20 Second Timeout: Bill Schoening Blog

Bill Schoening's :20 Timeout

Follow the team all season long with the 20-Second Timeout blog by Bill Schoening, The Radio Voice of the Spurs for the past 13 years. Bill has over 30 years of play-by-play experience including broadcasting Major League Baseball, the NFL and the NBA. *Timeout Archive: October 10 | November 10 | December 10 | January 11 | February 11 | March 11 | April 11 | December 11 | January 12 | February 12 | March 12 | April 12 | May 12 | October 12 | November 12 | December 12 | January 13 | February 13 | March 13 | April 13 | May 13 | June 13 | October 13 | November 13 | December 13 | January 14 | February 14 | March 14 |

Remembering Dr. Jack
by Bill Schoening | April 30, 2014

Dr. Jack

I know we are caught up in the excitement of the NBA playoffs, but I feel compelled to take a moment and remember one of the true gentlemen of the game of basketball, Dr. Jack Ramsay, who passed away Monday morning. The Hall of Fame coach also authored books and served as a color commentator on national television and radio.

When Jack Ramsay shared his thoughts on a game or a player, it was an opinion from a man who knew the game as well as anyone. I had a special connection with Dr. Jack because we shared basketball roots in Philadelphia. The first time I met him and told him I attended West Catholic High School, he immediately rattled off the names of four West Catholic players he recruited or coached against.

He played and coached at St. Joseph's University, where he had several top 10 teams in the early '60s before moving on the pros. I could go on about his many successes, but the thing that impressed me the most about Dr. Jack was his character. Even though his accomplishments were many (he was a "frogman" diver during WWII ) he was consistently humble and kind.

He always had time to be a pregame guest for Spurs Radio and I relished the opportunity to have a five minute chat and dive into a very astute basketball mind like his. He openly appreciated the Spurs and the way they play and conduct themselves, and he was a fan of Gregg Popovich.

To me Dr. Jack Ramsay was not only a Hall of Fame coach, but a Hall of Fame person as well. I am blessed to have known him. Rest in Peace, Dr. Jack.

Pop Deserving
by Bill Schoening | April 22, 2014

Coach Pop

I clearly remember Gregg Popovich stopping me mid-question early in a pregame interview years ago. Pop told me to tell me to "start the interview over and this time, don't mention that award."

Pop had just been named Western Conference coach of the month, and I brought up that fact as I started the interview. In retrospect, I should've known better. Gregg Popovich coaches basketball because he has a passion for it; not because it comes with a certain level of celebrity and recognition. While he consistently deflects any sort of praise, he gives credit to his staff, players, and owners.

I am fortunate enough to have a vote for the NBA postseason awards, and I didn't hesitate to put Pop at the top of my ballot for Coach of the Year. ( I placed Tom Thibodeau second and Steve Clifford third). I saw firsthand how he guided this team to a 62 win season, despite a rash of injuries at mid season.

The production from the bench allowed Pop to closely monitor the minutes of his veteran players while not sacrificing wins along the way. If ever there was a deserving winner of Coach of the Year, it's Gregg Popovich in 2013-14.

Here We Go
by Bill Schoening | April 17, 2014

Here We Go

Its amazing to me how every NBA season is a paradox, especially with the Spurs. It is such a long grind, with midnight flights and 2AM arrivals, and baggage pulls and checkout times. That said, the seasons also seem to fly by at times.

Here we are in Mid-April, the Spurs have won their customary 50 games (actually 62 this season) and it seems the season has just whizzed by in a heartbeat. In the past I have compared the NBA season to a rollercoaster ride, with plenty of ups and downs and twists and turns.

Its fun and exciting, but can also be a little scary. There's no question to me that this is the most exciting time of the year, because we have no idea what comes next. What we do know is that this Spurs team has taken care of business so far and has put itself in a very solid position.

With the number one seed and homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs, the road to the NBA Finals goes through San Antonio. This Spurs team has been fun to cover; good guys who love playing together.

Their chemistry off the court is evidenced on the floor as well by the way they share the ball, thank each other for assists, and help each other up off the floor.

It has been an awesome ride so far, and I don't think any of us want to get off this ride just yet!

The Armory
by Bill Schoening | April 8, 2014

The Armory

Late Philadelphia folksinger Billy Shied once wrote, "You can't know where you're going if you don't know where you've been." I think of that phrase often because I try to have an appreciation for history.

A few years ago on "20 Second Timeout" I wrote about an old building in downtown Minneapolis that is now used as a parking garage. At one point in its history, however, over 50 years ago, it was the home arena of the Minneapolis Lakers, just before the franchise moved out west to L.A.

I took a walk today to see how the building is holding up, and it's still there, although I imagine many folks drive or walk past it daily and have no clue that Slater Martin and George Mikan once played there.

The Armory is now on the national register of historic places.

The Lakers played games there from 1947-60. Minneapolis native Prince used the building for his "1999" video and Aerosmith shot the video for "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" at The Armory as well.

The grand old lady, built in 1935, is still holding up well, and if you listen closely you can still hear the cheers of NBA fans from an era long since gone.

Mama Mia Marco
by Bill Schoening | April 4, 2014

Marco Belinelli

I will admit something right up front. I love Italy. Two trips to Rome over the past five years has me hooked. I am fascinated by the history, art, architecture, wine and food.

When the Spurs signed Marco Belinelli last summer, I had a feeling I would like working with him. He has not disappointed. All season long he has been in the top ten in the NBA in three point percentage. He's been an integral part of the league's most productive bench and he has fit in nicely in the Spurs diverse and multi- cultural locker room.

Belinelli says he's having fun. " I am enjoying it here", says the native of Bologna. "The fans are amazing and really love this team. It is amazing for me to be here with Manu, TP and TD. Right now we are just getting ready for the playoffs, we are moving the ball great and our defense has improved. Now we're going to try play even better for the playoffs."

Belinelli has played for the Warriors, Hornets and Bulls in his career, but he is clearly loving his first season in the Alamo City. When Marco hits a three, I bellow out "Bellisimo" but Bill Land of Spurs TV says, "Mama Mia".

Prior to our pregame chat on Wednesday night, Belinelli spotted Land and yelled, "Hey Mama Mia- thanks to you I have friends from Europe call me and say 'Mama Mia'! Needless to say, Marco had a huge smile on his face.