Bob Cousy – Basketball Player

Robert Joseph Cousy was on August 9th, 1928 in New York city. His father, Joseph, was a taxi driver and his mother, Julie Corlet was a secretary and a french teacher. Cousy grew up in Manhattan’s East Side in the Yorkville section. Growing up in a multinational neighborhood he played with Jewish, Afro American, Italian, and other ethic children. This experience at a young age instilled a strong dislike for racism that stayed with him throughout his career on the court and his life.

Bob first played basketball in elementary school. In high school he tried out for the basketball team but was cut from the team both in his freshman and sophomore years. Since he was unable to play for his high school he signed up to play for the St Albans Lindens of the Press League where he developed his skills playing basketball. In his sophomore year he broke his right hand forcing him to play basketball with his left hand. Once his right hand healed Cousy was able to play left and right handed giving him the advantage on the court.

In 1947 Bob Cousy went to Holy Cross and began playing basketball for the Crusaders his freshman year. It wasn’t until his sophomore year that he had a chance to show his abilities on the court. The Holy Cross Crusaders were playing Loyola of Chicago at the Boston Garden. The Crusaders were trailing and with five minutes to go in the game the fans started to chant repeatedly “We want Cousy”. Bob Cousy was let in the game and in a few short minutes he scored 11 points and dazzled the crowd with his behind the back drizzling and ball handling. His performance on the court won the game for his team. From that day on Bob Cousy played every game and became a three time All-American.

In the 1950 NBA Draft Bob had hoped to be drafted by the Boston Celtics but was basically snubbed by the top teams. They felt that his style of playing would not do well on a major league basketball court and he would be ineffective on the court. He was eventually picked up by the the Chicago Stags but the organization folded before the season started. As fate would have it Bob Cousy was drafted by the Boston Celtics.

Cousy’s career with the Celtics began in 1950 and lasted till 1963. After leaving the Celtics and his basketball career as a professional player he became head coach for Boston. For six years Bob lead the college team to numerous victories including three appearances at the NIT championship and two at the National Collegiate Athletic Assoc. During his time as a college basketball coach Cousy was twice named New England Coach of the Year in 1968 and 1969. In 1969 he returned to professional basketball as coach of the Cincinnati Royals. He remained their coach and part time player until 1973. Today Bob Cousy still works for the Celtics organization as a marketing consultant and from time to time as an announcer for the Celtics.

His career stats as a professional player are impressive with 16,960points scored and 6,955 assists in 942 games played. He was a 6 time NBA champion, 13 time All-Star, 1 time Most Valuable Player, 10 time All-NBA First Team, two time All NBA Second Team and a two time NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player.

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Duke University Basketball – Coach K – Bio

Born Michael Krzyzewski, the esteemed coach and son of Polish immigrants has been affectionately known by the nickname Coach K for decades. While even casual basketball fans know Coach K as the long time successful coach of the Duke University Blue Devils a much smaller segment of the population realizes that Coach K was driven and molded from an early age to live an impactful life that has positively affects thousands of people.

A graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point the Chicago native has the pedigree of a man that knows the intrinsic value of accountability. In addition to the full time responsibilities that were involved in training to become an officer in the Army at West Point Mike Krzyzewski spent a significant amount of his time on the hardwood playing for a young Bob Knight who happened to coach Krzyzewski during his stint at Army. Bob Knight would go on to become a legendary coach at Indiana University and eventually secured the position of holding the record for the most wins all time.

After serving as captain of the Army basketball squad during his senior season Mike spent five years after his 1969 graduation fulfilling a duty to his country by serving in the military. A calling to lead and positively influence the lives of young men took Coach K to Bloomington, Indiana where he dutifully served as an assistant coach for and was reunited with his former collegiate coach Bobby Knight. By 1975 when Knight and Coach K were once again on the same court (this time at Indiana) Knight had already established himself as a premier coach on a national stage. The squads that Knight sent out on the court during the 1974-1975 season and the 1975-1976 season went a collective 63-1 for an unfathomable 98.4 winning percentage.

After just one year of successful tutelage from Bob Knight at Indiana, Coach K took accepted his first college head coaching position which just happened to be at his old stomping grounds in West Point, New York. Five successful seasons at Army is all that it took to earn an opportunity to take over a Duke basketball program in 1980 that competes in consistently the toughest basketball conference in the country, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

In addition to his role of coaching Olympic gold medal winning basketball teams Coach K is known the world over for the model job he has done in his nearly thirty seasons as the head basketball coach at Duke University. His success at Duke has been so astounding that the laundry list of accomplishments is almost beyond the scope of this article. Some of the very many highlights include: 24 NCAA tournament appearances in the last 25 years, 11 conference championships in the highly competitive ACC, 10 final four appearances, three national championships, numerous coach of the year awards, and a 2001 induction into the basketball hall of fame.

