Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Resilience

We have had our share of injuries this season. Since we are in Montana I won't say when it rains it pours but maybe when it snows it blizzards!

The good news, however, is that you can't build a Frosty the Snowman without enough snow, and you certainly can't enjoy skiing without fresh new powder. It's always how you look and respond to it.

Yesterday was a perfect example of our resilience when we finished practice with seven players after beginning the season with twelve. As they were getting a water break, one of our captains Katie Bussey said the good news is that we get extra reps!

This group is tough and positive. They have fought through a lot of adversity and been able to stay focused on what they can control. We just broke a school record with 107 points last week so I think our kids haven't lost their edge.

We already have a million stories on the season so far, I can't imagine what stories we will finish with.
I suppose after a bus trip to Utah this week we might add to it. Let's just hope the new stories are of healing!

Coach Bin

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Genius

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

In between the Star Wars Lego sets and the dolls that Brooklyn didn't want, I was glad to hear my son still knew what this holiday is about. He told me we were celebrating Jesus's birthday, everything he has done for us, and giving to others as well. Next is getting Brooklyn to understand that as she thinks it's to play with Justin's presents.

My family spent this year's Christmas with Todd's family in Idaho, and every year it just goes by too fast.
Todd and the kids are staying a few extra days while I fly home for practice and a road trip to Utah.

So my travel continues back to Bozeman as today I started in the Boise airport. It began with the entertaining security guard looking up and down my photo ID, chuckling before he said "Binford Tools" hugh?

As I entered my millionth bathroom to shut the door, it just continued to slide open despite numerous attempts on the switch. I thought to myself, how can the geniuses in our world who invent the I pad, French Press Coffee Mug, disposable diapers NOT create door handles that actually stay shut? Instead they create the motion sensor which makes the toilet flush at random times possibly while you are going to the bathroom.

I do know that I am not a genius as I tried to blog off my blackberry. A real genius gave us the internet and wireless.

So please forgive me for my sarcasm as I am using it now in the SLC airport. Icould always drink less water to solve my other problem.

Coach Bin

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stay At Home Dads

People ask me all the time how Todd and I do it, raising two kids, with me being at work all day.
It's simple, give and take. You won't do everything exactly how your spouse would like them done and they won't do everything exactly how you would have them done.

Few examples:

1) Groceries-When Todd goes shopping we end up with a lot more candy and frozen meals. When I go shopping we end up with more food period.
2) Dress-This one is from yesterday when I met Todd and Brooklyn at Justin's school for his school's holiday program. I had picked out a nice red sweater for him the day before to wear. When I get there Brooklyn is still in her pj's with tube socks over them pulled up to her knees and Nike shoes on. Her hair is a mess. When Justin's class takes the stage I ask Todd if he can see him. He says to me, "just look for the kid in the orange shirt."

Yes, it's true. My son was standing there in the middle of red, green, white, girls in Christmas dresses, boys with ties, and my son's orange shirt with a football on the front.

The good news is that he was really easier to find!

Coach Bin

Monday, December 13, 2010

Experience


Every coach knows how important experience is to the success of a team, and I can't think of a better example than watching Carrie Underwood in concert last night.

If any of you are avid blog readers you will recall my husband and I going to her concert two years ago in the Fieldhouse when she came out for her encore in an MSU Women's Basketball jersey. It was an unbelievable concert. In the Big Sky Conference she would have been named Freshman of the Year.

Two years later Carrie has taken her game a whole new level! Last night she sang one song while swinging herself back and forth on a swing, at an uncomfortable height I might add. My players can't complain when I demand them to sprint back on defense AND communicate AND see the ball all at the same time. If Carrie can swing herself, hold on, and sing amazing then we can play great transition defense. Can I get your ab workout for our team?
Underwood has also shown to have strong endurance, another sign of a champion, when she told us she was on concert 94 and eventually breaking 100. I did pray for her voice however because that is like playing in three overtime periods. May I suggest a ten minute ice bath.

The most impressive strength of Carrie's besides her vocals was her balance. Great athletes have great balance and I did also pray that she not walk so close to the ledge in center of the stage that brought her out at the beginning of the show. It looked like she was tip toeing in those high heels inches away from a sudden drop off.

Speaking of heels, Todd and I brought the binoculars so I got to see up close all the wardrobe changes and the shoes ROCKED! I especially liked the blue "bling" ones not that my favorite color is blue or anything. She made it the entire concert, too, I might add without getting taped.

Last but certainly not least, the highlight of the show was when she came out in the back of an old pick up truck suspended in air over the crowd. She was singing John Denver's "Country Road." Yes, I am from Colorado.

Other tidbits:
  • To the "Son's of Sylvia" who opened up the show, it's actually pretty warm right now in Bozeman. You should have been here 3 weeks ago.
  • Whoever schedules the shows, please next time don't have it the night before finals begin. Half of my team was at the show.
  • Billy Currington-Are you trying to start fights with spouses when you get the crowd to scream singing "WOMEN" are crazy? Todd wasn't sure if he should join in or not.
  • Carrie-Thank you for donating part of every show to charity. You are a class act.
Thank you Carrie Underwood for BRINGING IT a second time and for surpassing your previous perfomance. You are an amazing performer, a gifted singer, and I am thankful that God answered both of my requests last night for your voice and your balance!

Coach Bin

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Buffalo Wild Wings


I forgot to tell you of our latest story on the road following our football team's post season run. Coach Scanson was able to find us a Buffalo Wild Wings in California that put the playoff game on so we could watch during lunch.

If any of you have watched a football game, however, they last a little longer than one meal. So we had some appetizers, drank a lot of water, shifted our seating positions often, and went to the bathroom on more than one occassion.

As I exited the restroom and saw the sign on the door I was fairly optimistic about our viewing conditions. Yes it would have been nice to be at the live game with our sold out home crowd, but when you see the player's breathe and realize it is freezing cold outside, my 70 degree inside chair wasn't all that bad.

Congrats to our boys who had a thrilling season and a big thanks to Buffalo Wild Wings for their hospitality and EXTRA napkins!

Coach Bin

Monday, December 6, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Our team has been on the road the last four weekends in a row playing 8 of our first 9 games away from the Fieldhouse as well. Needless to say, we are all glad to be home in our own beds.

Now that we are travelling experts I thought I'd share with you what I appreciate when I travel.

  • Bozeman Airport-It only takes 15 minutes to get there, and probably less than 15 minutes to get through security. We also do NOT have the full body scanners yet and the first 30 minutes in parking is free! Drawback-the magazines are a week behind.
  • Hotels with great workout facilities-I probably get my best workouts on the road because I seem to have more free time than I do at  home. I especially like the equipment that has the t.v. on it so you can watch something besides yourself run in motion. Drawback-When they are next to the pool. I feel like I lose 5 pounds just from sweating.
  • Amenities-My guest bathroom is stocked with the soaps and shampoos I bring home. Don't worry. I am not as bad as Ross on Friends when he filled a whole bag to get his monies worth.
  • The flavored water near the reception area. My favorire is the cucumber.
  • I couldn't finish without my favorite restaurant as I took the team to In N Out Burger last night. Thank you Marshall for the In N Out t-shirt.
Glad to be home!

Coach Bin

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bobcat Football Big Sky Champs!

Congrats go out to our football team who had a heart thumping victory at U of M this Saturday.

Our staff prepared for our team to watch this game as we knew we'd be in the Salt Lake City Airport during the second half. We brought the projector and hooked it up to the internet to show the game via Big Sky TV on the wall at gate E65. Unfortunately the internet connection wasso  low that every play was buffered to our scrutiny. It seemed like the only time it was in real action was when they were showing crowd shots.

Back up plan came into play as Tyler, our radio guy, hooked up the radio feed and held the radio speakers in each hand as the team crowded around. It felt like we were getting a reading of the Night Before Christmas, yet without the fireplace or the narration so to speak.

Instead, we clapped, cheering, gasped when the Griz did something well. In the midst was one poor Griz fan surrounded by Blue and Gold in all seats. He was a good sport and tried to hold his emotions in as he was obviously in the minority. 

As the final seconds ticked away and we were now boarding our flight to Bozeman, the final confirmation came through Shannon Scanson by text as Justin repeated the interception by our own Mike Ryder to seal the W 21-16.

Go Cats and good luck in playoffs!

Coach Bin

Saturday, November 13, 2010

BAYLOR

Here's a great question for all coaches around the country. How do you play a team who has a 6'8 post player, and athletes bigger or faster than yours?

MSU Offensive Answer-Add an extra shot fake, spread them out, and light it up from 3!

