Friday, June 26, 2009


No, this has nothing to do with Next Level. I hope everyone can stay tuned for that next Friday.

Instead, I would like to tell you how hard my job is. Thursday morning, I packed my bags and was getting ready to depart to Fort Benton, the "Beginning of Montana". As I headed out the door my son asked me why I had to go to work. I said, "It's my job."

Then my husband chirped in saying, "Mommy's not really working today. She is going to go have fun."

Yes, I admit my job brings great joy, and the past two days felt like a vacation. I was driving four hours to Fort Benton to speak at the Bobcat Club social which raises funds for student-athlete scholarships.

I pulled in to Fort Benton around noon and was picked up by Rita Elliot, the Bobcat Club Chapter President and her neighbor Kathy to do some kyaking down the river before the social. I will tell you, we got a lot of work accomplished on the river. We saw three deer, one pelican, and chatted about everything and anything.

It was one of the most relaxing two hours of my life. No cell phone in hand, in the great outdoors- God's beautiful country, and the only thing missing was a layer of sunscreen on my calf that I had missed. I am still paying for that today.

We finished off the evening with a great social with people from all over, including Hamilton, Chester, Belt, Fort Benton, and probably the entire Highwood community there to support my most recent signee, Rachel Semansky.

Therefore, I am now putting out a challenge to all surrounding areas of Highwood, Hamilton, and Fairfield (our 3 Montana signees) that if you all come to our home games this season we are sure to win the Big Sky attendance!

Today I wrapped up a scramble on 18 holes on the Fort Benton golf course with a wonderful and very skilled group. I have decided to throw away my 3 & 5 woods because it was obvious that the reason I couldn't hit with those today were because they were bad clubs. It had nothing to do with my perfect swing. Other than that I want to thank my team for a great vacation before my vacation.

After four hours back I am ready to pack for our family's trip tomorrow to Dworshak Resevoir. The good news is that the speed limit on Oak street in Bozeman has FINALLY changed to 35 instead of 25 so the 7 hour trip may only become 6 hours and 59 minutes.

Do you think you can turn in a speeding ticket for reimbursement from 2 years ago?

Coach Bin

Monday, June 22, 2009


I apologize to my passionate readers for not posting my Next Level blog on Friday, but rather today.

For the five of you, (ha) I hope that today's blog was worth the wait as it is the most challenging trait of them all, PERSEVERANCE.

I am going to give you a quiz, and I want each of you to answer these questions before reading on.

1) If a fan, friend, parent, or coach tells you you aren't good enough, how would you respond?

2) If putting the time in to take your game to the next level would lose your best friend's friendship, what would you do?

3) If you didn't have anyone to navigate for you, or should I say, have someone to set the example on what you would have to do, how would you train?

4) If it was your senior year of college and tore your ACL 2 games into your season, how would you repsond?

5) If you wanted to play professionally in the United States, but you had to have double knee surgery a week before the tryouts, would you quit?

6) If you had one chance to make it in the WNBA by playing in the WNBA draft camp, but had a third degree sprain a day before the camp, who would you blame?

7) You finally make it to the WNBA but get cut in the middle of the season, would you believe that it is unfair?

8)If your coach signed another player at your position, do you believe the coach is going to play her?

9) If you believe you should be playing, but are sitting the bench, do you complain to your teammates & bad mouth your coach?

10) Who do you want to be in control of your future?

So now that you have read through these questions and attempted to answer how you think you would respond, I am going to give you my answers to these questions because those are questions I was forced to answer... and this is my story.

1) My parents, brother and sister have NEVER told me I couldn't do something. They have always believed in me. I have had college coaches tell me that I was too short to play collegiate basketball. I obviously didn't sign with them.

2) I had some challenges in high school with my friends as I passed up a lot of "fun" time to shoot hoops in my driveway. My best friend and I went through a spell when I was put on the varisty and our circles began to change. We matured a great deal in the process and found out that we were pretty good friends if we both supported each other's dreams. I will warn you though, there are people out there who will be happy for you to stay where you are, never helping you to move forward. I always say it's easy to stay at the base and look up. Few will be committed enough to climb.

