A Look at Coach Popovich Timeout

The 45 Word Timeout by Gregg Popovich, May 31, 2012

Courtesty of Nex Level Blog


It’s NBA playoff time and, as I write this, the San Antonio Spurs haven’t lost a game since April 11. That streak was almost broken a few nights ago when the Spurs were down big to the Oklahoma City Thunder in game one of the Western Conference championship series. The Spurs turned it around, though, and went on to win after NBA Coach of the Year Gregg Popovich unleashed one of the greatest pep talks I’ve heard in a long time.

The punch line of the talk, “I want some nasty!” is now emblazoned on T-shirts throughout San Antonio. Popovich has won four NBA championships with the Spurs over the years and when you watch the pep talk you can see why. It’s a 27 second model of how to coach and motivate a team.


Popovich’s pep talk contains only 45 words. It’s like a pep talk haiku.

Let’s break it down line by line to see what leaders can learn from Coach Pop about motivating their teams. (Popovich’s words are bolded.)


Are we having fun yet? Opening with this question brings a little humor to a stressful situation. It gets the attention of the team in a more effective way than yelling something like, “What in the hell is wrong with you guys?”


I need a little bit more dose of nasty. This is the set up for the rest of the talk. With this line, Popovich is describing the big picture of what he’s looking for from the team.


I’m seeing a little bit of un-confidence. A little hesitation. Now, he’s getting more specific about what he’s been seeing from the team and what needs to be corrected. It doesn’t matter that un-confidence isn’t really a word. You don’t have to speak perfectly to get your point across.


It’s not supposed to be easy. Every round gets tougher. This is a great perspective check. Remember, he’s talking to guys like Tim Duncan and Tony Parker who have won championships. He’s reminding everyone that they’ve been here before.


Penetrate hard. Good passes. Shoot with confidence. This is beautiful. In seven words, Popovich gives very specific direction on three things that will turn it around for the Spurs. He’s giving them a clear and actionable set of instructions to overcome the un-confidence. I want some nasty! And the close. I want some nasty is a battle cry that sums up everything he’s just said. He opens with nasty; he closes with nasty and in between he explains exactly what nasty does and doesn’t look like. That’s something a team can work with.


Forty five words in 27 seconds. Like I said, a pep talk role model for leaders who need to motivate their team to win.

Great look at 3 teams who will compete in Omaha this year.

The College World Series is a great event and one that is definitely on the top of my Bucket List. Here is an article I found on-line with an in depth look at three teams with a different and unique angle in Omaha.

The 2012 College World Series is almost upon us and there will be plenty of great stories to follow. Kent St., South Carolina and Stony Brook are among the top ones to have interest in this June.

Jun 12, 2012 – The 2012 College World Series bracket in Omaha, Neb., is all set after a thrilling series of games on Monday afternoon and night. What are some of the story lines we should be following when play begins on Friday, June 15?

South Carolina and the Pursuit of a Three-peat

The South Carolina Gamecocks head to Omaha with back-to-back national championship victories in 2010 and 2011. Is a third one ready to happen in 2012? The Gamecocks (45-17) went 3-0 in the Columbia, S.C. regional by defeating Manhattan (7-0) and Clemson twice (5-4, 4-3). They stayed in Columbia for the Super Regional against the Oklahoma Sooners. They won Game 1, 5-0, and then need two days to complete Game 2, which they won, 5-1.

The Gamecocks are led by ace pitcher Michael Roth (7-1, 2.50 ERA), first baseman Christian Walker (.308 BA, 11 HR) and left fielder Tanner English (.311 BA). They will take a 21-postseason-game winning streak and an 11-game winning streak in the College World Series to Omaha. This experienced team should certainly haunt the rest of the field.

Stony Brook and the No. 4 Seed

The Stony Brook Seawolves (52-13) were given a No. 4 seed during regional play, making them the equivalent of a No. 13 seed or lower in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. They took that and ran with it all the way to Omaha. They upset the No. 1 seed Miami Hurricanes in Coral Gables, Fla., lost to Central Florida, defeated Missouri State in the loser’s bracket and then won two straight games against Central Florida to advance to the Super Regionals.

They traveled to Baton Rouge, La., to face the LSU Tigers in the Super Regional round, where they had to play in Alex Box Stadium, one of the toughest places to go on to the road and win. Game 1 was an epic struggle in which there was a punch-counter punch from innings 9-11. The game was tied at 4-4 before the start of the 12th inning, just as rain forced the completion of the game to Saturday morning. LSU won that game, 5-4.

Stony Brook bounced back with a 3-1 victory on Saturday afternoon, led by a complete game effort from Tyler Johnson. That put them one win away from heading to the College World Series, where just one No. 4 seed has reached before (the Fresno St. Bulldogs that won it all in 2008).

On Sunday night, Frankie Vanderka threw his own complete game in a 7-2 victory to pull off the shocking upset. They became the first America East team to advance to Omaha. Can this program keep making its run and pull off the nigh impossible?