MSU Defensive Answer-Pack in the Paint, and rebound your guts out!

One of our goals going into this game was to force Baylor to take the first timeout. We accomplished that goal when we went up 4-0 with 6'0 Rachel Semansky scoring on Griner twice. I am not sure if she was aloof to the fact she was being guarded by 8 more inches or just attacking aggressively like she always does. Whatever the answer, I was proud of our team's first half effort and execution. Griner still got 5 blocks.

The second half wasn't as solid for us. Part of it was just running out of gas keeping up with that level of physicality and athleticism, and part of it was just putting two halves together.

I think tomorrow morning we'll eat a few more Wheaties to challenge the boards stronger, and then keep the game simpler for ourselves.

The answer for that-Put Two Halves Together!

Coach Bin

Friday, November 12, 2010

OVERTIME

It's nearly 11:00pm, and I just watched our first game back vs Rice University. After writing 2 pages of improvements in my notebook and losing our first game in overtime, I couldn't be more optimistic.

See, only four days ago we lost our starting point guard who also rotated at the post to a season ending ACL injury. As any coach or player can attest to, losing a member of your team for the year is hard, but you have to regroup, adapt, and have players step up.

The good news is that we get Ashley Albert back for three years, she didn't lose a year of eligibility, and we have the preseason to work out the kinks with our new rotation before we hit conference. Injuries are part of seasons, and as all teams know, very rarely does one day, let alone one game go exactly had you expected it to.

Winners focus and are consistent on what is in their control-attitude, effort, execution. The list can go on.

So that leads us to today. Ally Schmitt started for us at the point who is gritty, tough, and physical. We rotated a variety of lineups, some due to foul trouble and came back from a 16 point halftime deficit.

Down 2 wiith 2.5 seconds remaining on the clock freshman Emily Allen got a steal and was fouled in the process. As she gingerly got up off the floor the official thought she was hurt and asked if she was ok as she was walking to the freethrow line. Her reply. "No, I am just nervous."

She then steps to the line nails the first freethrow as the bench jumps up in a roar. Emily then looks over at the bench and rolls her eyes nervously again, steps up and then nails the second. Tie game. Rice inbounds and we go into overtime.

We didn't have the happy ending tonight with a victory as we fell short 86-83. However, I had a team respond with great character to adversity from an injury, a huge deficit, and two starters foul out with a perseverant fight that only comes from within.

Tomorrow we tip off with Baylor who is ranked #2 in the country with 6'8 Brittany Griner. I am anxious, excited, and can't wait for the opportunity our team has to compete with one of the best teams in the entire country.

I just hope Emily Allen doesn't tell the officials she's nervous again before she drives to the basket against Griner. Then again, maybe she'll get a 3 point conversion out of it.

Coach Bin

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Bling Is Back

We had our first exhibition game yesterday, and with that, shootarounds. Last year we started the shootaround bling ritual which means our players can shoot around in their jewelry.

Yesterday did not disappoint as this year's squad was as sparkly as ever. We got our first game jitters out against the tenacious Montana Tech and finish off our exhbition schedule on Saturday before we leave for Texas.

I am not a believer in superstition, but it sure is comforting to keep a consistent routine on game day even if it requires you to wear sunglasses.

Here a few kinks we had to iron out for the first home contest.
  • Tyler-our radio guy couldn't find his microphone for our interview. I hope he finds it by Saturday.
  • Pregame clock management-Rachel Rehbein pounded on Coach Scanson's door asking why the clock hadn't yet started for their warmup.
  • Substitutions-As the official told me we only had four players on the floor, Ally had replaced Ashley at the one spot, but Ashley was now supposed to play the post. Whoops!
Game Days sure are exciting!

Coach Bin

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy or Horror Halloween


Depending on your age is whether you love or hate this holiday.

Look at who shows up to the Haunted Houses, dresses up in gory costumes, or goes to the horror movies, the teenagers and college kids. They love to get scared and LOVE this holiday.

Then take the parent of a young kid. We are ready for November 1st so our children don't get spooked by the costumes, commercials, or freaky decor on neighborhood homes. To me the holiday is a little too Gothic.

Don't get me wrong. I love many aspects of Halloween, including pumpkin carving and the always eventful trick or treating.

Last night while trick or treating my daughter walked up to a door, turned around, grabbed a candy out of her bucket and began to eat it. The owner tried to give her a candy around her shoulder, but Brooklyn was too interested in what she already had.

After our kids crashed for the evening after their sugar highs I thought of another group of people that probably don't love this holiday either, dentists!

Coach Bin

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Positive Reinforcement

Positive Reinforcement is extremely powerful in coaching confidence and performance in our athletes. However, I do believe some coaches, parents, and teammates can misuse positive reinforcement when it hasn't yet been "earned".

Let me be more clear. As a coach with a certain level of expectation, it's important for my players to understand what the level is and we should only reinforce what we want to see repeatedly. Rather than "cheering" on finishing a workout subpar, or celebrating a win by 2 when you should have won by 20, we need to reinforce the details that raise the bar to the expected standard.

Sometimes as a coach you have to stop practice to address the detail you are looking for so everyone sees what it looks like, or you clip it in your self scouts. Once they have seen what is expected, the next step is for them to find the focus, desire, and pride in doing it the same way, again and again in order to achieve success we are looking for.

Coach Bin

Friday, October 22, 2010

CLARIFICATION

I received a comment today that there was confusion on who wore silly bands in my recent blog.

My reader thought I was talking about Assistant Coach, Justin Scanson, rather than my six year old son. So for those of you reading about silly bands, Justin Scanson hasn't yet shown them on his wrist although I wouldn't put it past him.

I also wanted to note, that one helpful tip for those of you wanting to save some money on the silly band purchases can also include rubber bands. My two year old daughter has two rubber bands mixed in with the silly ones and hasn't yet noticed the difference.

That's just plain silly isn't it?

Coach Bin

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Silly Bands


Plain Silly or Plain Remarkable?

At Justin's school silly bands are the "in" thing right now. It's not just his school, however, as college students are even wearing them.

The question is why are they so cool?
#1 They are cheap so everyone can afford them
#2 They are creative and shaped in all kinds of things; cartoon characters, ballet dancers, boats, etc.
#3 They are universal so everyone can wear them

What is NOT silly is that kids as young as Justin's age are giving them to other students without expecting anything in return. If we continue the culture of just feeling good about making someone else happy then I think it may be the best invention ever.

Excluding In N Out Burger of course,

Coach Bin

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monster Award

Halloween is approaching so I thought this topic would be fitting.

The Monster Award is a ugly little bobble headed green monster that my staff gives to the most aggressive and consistent performer for the week of practice.

The first week senior Sarah Balian received the award because everything about her is just competitive. Sarah doesn't know how NOT to compete at everything she does and has a habit of going above and beyond in everything she does.

For example, Sarah is in the top of her class in Nursing, currently doing her clinicals, and also married.

This past week senior Lyndi Seidensticker received the monster for just plain getting after it. She also had a great performance against our scout team in our first scrimmage and has the back door cut down to a science.

Lyndi is also a great student in Education as she is going on to be a Math teacher and basketball coach down the road.

Our two seniors are both great examples of females raising the bar for the next generation that you can do it all and do it well.

Coach Bin

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Todd and I have been married for ten years and it seems like yesterday he picked me up in his old GMC pickup with that awful "Vandals" sticker in the back.

It just goes to show you shouldn't put bumper stickers on your vehicles. It nerely prevented an amazing ten years from beginning.

All joking aside, I love you Todd, and thanks for celebrating yesterday since we have practice tonight.

See what sacrifices he makes!

Coach Bin

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What Do Sushi and Basketball Have in Common?


  1. There is a Head Coach who makes the decisions and you need to trust them. My latest trip to Shiro's Sushi in Seattle proved just that. I was in town recruiting so I went to dinner with my former BSU teammate Janet Soderberg. The waitress gave us some suggestions on what to order and we ordered exactly that. By the way, those of you who ask for suggestions from your waitress or waiter and then don't order what they suggest are just like a basketball player running a different play than what the coach calls out. Coach knows best.
  2. The teams that play aggressive and are not afraid to take a risk end up on top! Sushi-Don't be afraid to try something you've never tried before. The "POKE" is SO good and the best sushi I have ever had. If I would have stayed with my "usual" order I would have never tasted perfection. The same applies to those of us on the court that don't push ourselves through our comfort zones.
  3. There is a towel to clean up afterward, or at Shiro's you have a hand towel before you eat. Janet and I weren't sure what they were initially for. I thought I was in first class on an airplane.
  4. You have winners and losers. You can find great sushi restaurants and bad ones just like you can good and bad teams. My rule of thumb is if they don't have wasabi at a sushi restaurant then probably try someplace else.
When you are in Seattle, however, you will win every night!