Regardless of ones feelings about Duke University it seems unarguable to say that Coach K is tremendously qualified to instill impressionable young men with discipline, leadership, and character. The success enjoyed by Coach K as well as his impressive personal resume make one of the most respected men not just in basketball history but in all of sports.

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Youth Sports on a Budget – 10 Great Ways To Save $$$ On Youth Sports

Youth sports have never been more popular and with the tremendous explosion in popularity there comes a price. Anyone who has a child in youth sports these days, especially if it’s a club or travel team will agree that the multitude of associated costs can sometimes strain a family budget. Whether your child plays baseball, basketball, soccer, rugby, lacrosse or any other sport, the dollar signs start to add up fast when you factor in league or tournament fees, equipment, uniforms, travel, meals, training, etc. Plus, when sports can now sometimes run year round instead of just seasonally, there seems to be no end to the contributions a parent must make to keep their child’s burgeoning athletic career in motion. By some estimates, the average sports family spends over $2,000 a year in sports related costs alone! That is some serious cash, so any way you can possibly to make your money go further would probably be of interest.

As the head of an AAU Basketball program, one thing I always try to be cognizant of is to keep expenses down for the families, as I don’t want the cost to be an impediment to a child being able to participate in the program. We run a family-oriented program with the goal of giving every player a chance to contribute to our organization’s success and to learn valuable life lessons through the sport of Basketball. However, as with any competitive travel team, there are expenses that accrue which are mostly covered by the athletes’ parents. For that reason, we try to do everything we can to minimize the costs, while maximizing the value to our players and I think many programs strive to do that as well so that we can focus on the most important thing: the kids.

With that being said, here are some practical tips you can apply to your child’s given sport or passion to help keep your expenses down without sacrificing their ability to participate or enjoy in the fun.

1) ENSURE YOUR PLAYER’S COMMITMENT

Is the money you will be paying out well worth it? Have a frank discussion with your child beforehand to gauge their level of interest. It can be very frustrating for a parent to commit financial resources out front, only to find their child’s interest waning or low level of commitment.

2) GET YOUR PLAYER TO CONTRIBUTE

Depending on your player’s age, you may want to have them contribute to their sport’s expenses. Or maybe agree upon extra chores or things the athlete can do as a way to show how much they appreciate and want to help out in pursuit of something they love and benefit from.

3) TRY A REC OR COMMUNITY LEAGUE FIRST

Is this your child’s first time trying a sport? Instead of going all out with a club or travel team where the fees and costs are generally higher, why not see how much your child enjoys the sport first by engaging at a lower level like those offered by community or recreation programs. Normally these are less intense programs that give your young athlete a chance to learn the basics and get their feet wet, while also costing only a fraction of what higher-level leagues and programs require.

4) PURCHASE USED SPORTS EQUIPMENT

Kids grow fast and sometimes can quickly outgrow supplementary equipment or gear. These days there are a lot of businesses that offer sales of used or secondhand equipment like Play It Again Sports. Craigslist is also a great resource to find great deals. Keep equipment expenses minimal until you are sure that your child is serious about pursuing this sport or activity. As an aside, never skimp or go cheap when it comes to things that enhance your child’s safety such as helmets, padding, etc. Those types of things are well worth the cost in terms of peace of mind and injury prevention.

5) SELL YOUR OWN USED EQUIPMENT

The flip side of this is to sell your own used sports equipment. Once your player has outgrown it, the likely result is it will end up taking space in your garage or storage unit. Instead, clear out that space and generate some returns on your initial investment to put forward to future sports equipment purchases.

6) PLAN MEALS OR SNACKS IN ADVANCE

If your child is playing a travel sport that requires long weekends of tournament games, you might find yourself on the road a lot, and thus is a situation where you are forced to eat out quite frequently. These meals can add up quickly. To keep costs down in this area, prepare meals and snacks ahead of time that you can take with you. Not only will this reduce your expenses, but it’s likely your child will end up eating healthier, more nutritious meals because of it. Better yet, you may want to team up with other parents to prepare meals that the team can enjoy together.

7) LOOK FOR VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Do you have an area of expertise that you can contribute to a team, perhaps as a coach or team parent? Many programs will reduce your costs or credit your player’s account the more you volunteer in return to help out the program. Not only is this a great way to cut your costs, but it shows an example to your children about how committed you are to their passion.

