. Trump was transparent from the day he entered the race, always responding to a hostile media… and, on a daily basis. Biden? He’s been AWOL since Day 1 and refuses to answer questions.
  29. Regarding January 6, nearly 1,000 were arrested but only a handful were guilty of wrong doing. This demonstration was peaceful compared to some earlier fanatical democratic demonstrations.
  30. Finally, and thankfully, it appears most (but not all) of our elected Republicans have united.

I really believe that Trump looked after those – such as your author – who have no voice. But we may still survive. When will I return with another one of these? Who knows?

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS

APRIL 1:        On the Ultimate Quiz VI (replacing Hofstra’s season)

MAY 1:          On the EWSD School Tax Vote

JUNE 1:          On ZZZabuu VI

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Here are this month’s three defensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Players should not view defense as a time to rest and relax. Practice time on defense should be as important as time on offense.
  2. If an opposing team’s offense is run by their playmaker, the defense should attempt to prevent him from getting the ball.
  3. Defensive drills should include double and perhaps triple-teaming an offensive player.

THE BOYS OF KILLEEN’S

February 1, 2022

February 1, 2022

            “The great hills of the South Country they stand along the sea; and it’s there,

walking in the high woods that I would wish to be,

and the men that were boys when I was a boy walking along with me.”

The South Country

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a small bar named Killeen’s Tavern located on a side street in Astoria, Queens. The tavern’s history dates back to about 1934 (my birth year). It was owned by a burly Irishman. The whole place was no bigger than 30 ft. by 15 ft., half of it designed like a half-moon bar, and the other half consisting of a few tables, a juke box, a telephone booth, a toilet that was always clogged up, and a kitchen (required by law) that didn’t work. Beer was 12 cents a glass, and a shot of rye was 45 cents. The local crowd had its colorful characters. Damon Runyon would have loved this place. There was “Buster” the late-night singer who crooned Sweet Leylani, Lorraine the Dancer, “Cuz” the night bartender, “Oil Pan” Tom, the landlord Pete the Russian, Freddie “Spook” Stegman – the greatest sport birddog this side of the Mississippi.

Then there was the day bartender – Pat Killeen himself. An impressive 6′ 1″ and burly 275-lb. man with a thick Irish brogue, who, when angry, would roll his black cigar from one end of his mouth to the other. Yes, he could intimidate if necessary. But he was a fair and open-minded individual, always with the best intentions at heart.  And then there was dapper George Connelly – the Sunday bartender of 30 years who many believe James Cagney copied his mannerisms from.

Who were the other inhabitants of the Tavern? Here are some of their names: Scratch, Buddy, Gaylord (your author), Big Dan, The Whale, Jimmy the Greek, Steve the Greek, Weegie, The Rat, Vince the Prince, The Grey Fox, The Scavenger, The Buff, The Snake, The Brat, Tuto, Tex, Superman, The Hawk, Marty Cool, The Phantom, The Bant, The Weedier, Big Fitz, Red, Joey Hot Dog, Sparksy, Dixie, Jake the Weightlifter (all 95 lbs. of him), Bugsy, Louie the Lob, the Dolly Sisters, Filthy Phil, Tony Guido, etc.

Among these notables was a younger contingent known as the Boys of Killeen’s. They were the children of working-class parents who endured the Great Depression and survived the harsh times of that era. Although better off than their parents, the Boys of Killeen’s was a group that appreciated good times, and were not nearly as security conscious as their parents. It was a group that ultimately went on to succeed in the workplace, no doubt influenced by their New York City and Killeen’s experiences.

It has been written that most Long Islanders are displaced New Yorkers. For certain, many in the reading audience have their roots in Queens and Brooklyn, if not Manhattan and the Bronx. The displacement process occurred at different times for different individuals and groups, but for some, despite the emigration to Long Island, the ties of friendship and companionship remain as strong today as it did nearly a century ago.

Rhetorically speaking, it seems like it happened eons ago. But in real time, it all started nearly 70 years ago. There was a group of guys that had just exited their teenage years and were brought together by a common love: basketball. They were headquartered in Astoria, Queens. What follows is a tale of their pilgrimage through time over the last half century plus.

In the late part of 1954, a group of youngsters 17, 18 and 19 years of age decided to rent the empty storage room next to Killeen’s. The Phantom, later Special FBI Agent Ernie Haridopolos, was the instigator for the club and first dubbed it the Parkside Nationals. The room was 20 ft X 15 ft and contained a Coke machine, a 7-ft bar, one card table, a fumigated sofa and six chairs. The bathroom (ugh!) was shared with the adjacent deli. Things soon improved as up went sheetrock, a tile floor, and a phonograph. This was followed with a monthly $50 split-even raffle to pay the $35 rent and for parties (approximately twice a month).