Coach Bin

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Free throw

I was just reading an article on the physical consistencies of some of the best free throw shooters in the NBA, those who shoot over 90% from the line.

I cannot begin to fathom how many free throws I shot in my career. I would assume, however, that the majority of college and professional basketball players have shot enough at the line to be great.

So why is it then that 90% is so rare?  If the 90% shooters have consistent physical attributes then what prevents everyone else from having these at the line when they shoot so many?

My opinion,

1) The free throw shot is at a dead point in the game. You have time to think. You now become a golfer on the putting green or a field goal kicker with no time left on the clock. It is a very different mentality than the typical fast paced game of basketball. Therefore, the mental ability to focus on your routine and block out the pressure becomes that much more important.

2) The ability to simulate a consistent shot every time you release belongs to those who have great focus and attention to the details. I know my great shooters will be the ones that I don't have to repeat myself on a correction to the problem. Some people put in the quantity but quantity is wasted when the mind is absent from appplication. In one word-consistency.

You will only be able to shoot as good as your self belief. We have all heard this before, but when you step to the line, when you step on the court, when you step on the field, I would think 90% of the time the game has already been won or lost in the mind.

Coach Bin

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fundraising

Fundraising is something all of us have done at some point in our lives. Whether it's something important for your job, your church, your community, fundraising impacts all of us. So why is it so hard to ask for money?

I found out this weekend it's not. My son now in Kindergarten began his first fundraiser with his school called the Fun Run. They each have to run around the track and donors can either donate per lap or just give a flat donation.

My son didn't know what to ask at first, but after asking a few people it became pretty simple. He said "grandma gave me $4 so I think you can give me $10."

As in perfecting any talent, the more repetitions the easier it becomes.

Coach Bin

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Greatest Generational Challenge

FOCUS

We aren't in the days of Little House in the Prairie. Technology, although having advanced our world tremendously, has made it difficult for our younger generation to stay focused on one task for a long duration of time.

Take #1 distraction, the cell phone. I remember having calling cards or spare change to use the pay phone if I needed to make a call. With the cell phone on our hip and instant communication, we are addicted to looking at it every second of the day. I am just as guilty as the next person. Just ask yourself the last time you turned your phone off.

Distraction #2, the internet especially Facebook. Now we have instant access to the world not just our next door neighboor. Does anyone have pen pals anymore? How many people do you know take the time to put deep thought into a letter, take it to the post office, and mail it? That's because it takes too long, apparently.

What about our entertainment? Growing up I used to play in the woods with my brother and neighboors swinging from tree to tree and doing "tick checks" at the end of the day. Now we bring the outside world indoors in the form of the Wii and other video games.

This generation is able to accomplish A LOT. They can do a million things at once, but is quanity better than quality?

Successful people and successful teams are very good at applying the details. They also have the ability to focus for a long period of time.

My challenge to this generation is to limit the distractions of the world as much as you can. Create an environment that allows you to focus for longer periods at once. The ones who can learn this skill, whether it's learning a shooting technique, footwork on closeouts, will be able to apply it to their game.

Now instead of putting in the "time" on your development you will start to see "RESULTS."

By the way, if a coach had to choose between "potential" and "results" they will choose results every time.

Time to Focus!

Coach Bin

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sacrifice

If you want to be great at something, you learn how to apply this word, SACRIFICE!

The challenge for all of us is how we mentally takes the sacrifices we make in order to benefit ourselves or someone else. If we are resentful about it or feel good about it will determine its value.

Take last night for example. It's the 2nd game of the WNBA Finals. I get home after my team's conditioning workout around 6:45, 15 minutes before the game starts. I fix some dinner, get a coloring book out for Brooklyn so she doesn't continue to steal Justin's, and sit on the couch for the game.

Todd clicks on the game and Justin says, "turn it to Wipeout!" What's a parent to do? I got to watch the game during the Wipeout commercials, folded some laundry, colored with my daughter, and then got the kids ready for bed.

Todd and I did watch the fourth quarter, and that was enough as the evenings with my family are far more rewarding.

Coach Bin

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Resources for Your Daughter

Yes I have blogged on this topic before, but it continues to come up every year.

I was talking with my sister last night about my niece who is in the sixth grade. She lives in a small town, is  fast, fiesty, plays basketball with the boys, among whichever sport is in season. She is going to be good (not that I am biased), so we started talking about resources that are out there to develop her besides summer camps with Auntie.

Let me begin with some mistakes parents make:
1) Choose just one sport to focus on
2) Require her to train
3) Move to a bigger school

The best practices are
1) first ask your daughter what she wants. My mom and dad never asked me to go out in my driveway and shoot all night. That was what I was driven to do.

2) Ask if she wants some resources? If she wants to be trained or join a summer team then go for it. Some athletes want to go to the next level but they don't want to put the work into it. You'll waste your money if it's not what she wants.

3) Does my daughter enjoy playing the other sports or getting involved in other activities? I really believe multi sport athletes make for great basketball players at the next level because they have so much room for growth. They don't have as much concern for chronic injuries & may not get burned out as early. My senior year in high school I played three sports, was in a school play, and played on a summer team. That load prepared me well for college life.

4) Whether it's a bigger or smaller school may not matter. Sometimes players get to play on the varsity team earlier at the smaller school than they would at the bigger. Before I learned the value of nutrition when I was a freshman in high school I used to sit on the end of the bench during the J.V. game eating a hot dog before playing in the varsity game.

As parents our jobs are to offer, not force resources for our children to be successful. Finding what they are passionate about is the first step. My niece LOVES basketball and she is good at it. Step number two is to make sure she is a BOBCAT and all other college coaches-hands off!

Coach Bin

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Compete In All You Do

Our team is going into our second week of preseasoning training. This is the time we target all of the areas that will improve our athletic performance on the court such as weight training, conditioning, nutrition, mental preparation.

I have seen at every level of competition, even the professional level that most athletes still do not compete or challenge themselves in every area that affects their performance.  If you could choose to be faster, stronger, have better endurance, and stay healthy wouldn't you?

I think most people are naturally selective and work at the things that come easy to them. The athletes that separate themselves have three common components;

1) focus-they know how to simplify, put their time in the things that have positive impacts, remove the rest
2) they compete in everything, not just the areas they are good at. It's their habit
3) they aren't afraid to fail

Yeah, failure hurts, but at least you can feel that you're living! You have a weakness? Go attack it. Don't run from it.

I love the preseason because it is a great educational opportunity for us to teach our athletes how to take their game to the next level even if we only get 2 hours a week with a basketball. Just imagine once again if you could be faster, stronger, have better endurance, feel better.

Let me rephrase it. If you could crash the boards every possession rather than every other, be the first one down the floor on a consistent basis, defend for a longer period of time, have the legs to shoot the same way every shot, wouldn't you?

I guarantee the answer is yes. The question for everyone's preseason is are you willing to work hard enough, push yourself hard enough to get there.

Or better yet, can you answer yes to the three questions,

Coach Bin

Friday, September 3, 2010

Erica Perry Going International!

I received a great call this morning from Erica who was just getting settled in her new home in Spain for the next seven months.

She lives in a condo with three roomates, has a television in Spanish (watching basketball and Animal Planet), and lives only minutes away from the gymnasium.

I asked her how the food was and the bright surprise for Erica was that cereal was the same but cheaper. Although she isn't used to seeing the pig's head or the entire fish, Erica loves new experiences and has always made herself at home whereever she is.

Those of you who want to follow Erica's professional career can follow her on the euro basketball world. She plays for the Pabellon Ourense in the Spanish pro league. Here are the links to Erica's team - Pabellon Ourense, and Rebecca Mercer's team in Australia - West Coast Waves .

Good luck this season to all three former Bobcats (Erica, Rebecca, Mara Hoefer) who are taking their basketball careers to the next level.

Go Cats!

Coach Bin

Thursday, September 2, 2010

MSU #1 in recruiting bright Montana students


http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/article_3cf01ef8-b561-11df-8bc2-001cc4c03286.html
This article was taken from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and was printed on September 1, 2010

The Grizzlies may have bragging rights in football, but the Bobcats are kicking it when it comes to recruiting Montana's best and brightest students.

The trend has been true for more than a decade, but was highlighted recently in a Missoulian report, headlined, "Most of Montana's brightest high-schoolers head to MSU, out of state."