3) I didn't have a college or professional athlete to look up to growing up. I lived in a small town and played in my first college game before I actually saw one. I think that was actually an advantage for me as my only tool for navigating was to work as hard as I could and never give up. I played 1 on 1 with my older brother daily in the driveway to challenge myself. I never once beat him but I kept going back for more. Everyone's story and challenges will be different, but you WILL have them.

4) Injuries were a major part of my career. The longer and harder you play they are just bound to happen. The ACL tear was the first major injury I had to overcome, and I will admit it wasn't that easy to work through. Mentally I had to deal with an identity crisis of finding out who I was without a basketball in my hands. Physically I had to work to get back to the level I had left off on. We all want to push ahead, but sometimes you do have to take a few steps back. In hindsight, I think the ACL tear brought my first love for the sport back to a new beginning. It was probably the best thing that could have happened for me to compete as hard as I did for eight more years.

5) I had planned on trying out for the ABL (a professional league that started before the WNBA), but had to have double knee surgery. That was the first time my mom said anything about considering hagning it up, since I looked like "Robocop." She was concerned like any mom that one day I wouldn't be able to pick up my kids. Instead, I was stubborn like I have always been, had the surgeries, and found an agent to play in Australia right after my rehabilitation was over. The ABL folded and the WNBA began its first season as I finished my 2nd season in Australia.

6) Those who have someone to blame will flat out stop climbing. I had my first sprain ever playing open gym at Boise State the day before the WNBA draft camp. My foot swelled up like a balloon. My doctor, physical therapists, trainer, family, friends, all made an impact on me that day. With MANY prayers and support, I flew to Illinois for the two day camp that ran from 8:00am to 8:00pm and didn't think about my ankle once. I couldn't walk on it for a week after, but I got selected by the Utah Starzz in the third round.

7) I want to initially say, if you expect life to be fair, then go ahead and settle for being less than your best. You have to fight, and sometimes you get knocked down. A month into my second season with the Utah Starzz I got called into my coach's office during warmups. On my way there I saw my "replacement" in the locker room suiting up. He told me they were going another direction. Ouch! But two weeks later the Cleveland Rocker's starting point guard Suzie McConnell Serio broke her ankle and I got the call and ended up on the team that won the Eastern Conference two years later. I can take a little humility to end up on a championship team.

8) It doesn't matter. If you're good enough, you will find a way to get on the court. My second season with the Cleveland Rockers, our head coach Dan Hughes (2008 Coach of the Year with the San Antonio Silver Starzz) drafted another point guard. That made three of us, and more were invited to our training camp. Three years later Coach Hughes told me he couldn't cut me because I raised the level of competition in practice every day. I ended up playing some two guard on top of the point to find some time on the court.

9) The hardest part of my professional career were the games I didn't get in. It was a role I wasn't used to, but I found a way to work through it because I cared about my team and respected my coach so much. I found some teammates who were in the same boat to workout with. We kept each other mentally and physically ready to step in when our opportunities came, and they did. My dad and husband, however, might have had it even harder than me as those were the people I would call to vent to.

10) Pay attention to this question. If you can work hard at everything you do, and not WORRY about the things that aren't in your control, you will be a winner. As you can see in my story, I didn't plan on a lot of these things, but many opportunities presented themselves that weren't initially in the cards because of my PERSEVERANCE.

For me, strength lies in my Faith. Whether or not you share in this, remember last week's blog about being an optimist. Either way, the ability to persevere begins with your heart.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Things Kids Say

Today is the conclusion of camp week. Kids are playing games, doing their ball handling routines, painting their faces for intensity station, and winning all kinds of awards. What a fun week this has been.

In most camps coaches have a point of emphasis that they would like all of their campers to learn. My highlight is hearing what the campers have interpreted from that goal. Here are a couple of examples.

1) Football Camp. My son attended the MSU Football Camp and was probably the smallest camper in attendance. However, he definitely was not the smallest in intensity. At the end of the week Coach Ioane was asking the campers through the megaphone what it meant to have good sportsmanship. The kids would raise their hands and when called upon, give an intellectual answer like "be a good teammate," "don't give up", "lose with dignity."