During the early 1950’s, and prior to the massive TV sports agenda available today, Sunnyside Gardens (located of course in Sunnyside, Queens) annually hosted an Open Basketball Tournament that featured all the great amateur stars of that era. The young teenagers who patronized Killeen’s Tavern, located on 24th Street off Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria regularly paid the one-dollar admission fee to see their basketball heroes perform. And then, as if blessed by a magic wand, these same youngsters became basketball stars in their own right.

In late Spring of 1955, they came to the conclusion that “hell, we can play with these guys.” And were they ever so right. They enlisted the help of one of their own with limited basketball ability, (yours truly) with directions to field a team for the upcoming summer tournaments. I was baptized coach and the Killeen’s Tavern dynasty was set in motion. I got Pat Killeen, owner of Killeen’s Tavern, to sponsor the team and made the necessary arrangements to enter the team in the various tournaments. The Killeen’s team was officially born.

All the pieces were put into place when the recruiting process started that would effectively mold the team into a winner over the next dozen years. The talent was primarily gathered locally from Astoria that included Marty Collins (Elon), Steve Afendis (High Point), Joe Montana and John Caso (St. John’s), Bo Erias (Niagara and later Minneapolis Lakers), Don Ryan (Atlantic Christian), Richie Bennett (Bryant High School), Tom Rice (School of Hard Knocks), and Wally DiMasi (Providence). Key amongst this group was Danny Doyle (Belmont Abbey and later the Detroit Pistons). The first year also saw additions to the local mix that included Dennis Costigan (Hofstra), Ivan Kovacs (St. John’s), York Larese (North Carolina), Timmy Shea and George Blaney (Holy Cross), Nick Gaetani(Brooklyn College), Kevin Loughery (St. Johns), Tom Fitzmaurice (St. Bonaventure), Brendan Malone(former Knick assistant coach), Al Filardi (NYU), and the Quarto brothers —Frank (Manhattan College) and Vinnie (Adelphi). All, at one time or other, for over a ten-year period, wore the $2.00 blue T-shirt and $1.50 white shorts that marked them as The Boys of Killeen’s.

Summers came and went, but from 1955 to 1965, summers in New York featured tough basketball. All the Killeen’s Boys came home from school to the Big Apple to sharpen their game on the blacktop. Legendary tales of summer activities about Rockaway Beaches 108th Street Basketball courts – sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the McGuire and Fitzgerald bars to the north – have remained some of this area’s proud historical moments in time. Later came graduation, and winter brought on the Star Journal, Long Island Press, CYO and YMCA leagues, plus the Haverstraw, New City, Jersey City, and the famous Don Bosco Tournaments. It was truly an exciting era. The Boys of Killeen’s were an integral part of that era. The one player who will always be remembered is the aforementioned Danny Doyle. He was a Killeen’s star for many reasons, but Doyle may have said it best with, “I probably was the most heralded player on the team, but was probably the third or fourth highest scorer. In a very real sense, this was a team without a star, and yet every player on the team was a star.”

Over the years, The Boys convened annually in January at my house. When this ritual started over 40 years ago, there was a robust group of over 30 attendees. A few more were added along the way, but the relentless passage of time has taken its toll on The Boys. There was a time when attendance was viewed as mandatory, even if one were sick or located elsewhere. However, the number of attendees reached 10 two years ago and was decreasing at an  exponential rate. Enter Covid-19 and, unfortunately, the ritual ended as The Boys now have but a handful of curtain calls remaining.

I still keep in close contact with the remaining members of The Boys. A problem with The Boys is that a large number have unfortunately left us. Memories of youth, earlier love, Killeens Tavern, the basketball team, etc., now find The Boys often attempting to relive what Hilaire Belloc (in the preamble) was referring to with “it’s there . . . that I would wish to be, and the men that were boys when I was a boy walking along with me.” No matter; it was a great ride for all of us as the life and times of The Boys prepare to ride off into the sunset.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS

MARCH 1:                 On Purely Random, Pristine Thoughts XXVI

APRIL 1:                    On Hofstra’s 2021-22 Basketball Season

MAY 1:                      On the EWSD Town Tax Vote

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Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. An assistant (coach) who specializes in developing offenses and / or offensive strategies would help.
  2. Practice dribbling with both hands. In effect, the player should be just as capable driving or dribbling left as well as right.
  3. Practice taking layups when dribbling toward the basket at top speed.

WINNER OR LOSER?

January 1, 2022

January 1, 2022

The New Year has arrived and for some, it is time to talk about days of old.  So here is a tale from nearly sixty years ago that has been drawn from my academic files.  Stay with this one even though there is some technical material in it.  You might find it interesting.  At least, I hope you do.