Number-crunchers at the Montana State University and the state higher education office in Helena confirmed the latest statistics.

Of the Montana high school students who earned high scores (30 or better) on the ACT college-entry exam last year, 99 enrolled at Montana State University's Bozeman campus.

That was more than all other state campuses combined, and double the 40 who chose the University of Montana in Missoula.

A perfect ACT combined score is 36, and only four Montana high-school students did that well. Two of them enrolled at MSU.

The other perfect-scorers apparently went out of state for college, as did the majority of the 365 Montana high-school students who scored 30 or better on the ACT, which put them in the top 6 percent statewide. Just 165 of those top grads or 45 percent chose to attend Montana state colleges.

When it comes to students bright enough to receive free tuition through the Montana University System's Honors Scholarships, 122 chose MSU - again more than all other Montana colleges combined. Each year the system awards only 200 or so of those scholarships; 57 picked UM.

Joe Fedock, MSU's interim provost, wasn't surprised when he read the Missoulian report that more bright students choose MSU.

"This has been shown to be the case quite a few years," Fedock said. He attributed the trend to "our historic strengths in engineering and sciences."

"Montana State is really an outstanding undergraduate institution," said Ilse-Mari Lee, MSU Honors Program director.

This fall a record 312 students have applied for MSU's Honors Program - a big jump from last year's record of 238, Lee said. The honors freshmen arrive with an average ACT score of 29.4. The new arrivals will expand MSU's honors enrollment to 949, surpassing last year's record of 801.

Jim Rimpau, MSU vice president for planning and chief information officer, agreed that the Bozeman campus has historically attracted bright kids.

"A lot of really good test-takers go into engineering and sciences," Rimpau said.

The average ACT score for all MSU freshmen last year was 24 vs. 23 for UM.

Things haven't changed in 11 years. The Bozeman Chronicle reported in a 1999 article (headlined "Rivalry on the football field not the only way to decide who's Numero Uno") that the average ACT scores for all MSU freshmen was 23.1 vs. 21.9 at UM.

MSU's record in research and stress on undergraduate research also helps attract students. Fedock pointed out that MSU undergrads have won a large number of national Goldwater Scholarships to help them pursue science and math studies. Over the years, 51 MSU students have earned Goldwater awards, the 14th highest record in the nation, ahead of colleges like the University of Washington, Purdue and University of Minnesota, said Greg Young, vice provost for undergraduate education.

Young added that MSU being named by the Carnegie Foundation to its list of 96 top universities with "very high research activity" also has an impact.

"We've had parents from New England say, ‘I thought you were just a skiing college until I saw the Carnegie classification,'" Young said.

MSU scientists have also been featured in prestigious journals like Science and Nature, Young said.

Students know that at MSU they can do "neat things" like research in Yellowstone National Park, said Tyler Trevor, associate commissioner of higher education for planning and analysis, who put together the statistics on ACT scores.

Trevor said while more than half the Montana students with top ACT scores are heading out of state, university leaders aren't worried about a brain drain.

"They have opportunities around the nation," Trevor said. Attracting nearly half those students is good, he said, "particularly given their mobility and scholarships offered across the nation."

Gail Schontzler can be reached at gails@dailychronicle.com or 582-2633.

Monday, August 30, 2010

First Day of School

First Team Meeting Tonight-Mission Statement

"Put your university, your team, and yourself in every possible situation to be successful and persevere in those situations."

Sounds simple right?

Our mission statement breaks into three categories:

1) Preparation: education, good decision making, time management

2) Practice: Repetition, good habits, consistency

3) Perseverance: focus on what is in your control, strive for goals in spite of difficulties, pride in all we do

Well, the 2010-2011 season is off! Now we know what our mission statement means. It's time to start implementing it.

Coach Bin

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

6 Days Until the First Day of School!

Needless to say it's getting busier. My staff has been meeting this week to cover preseason goals, fine tune our offensive and defensive philosophy, and complete our fall schedule for our student athletes.

As anxious as my staff is to get started and see the improvement of our players over the summer, our athletes seem to be just as excited.

Let me tell you a few things you may not know about our student athletes off the court.

Ally loves the movie Transformers and likes to slip and slide. Yes, she is a good baby sitter.

Ausha learned how to fly fish this summer in class. I wish I would have gotten to take that class.

Lyndi writes with her right hand and may be the next American Idol (JK-we have video)

Katie is one of the best "groundskeeper's" in Bozeman. The manager at Valley View Golf course told me.

Chelsea is our tallest player at 6'4 but the most afraid of the Flathead Monster "getting" her.

Tish drives a red Monte Carlo, and her favorite conditioning workout is anything BUT the pool.

Kelsey always wears a side pony tail. I still can't remember which side but it's always the same.

Sarah is now Sarah Balian and had to make a freethrow before her dad would dance with her at her wedding. Congrats to Sarah and her husband Aaron.

Rachel replaced Lyndi for most gullable on the team and will inherit the earliest wrinkles on the team for her scoul impressions during workouts.

Kate benches more as a freshman than I did in my pro career. (At least she told me. We'll see next week,lol)
Emily may be the first MSU Women's Basketball player to graduate in comedy. Just watch the video.

The Aussies also wanted me to tell you that a few words here are different:

ketchup = sauce
truck = ute
sweatshirt = jumper
mosquito = mozzy
Buff = tank

Monday, August 16, 2010

INJURY REHAB

Was your first reaction negative?

My husband just had knee surgery that requires him to be on a machine for six hours a day and use crutches for six weeks.  Anyone that has gone through a surgery understands the rehab is the hardest part. Did you know your attitude may be the biggest factor in your recovery?

I am not suggesting you jump up and down to celebrate you GET to rehab. Besides you probably shouldn't be jumping right now anyway. I can just picture Todd slapping me high five in the morning saying "I can't wait to be on the machine again!."

We can, however, change our thought process on the transition back. Here are a few suggestions from someone that has been through three knee surgeries, one shoulder surgery, and many other injuries that didn't require a knife.
  1. Don't think about, focus, mark, or even talk about the recovery date the doctor has given you.  Why? Many reasons. a) It's a deadline that could be far away and make it difficult to have positive thoughts. b) It's a date that can influence improper rehab and influence another injury if you push too fast in order to meet that deadline c) It's a date that you may be cleared for, but that doesn't mean you are back to 100%. You still need to work your way back.
  2. Focus on the short term goals, daily and weekly. It's a lot easier to stay positive when you shorten your focus. For some of us, that's as far as our attention goes anyway.
  3. Write down the good things that can result from this. I have Todd's list. a) Watch Tricia empty out the grass from the lawn mower, hysterical! b) breakfast in bed c) can't chase Brooklyn to get the chalk out of her mouth d) play the Wii with Justin.   For those of you working back for your sport a) learn the game by watching other's decisions b) get stronger physically and nutritionally c) gain a whole new motivation and love for a game that has been taken away. I still don't know if I would have played professionally for seven years if I hadn't had double knee surgery the year before. I felt rejuvinated.
  4. Find out who you are with this passion removed. This is the hardest one to go through I think. Exercising has always been my release, and when I couldn't bounce a ball, run, bike, or anything I felt depressed, confused, isolated. Yet, it was only an injury that was going to heal. What I did have was time which is something we all tend to rush. For me, prayer, reading the Bible, talking with my family more, having conversations with friends more than just the surface really changed me in a big way.
Each one of us goes through obstacles. Our perspective is what makes it big or small. If you are one of those icing a limb right now, questioning whether you will get back to where you were, then you need to go to step 5.     Sometimes you have to take a few steps back to move forward.

I didn't say your short term goals had to end. Focus on the short term goals and you WILL get back to 100%. Now it's time to set some new goals!

By the way, I didn't ever say I practiced these to perfection. I had my bad days too. Just channel those days at In N Out Burger. Did I mention something about nutrition?

Coach Bin

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why is Food So Important?

If you are an avid reader of the Bin Blogs then you already know my love for food.

This past week I was able to confirm this same passion runs through my six year old. On Monday, Justin's first day of basketball camp I joined him for lunch in the Fieldhouse. He had already been through ball handling, shooting, passing, and defensive drills. Yet, when I asked him his favorite thing of camp so far, he replied "my sandwich."

Today I took Justin to the golf course to try out his new clubs from Papa. He hit off each tee box, grabbed his ball, then dropped it on the green and putted the ball in. In between, he enjoyed cleaning the golf balls and raking the sandtraps.

At the end of nine holes, and his best shot of the day I asked him what was his favorite part. His response, "the oreos at the snack bar."

And I thought hitting his best shot of the day on the last hole was going to bring him back.

