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yoco :: College Basketball
(a sports weblog) news and commentary on men's college basketball and the ncaa tournament

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Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Initially, I found the statistic Cal coach Ben Braun invented for sophomore point guard Ayinde Ubaka a little much.

Every practice, Braun's staff charts each player's leadership contributions: high-fives, verbal encouragement, physical contact to congratulate a teammate, instigating team huddles, demonstrations of enthusiasm, assertive actions, hustle plays. They are tallied at the end of the day, and a high score for Ubaka and fellow guard Richard Midgley is good news for Cal.

The system might seem silly, but for Cal to overcome the loss of Leon Powe and predictions that the Bears will be mediocre this season, it needs to put together intangibles that make the team greater than its individuals.

Paternalistic and almost pathetic, sure. But also rewarding and, if used correctly, respectful. After further review, I decided Lute Olson should adopt a similar method to motivate Salim Stoudamire. Better a running tally of behavior than assistant coach Rodney Tention's pacifier.