This is a tale that occurred late in 1960 that may or may not serve to justify the value of an open-ended approach to a relatively simple engineering/science problem.  That story, as recanted by an engineering educator, is presented below.

            Some time ago, I received a call from a colleague named Lou Theodore who asked if I would be willing to serve as the referee on the grading of an examination question.  He was about to give a student a zero for his answer to a heat transfer question involving a mercury thermometer, while the student claimed he should receive a perfect score and would if the system were not set up against the student.

            I went to my dear colleague’s office and read the examination question: “As part of a QA/QC (quality assurance/quality control) test, outline how one can ascertain the readings on this long stem mercury thermometer employed in the department’s lab is correct.”

            The student had answered: “Place several other thermometers along the one of concern and check the readings.  If all the readings are in close agreement with one another, one can conclude that the lab thermometer reading is correct.”

During discussions with my colleague, who was completing his first year as a chemical engineering professor, it became apparent that he felt the student was a “loser and a liability, and would ultimately serve as an embarrassment to the department in later years.  He complained that the student was Irish, often showed up late for class, was occasionally inebriated, with many of his lectures serving as a sleeping pill.” My colleague also felt that the student should have provided an answer that reflected the lecture material.  For example, the mercury in the narrow tube expands as it gets hotter due to its coefficient of expansion.  In effect, the mercury expands by an amount that linearly depends on the temperature so that a rise of 10 degrees produces twice the expansion than a 5-degree increase.  In any event, Dr. Theodore and the student agreed to submit this to an impartial arbiter, and I was selected.

            I pointed out to Dr. Theodore that the student really had a strong case for full credit since he had answered the question completely and correctly.  On the other hand, if full credit was given, it could well contribute to a high grade for the student in his heat transfer course.  A high grade is supposed to certify competence in the subject of concern, but the answer did not confirm this.  I suggested that the student have another try at answering the question.  I was not surprised that Dr. Theodore agreed, but I was even more surprised that the student did.

            I gave the student ten minutes to answer the question with the warning that the answer should show some knowledge of heat transfer.  At the end of five minutes, he had not written anything.  I asked if he wished to give up, but he said no.  He had many answers to this problem; he was just thinking of the best one.  I excused myself for interrupting him and asked him to please go on.  In the next minute, he dashed off his answer which read:

            “Call the local airport and weather bureau and inquire about the ambient temperature.  Then take the thermometer outside.  If the reading is in close proximity to that reported by the two agencies, one can conclude that the reading is correct.”

            At this point, I asked my colleague if he would give up.  He conceded and I gave the student almost full credit.

            In leaving Dr. Theodore’s office, I recalled that the student had said he had many other answers to the problem, so I asked him what they were.  “Oh yes,” said the student. “There are a great many ways of checking the validity of the thermometer readings.  For example, you could mail the thermometer back to the vendor and request that it be recalibrated to reassure the reading is valid.

            “Fine,” I asked. “And the others?”

            “Yes,” said the student. “There is a very basic measurement method that you will like.  In this method you take the thermometer and place it in running tap water.  Since the tap water in the lab is in the 62-64°F range, a temperature reading of the lab thermometer in that range would signify validity. 

            “Of course, if you want an even simpler method, you can take the thermometer to the lab technician. Speak to him as follows: “Mr. Technician, here I have a fine thermometer.  If you tell me if the thermometer is properly calibrated, I will give you this thermometer”.”

            Finally, he concluded there are a host of other ways of solving the problem.  “Probably the best but perhaps a somewhat unorthodox way is to take the thermometer, along with Dr. Theodore, to the bathroom.  You ask Dr. Theodore to drop his pants and bend over.  You then stick the long stem thermometer as far as it will go up Dr. Theodore’s ass.  If the thermometer registers something in the 98.6°F area, it must be in working order.”

            At this point I asked the student if he really did know the conventional answer to this question.  He admitted that he did, but said that he was fed up with traditional education and college professors trying to teach him how to think using the “scientific method”, i.e., to explore the deep inner logic of the subject in a pedantic way, as is often done in the new curricula, rather than teaching him the structure of the subject.

            Interestingly, the student did manage to graduate despite the efforts of my dear colleague.  The student married soon after graduation, and his two children – Michelle and Mark – later served as babysitters for my colleague’s children (Dr. Theodore married a beautiful woman of Irish decent later in life).  The student?  John McKenna, who went on to earn a law degree and a PhD.  He is currently President and CEO of ETS International in Roanoke, VA. 

            So much for the decision-making capabilities of some of our educators.