Coach Bin

Monday, August 2, 2010

It's a Wrap

July evaluations are done! Here is how I know.

  • Amy Starr went RUNNING with her husband to workout off the In N Out Burgers she consumed. She holds the record on staff for most In N Out Burger visits
  • Justin Scanson BROUGHT his lunch to the office today. No more Chipolte visits.
  • Mandy Close is NOT wearing her sparkly Blue and Gold t-shirt that was a summer favorite by fellow coaches.
  • Coach Binford has turned off the GPS, but more importantly my back just feels better.
I love watching prospects develop throughout the summer, but I really love coming back home to our current student athletes who are all training together in Bozeman. Working toward the future, making the most on the present, and then picking my son up from his first basketball camp today!

What a great summer!

Coach Bin

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Round Two

Amy and I headed out to Phoenix last Wednesday on Alaska Airlines with a layover in Seattle. I don't have the best sense of direction, but I am certain this wasn't the most direct route.

I started off the trip disappointed that the Horizon magazines don't have the Suduko games like the Delta Airlines, but I did receive a "light" snack. The good news is that it left me hungry enough for In N Out Burger.

We arrived to110 degree heat which I don't mind if I am surrounded by water. What I don't understand, though, is why Phoenix has such drastic temperatures from inside to outside. The gyms were freezing. Would it be an NCAA violation for me to run alongside the basketball game I am watching to get warmer?

Day one was packed with games from 8:00am until 9:00pm. We managed to squeeze in dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings with Linda Cole, one of our freshman's mom's. I think Linda installed Ausha's toughness as Linda ate the "HOT" wings with ease. I suppose I am a rookie to "wing eating" as I had to wipe my lips with chapstick in between each wing, went through three glasses of ice tea, and then filled the table with 20+ exhausted napkins. The best magic trick I have ever seen was Linda using only one napkin!

Amy and I wrapped up day two and I headed back home for a few days with the family. I imagine Amy found her way back to In N Out Burger before her trip to San Diego. Too bad they don't have a punch card for a free meal.

I fly to San Diego tomorrow myself to wrap up 2010 July recruiting. I may bring a book because who knows where my layover may take me.

Coach Bin

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dead Period

Who came up with that title anyway? Are they trying to scare my six year old boy?

First of all, this past week has been anything BUT dead. The real work begins during the dead period when we are allowed to call coaches and prospects and see where they are at.

This time of year is when your unlimited amount of minutes matters and when you put the ear pieces in rather than your ear to the cell phone in case you are concerned you could get brain cancer.

I spent the majority of Friday and Saturday on the phone so I needed a break to get rejuvinated.

How do you do that in Montana? My husband gets the boat out, we head to Harrison Lake where you don't have reception, and I jump on the tube with my kids.

As I am holding Brooklyn on lap with my son on one side and his best friend on the other, my husband starts off conservative pulling us around the lake. Then Todd turns the wheel and our tube cruises across the wake to the otherside of the boat.

My son looks at me and says "finally daddy got his driver's license."

I am back and READY for the second round!

Coach Bin

Thursday, July 15, 2010

First Round Done!

To catch you up to speed, my family drove with me from Oregon City to Seattle Washington to watch the MSNM Tournament.

Here is what you DON'T do at University of Washington during the summer.

1) Don't drink coffee Peg Swadener (PSU Assistant Coach) It's 100 degrees in the gym
2) Don't go to the gym without your sunglasses. I ran into my old teammate Adia Barnes who I played with for the Cleveland Rockers. She is now doing the broadcasts for the Seattle Storm. Adia is perfect for television with her deep voice and beautiful face, but Adia, the bright neon lime green shoes might be too much for the viewers.
3) Don't tell too many June Daughtery stories (my former coach at BSU) although the pregnant and yelllow suit story when we played at UCLA is a must. That will be a blog for another time.

On from Seattle, I headed to Chicago on the redeye, my first and last experience. Between the middle seat and the bad body odor smeltering around I did not get an ounce of sleep. I was able to improve on my gag reflexes however without losing my dinner.

Chicago has an interesting way of countering the recent economic struggles. Just charge every motorist with a toll fee every time they get on and off the freeway. So you know, "express lane" is only for vehicles who have a purchased I Pass, not when you have exact change, not that I speak from past experience.

Chicago had a very solid tournament and although it was spread out all of the place I only had three frustrations;

1) air conditioning rises (hence-the coaches who watch from above have just moved to Bozeman in the winter and I did not pack that kind of clothing)
2) watching games from above you have two options. a) you can sit and peak through the railing b) you can stand and look over the railing. How do you take notes like that? I wish coaches would have seen me like that as heights are very deceptive and they may have believed I was actually 5'8 or maybe even 5'5.
3) which really has nothing to do with Chicago but for all Subway sandwich chains. Do you really think we can read your menu? What pressure to even find what you are looking for by the time they ask you what you want.

After two weeks on the road I landed safely in Bozeman just in time for "kite" flying with the kids. How fast do your kids grow in two weeks?

They start speaking in sentences. Favorite Brooklyn quote after this last trip happened to be at 4:00am when they were with me in Oregon City.

Brooklyn woke up and said "what are you doing mama?"

Coach Bin

Friday, July 2, 2010

Watch Out for Hail

I was in the MSU bookstore when clerks started running out to see what was making such a loud noise. As I walked up the stairs, I saw a patron holding what looked like snow balls.

Can you believe it was golf sized hail? Then I wondered how my new courtesy car was doing in the Fieldhouse parking lot.

The good news with Montana weather is that it can change in 5 minutes, so when the 5 minutes was up, our group made the jont back to the Fieldhouse.

The bad news with golf size hail is that we had plenty of surprises on our vehicles.

Rachel Semanksy had a window shattered. Tyler Wiltgen's windshield was shattered. Buildings lost windows, and for the rest of us, it looked like our cars went through 10 rounds of a boxing match.

My car dealer had more cars then just mine to worry about, so to roll with the punches he told me to get a bunch of WINS next year to make us all feel better.

I think winning solves a lot of problems. Don't you?

Coach Bin

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer School

Summer school is in session, and our three freshmen have all arrived safely with most of their bags.

I think summer school is so valuable for incoming student athletes to get acclimated, ease their transition to college with a couple of classes rather than a full load, play with their new teammates, and work with our strength coach.

Yesterday, our freshmen Ausha Cole, Kate Webb, and Emily Allen confirmed my opinion when they sat in on the wrong orientation for 45 minutes.

So we HAD to ask, "Why did you sit there for 45 minutes?"

Or more importantly, "Did you learn anything?"

This season is already fun. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Coach Bin

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Campfire Myths

Wrapping up the summer Bobcat Socials in Fort Benton.

We held the social at Steward and Rita Elliot's home. Numerous towns were represented including 80% of the town of Highwood when Rachel Semansky, now a sophomore on our team brought her parents, grandparents, aunt, and uncle. Monk, Rachel's dad was able to draw a map of Highwood on one post it note.

All kidding aside, I enjoy the smaller communities as I am from a small town myself. I like to brag though that Carbondale now has TWO stop lights!

As Coach Starr and I started mingling with the guests, I corrected Amy at one point when she introduced herself as Amy Saneholtz. Sorry Temesghen, it will take some time to get used to.

When it hit dusk, Rita made a pretty darn good firepit so we could avoid the millions of local misquitos. That's when I heard the campfire "myths."

If you stare at the campfire you will wet the bed.

Hmm, I am thankful I got through the night without an accident. Myth #1 is false.

If you put poop on the campfire it will not smell like roses.

We were all sitting around when I smelled what seemed to be dog poop and it continued to get worse. I then asked if anyone else smelled it and we all started cracking up. "Duke", Rita's and Stu's dog,  must have left a surprise on on one of the logs. Myth #2 true.

If you want your guests to go home, put poop on the campfire.

Once the odor was in the air we all called it a night. Myth #3 is a no brainer unless you like the smell of poop.

More to come on our road trip.

Coach Bin

Monday, June 21, 2010

Big Brother

This weekend I had a family reunion at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. One word for the Grand Tetons, MAJESTIC!

A weekend isn't nearly enough time to enjoy your surroundings so we settled for just a few.

