I know, I know - we could still make the CBI! or the CIT! Great if we do, not much loss if we don't. If we do, those are really just an extension of the DJ Byrd / Dru Anthrop Farewell Tour. If we do participate in any post-season action, I'd like to see Painter move to a lineup of Dru / TJ / RayD / Tacos / Chooooch. DJ can be first of the bench, followed by AJH, and RJ. But I digress.
2013-14 starts today. And I can see that this is clear to Painter as well. I was encouraged by this forward-looking quote from the Purdue/Neb recap:
"We just have to be more into it, in terms of having 12-month guys," he said. "We've just got to get a more skilled guy."He was talking about players who are more committed, who put in the extra time in the off-season as well as before and after practice.
"I'm going to migrate to those guys," Painter said. "I'm not going to migrate to guys that come in when practice is at 3 o'clock right at 3. And (it) ends at 5:30, they leave right at 5:30. And I'm always going to be that way. I always tell them when I recruit them, `If you work on your game and you care and you love it, I'm your guy. But if you go through the motions or whatever, I'm not your guy."
Any of our guys looking forward to a long, relaxing off-season of Xbox (do kids still play that?), sleeping in, and partying at Where Else? should have just gotten their bubbles burst. Painter just informed us of what we all, to some extent, already knew - these guys aren't skilled enough to just get by with the bare minimum. In fact, this may have only been a surprise to the players themselves. And I think this needs to be said in public.
Growing up in Indiana, in the 80's, it was tough not to be a fan of Larry Bird. The man was incredible. He was also a gangly lookin' white guy who came from Middleofnowhere, Indiana. So maybe there was a chance for me.... Maybe what I later found most admirable was his leadership. This could best be seen in his interview after losing Game 3 of the '84 Finals.
“We just played like a bunch of women tonight. … Until we get our hearts where they belong, we are in trouble.”
That's right - he went on national TV and said his professional men's basketball team played like a bunch of women. Now Painter wasn't quite so forward as to call them names (not to mention, this may not be so well received by society 30 years after Bird said it). But he essentially said the same thing - to a national audience. Bird's teammate, M.L. Carr on Bird's Game 3 comments:
”Larry was frustrated. He was disappointed, as we all were at getting blown out on national TV. But when he said guys played with no heart, I knew what would happen in the next game. Guys would do anything.”
That's right. They were called out. And if you watch the footage of Game 4 of that series, you saw heart - I'm pretty sure you saw some blood too. There was everything short of a fistfight. So much so, that Game 4 is infamous for Kevin McHale's clothesline of Kurt Rambis. Now none of us want to see Painter's comments result in a string of flagrant fouls. But the big question is: What will be the response?
Will they get the message?
Will they show us some heart?
Will some of these guys be looking for the door?
How do players in this generation respond to that kind of public shaming?
Boilermakers - 2013-14 starts today. On Day 0, your coach said, "You're not working hard enough, and you're not good enough to not work hard enough."
What will your answer be on Day 200?