On Hofstra 2022 Men’s Basketball Upcoming Season

December 1, 2021

December 1, 2021

Two teams come to mind when one thinks of basketball on Long Island: St. Johns (Queens) and Hofstra (Nassau County). Hofstra has held the upper hand in recent years. But last year, SJ head coach, Mike Anderson, revitalized the team with a high-pressure defense that created havoc for a number of teams (I have a bet on them to win the NCAA this year at whopping odds of 175-1). Hofstra, on the other hand, took several steps backwards after coach Jo Mihalik went on medical leave last year and the team utterly failed to respond to the new leadership. That was then, now is now, and the article is about Hofstra’s Spring season (I did not bet on them at 2500-1.).

Five topics on Hofstra’s upcoming season are reviewed below: coach, players, defense, tournament thoughts, and closing comments. Here we go.

  1. Coaching: There is a new sheriff in town and his name is Speedy Claxton. Everybody is enthused about his selection to lead the Pride. So am I. He will do fine, even though it is his first year. My dear friend and mentor, Jack Powers, former Executive Director of the NIT, had this to offer on Speedy: “He is a wonderful kid, a quality person, a great player, and certain to succeed. Rick Cole made a great choice.” My sentiments…exactly.
  2. Players: Here is some bad news. The club lost Isaac Kante who I believe would have been a dominant center in the CAA this season. This was a major loss, particularly since the club lacks both a solid big man and shot blocker. The club appears to be top heavy with quality guards. They include: Jalen Ray who will need to have a superstar year on offense, and improve his defensive play; Aaron Estrada, a solid addition from Oregon University; Cabet Burgess, a holdover who shows promise; and, Zachary Cooks, another solid addition from New Jersey Institute of Technology;
  3. Defense. The club has almost exclusively played zone since the arrival of coach Mikal ich. Here is some good news. Speedy announced early on that that the club would almost exclusively play zone defense. As I’ve always said, if you play against a zone, your grandmother can guard you. I’ve also said that it is defense that wins championships, particularly backcourt defense. Bottle up your opponent’s playmaker and you’re in business.
  4. Tournament thoughts. 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 in 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.
  5. Closing comments. The team chose to open against 3 top 25 ranked teams: Houston, Maryland, and Richmond. Did these games provide a wakeup call? Perhaps. Houston was an overtime loss; Maryland was 2-point loss with some really poor time management at the end of the game, and Richmond was also a loss. The club was 3-4 at the time of submission of this article.

One more thing. My spies tell me that Hofstra has aspirations of moving from the CAA to the MAC. I hope not since the CAA gives the club a more “spatial” presence.

Finally, 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 it’s $9 for seniors and children, and the whole exciting atmosphere is conducive to family attendance? Consider sharing it with someone you care about.

NOTE: A real downer. An assistant in the Athletic Department cancelled my media pass for Hofstra games. That will probably adversely affect future Hofstra articles, but more importantly, reduce my ability to contact / involve key basketball personalities such as players, coaches, ADs, and officials in the second edition of my book “BASKETBALL COACHING 101”. It will not affect my involvement elsewhere. Anyway, I enjoyed my serving as a good will ambassador for the program — and it was good while it lasted.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS

JANUARY 1:             On Zzzabuu VI

FEBRUARY 1:          On Great Eats VI

MARCH 1:                 On Purely Random, Pristine Thoughts XXVI

APRIL 1:                    On Hofstra’s 2021-22 Basketball Season

MAY 1:                      On the EWSD Tax Vote

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Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Practice inbounding the ball at various locations on the court when the opposing team is pressing.
  2. The player nearest to the ball should take it out immediately after a basket or foul shot and pass it to the first open man.
  3. Do not leave the foul line after the first of two (or three) free throws, and do not slap / shake the hand of a fellow teammate.

ON TECHNICAL WRITING

November 1, 2021

November 1, 2021

I once humorously offered this comment to my students: “either you’re from Harvard and can’t count or from MIT and can’t write.” This comment was made to stress the importance of being able to communicate, and introduce the difference between non-technical wiring and technical writing.

Well, what about the difference? The technical and non-technical materials are written in contrasting styles. Technical pieces are written in a factual, ‘dry’ style emphasizing quantitative analysis, whereas the non-technical pieces contain numerous adjectives and modifiers. Similarly, engineering texts (I’ve written 131 of them–all of which have one thing in common: they don’t sell) contain a minimum of pictures and graphs, usually in black and white. Non-technical texts, by contrast, contain numerous color pictures and graphics. The contrast in style between the two is reminiscent of the contrast between a black and white “how to” video, and a high-budget movie. Generally, the engineering texts use a pragmatic and mechanistic approach, while the non-technical books have a policy and philosophical bent on what I define as the liberal arts approach. Further, one generally transmits information while the other entertains. In any event, this article is concerned with technical writing, a topic that should be of interest to many of the readers.