  • The hike around Jenny Lake didn't disappoint as we saw two Moose.
  • We did a little shopping although it doesn't seem quite right to buy something at an Eddie Bauer when you have that in Bozeman.
  • The Alpine Slides were the kid's favorite down the Snow King Ski Hill. Papa even got trashed talked by a six year old when she told him she beat him down the hill. One of our closest friends showed us why the slides had "CAUTION" written on a few turns when he fell off and got scraped up.
Our last night we celebrated my brother's 40th Birthday so my older sister came up with a great idea of drawing pictures of our favorite thing about Jeff. If anyone knows my brother you understand why I became who I am. Just to name a few of the things he did to me in no particular order,

1) Offered me toilet water to drink
2) Made me jump out of our two story home
3) Threw me into the garage door when we played basketball
4) Took me Kayaking down the Colorado river my first time on a kayak

The funny part about this is I look for athletes who have older brothers as they have to learn early how to survive and are just naturally TOUGH.

In full circle of my 37 years with my brother, he has always protected and supported me. I am so thankful for having a big brother, AND an older sister for without her I might not have survived Jeff.

Coach Bin

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Quality Time

Exercise is so important to all of us, and for me personally makes me feel SO much better.

One of the best ways to get in shape quickly or burn off some major calories is to do an interval workout. I have the perfect interval workout for working parents looking for quality time with their kids.

It's called "Catch Me If You Can!"

My son is now 6 years old, and he is a very fast bike rider. One of our rituals is for him to ride his bike while I run with him. We are both extremely competitive so we typically have a game around our neighborhood on who is catching who.

Whether I am sprinting to catch up, jogging while he sneaks up, or sprinting to stay ahead, I imagine my speeds fluctuate enough to get a pretty challenging workout in. Justin, on the other hand, is pretty fresh by the end of his ride as he says "Optimist Prime" (his bike-also known as an Autobot from the movie Transformers) is doing all the work.

When you don't have as much quantity time with your children the quality time becomes that much more important. My workout with my soon to be 2 year old, Brooklyn, is sprinting after her when she puts a crayon in her mouth, crunches while she is sitting on me, or just LOTS of dancing.

My assistant coach's wife was sitting with us at team camp this weekend and said she needed to get more "play dates" with our kids because her daughter Camryn (3 years old) always gets a good workout in. She said this as I am giving the start signal for the kids to sprint from baseline to baseline.

I didn't really realize how active our kids were although I did clock my son in our house once when he was 2, and he ran for 45 minutes straight. Maybe they'll be Olympians.

Regardless, I am blessed to know I will be staying in shape at least until they graduate.

Coach Bin

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Love Hate Relationship

We began our team camp yesterday and I was asked to come speak with our officials today about what coaches look for in them. I will not speak for all coaches but here are a few of the points I addressed.

  • Demeanor: Officials who show confidence, make their call quickly, don't get too emotional, and show they are human when they do make a mistake and admit it goes along ways.
  • Control: Officials who keep the coaches and players under control don't let the game get emotional, and don't make me have to get on them to get the calls the other coach is getting.
  • Invisibility: Officials that go unnoticed and let the game be played are always the best. We are trying to get our teams to a championship level. Calls aren't made in the post season so why make them now. Make only the calls that are necessary.
  • Listen: Officials have a million things to concentrate on, but paying attention to end of game situations so they can give a timeout when a coach is asking for it may be one of the most important calls an official makes.
I think the next conversation should be what officials are looking from coaches. I would imagine it might be to sit down and be quiet!

I think both officials and coaches need to have some thick skin, but winning sure makes everyone better.

Coach Bin

Thursday, June 10, 2010

His Name is Steve



I just returned from my trip to Billings, Montana for a Bobcat Club function.

I drove over with our Athletic Director Peter Fields to meet with over 50 Bobcat Club members. On the way we talked about Nebraska's jump, whether or not we would have chicken wings for dinner, and most importantly the best concert we ever saw.

Peter has seen some good ones. The most interesting on his list was ZZ Top who was pretty big back in the day but he said the best entertainer was Reba Mcentire. The best entertainer I saw was Janet Jackson, but Carrie Underwood rocked when she wore a Montana State Women's Basketball uniform for her encore in Bozeman.

Two hours later we made it. We walked into the Red Door Lounge surrounded by the electric energy in the room. Bobcats are all around our state. They are loud, proud, and most of their names are Steve!

Peter, our men's basketball coach, football coach, and I all spoke to our members, thanked them for their contributions, and as I shook the last hand before heading home I told him to read my blog the next day.

His name was Steve.

Coach Bin

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dancing With The Starrs

What a celebration!

The evening began with three beautiful supporters sneaking in the back as the wedding began. This would be Jamie Thornton, Lyndi Seidensticker, and Katie Bussey. All eyes were on them as they whispered back and forth whether to sign in or be seated. What a chuckle.

The cutest moment of the program was the flower girl dropping her basket of flower petals not knowing what to do next until a spectator graciously picked it up and handed it to her.

We were all on the edge of our seats when Amy walked out in her radiant gown and walked along the balcony, down the stairs and was greeted by her dad as she took a deep breathe.

The Reverend, Albert Starr, also known as Temeshgen's dad, gave us all a lesson on marriage as he recommended not competing with one another but rather playing as a team.

During the communion Amy and T held the cups while Albert held out the bread. One of our friends wasn't used to dipping the bread in the wine for communion so he just put it in his mouth and took the cup from Amy before Amy told him "no". He wasn't sure if he should go ask for another. I think God found that pretty amusing.

Most importantly, Amy & T both looked stunning, said their vows, and got married.

It was time to party. We had all levels of rhythm on the dance floor, the best being the ring barer who was six years old. I won't tell you where Todd and I fell in line, but we didn't care. It was a blast.

Trivia you wouldn't know if you didn't attend the wedding.

  • I played against three of the women in the bridal party, all from Washington State.
  • Temesghen's mom, Judy reads my blog. Congrats Judy!
  • Amy's sister Jenny admitted Starr is a much better last name for Amy than Saneholtz. Sorry Marcia and Barney.
We finished the evening at the hotel with the men's and women's basketball staffs and spouses, and all I could think about was, both of our programs will have some VERY GOOD Bobcats with Amy and T's future kids!

Coach Bin

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Vacation Tidbits


This has been a vacation like none other. Here are the latest tid bits.

  • Owls and Freethrows.
Todd's dad's home sits in Greenleaf, Idaho in the middle of the "whoop whoop," defined by Australians as the middle of nowhere. One night we went to bed an owl woke, and it sounded injured. I teach my daughter owl noises to sound something like, "hoo, hoo" but this one would wait until you were just about to fall asleep and then would screech "eehhh!" All I could think about was how our student section should start that noise when our opponents are shooting freethrows. It would be a lot more effective then waving balloons.
  • Clean or Dirty
If you are a parent, then I assume you have similar stories to this one. The first lesson is to learn how to multi task which I was doing as I was drying my hair while watching my kids play in the bath. My mistake, however, was that I wasn't watching close enough. When I turned to see what they were doing, Brooklyn was playing with the toilet plunger.

  • Basketball is Vacation
People ask me how I take a break from basketball. Are you kidding? Basketball is my "break" from work. Yesterday Papa and Justin put together a basketball shooting game in the garage which my son is now addicted too. My brother-in-law Ryan McCarthy is also a coach and came over to my parents for dinner with his wife Jenny, Todd's sister. I coached Jenny at Boise State which is how I also met Todd. To make a long story short, Ryan and I talked about quick hitters for over an hour.

At the end of the day, it's about making the most of the time you have with family and friends, and if there is a sick owl outside your window, make sure to close it!

Coach Bin

Friday, May 28, 2010

Vacation

Todd and I pulled it off yesterday. We drove nine hours, on our trek to Idaho to see our families, with 2 kids in the back seat and DIDN'T lose our minds.

Todd and I have big plans for this vacation, the first is to REST.

Last night wasn't the best start as Brooklyn woke up at 2:30am and stayed awake until grandpa woke up at 5:30. I am optimistic her sleeping will improve on this trip.

Second item on the agenda is to WORKOUT every day. Todd and I went for a run this morning, one of the first for us together without kids in a long time. Despite the roaring Minnesota wind, it was incredible.

Of course Todd had to jump in the truck afterward to see how many miles we actually ran.

Speaking of Minnesota, Todd told me once when we were flying into the Minneapolis Airport that is where they invented the "mini" sodas. You know, those smaller versions of a Soda Pop.

Coach Bin

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Summer Training

Our team is in full swing in their summer workouts. Right now everyone is spread out whether they are finishing high school, at home enjoying the warm weather as LaTisha Adams says, or training back here in Bozeman.

What I love about this team is their commitment to each other. They all agreed to train together for the second session of summer school which begins at the end of June. During that time, some of them will be taking summer classes, some will work on the golf course, but the most important thing is that they will be working out with each other for six weeks straight.

