You become infected with success when you think that your past is going to have an impact on your future. Oh, it might have an effect on the opposition in that your success may affect their thinking. Fine, but do not let it affect what you do.
Learn from the past, don't live in the past. The infection of success can lead you to live in the past, to believe what happened before is automatically going to happen again. When that occurs you have been infected by success.
You have control only over the present, right now. Let me prove it to you. I ask you to do this: change the past. Even the smallest, most incidental, least important thing that happened in the past. Go ahead and show that you can change it.
The future? Again I ask you, change right now something in the future. Can you? Of course not. Your control exists now, in the present, right here.
How you respond to pass success can be damaging if you let it infect your thinking, if you let it diminish your preparation in the present for the future. Then you've been infected by success.
Leading up to Coach's 100th birthday celebration, I had been thinking last few days how his words can apply to the frustrations and often nightmares from last two UCLA basketball season and I kept coming back to the section excerpted above from page 56 of "Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court" by Steve Jamison.
One of main reasons we had to endure difficult 1+ year stretch of UCLA basketball was a core group of incoming freshmen class from two years ago became "infected" by the success of classic Ben Ball warriors, who re-established UCLA basketball in Coach Ben Howland's early years in Westwood. It's feeling of entitlement that gradually infected the entire team, eventually leading to the total implosion this past season.
I have no idea what to expect from the group of guys (only 10 scholarship players available to play for Coach Howland in 2010-11) this upcoming season in terms of wins and losses. There is a chance this team could gel into a group that might be competing for a Pac-10 title. On the other hand there is just as good a chance of them struggling all over again to even get in position to get into the Big Dance. What we do expect is for this UCLA basketball team to work their collective tails off at both ends of the court as a complete team and come into this season without a feeling of entitlement. I guess they no longer can be "infected" with success given the nightmarish results of this past season.
So here is to our guys understanding that harder they work, the "more luck" they will have, keeping in mind "that hustle makes up for many a mistake," realizing that "it's the perfection of the smallest details that make big things happen," and most importantly remembering that "there is no substitute for hard work and careful planning" and that "failing to prepare is preparing to fail." Notes from UCLA basketball's 2010 media day after the jump.
Here is Coach Howland setting up the season (via Blair Angulo on ESPNLA):
Coach identifies Malcolm Lee, Tyler Honeycutt and Reeves Nelson as the three key players. He talked about Jerime Anderson "made strides" and Lazeric Jones perhaps providing "leadership" during this upcoming season. He was excited about all the freshmen but emphasized how the Bruins have a "lot of work to do."
"I'm really excited, most excited I've been about any season that I've been a part of," said small forward Tyler Honeycutt, who returns for his sophomore season out of Sylmar High after averaging 7.2 points and a team-high 6.5rebounds per game as a freshman. "We have a great group of guys. Everyone is really looking forward to playing with each other.
"We get along great off the court. It can only get better on the court."
Well after what we had to endure early last season, let's keep our fingers crossed. Tyler does look a little sturdier in the picture above. It appears the has been putting in some work in the weight room this off season. Speaking of hard work, that is what Brandon Lane did to get back in game shape:
Sophomore forward Brendan Lane, who had surgery on his left ankle in April, said he has been going full speed for more than a month. Lane has also added about 20 pounds to his frame. He's now 6 feet 9 and 220 pounds.
"I rehabbed all summer and just got in the weight room," Lane said. "I've been working on my shot and doing whatever I can with my ankle. I'm getting back in game shape."
That is excellent news. Really excited to see what Lane cane bring to the team this year. He was the ultimate team player this last season, doing everything he can to chip in with his allotted mins (even though he should have been used lot earlier in the season).
Coach Howland actually made an interesting comment about freshman contribution:
"The freshman are going to play an important role right away, there's no question," Howland said. "They're going to be thrown into the fire and freshmen make more mistakes, that's a part of it, but I think this team has the potential to be good."
Well, I certainly hope Howland shows a little more patience with freshmen than he has done since his early years in Westwood. Bruins are going to need contributions from Josh Smith and Tyler Lamb in a big way, if they are looking to put together a decent season (if they are lucky, they are going to get perhaps 5-7 decent mins from Matt Carlino as well).
"This is a different stage, and obviously I'm not coming out here expecting to score 30 points," said Smith, one of three projected impact freshmen, along with Tyler Lamb and Matt Carlino. "This is college; I'm not playing in my high school league any more. If I do all the little things, the big things will open up."
Of course big ups to Smith for all the work he has put in this off-season reportedly losing 50 pounds after working 3 times a day for 6 days a week all summer long:
"It's going to help me be more agile in the post," Smith said. "I can move my feet around."
Howland said one of the key benefits will be Smith's ability to transition from offense to defense and back.
"Everybody is going to try and beat him down the floor when the other team gets the ball," Howland said. "So that's going to be a big challenge for him is to make sure that he's able to keep pace and make sure that he's able to change ends."
We will keep our fingers crossed.
Not going to belabor the point about how Malcolm Lee needs to find some kind of shooting touch and Jerime Anderson needs to display passion, heart and dedication to those four letters. Of course there might be hope that Lazeric Jones might be able to push Anderson. For my part, I am not going to get my hopes up based on unreliable scouting reports from JC circuit and summer league games. Just hope the guys keep in mind the following words from Coach (Jamison, page 108):
When people ask me now if I miss coaching UCLA basketball games, the national championships, the attention, the trophies, and everything that goes with them, I tell them this: I miss the practices.
I don't miss the games or the tournaments or all the folderol. As Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, "It is better to travel hopefully than arrive." I tried to do that.
It's the practices I miss most. Even now.
The GLORY is in "GETTING THERE." Good luck gentlemen. Coach and Nell upstairs along with the entire Bruin Nation will be pulling for you.