A Day in the Life: Assistant Coach Todd Bozeman
Posted Mar 5 2001 12:00AM
Road Journals from the Ambassadors
On February 25, the NBDL Ambassadors played an exhibition game in Corrientes, Argentina against Club Regatas. Here is what the day was like for Assistant Coach Todd Bozeman.
This morning we participated in a clinic with approximately 150 children from Corrientes. I thought it went well. The kids learned fundamentals regarding dribbling, ball handling, passing, shooting proper lay-ups, shooting the jump-shot, boxing-out, rebounding and calisthenics. There were two players in each station, and we rotated every six or seven minutes and afterwards the children received autographed pictures. Coach Archibald and I walked around and participated in a number of different stations helping the children out, particularly the younger children. We also took the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the place because the game would be played there later tonight.
We enjoyed ourselves at the clinic, sharing the fundamentals of basketball with the children of Corrientes. We actually were very tired and looking forward to going back to the hotel to rest. Almost everybody went back and tried to go down to a telephone place near the hotel and call home.
Right now, I am sitting courtside preparing for our game against Club Regatas from Corrientes. This is a second division team, and one of the Americans they have is Johvan Scales, who played at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I think during his senior year he led the NCAA in scoring. The gym where we are warming up has a nice setting next to the beach. As we were walking in, people were walking out of the beach and you could tell that the crowd was very rowdy. After we got out of the bus, we went downstairs through a tunnel and came back up right next to the locker rooms. It was like getting to the locker room through a basement. The back of our bench had a see-through plastic overhead to keep people from throwing things to the opposing teams which I thought was a sign of how rowdy the crowd might get. They even had another one over the local team's bench. I guess that means that if they don't play well, they could get the same response as the visiting team.
Currently, we have a record of 2-1, and this will be our fourth game so far. I am sitting next to Curt Smith, who is probably not going to play tonight due to some tendonitis. Matt Steigega will not play either because he has some pain in his Achilles tendon. The guys who are expected to get a lot of time during this game are Alex Scales from Oregon, Curtis Haywood from Oklahoma City, Ja Ja Richards from Loyola, Ceedric Goodwyn from Colorado State, and Dwayne Whitfield from Jackson State. C.J. Black from Tennessee and Donald Watts will also play a lot of minutes tonight. Coach Archibald is trying to give the guys who did not get a lot of playing time during our games in the Mar del Plata pool the chance to play some extra minutes. Even though these players did not play an awful lot then, it was not an indication of their skill level.
That night, we defeated Club Regatas 95-80.
Our assessment of the game among the coaching staff was that we started the game playing well. We were running fast breaks from the outset, which is the kind of basketball that best fits our style. Our main goal throughout is to get to that level that we've pictured of how we want our team to play. We want to be really efficient, and during every game and practice we are trying to get closer and closer to our goal of running our plays in an efficient manner. We started the game well and gained a 12 point lead. But at that point we got comfortable and let up a bit. The other team was able to overcome that deficit, and then the crowd got back in the game; they were really into the game and very loud. They started singing a song they have, which we've heard in the past when we watched games on TV and suddenly the whole gymnasium, which was packed, started cheering a lot for the local team.
We got to the third and fourth quarter with the score tied. Then, in the final period, we went on a 12-2 run that gave us the lead again, and we ended up winning by 15 points. Donald Watts was our leading scorer with 25 points and was named MVP. But although we got the victory, the coaching staff was not necessarily happy because we want to make steps towards improving every game, and just because you won does not necessarily mean that you improved as a team. But that is our goal, and in the next few practices, we will be focusing on those issues.
After tomorrow, we will start with two practices a day, and we are going to try to get back to the basics and improve on the things we did during this trip to Corrientes. We have a record of 3-1, which is very good, and we are very happy about that. We are also having a good time traveling to these different towns. Now we are going back to Buenos Aires, or like they say in Argentina, 'B.A.' B.A. is a great city. It reminds me a lot of New York City, a lot of people with a lot of different things going on. Even from the hotel room, you can see a lot of activities going on, which kind of reminds you of home. It does not even give you the feeling of being in another country. The only difference is that you cannot reach out and be with your family, or call someone and tell them that you are coming over or vice versa; but, B.A. is a nice city, and the team is really enjoying it.
We have another scheduled exhibition game against St. Nicholas, Argentina on March 2 before continuing pool play in a best-of-three quarterfinal series against Brazilian legend Oscar Schmitt and his team, Flamengo. It will be tough match-up but we plan to be ready. We will start the series playing in Santa Fe on March 5, and then we will travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to play a second game, and if necessary, a third game.
I would like to end my journal saying that we are enjoying ourselves, and are very happy about spreading the good will of basketball throughout South America and representing the United States and the National Basketball Development League, the new minor league of the NBA.
I am going to finish my journal greeting you like they do here, Chau...Coach Bozeman.