Technical wiring really isn’t that difficult; it is NOT a talent that only a handful of people are born with. With that in mind, here are a few basic rules that can transform one’s writing from a confusing, garbled mess into something that will impress readers.

  1. If applicable, know thy reader(s).
  2. It helps if the subject has not been written about before. If it has, improve what is available by editing, rewriting, expanding and updating. There should also be an element of interest to the readers(s).
  3. Prepare an outline. This should include an appropriate title, objective(s), introduction, background material, results, conclusions, and recommendations.
  4. Improve the foundation of the outline by filling it in with notes and sentences.
  5. Keep related ideas together and establish a logical flow from paragraph to paragraph and section to section.
  6. The abstract or executive summary (for technical reports) is the most important part of the writing; spend a significant amount of time here. It is the only material that is read by most of the readers. The reader (perhaps your immediate supervisor) can then decide whether to go deeper into the writing; this is very important. The abstract should contain a brief summary of the report without referring to the main body of the report.
  7. Sentences should contain little to no unnecessary words; paragraphs should contain little to no unnecessary sentences. One certainly would not have unnecessary lines in a diagram or unnecessary parts in a machine.
  8. The swan song of the successful writer is revision, revision, revision. Start early, e.g., weeks before it is due and/or submitted. Get colleagues, friends, your wife (my usual option) to review and critique your material.
  9. If your “report” is a resume, make sure it is current. Be prepared to tailor your resume to the individual reviewing it. And, don’t be bashful. I often refer to myself as “the foremost environmental authority in the world. “
  10. If there is a Table of Contents, list every section title, and heading, starting with page 1 not page i, and give the number of the page on which it appears.
  11. If there is a Statistical Error Analysis, it must be written with opening and closing paragraphs. It should include theoretical equations along with written explanations and conclude with a discussion of the numerical values determined from the error analysis.
  12. Conclusions and recommendations (if required) are just that. It is generally written as an extended paragraph even though it is often a series of loosely related topic sentences.
  13. References may be required. Footnotes are not commonly used in the technical literature. All the references cited in the report must be listed at the end of the report and (my preference) in the order of their appearance.

I hope this helps. In the final analysis, the more one reads and writes, the easier it becomes. It’s like tying shoes; it’s a little hard at first, but once mastered, it will never leave you.

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www.theodorenewsletter.com

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NEXT POSTINGS

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra’s 2020-21 Basketball Season

JANUARY 1:             On Zzzabuu VI

FEBRUARY 1:          On Great Eats VI

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Here are this month’s three defensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. If an opposing team’s offense is run by their playmaker, the defense should attempt to prevent him from getting the ball and if he does, he should be immediately double-teamed – hopefully forcing him to pass the ball.
  2. Defensive drills should include double and perhaps triple-teaming an offensive player.
  3. Practice various strategies when boxing out at the foul line.

October 1, 2021

ON THE ULTIMATE QUIZ V

October 1, 2021

As indicated in IV, this has become one of my favorites. You are asked to provide the correct answer to the following 20 (plus 1) questions. You already know the routine: 5 points for each correct answer. A grade of 90 indicates that you are brilliant… anything below 25 is, well…

  1. Who authored “Fourscore and seven years ago…”
  2. Who were the stars of the movie “Sampson and Delilah?”
  3. Who is the greatest basketball player of all time?
  4. What famous singer said “So when you see your neighbor carrying something, help him with his load”?
  5. What famous New York baseball owner’s motto was “If you do something good for someone, and more than two people know about it, you did it for the wrong reason.”
  6. Unlike healthcare workers, what professional group refused to work because of health concerns and demanded that they be paid?
  7. Prior to 2014, what basketball Hall of Famer had the second highest season scoring average?
  8. True or false: The radius of the sun is approximately 900,000 miles.
  9. What Hall of Famer broke the baseball color barrier?
  10. Who was elected President of the United States in 1952?
  11. What Hall of Famer started and ended his career with a Boston team?
  12. What famous Astorian won an Olympic gold medal in wrestling and later became boxing’s light heavyweight champion?
  13. What was Connie Mack’s real name?
  14. True or false: Queens joined New York City in 1898.
  15. What has often been referred to as the most Irish town in the United States?
  16. What is the currency of Turkey?
  17. What animal is located on California’s state flag?
  18. What city’s cable cars are the only National Historical Monuments that can move?
  19. Where is the Liberty Bell located?
  20. What city, located on the West Coast, was destroyed by fire and an earthquake in 1906?
  21. Explain the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic.