Until that time our players are keeping in touch by sending letters to each other. The first letter was sent by our seniors Sarah Strand and Lyndi Seidensticker. They asked their teammates to e-mail them back their summer goals.

What's great about knowing each other's goals is accountability and motivation to each other. What I am most looking forward to though is seeing their improvement this fall.

Keep up the hard work ladies. Championships are made in the offseason and Champions are the habit of everyday training.

Go Cats!

Friday, May 21, 2010

It Factor

Think about how many women's basketball programs are out there, how many different styles of play, position needs, and ask yourself the most important thing that all coaches are looking for.

Athleticism?

Height?

Strength?

Instinct?

Scoring ability?

Rebounding ability?

These are all great traits, but the most important characteristic is the "IT" factor.

You won't find the definition of "IT" in the dictionary, at least in relation to its importance on the court so let me try to be clear to all of the 2011 prospects looking to get full ride offers by the end of the summer.

The "IT" factor is your toughness, competitiveness, desire, determination, confidence, composure, clutch ability to outwork, and out hustle your opponent.

Coaches put their success in your hands, so we want the player that's going to find a way to win.

Potential doesn't mean anything  if the athlete doesn't have the mentality and work ethic to turn that in to results. Results are what matter when it comes to wins and losses.

So my advice to the 2011 class this summer. Shoot for two letters, I & T.

Coach Bin

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Basketball & Marriage

I thought I would do a weekly blog on the similarities between basketball and marriage as my Associate Head Coach's wedding to men's coach T Starr comes closer, 15 days to be exact!

Similarity number one:
You have leaders and you have followers. Temesghan will make a great husband as soon as he realizes who is the leader in the relationship.

Similarity number two:
You can't always be right (vocally) unless you want a technical foul or you want to sleep on the couch.

Similarity number three:
You have to put the time into both to be successful.

Coach Bin

Monday, May 17, 2010

Road Trip

So the Friday guest blog didn't last too long. I guess no one works on Fridays during off season.

My offseason plans are to
  • get rejuvinated: easy once T-Ball season begins tomorrow night & we get the boat out
  • establish the next five year vision for the program
  • see more of Montana!

This past week I drove to Shelby, Montana for a highschool Athlete the Year Awards Banquet & Lewistown, Montana for a Bobcat Club social and golf scramble.

My Clint Eastwood Good, Bad, & Ugly of these trips

Good: Listening to the amazing accomplishments of the 2009-10 high school athlete's of the week. Talk about talent. 90% of these athletes were multi sport and 90% of the guys had the hair flap behind the ear haircut.

My driver!

Bad: Shelby's pool was under maintenence so my son was pretty upset by that.

My irons & anything related to the short game of golf!

UGLY: Driving back to Bozeman with Temesghen Starr (men's basketball coach) after the Lewistown Golf Scramble. He described himself as "rattled" when he left his keys at the hotel. He found them after three flights of stairs. Then he remembered leaving his golf clubs in Lewistown when we were only 30 miles from Bozeman.

Back to the Good. Temesghen didn't mind listening to all of my country.

Crossing two sides of the state I passed hundreds of elk, deer, antelope, casinos, windmills, ranches, and probably zero skyscrapers! I loved it.

Next is Billings, Fort Benton, and in August our family's first camping trip on Flathead Lake. I hear Glacier National Park is MAJESTIC.

Recommendation for your summer plans. Bring Temesghen Starr. You are sure to have an exciting vacation. Guess who is joining us on Flathead?

Coach Bin

Thursday, May 13, 2010

From the Archive - Special Olympics

(This was posted over a year ago during the 2009 Montana Special Olympics)

The Special Olympics Montana State Games has taken over Bozeman with more energy than a Cat-Griz football game!

Wednesday night was the kick off as I helped join volunteers in our community feed over 1500 athletes in under 2 hours before the opening ceremonies. What I admire most about these athletes are the attitudes and optimism.

Here are a few examples:

Spaghetti Dinner - "Please tell the cook this is the best spaghetti I have ever had." There wasn't one complaint with 1500 plates! All I saw were smiles, athletes thanking everyone, and people enjoying an evening with family, friends, and coaches.

Power Lifting - My staff helped our strength coaches with the power lifting on Thursday. This included the bench, squat, and dead lift. Here were some routines:
Patrick - INTENSE, he hit his lift and then yelled "WOOOOO!!!!" to the crowd with clenching and pumping his fists.
Glenn - HAM, Sumo-stomp approach before signaling the crowd to cheer him on.
Aaron - GRIZ all the way, with his maroon uniform. I have to admit he was the first Griz to ever win me over while high-fiving us.
Vivian - FOCUSED, she would throw her dead lift down and then step right over it and walk off.
Heather - TOUGH, she would point to her coach, stare down the weights and then smash it.

Sportsmanship - They compete AND cheer on their competitors. I have never seen so many hugs and support in one room. Jacob would hug competitors before he would lift. Then he would hug athletes after they lifted. Ryan had arms as cut as Sylvester Stalone and would high five every judge near him. They were so supportive of each other that our judges, particularly Andrea, began clapping after they completed their lift. How often do you see a judge cheering?

Coaches - These coaches know their athletes better than anyone. They would come to our table after the first lift to tell us how much weight he or she would lift next. I was thinking, are you sure they should do that much? The athlete would squat without strain and I realized they know their athletes better than I do. The coaches challenged their athletes like any other coach would.

Medal Presentation - This was the best part of the day. The athletes would walk up, receive a bronze, silver, or gold, but then strike their POSE. Not one athlete missed the opportunity to be in the spotlight. Whether they skipped, sprinted, or strutted to the podium, we all enjoyed every minute of it.

Our Bozeman Police Department helped present the medals, but one officer may not know that Aaron added rabbit ears behind his head for the picture. Let me also tell you to look out Buzz... He dead lifted over 400 pounds. WOW!

My nephew Tyler is now 15 years old and has Down Syndrome. I remember when he was born and my dad telling me why we call these children "special." He said they understand how to appreciate and live life to its fullest whereas the rest of us often make that a challenge.

We can certainly learn a lot from their spirit, optimism, and attitudes. What a "special" week for me. I got more out of it than what I was able to give! Great job to all of our athletes this week!

Coach Bin

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

What do you do on Mother's Day? Hopefully not much. That's the point right, to take a much needed rest with your family.

My husband made me an omelette for the first time, and it was pretty good after we both added some additional salt. The only thing he forgot was to grease the pan. I just appreciated the 45 minute effort he put into it, although I can whip an omelette up in about 5 minutes. He told me the kitchen was a lot cleaner the way he cooked though.

My kids handed me some cards with personal notes on the inside. I will admit, I couldn't quite understand the chicken scratch by Brooklyn that my husband drew an arrow to saying "from Brooklyn." It's the thought that counts.
Knowing that you are appreciated and are needed is so powerful. Whether it's a grab of your leg when your child is afraid or a call for mommy in the middle of the night after a bad dream you can say you are blessed.
I want to thank all of our moms of our players for such an amazing job they do with their daughters every day. Our student athletes are strong and confident because of their influence.
There is no greater voice than a mom's voice in a child's ear. You'll know that to be true if you've ever witnessed Gwen Perry at a MSU basketball game.

Coach Bin

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

ICEBOX


Have you ever seen the player who is a "clutch" performer?

How about the player who makes a mistake, shrugs her shoulders, and stops playing?

These scenarios reflect the level of one's mental toughness.

Our staff and team had a company called Icebox talk to us this spring regarding mental training. It's a lot harder to teach mental toughness than it is a layup, but it's also the most important tool in the game.

If you are the one who is a "clutch" performer, you don't get rattled in a tough environment, and are able to keep playing through error, I want to recruit you! You have a gift.

For the rest, here are a few points to work on this summer that I took from this presentation.

"The 4 C's: composure, concentration, commitment, and confidence." I also added competitiveness.

Composure: Put yourself in a challenging environment. Ex. Trash talking open gym player that is physical to guard you. If you can't remember what they said to you at the end you probably improved on your composure.

Concentration: Ex. Shoot your free throws exactly the same way, same thought every time. Now step to the line and have someone wave arms in front of you or put pressure on yourself for a miss. If you are able to keep it the same, knock them in, then you have improved concentration.

Commitment: Whatever workouts you have planned or set for the summer, do 1% more every day. Always make sure NO ONE has done more than you have.

Confidence: If you fully commit to all of these areas, train hard, get a ton of reps, you will find confidence comes a lot easier. If you haven't put in the time and effort, this may be a challenge.

Why is compete so important? Everyone can play hard, but only one team wins!

