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October 25, 2007

Now that Late Night has passed and the step and the stomp were performed brilliantly, this group of young Jayhawks have been working hard in Allen Fieldhouse preparing for their next performance!!

The “bigs” are working on posting deep, the “lil bigs” are working on shooting it deep and the wings are working on running and slashing to the rim. While all of this is going on the point guards are taking control and staying in control. They are my voice and my coaches on the floor. Ivana Catic is having a great pre-season. Her leadership and experience will be invaluable for this young group. Kelly Kohn is as tough as nails and little Chakeitha Weldon is as quick as lightning!! These three gotta lead us!!!!

I love our intensity and our energy in practice everyday. Our unselfishnes will be a strength again for us this year. This is by far the quickest team I have coached. EVERYBODY can get up and down. Our bigs run with our lils!!! One goes, we all go!!!!

One more week of practice before our first exhibition game. We look forward to seeing our great fans again in Allen.

April 13, 2007

I am not a math major, nor do I claim to be a math person. I do, however, remember the phrase, “numbers can be misleading.” The same can be said for our 2006-2007 season record. Jayhawk fans experienced a glimpse of the talent and skill we have returning to the hardwood next season. We have a youth movement rocking Kansas Women’s Basketball and the future looks VERY bright! <?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

The energy and excitement about the future of our program is evident in our spring workouts. Our success down the stretch this year has been a springboard for some of the best post-season workouts I have ever seen.

The “gun” (a shooting/passing apparatus) has been working triple overtime weekdays and weekends this spring. Allen Fieldhouse has become a “home-away-from-home” for our returning players. LaChelda Jacobs has the largest rent check due this month!!

Literally thousands and thousands of shots are taking place day after day. You don’t get this type of effort from players during their free time without a strong belief in themselves, their teammates, our program and what we are trying to accomplish here at KU. These Jayhawks are putting in the time during the off-season to become champions.

It is one thing to be committed to competing for championships, but another thing to commit to training for championships.

This young group will get a head start for the 2007-2008 season by taking part in a team trip to Australia. We are permitted by the NCAA to take one foreign trip every four years and decided that this would be a great opportunity. This foreign tour will happen in early August before the start of the fall term. It is a fantastic way to practice in August and play four games against quality competition in Australia. It is also a great educational experience for our players.

We are excited to add three young women and their families to our KU family. Krysten Boogaard from Regina, Canada; Nicollette Smith from Tulsa, Okla., and Chakeitha Weldon from Atlanta, Ga., will all be freshman next year. We look forward to the contributions they will make to our program.

Enjoy your spring!! Rock Chalk Jayhawk…Go KU!!!

Feb. 8, 2007

Gut wrenching finishes have been status quo for our basketball team since the holiday break. We have hung tough and been oh soooooo close plenty of times throughout the month of January. What I love about this team, though, is that every single day of practice and every game, they believe we will win. The spirit in practice is high and their resiliency is fantastic!!

The upperclassmen on this team have stepped up to the challenge and have provided the consistency that got us “over the hump” in a great win over Colorado. Near misses versus Texas Tech and Texas A&M never made us waver in our belief that we will be successful every night.

Our freshmen have been well….freshmen. The roller coaster is hard to avoid and nearly impossible in your first year at this level. I love their attitude, energy and enthusiasm. They bounce back and show us everyday why we are so excited about the future of this Kansas program.

Speaking of excitement, Sharita Smith has been fantastic. A senior who has been known as a defensive specialist over the past three years, Sharita has stepped up to the challenge and has provided us HUGE minutes in the last two weeks.

Our young Jayhawks are learning “that’s what seniors do!” Sharita is taking shots she can make and handling some point guard assignments–all while guarding our opponents’ best perimeter players.

Our other senior on the team, Shaquina Mosley, has also risen to the challenge. Shaq’s play has been nothing short of fantastic. To have your name mentioned in the same sentence as Lynette Woodard is special … that happens when you are flirting with a triple-double. Shaq has the ability to play around the rim and thrilled thousands with a great take to the rim to seal the win over Colorado!

Hang on to your seats, Jayhawk fans, and watch this youthful group grow before your eyes!!

Dec. 19, 2006

Finals have come and gone and we are hoping for many “A’s” to be unwrapped this holiday season!!! The stress of finals week is tough for anyone. For seven of our players, this was their first experience of preparing and taking final exams while still having practice. The challenge we all face is the ability to focus on one at a time. While studying we shouldn’t be thinking about basketball; while at practice we shouldn’t be thinking about studying. Managing time/effort becomes even more important this time of year. The procrastinators are exposed this week!! Pulling all nighters (studying for exams, of course) makes for a miserable practice the next day.

I thought our players did a good job of balancing both academic and basketball expectations. Our practices focused on improving the timing and spacing of our offense. Many players committed to getting more shots in outside of practice and it paid off. Our win against Santa Clara was our best offensive performance of the year…an “A” in offense!! We are waiting on our final academic grades.