ANSWERS:

  1. President Abraham Lincoln
  2. Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr
  3. Full credit. For me, it is Kevin Durant.
  4. Bob Dylan
  5. George Steinbrenner
  6. School teachers
  7. A tough one here: Rick Barry. Wilt, of course, had the highest average.
  8. False. According to my files, the answer is approximately half this value.
  9. Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn Dodgers, 1947
  10. Dwight Eisenhower
  11. Babe Ruth
  12. A toughie; Paul Berlanback, 1924 Olympics.
  13. Another toughie: Cornelius McGillicuddy.
  14. True; and it was first established nearly 200 years earlier.
  15. Full credit here. Butte, Montana, a place our family visited three times.
  16. Lira
  17. A tough one: A grizzly bear named Monarch.
  18. San Francisco, California
  19. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  20. Once again, San Francisco
  21. Epidemic is defined as “prevalent and widespread among many.” Pandemic refers to “over a whole area, country, and universe.” Thus, the difference relates to the size of the affected area.

Prepare for another one VI early next year.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

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NEXT POSTINGS

NOVEMBER 1:         On Technical Writing

DECEMBER 1:          On Zzzabuu VI

JANUARY 1:             On Hofstra’s 2020-21 Basketball Season

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Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Every attempt should be made to exploit the team’s offensive capabilities against the opponent’s defensive weaknesses.
  2. Players should learn to dribble with either hand.
  3. Players should learn to shoot with either hand.

ON GREAT EATS VI: HAMBURGERS

September 1, 2021

September 1, 2021

Six years ago, I wrote the GREAT EATS article. The fifth article in this series appeared a year ago and was concerned with steakhouses. Here’s what I had to say then:

“Steakhouses? A recommendation? I can close out this article right now with my answer: stay away from steakhouses. Period! They are a group of restaurants not to be frequented…but…if not a steak, is there another option? I have come to really enjoy hamburgers. What could be better than a hamburger with fried onions on a crusty roll? Add some ketchup, French fries and a sour Jewish pickle and you’re in business”.

A check of the literature provides a host of restaurants that could rightly be described as “hamburger joints.” Here is an abbreviated list of 10 along with, in some cases, their locations.

  1. The Wild Goose, Port Washington
  2. Prohibition Kitchen, Port Jefferson
  3. Burger King, (chain)
  4. McDonalds, (chain)
  5. Memories, Williston Park
  6. Bareburger, (chain)
  7. Beginnings, Atlantic Beach
  8. J.R.’s Great American (under construction), Williston Park
  9. Majors, (chain)
  10. Swing the Teapot, Floral Park. Last but not least, a solid burger with the trimmings, including some really tasty fries. Ask for Mary to be your server. Great entertainment on the weekends; try to catch Hell or High Water.

You might also consider just simply putting some chopped chuck on the grill. The price is definitely right. I don’t know if burgers at some delis and supermarkets qualify for this article but one can occasionally get a delicious burger there…a bargain for which there is no 9-% sales tax and 20+% tip.

You want more? Just check the Yellow Pages. But as for me, I offer the following suggestions for burger joints.

  1. Any diner. I’ve yet to have a bad burger at a diner. Honestly, the price is always right and the French fries almost always hit the spot.
  2. Shake Shack. My favorite. My family’s favorite. The burgers are tasty and reasonably priced. The French fries are fair but the shakes are excellent.
  3. Wendy’s. Dave’s single; a meal in itself. A $5 bargain and the fries are excellent. They occasionally have a 2 for $5 deal…what a bargain! The shakes are fair.
  4. The Cornerstone Pub and Restaurant, Mineola. A lot to choose from here but the burgers stand out. A bit pricey but the ambience is excellent.
  5. Any of the steakhouses. Hamburgers are your best bet at these spots but the prices are way out of whack.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

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NEXT POSTINGS

OCTOBER 1:             On the Ultimate Quiz V

NOVEMBER 1:         On Technical Writing

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra’s 2020-21 Basketball Season

JANUARY 1:             On Zzzabuu VI

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Here are this month’s three defensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Try to prevent the opponent’s offensive team from taking three-point shots from the end-line and the head of the key (where a higher percentage of shots are made).
  2. A great defensive player is as valuable as a great offensive player.
  3. A weak defensive player is as ineffectual as a weak offensive player.

ON ZZZABUU V

August 1, 2021

August 1, 2021

You were reintroduced to Zzzabuu four months ago. He had arrived earlier in 2003 from the planet Zzokki in a faraway galaxy, having been dispatched to Earth on a fact-finding trip involving politicians in the United States. Zzzabuu had been selected once again for a special assignment by The Superiors in 2021 because of his great intellect, analytical mind, and his love of gambling. On reaching Earth, Zzzabuu set out immediately to accomplish his specific assignment: to determine details (both pros and cons) of gambling investment opportunities on Plant Earth. As per instructions from the Superiors, Zzzabuu met with a retired, often confused, outspoken, nefarious chemical engineering professor (who shall remain nameless) in order to obtain background material and guidance prior to preparing a final report on his assignment.

