Obviously, The Trojies are ill-advised to come into our house with anything less than their "A" game. But in addition, I was really watching Tim Floyd and his team last night, and I thought, "Wow, it really is…coaching. It’s all about coaching, coaching, coaching."
The good ones—and I mean the really good ones—like our Coach John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, Bobby Knight, Mike Krzyzewski, Pat Summit—they all coach discipline. (Do I personally love all of these folks? No, but that’s not the point.) They coach discipline, with discipline. They make the really hard decisions when they must, and they hold themselves, and their players, completely accountable.
Tim Floyd has a 63-36 record with USC. USC has now, and has had in the past, some very talented individual players. He has not, that I can find or recall, either in college or during his miserable tenure in the NBA, had a team that has played better as a whole than the sum of its individual players. In fact, one could reasonably argue that his teams have grossly underachieved when they’ve had high-calibar individual talent on board. (OJ Mayo was utterly punked by K-State’s Michael Beasley & Company last year—he absolutely could not handle the "help" defense.) Tim Floyd’s NBA record is 93-235, and his Bulls teams were apparently renowned for… fighting.
Look, both OJ Mayo and Kevin Love were destined for the NBA, regardless. And, probably Jordan Farmar and AA were, as well. But, RW and LRMAM were probably not guaranteed such a destiny in the beginning. Then they hooked up with Coach Ben Howland, the uncompromising disciplinarian. This is not to take away from their natural talents and abilities, understand, but they developed those gifts in the right environment to create—face it—absolutely monstrous, driven, disciplined, no-work-is-too-hard, defend-to-the-death NBA players, stars, eye-poppers, even. Coaches’ dreams.
Coaching discipline. Davon Jefferson was a talented young player. He had absolutely no discipline. He torpedoed himself in a gut-wrenching fashion. Angelo Johnson, another USC freshman last season, set an all-time "spoiled brat-ness" record last fall, and left USC in a huff. (Sorry, can’t resist this, compare AA2. He really considered leaving, folks, and he not only already has his undergrad degree, he has an enormous destiny of his own. Look at what he’s doing right now.) Floyd’s response to Johnson’s tantrum was basically to bemoan that he didn’t have players "like Darren Collison." Nope, no accountability there. Floyd took no responsibility for these kids, from the get-go, the same way he takes no responsibility for the filthy play of Leonard Washington and Daniel Hackett. And, of course, there is no discipline whatsoever. Taj Gibson has skills. Taj Gibson is consistently in foul trouble. Coach Floyd responds to fouls committed by his team by screaming at the refs. Ergo, Taj Gibson and Daniel Hackett continue to get into foul trouble. It’s all "cheap shots and bad losses." No responsibility. No accountability. No discipline.
Drago got himself in some serious trouble early this season. Coach Howland’s response? He’s benched. Discipline. Look at what Drago is doing now. Screw up, Coach sits you. Coach asks you to work a little harder and step up your defensive play, you do what he asks, and — you’re The Man.
The basketball part of this coaching thing? Well, that really is rocket science to me, frankly. But the other part that Coach Wooden and Coach Howland—and all those other great coaches I mentioned—have? I think it’s discipline, and I think it’s just as difficult and challenging to do as the basketball part. I also think the basketball part will kick you in the butt if you don’t have it, Coach Floyd.