Kent St. Does the MAC Proud

The Mid-American Conference has had a lengthy drought in putting a team in Omaha — Eastern Michigan in 1976 — but the Kent St. Golden Flashes ended that on Monday night with a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Oregon Ducks, a team that hadn’t been to Omaha since 1954 (and, in 1981, had its baseball program dropped to the club level before returning in 2009). A Jimmy Rider double and the glaring sun in the eyes of left fielder Brett Thomas gave the ninth-inning victory to the Golden Flashes.

It wasn’t easy at all for Kent St. to get there. It opened regional play as a No. 3 seed against the No. 2 seed Kentucky Wildcats in Gary, Ind., and needed 21 innings for a 7-6 victory. They then beat No. 1 seed and host Purdue, 7-3. A rematch against Kentucky resulted in a 3-2 victory and a spot in the Super Regionals.

Kent St. held off a late rally by Oregon in Game 1 for the 7-6 victory, but Game 2 saw some shoddy defense lead to a 3-2 defeat. In Game 3, Kent St. did suffer another late collapse, but that resulted in a tie game in the eighth inning. That allowed for the dramatics we saw in the bottom of the ninth.

* * *

To have not only a No. 3 and No. 4 in the College World Series but also for those teams to be from the North is quite the accomplishment. While it might be too much to make anything of this immediately, it certainly does give hope to other teams in the North that they can produce winners and make it to Omaha.

The College World Series begins on Friday, June 15, and will last until June 25 or June 26, depending on a possible Game 3 in the championship series. Who do you winning college baseball’s ultimate prize?

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Denver. For a complete bracket, visit NCAA.com.



Wow – what happened at the end of the Celtics game was unreal last night. For over the last 3 minutes of the Celtics game 6 loss -the Garden faithful chanted “LETS GO CELTICS”.  My question is if the Heat lose game 7 at home on Saturday will the same thing play out in Miami? The answer is no!!

Remember this is only one loss, and after Game 2 of this series -all of us Celtic fans would have loved the chance to play in a Game 7. Well lets Go!!

Here is some postgame reaction of the Celtics.


Kevin Garnett: “I just wanted to say to all the fans- I knew it was going to be a crazy day- it took me 3 hours to get to the Garden today, that’s unusual. I want to say to all the fans, thank you guys. I’ve never in my life experienced anything like this- in any sport. I’m just truly blessed to be a Celtic and be a part of the city of Boston. That’s what’s up to all the New Englanders around here. It’s f***ing crazy.”

Doc Rivers: ”Did you hear our crowd the last three minutes of the game? What other crowd in the NBA does that? It’s a terrific place to play. The fans were unbelievable. They did their part tonight. We just didn’t do ours.”

Ray Allen: ”Kevin was sitting next to me, and I said these are ?? I know I’m biased, but they’re the best fans I’ve ever played in front of or ever seen in my life. They understand the situation that is before us, and we understand it. And that was basically them sending us off, letting us know, hey, this is still well and alive. We need you guys to go down there and get a win for us. We all felt it on the bench.

I know the game was going on. It seemed like that three minutes lasted forever. It was special. I’ll talk about that forever, just knowing being down 20 and these people are still standing up, cheering us on, because they know we just have to win one game.”

Paul Pierce: “We have the best fans in the world. Down 20, at home, in the playoffs, and they cheer us off the court. And that’s just awesome. That’s why we have the best fans in the world.”

Rajon Rondo: ”It was unbelievable. We’ve always said this, but that just shows we have the best fans in sports. Not just basketball. A lot of them stayed, and the chant was unbelievable. It was a crazy feeling when you’re down 20.”

Why KD35 is one of the Best Players in the World

“He works like he has no talent. He works hard every day like he’s trying to make the team.” –

Scott Brooks (Head Coach of the Thunder) on Kevin Durant.

Former Wildcat Jared Terrell Has 14 High Major Offers

Was fortunate enough to be able to write a blog entry for Roundball Direct on former Wildcat – Jared Terrell.



Holy Family 6th Grade Team With Wildcats

Holy Family 6th Grade Team With Wildcats


Thought I’d follow up the previous post about the New England Patriots’ culture of working hard with this passage from my favorite Jon Gordon book “Training Camp,” again talking about how talent is not enough:

You see, everyone says they want to be great, but very few are willing to pay the price. When a player asks me how to get to the next level, I ask them how much they want it. Because if you want it you’ll be willing to pay the price and invest the time, energy, sweat, and dedication that greatness requires. People think it’s all about talent. But talent isn’t enough anymore. It’s about infusing talent with heart, soul, spirit, and passion. It’s about doing the things that make the best better than everyone else. And these things have nothing to do with talent,” he said, raising his voice as he smacked his hands together.

“You remind me a lot of the way I used to think. I thought that being great meant that I needed to get stronger, quicker, and faster. And while those things were certainly part of becoming a great football player, I have learned that this is not where greatness begins. You see, striving for greatness doesn’t start on the field. It starts right here, in your head. You win here first,” he said, pointing to his forehead, “Then you win on the field.”

Thank you Coach Starkey of Central Florida