One of our favorite programs involves our Honorary Coaches. At every home game, we invite our honorary coaches to be part of the action. These “coaches” are faculty members, Hardwood Club members and other friends of the program. The program provides our fans the opportunity to “be in the huddle.” Honorary Coaches are in the locker room before the game, halftime and after the game. During the game they sit right behind the bench. Many “coaches” communicate with us afterwards that “it was the best thing I ever did and I didn’t understand anything that was said.” Basketball has a language of its own. I truly believe that those who participate grow in their appreciation of the “academic” element of our program.

With the Holiday Season, brings the New Year. We are participating in another educational program on Monday, January 1st from 12-2 pm. We are holding a Holiday Hoops Clinic in Allen Fieldhouse. Kids (K-8) and their parents can hang out and learn from our Jayhawk players. We will teach basic fundamentals and emphasize FUN!!!

For more information on the Holiday Hoops Clinic or Honorary Coach program, please contact our office at (785) 864-4938.

My Holiday wish for all of you is excellent health, safe travels and quality time with loved ones!!!

Nov. 28, 2006

The Jayhawks have enjoyed a nine day stretch in between games to focus on Kansas basketball. The break was great for us to put new things in on the offensive and defensive end and to clean up what we had already put in.

Thanksgiving Day was an off-day for us (I know… I am getting soft). I am aware who can cook and who can’t on our team and was worried that quite a few “wanna be chefs” were preparing a Thanksgiving feast for the team. They insisted on a “home cooked” meal. I am pleased to report there were no hospital visits or no-shows at practice the next day.

We are now 3-1 with two games coming up this week. Our two games in Kansas City were a good test for this young team away from Allen Fieldhouse and then a road trip up to Omaha to play Creighton. Defensively, we were good early and often against a quality Bluejay team. Our depth on the perimeter is proving to be a strength for us already this year.

Our team chemistry is very, very good. I know this chemistry will allow us to be more successful on the road. We have players that trust and respect one another and are playing for each other. I can already tell they feel responsible for one another and hold themselves accountable to each other.

Our positive team chemistry is a tribute to the kind of players we have at Kansas and also a product of work we have been doing in that area. Over the last six months we have been participating in team readings. Our topics revolve around leadership and team chemistry and what is pertinent to our team at the time. We eat a team meal together and discuss the readings on a weekly basis. It has been a great tool for all of our players.

It has given the freshmen a chance to speak up off the court. Although it is not like they don’t speak up enough!!!! Our upperclassmen started the readings after our season ended last spring to help us prepare for our seven freshmen. Our preparation involved leadership readings by John Maxwell. I wanted to make sure our returning players understood the impact they would have in the growth of this young and eager group of freshmen.

You win with teamwork and intelligence at any level. We strive to improve both of these aspects everyday at Kansas. I am learning everyday to expect the unexpected with this team. Eleven of our 14 players have one year or less of college basketball experience under their belts. What I enjoy everyday, though, is the high expectations they have for themselves on the court and in the classroom. This season is a marathon and not a sprint. Consistency and focus will make us a great team!!!

November 2, 2006

I’m excited to use this blog to share inside information on KU Women’s Basketball with you. As the 2006-2007 season unfolds, my goal is to share information with you about our players and coaching staff. Our basketball family is a special one!

We have completed the fall pre-season development phase of our season. Athletically, this phase involves strength, conditioning and skill development. This group of young women is, by far, the fittest team I’ve coached during my years on the bench. Our returning players have gained strength and improved endurance. Our seven freshmen have improved our overall team speed, quickness and explosiveness, along with establishing new nicknames and “earning their (adidas) stripes.” Although much of the fuss has been made about this group, our returning seven have been in charge of leading and mentoring our wide-eyed freshmen. The finale of our preseason was our appearance during “Late Night in the Phog.” Both the men and women’s teams entertained 16,300 basketball crazy fans with a choreographed skit/dance and intra-squad basketball scrimmages.

Our first three weeks of practice have been competitive and intense. Having graduated three key starters, there are minutes to be earned. The group of sophomores, juniors and seniors held an edge early on because of their experience in the program. Our rookies continue to impress their teammates and coaches with their skill, intensity and willingness to do right. They are very coachable and that makes my job a little bit easier.

Coaching/teaching seven freshmen has been both challenging and rewarding. Having both of those feelings in the same practice can sometimes be overwhelming, but I enjoy the energy and enthusiasm with everything that is new to them. They travel in a pack….when you see one, you see six others not too far behind. There are many moments that will be memorable for all of us. We have laughed and learned a great deal already!

We have two exhibition games coming up this week. I am hoping our pre-game lay-up drill will be better than it was at Late Night. Because of the adrenaline rush, our first lay-up in that drill hit nothing but the backboard. And, yes, it was a freshman that shot it. We will be exciting to watch this year. I am excited to see how much and how fast we will improve.

I look forward to keeping you in the know…..Rock Chalk Jayhawk, Go KU!