Well, my son got picked to give an answer. Here is what he said,

"Don't pick grass." Yes, you heard it. He told me later that you wouldn't have a football field to play on if all the grass was picked. You can't argue that.

2) WBB Little Dribbler's Camp. A parent told me this story this morning. One of our little dribblers, Claire, was so excited about what she learned at camp. She went home last night to show her parents how to play defense.

"See, you start by putting your butt out." I hope our coaches used appropriate terminology. "Then you put your arms out. You just can't push or that will be a vowel."

Her dad then told her she meant to say "foul." In her mind, however, he was wrong, and she was certain she knew what she meant. "No, it's a vowel."

The Things Kids Say.

I want to thank all of our campers for their energy this week, our camp coaches for their hard work, and our parents for giving their kids this opportunity. What an incredible week.

Coach Bin

Monday, June 15, 2009


We are in action here in the Fieldhouse. We finished off team camp Sunday with an overtime championship finish. CMR was able to hold off Sidney down the stretch after completing five games in two and a half days.

We just concluded our first day of our individual skills camp. I am so proud of our 100+ campers for taking the time to work on their skill work rather than just playing basketball all summer. My philosophy is that if you can put in the time on both you can become a champion during the summer.

The day of excitement began with our 2 clap cheer orchestrated by Coach Scanson (RockStar, Monster, or Red Bull) camp coordinator. Just wait until "intensity" station later in the week. I am pretty sure we have a caffeine limit for him.

Our Little Dribblers had the most energy of all screaming out their "BEEF" balance, eyes, elbow, and follow through for all of you non shooters. You give them a little encouragement and they will give you much more in return.

After lunch we jumped to the game challenge of shipwreck by Coach Saneholtz. She would put Bob Barker to shame. Our camp coaches, none other than our players, get very competitive. However, it was former MSU Alum Scotta Morton and a camper that won the game.

A camp would not be complete though, without the most important instruction of all, defense. Coach Close is no stranger to that as she introduced Cat and Mouse like "Tom and Jerry." Our campers are fierce, tenacious, and they will win a championship with that defensive mentality.

We'll see how our energy pulls up tomorrow after a stiff night's sleep.

Like I tell my team when taking a charge, it's time to


Friday, June 12, 2009


Team camp starts today and teams are going to play five games in less than three days. OUCH!

Therefore, I thought it appropriate to talk about what athletes should do to help their bodies recover in order to keep their performance at that top level.

Here are a few examples where I feel recovery will affect the results:
  • Overtime games. How many games are won or lost in the last five minutes? We won three state championships in high school and the third took two overtime games in a row to finish it. I felt pretty good, but I am not certain the other team did. Who do you think felt better last night in the overtime of the Lakers vs Magic?

  • Here is how you win championships in Division I College Basketball. You win on the road. The Big Sky this season has ruled in favor of Friday, Saturday games. Do you think your athlete's recovery will affect those games? Absolutely.

  • In the WNBA we had training camp for nearly a month before games began. I did this five years in a row. During this time coaches would decide who to keep, who to cut, bring in new players, and throw out players who couldn't consistently perform. I counted one year of going two a day practices for 16 days in a row without taking a day off. Then you hit the season and play four to five games a week travelling commercial airlines. Does this sound easy?

Everyone WANTS to play professionally, but can you get through the two a days?

I believe a few simple tricks can help you recover quicker and take your game to the NEXT LEVEL.

1) Be the best conditioned athlete on the floor. You will recover quicker and be less likely to get injured when thrown into a hard training environment.

2) Jump in an ice bath after every work out. It may not sound fun, but I lived in the ice bath when I played for the Cleveland Rockers, especially during two a days. The "rookies" did not.

3) Slide your rear to the wall and put your legs up for 10 minutes. The circulation will get your legs back sooner rather than later.

4) Eat some fruit within 30 minutes of your workout. You can also throw in a nutritional shake as well, but you need the nutrients as soon as possible.

