07.30.06

Musselman’s Former Charges Sing His Praises

Posted in Basketball at 1:23 pm by

(Musselman informs Kings players that practice is cancelled and they’ll spend the afternoon doing inventory at the Darla warehouse, instead)

If everyone lost their job for a) not getting along with Danny Fortson or b) failing to see the potential in Mike Dunleavy, the unemployment rate in this country would be close to 50%.  And with that in mind, check out some quotes from Sacramento Kings coach Eric Musselman’ former players during his tenure in Oakland.  From the Sacramento Bee’s Sam Amick.

Many players who once seemed to despise Musselman now swear by him, perhaps because of the lesser talked-about effect of his tenure. Gilbert Arenas, Erick Dampier and Antiwan Jamison, among others, had some of their finest years under Musselman and landed huge contracts after leaving Golden State. Musselman was fired with one year left on his three-year contract.

“What happened at Golden State? He brought a team up, did what it took, and we won (17) more games than the year before with the same group,” said Arenas, the two-time All-Star Washington guard. “That should speak for itself.”

Arenas’ first impression wasn’t so flattering. On the first day of training camp, Musselman told him that Bobby Sura was going to be the opening-game starter. Musselman was, as Arenas learned, telling a white lie to motivate him into having a good camp.

“I was like, Uh, uh, not on my watch,” Arenas said. “But he got me going. He reminds me of an Avery Johnson (Dallas) type of coach. He’s fiery. He’s going to push you. He’s a player’s coach, and you rarely find that in this league.”

Months after Dampier called the coach “Musselhead”, he became the first player to invite Musselman to his house. With some Warriors teammates, they had a catfish dinner courtesy of Dampier’s mother and sisters that showed Musselman the importance of player-coach bonding.

“That was a point in time where there was pressure, and I felt we should have won the (Minnesota) game,” said Dampier, who is now with Dallas. “It was (said) just out of frustration. If I could go back and do it over, I never would’ve said that.

“Eric gave me the opportunity that no other coach has given me, the opportunity to show the real Erick Dampier. He’s a player’s coach, even though he’s never played in this league.”

My Hebrew comprehension skills are running behind English and Spanish these days — not necessarily in that order. Luckily, NetsDaily is able to translate, and it seems as though Maccabi Tel Aviv is after the Nets’ Zoran Planinic.

Demanding that “Team USA needs to crap the bed in the 2006 tourney. Nothing will get Gil and Antawn out from under Krzyzewski’s iron fist quicker than an early, ignoble exit.”, the Daily Bacon’s Rex Chapman (whose life is not about playing games) questions Coach K’s qualifications to lead our national side in the World Championships.

I’m not sure whether Krzyzweski’s command of Japanese will be sufficient to ride the referees into calling fouls after the merest flutter of a USA Basketball player’s limb while allowing American defenders to maul and hump their opponents mercilessly on defense. More importantly, he could convince Gilbert that he is fouled every time he drives the lane – the first step towards his eventual mutation into a moose.

The more a player toils under Krzyzewski, the worse he sucks in the NBA. Remember Trajan Langdon? No, I don’t think you do. Only if you leave Duke early, like Elton Brand, do you have a chance of overcoming his anti-professionalism. (Grant Hill resisted, so before he was drafted, a team of midget orthopedists replaced his ankles with plaster and applesauce.)

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