Coach Bin

Friday, April 30, 2010

MSU math major, basketball player succeeds in both arenas


April 29, 2010 -- By Evelyn Boswell, MSU News Service

BOZEMAN -- Jamie Thornton saw no reason to choose hoops over numbers or the classroom over the court.

The 6'3" math major and a center on the Montana State University women's basketball team has always seen her height as a gift to be developed, and she has always loved mathematics. Honing her abilities in both academics and athletics, she succeeded in each arena and plans to continue.

She was one of 40 top seniors who received an MSU Award of Excellence this spring. The award goes to seniors who have at least a 3.5 grade point average and have demonstrated campus leadership and community service. Thornton earned a 3.96 grade point average, was captain of the women's basketball team, helped start a recycling program in the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse and involved herself in other community service activities around Bozeman.

Thornton also served as president of MSU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and was a four-time Big Sky Conference All-Academic. She won the Bobcat Pride Award in April for best exemplifying the women's basketball program on the court and in the classroom.

"When you look at student athletes that have been successful both academically and athletically, they always have two consistent traits: work ethic and time management," said Tricia Bader-Binford, head women's basketball coach. "Jamie is extremely organized, wakes up every day with a positive attitude and has seen every obstacle as a detour rather than a road block. She commits herself in everything she does and knows you have to work hard in order to achieve the desired results."

Thornton will graduate Saturday, May 8, as one of nine women and five men in the Department of Mathematical Sciences who earned bachelor degrees in the past year. In all, she will be one of 24 women and 21 men in the department who will be recognized for earning a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree.

Math interests her for two reasons, Thornton said.

"First, my mind just works that way," she said. "I like the repetition in math where you learn the steps to solve a problem and then apply them over and over again. Also, as I've gotten into higher level math, I find it really interesting the way we can model anything in nature with numbers. With just a few equations, you can explain why something happens the way it does.

"Secondly, I really appreciate that there is a right and wrong answer in math," Thornton continued. "... There is all this gray area with English and subjects like that. As long as you argue your point well, you are right. I like the fact that with a math problem, there is a correct answer. There's no gray area. You either get the problem right, or you get it wrong."

With her undergraduate studies complete and her time over as center on the women's basketball team, Thornton said she's looking forward to spending more time with friends, enjoying outdoor activities around Bozeman and watching her favorite kind of movies -- romantic comedies with Hollywood endings.

But she also plans to earn her master's degree in statistics at MSU and assist with the women's basketball program, Thornton said. After that, she's considering combining her dual passions in math and sports by becoming a college coach or working in sports statistics.

"There are usually more jobs with a master's in statistics than master's in pure math," Thornton explained.

MSU math professor Warren Esty, the mentor Thornton honored during the Excellence Award ceremony, agreed.

"Most people who major in pure mathematics end up teaching mathematics," Esty said. "If you want to do other things related to science or business, statistics is a wonderfully fine area to major in. You can usually get a job without having a Ph.D."

Thornton said Esty knows his stuff and was definitely willing to offer her great advice during her time as an undergraduate. Sharing Thornton's enthusiasm for math and sports, Esty, 65, said, "I'm a big fan of continuing sports if possible."

Others who contributed to her success at MSU were members of the Bozeman community, Thornton said. Grateful for their support, she said she wanted to give back by helping with recycling efforts, Special Olympics basketball, Lions Clubs basketball clinics, Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter and more.

Those who have supported her interests and abilities for her entire life are her parents, Thornton said. Her father, Joe, is principal at Pullman High School in Washington. Her mom, Sandy Martin, does freelance editing for schools around the Pacific Northwest. Both drove her to basketball practices when she played club ball as a youngster. Later, they drove all over Washington to watch her play basketball for her high school and guide the Pullman High School team to third place in the Washington state tournament. They also supported Thornton's academic interests from the time she joined her first math club in elementary school to the time she became valedictorian of her high school class. When she received a full-ride scholarship to play basketball at MSU, their enthusiasm continued.

"They have been so supportive through the entire process," Thornton said. "Playing college ball isn't always easy. It's not always the fairytale you think of."

Spectators got a glimpse of that this school year when Thornton injured her knee during the opening game of the Thanksgiving classic and missed the next 11 games. Thornton said it was tough to lose that much time because of an injury, but she was philosophical about it.

"You have just got to realize that stuff happens," Thornton said. "You can't control everything. It just happened. You've just got to take your lumps and roll with the punches. Stay optimistic. Keep a sunny disposition."

It's that kind of attitude that helped make Thornton a winner, Bader-Binford said.

"Jamie is the epitome of putting the team before self," the coach said. "She is the first one to praise, celebrate, cheer and encourage a teammate. She is the most positive and unselfish student athlete I have ever coached.

"She competes every day with enthusiasm, and at the end of the day, she raised the level for going above and beyond what is expected," Bader-Binford continued. "She is a true leader who has a mentality of optimism regardless of the adversity. She has been and will continue to be a winner in everything she chooses to do."
Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or evelynb@montana.edu

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New & Something Different

I am not talking about the hand shake that Katie Bussey just tried to teach me. She has seven different ones, and mine is the easiest.

I am talking about changing your routine in a new and exciting way.

Last week's Challenge; Ball Handling in the Racquetball Court.

You have probably heard me talk about this workout before but I never put my players through it until last week. In Katie's words, it was "VERY HELPFUL."

Tip #1: Pound the Ball as Hard as You Can (strengthen fingers, forearms, shoulders)
Tip #2: Exagerrate Your Moves (increase your feel for the ball)
Tip #3: Don't be Afraid to Make a Mistake (four walls to bounce it back)
Tip #4: Shift Your Weight Behind Your Move (where you get your explosiveness)

The only requests we were left were to paint the bland walls and fix the dead spots in the floors. Other than that, we are on our way to improving our performance off the dribble and are having a lot of fun doing it.

p.s. If video arises on my blog, remember I haven't played in 8 years, so I am really following Tip #3.

Coach Bin video

Friday, April 23, 2010

Good Onya Mate


G'day Mates! As Coach Bin's first "guest blogger" I am honored. Here are a few tidbits from my recent recruiting trip to Australia.

The day that never happened: I left Bozeman on Tuesday 13 April (Aussies put the day before the month, I'm gonna try and see if I can start something like that in the states, overall it just gets confusing, especially on the first 12 days of the month). I was delayed on my flight from Bozeman to Denver and missed my connection to LAX. Not good when you only get a few flights to Australia each day out of LAX. Cristi at Anthony Travel was amazing and got me on a Southwest flight and I made my Qantas connection (My bag did not). I landed 14 hours later in Sydney on 15 April. Yep, 14 April never happened for me. Luckily I got to make it up on the trip home.

Packing Philosophy: When not traveling with the rest of the team, I usually pack a backpack with work/office things and a rolling carryon with clothes and toiletries. An international trip however I thought I should check a bag (might have to bring home some souvenirs for my daughter). Anyways after missing my connection in Denver, my bag did not make it to Sydney with me on 15 April. My bag finally arrived at our hotel on 17 April (yeah I was in the same Montana State shirt for most of the tournament) in time for me to take the bag back to the airport for our trip to Melbourne. I still haven't decided if I will carry on next trip, but I am definitely considering it.

FOOTY: For those of you that have never seen Australian Rules Football...find it on youtube! (Here is a clip Rebecca Mercer -(Bobcat Legend) sent my way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrs-DpeRCas&feature=related) Ok, so my guide on this recruiting expedition was Kelvin Taylor from Showtime Basketball. He took myself and 3 other coaches to St. Kilda vs. Fremantle. All I can say is WOW! Our American footballers are soft, these guys are sprinting 12+ miles every game up and down a 150 metre field with no pads getting crushed. The fans are incredibly intense and the atmosphere was great. It was definitely not the last Footy game for me.

Basketball: I was here to work. And although I can't go into any detail (NCAA Regulation 13.9.2.rule2.3.niner.9993383) I will tell you that the level of play at the U18 championships was some of the best I have ever seen. The Championship of the U18 was one of the best games I have ever seen and it was what I wish our Championship game (UConn/Stanford) could be. Great players, great offense, strong defense and the best players making the best plays.

Longest day of my life: 20 April started before sunrise as me and the 3 other coaches grabbed a cab to the airport. 30 mins and $90 later we were at the airport. Our flight was then delayed almost 2 hours. Nearly 24 hours later I landed in Bozeman, still on 20 April (and get this...my bag didn't make it!).

Nonetheless, I had a great week, with phenomenal basketball, delicious food, and met some amazing people! I can't wait to go back :)

Cheers!

Coach Scanson