5) Buy some "skins" and get comfortable in them. Just go to Australia and you'll see every national team in them. They are designed for recovery but look like tights. You can wear them on airplanes, buses, and even sleep in them. I wish I knew about these when I was a player.

6) Properly warmup and stretch down.

Now, if I would have taken my own advice this past week then I wouldn't have pulled my quad on Monday.

Coach Bin

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


You will be extremely proud of me as I played basketball this past week. Not only did I pick up the ball again, but I played two days in a row, then played volleyball, and then played basketball again!

Three questions came to mind as I picked up my favorite sport in life.

1) What was I thinking?

2) What part of my body doesn't hurt?

3) Where did my game go?

As a competitive person, it has taken me FOUR years to get back to this game because I knew I wasn't going to be remotely close to being as good as I was at my prime. I suppose two children and coaching may have had some impact on that.

What I came to terms with is that I won't be as good as I used to be and that is ok, or in other words, throw away your PRIDE.

Example: Mara Hoefer, recent graduate. Decided she would play ball with us. As I am stretching before we start our first game, Mara asks a guy shooting in the gym if he wants to play with a former WNBA player. I am thinking, please don't say that. I don't want to embarrass the WNBA.
Here is a recap.

Day 1) A lot of shake and bake, along with slip and trip on the floor. Remembering what I used to be able to do was like riding a bike, physically performing those moves was a tougher task. Did my feet get cut off?

Day 2) A bit of stiffness and soreness. Instead of taking it to the rack, a better agenda was to drain it from DOWNTOWN!!!! I didn't want to pull something but the "Swish Trish" was more like the "Bricking Binford!"

Day 3) Let's change it up and move to volleyball. I can rest my muscles for a day and just enjoy the competition. WRONG. I forgot how much you jump in volleyball. I guess I should have said how much I USED to jump in volleyball as I have since become vertically challenged. Oh, and I forgot to mention that my shoulder still hurts three days later from spiking.

Day 4) Back on the court-I think I may have pulled my quad. I am old. Dang it. I forgot to ease into it. That mentality has not changed at all.

With all of this being said, my love for this game hasn't gone anywhere. I was brought to life again just loving every aspect of it. I am having a blast this summer, and I can't think of a better way to get back in shape then being on a basketball court.

Go Cats!

Friday, June 5, 2009


Did you read the previous blog on Mara?

If not, read that before you come back.

Ok, now you know Mara is going to be playing professionally in Germany, I want you to also know that she couldn't shoot a free throw three years ago when she first came into our program. She had a shoulder surgery her first year and sat on the bench her second. This past season she became a starter and a powerful center in the Big Sky.

How did she take it to the NEXT LEVEL?

1) Last summer Mara did every single one of her summer workouts that were given to her
2) She did each workout as HARD AS SHE COULD. There is a difference between working out and pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone.
3) She then asked for more. She went ABOVE & BEYOND what was asked. She was voted by her team most improved player this past year.
4) She is an optimist. She believes that good things will come for those who work for it and it did!

The question is, how hard are you willing to work?

Coach Bin


We have great kids here at MSU who do incredible things. I am proud!

Here are two articles on two of our athletes written by Tom Schulz our Sports Information Director

Jamie Thornton, a 6-4 center on the Montana State women’s basketball squad, recently participated in the NCAA’s National Student-Athlete Development Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Six-hundred student-athletes from Division I, II and III were selected out of over 2,000 applicants to attend the conference. The NSADC focused on such issues as diversity, student-athlete well-being, substance abuse, personal branding and sportsmanship.

Thornton will serve as president of Montana State’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee this season, and has been part of SAAC the past two years. In addition, she is a three-time All Big Sky Conference academic selection.

“We’re proud of all of her accomplishments,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “She was a perfect representative to go out and be positive voice for our student-athletes. The conference was a great opportunity for Jaime to take a leadership role, and glean knowledge that will help our program as a whole next year. She was able to learn from other student-athletes from around the country, as well as share the accomplishments of the Bobcat athletic department.”

Thornton currently has cumulative 3.96 grade-point average and is majoring in mathematics.