As promised, this second of five articles on gambling is concerned with pari-mutuel racing, i.e., betting on horse races. This piece is particularly appropriate since the New York Racing Association (NYRA) venue is now in full swing in upstate Saratoga Springs…a place I have visited 66 years in a row. In any event, here is my take on this betting activity.

Let’s proceed directly to the bottom line. This sport is dying a slow death. Why?

  1. NYRA is a totally corrupt and incompetent organization, unable to run a legitimate business.
  2. There is a 15-20% “takeout” that significantly – and I mean significantly – reduces the probability of the bettor winning.
  3. The sport is currently supported by the aged few, e.g., yours truly, for whom this form of gambling has unfortunately become a way of life. Attempts to attract the younger generation and the opposite sex continue to fail miserably.
  4. The bettor has consistently been treated as a third class citizen, not a patron to be valued.
  5. I predicted NYRA’s demise when I appeared as an invited guest at a Presidential Crime Commission hearing in 1976. My predictions have come true.
  6. I have proposed a legitimate possible solution to the sport’s dilemma…but I hold no hopes for its implementation.
  7. Finally, NYRA has successfully alienated its base and continues to discourage live fan involvement.

But, what about those in this reading audience who will continue to wager on horseraces? Although you should accept the fact that the probability of losing is extremely high, here are a handful of hints that I believe will increase your chances of winning.

  1. For the beginner or novice, who has little or no knowledge of pari-mutual wagering, simply bet the number 1 (one) horse every race.
  2. Always give serious consideration to betting the 1 (one) horse, particularly with 2-turn races where the inside post is a major advantage.
  3. What about tips? The general rule here is to never bet tips. Here’s a quick tale that will seal the deal. Mary and I owned Katy R, a standardbred. One night prior to one of her races at Roosevelt Raceway, I was introduced to a guy who suddenly claimed he had a tip on a horse in the race. What horse? Katy R. I asked him about the source of this tip. He showed me the program that read OWNER: M.K. Theodore and L. Theodore, Jackson Heights. He claimed that he got the tip directly from L. Theodore, a gambling degenerate who was owner and the chef of a diner in Jackson Heights. I showed him my horseman’s photo ID card. He snickered and walked away. So much for tips.
  4. What about win bets? I rarely bet win because tickets are being punched AFTER a race starts. I believe this could be proven in a court of law. (Successfully gaining illegal entry to computers, protected by sophisticated systems operated by true experts, has become painfully clear in recent months.)   Never bet place or show. I also generally try to stay away from favorites, particularly in stake races. I also prefer betting large field cheap claiming races rather than small field stake races.
  5. Try to key on betting on Pick-3, Pick-4, Pick-5, and triples.
  6. What about jockeys? I stay away from established older jockeys, e.g., John Velasquez. Their ROI, i.e., return on investment, is almost always negative. For me, the greatest jockey of all time was Jerry Bailey. The most overrated were Angel Cordero, Eddie Arcaro, and Mike Smith. Give bug-boys (apprentices) more consideration for longer races since the weight allowances are sure to come into play.
  7. Give apprentices more consideration in later races, particularly during the cold winter months, as the journeymen are more likely to be disinterested bystanders.
  8. What about race changes? I love first-time turf but stay away from turf to dirt. I also love horses going long the first time and stay away from horses going long to short.
  9. Give special consideration to 2nd-time starters.
  10. Try to stay away from betting on favorites.
  11. Give special consideration to speed horses in stake races.
  12. Try to avoid betting on layoff (21 or more days) horses in cheap claiming races since they obviously have missed a turn — for a reason.
  13. Finally, stop betting NYRA tracks. I now bet Gulfstream, Pimlico, etc.
  14. Where to bet? Find an OTB or a simulcast facility that offers track odds or bet from home with a phone account since live at-the-track betting has become a dying form of entertainment.
  15. What about money management? Forget about it. It is a non-entity for the real gambler. It all depends on the risks you are willing to take. For the novice, bet only an amount that losing will have no impact on your life.
  16. What about bringing friends and family to the track (as I have often done)? Don’t waste your time. Most are looking for “instant gratification” and become disillusioned / bored when they realize there are 30-35 minutes between races.

Good luck in the months (and hopefully years) ahead. If you continue to bet, and my above suggestions don’t work, blame it on Karma.

Zzzabuu will return early next year (if  I’m still around).