8) ORGANIZE A FUNDRAISER

Our team has run many different types of these events, not only to keep costs down for the team in general, but also to create a sponsorship fund for kids who come from situations that would not be able to play otherwise. This year in fact we organized a team car wash. Every player was given ten tickets to sell to family, friends, acquaintances, etc. Plus if you have a great location mapped out you’ll get a lot of drive-by customers who will need the service or just look to help out kids in the community. On the day of the event, every family showed up to help with different aspects. Not only did this help raise a lot of money for our program, but it also was a great way for the players to bond and to give back to the program.

9) PLAN AHEAD ON TRAVEL EVENTS

When it comes to team travel costs, plan ahead and look for group discounts. With our own team, we have a designated parent who hunts down the best deals when it comes to hotels, airfare, team events, etc. Hotels will often offer tremendous room rates if they know you can bring a substantial group to their venue. We mainly focus on places that offer complimentary breakfasts. Not only is it easy and convenient, but it saves you the cost of a big meal for your team and ensures that they fill up on important nutrition to start the day. Additionally, when a team lodges in a common place, it helps with team bonding and activities.

10) COMMUTE AS A TEAM

Another terrific way to save on travel expenses is to commute with other families or players. Why drive ten cars to an event or tournament hours away when you can easily get away with six vehicles or less by pooling resources? Not only does this result in savings, but it is usually a much more enjoyable way for the players to travel.

While there are literally hundreds of ways parents can work to keep youth sports costs down, these are some of the best that have worked for our teams and many others. Just remember that this is an investment in your child. In some rare cases, sports may eventually offer a path to college scholarships or even lucrative careers. In every case though, youth sports can provide your child with a much needed opportunity to exercise and stay fit, gain skill and confidence, develop important life skills, learn to communicate and be part of a team, and more. With so many innumerable benefits, it is clear that your part in making these opportunities possible plays an important part of helping them grow into healthy, well-adjusted young adults.

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Scholarships by Sport: Baseball and Basketball

Baseball:

For the thousands of potential collegiate baseball players considering the possible financial opportunities for themselves, there are partial athletic scholarships available, although not guaranteed.

The Myth: Despite what some boasting ballplayers say, college baseball programs don’t hand out full athletic scholarships to recruits. In very special situations coaches may package together a combination of athletic and academic money. This too is very rare.

The Facts: The reason no baseball players receive full scholarships is because there are few to give out. NCAA Division I programs are permitted to disperse only 11.76 scholarships per year, and many lower level Division I programs have less because they cannot fund the full allowed amount. Division II schools are allotted even less scholarships, possessing a total of 9. For Division III baseball programs, they are not permitted to grant any athletic scholarships. But, they do offer a good deal of academic money for those players who are eligible.

The Scholarship Breakdown:

There are 287 division I and 246 division 2 colleges that offer NCAA baseball scholarships. That is a total of 5,594 scholarships in the NCAA alone. Scholarship athletes may receive no less than a 25% athletic scholarship

Overall: To receive a scholarship in such a highly competitive sport such as baseball it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. A high school ballplayer may be able to use his talents to partially pay for college. Parents would appreciate this. But, college coaches have the power to divide scholarships however they please.

Other Scholarships: The American Legion awards over 50-$1,000 scholarships to outstanding athletes on their baseball team rosters.

Basketball:

If you are aware of the challenges and hard work that it takes to receiving a scholarship offer, you will have a firm foundation to move forward and be rewarded for you hard work (Please refer to our scholarship article).

The Facts: Basketball is a “Head-Count” sport, this means that sport has a number of scholarships, and they are all full which typically covers the cost of tuition, room and board, course fees and provisions for books. The only two Head-Count men sports are Basketball and Football.

The Scholarship Breakdown-The NCAA allows each Division I Men’s Basketball program 13 scholarships and offers only 10 available for Division II.

-For Women’s basketball 15 Scholarships are offered in Division 1 and 10 in Division 2.

-There are 329 division 1 and 290 division 2 colleges that offer men’s basketball scholarships.

-There are also 328 division 1 colleges and 291 division 2 colleges that offer women’s scholarships.

-There are a total of 7,177 men’s basketball scholarships available in the NCAA alone. For women’s basketball there are a total of 9,285 in the NCAA

Overall:

To receive a scholarship in such a highly competitive sport such as basketball, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. A high school ballplayer may be able to use his talents to partially pay for college. Parents would appreciate this. But, college coaches have the power to divide scholarships however they please.

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