Montana State women’s basketball player Mara Hoefer, who recently completed her senior year at MSU, has signed to play professionally for BBV Leipzig, in the German second league later this summer.

“Mara is a real center with solid post moves and thus she’s just what we needed last season,” said BBV Leipzig head coach Ritz Ingram. “Furthermore, she makes a professional impression and is very hard working.”

Hoefer, a 6-1 native of Bergisch-Gladbach, Germany, played in 27 games, including eleven starts this past winter. She averaged 5.5 points and 2.7 rebounds, while shooting 48 percent from the field. Hoefer recorded a career-high 15 points in MSU’s win over Eastern Washington, along with a season-best seven rebounds on two occasions.

Hoefer was a two-time All Big Sky Conference academic selection and recently graduated with highest honors from Montana State with a degree in business marketing.

I am more than proud of our athlete's accomplishments.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I have always been an optimist so being an undersized guard throughout my career I have always valued my 5'4 size.
1) Posts can't see you sneaking in for the steal
2) It's a much shorter fall to the ground when taking a charge
3) Mass defense: After 3 minutes of fatigue, you aren't as noticed as your 6'4 post's stance

Well, last night brought out another situation where being 5'4 has its advantages, Country Swingin'. My husband and I left our kids with Lyndi Seidensticker and Sarah Strand, at my son's request of course. Justin took charge organizing the puzzle play as we left for the dance floor.

We met up with some of our coaches and friends including Coach Saneholtz, Close, Schuab, and from the men's staff, Coach Starr. How cool of a name is that!

Now, I won't lie to you. I don't have the rhythm of Erica Perry which is why I prefer country swinging. However, Todd and I haven't been on the dance floor in three years so we were a bit rusty.

Todd is 6'2 so it's fairly easy to just spin around underneath him. However, he did brake a lady's nose once who was a little taller. ADVANTAGE #4.

Todd and I got the kinks out before we grabbed Coach Starr and Coach Saneholtz for instruction. I took Starr who at first was a very good apprentice. That was until he took me down for a dip but forgot to pull me back up, "SMACK!"

Low to the ground, not too hurtful. ADVANTAGE #5. Just no more dancing with Coach Starr.

Coach Saneholtz said we had to stay until 11:00pm based on principle. We had to show we weren't THAT OLD. As soon as the clock hit 11:00pm I said "Ok, so are we ready to go?

Todd and I got home to a quiet nest. After a night of dancing I was ready to crash. ADVANTAGE #6. My 7'2 teammate for the Utah Starzz Margo Dydek had to have her bed made.

Margo had told me once that she got to tall because she drank a lot of milk. She also can dunk and see over people in a crowded environment.

I suppose all of us can find advantages to what we have been blessed with if we look at it with optimism.

Coach Bin

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I won't lie to you. I love to eat. My staff laughs at me when it's 10:00am and I am ready for lunch. I also love to try new foods. Coach Scanson will tell you that I should stick to my "usual" as I am often upset with my choice, but when it comes to unique tastes my son takes after mom. How many five years olds do you know love crab legs, sushi, and artichoke hearts?

The interesting thing about food though is how it can be prepared a variety of ways. Have you seen the movie "Forest Gump"? There was a character in that movie named Bubba that LOVED his shrimp. He would talk about all kinds of ways to prepare shrimp; gumbo, fried, grilled, or if you are from Australia "shrimp on the barbie."

Ok, that was not from Bubba but when I played my first year in Launceston I expected to eat shrimp on the barbie. It must have been a hoax because we grilled everything but shrimp. I loved it all though; the meat pies, Charcoal Chicken (with fries and gravy), seafood, seafood, seafood. I hope my players don't see the fries and gravy as I am supposed to be a positive example. It's all in moderation, right?

However, I was stumped this morning when I heard about CRISPY M & M's. I know there are all kinds of colored M & M's,peanut & non peanut, but not crispy. So guess what, Coach Scanson is at the store as I type in this blog to search for the crispy M & M. I have got to try it. I do not have a sweet tooth like my husband, but I MUST know what this is, what it tastes like.

And why do you ask? It's 9:42am, almost 10:00am.

I am starving.

Coach Bin