Visit the author at:

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NEXT POSTINGS

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Great Eats VI

OCTOBER 1:             On Technical Writing

NOVEMBER 1:         On the Ohi Day IV

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra’s 2020-21 Basketball Season / EWSD (Budget Vote)

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Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Practice putting the ball in play; there should be several options available (and known) without the need to take a time out.
  2. Always run on offense; the only exceptions are:
  3. The bench is weak, and
  4. A key player is in foul trouble (shorten the game).
  5. Motion offense is a must, otherwise your grandmother can guard you.

Note: Mary (M.K. Theodore) and I (L. Theodore) just published a book titled “Introduction to Environmental Management”, 2nd edition, CRC Press / Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL, 2021 (99$). The book is the definitive source for those seeking a non-technical presentation of technical environmental issues, e.g., electromagnetic waves, noise pollution, nanotechnology, global warming, desalination, etc. Homework problems and exams (with solutions) are also available for those who adopt.


ON MEMORIAL DAY V

May 31, 2021

June 1, 2021

How often do those in the reading audience give thanks for being an American? How many give thanks for having been born and raised in America? How often do we give thanks for our lifestyle – cars, TVs, restaurants, vacations, home(s), cellphones, etc? And how often do people around the world give thanks for their present-day lifestyle?

But, who should we and those around the world give thanks to? For some, the answer might be the bureaucrats, politicians, lawyers, etc. For others, it might be doctors or engineers or scientists. For me, thanks would be directed to those who have served or are presently serving in the defense of our great nation. I feel a pang of guilt every year when Memorial Day rolls around. I am 87 years old and never served America. Although I have been told that I am not in the “Jane Fonda” mold, this haunting memory shall not leave me, nor should it.

This is the 21st Memorial Day of this century. It provides us with another opportunity to reevaluate the meaning of this special day. It is a day we primarily pay tribute to those who have died in battle for our country. We also pay tribute to those veterans who have served our nation.

It is a day of reflection, and on this day of reflecting I am reminded of an old saying: “to live in the memory of a loved one, is to live forever.” It is appropriate that we pay homage to these men and women who have provided us with our present-day quality of life.

Twenty years ago, I attended Memorial Day festivities on our Village Green. I was treated to a touching and compassionate speech by Tony Cassella (former Mayor of the Village of East Williston). The speech was written by his son Paul. Tony graciously provided a copy of the speech to me. I would like to pass along (with permission) part of that speech.

“To me, Memorial Day, like Thanksgiving Day, is that day when we pause in our busy lives and think about all of the people who sacrificed so much so that we may enjoy our freedom in this wonderful country. When I think of Memorial Day what first comes to mind are the dramatic opening lines of Thomas Payne’s Pamphlet written during the Revolutionary War wherein he stated “These are the times that drive men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crises, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” Those words were so powerful that our first President, George Washington, before crossing the Delaware to attack the sleeping Hessians on Christmas Day, read Payne’s pamphlet to all of his troops. Little did Thomas Payne know that from that time on to this very day the citizens of this country would never be summer soldiers or sunshine patriots. Throughout world wars and the many conflicts and police actions over the last years, our citizens have met their call to duty. It is because of their actions that today we honor those men and women who have made the supreme sacrifice and who have been injured in conquering tyranny. The actions assure that we today would enjoy the wonderful life that we have in these great United States, here in East Williston, and in villages like ours across the country.”

I also want to leave you with my thoughts for those who came before me and made the ultimate sacrifice:

  1. They fought for and defended our way of life over these past 2 ½ centuries.
  2. There were over 1,000,000 service members who didn’t make it back – American Revolution (4,500), WWI (110,000), WWII (400,000), Korean War (35,000), Vietnam War (60,000), etc.
  3. My gratitude is forever.
  4. I will never forget.
  5. Let us remember what they died for.
  6. Their sacrifice guarded and continues to insure our freedom.

For me, forgetting and not honoring our fallen heroes of the past provides strength to our enemies of today. Let us all help erase this advantage on this special day. It would be great if the Village Mall were jammed packed for this coming Memorial Day celebration. It is up to each and every one of us to help make this happen. It will serve as a reminder to all of the sacrifices made by the men and women who served our great country in the past and those who are serving today.

Have a great Memorial Day. Enjoy it as grateful and thankful Americans and let us never forget its significance.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

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NEXT POSTINGS

JULY 1:                      On Great Eats VI

AUGUST 1:                On Technical Writing

SEPTEMBER 1:         Zzzabuu V

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Here are this month’s three defensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Practice various strategies when boxing out at the foul line.
  2. Practice various defenses when opponents are inbounding the ball from various locations on the court near the end of the game.
  3. Try to maneuver opponent near a corner in the back court if pressing.