Coach K responds to Jalen Rose

March 29, 2011

It took a few weeks, but Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has responded to Jalen Rose’s charge that the only black players recruited by Duke are “Uncle Toms.”

Rose’s comments, Kryzezewski said on a Chicago radio station, were “very insulting to everyone here at Duke but especially, not just our African-American players, but any African-American students.”

Rose made his controversial comments in the ESPN documentary, “The Fab Five,” which aired two weeks ago. Most interestingly, K addressed his failure to recruit Rose, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King:

“We were very successful against them and, to be quite frank with you, we recruited Chris Webber,” he said. “I didn’t recruit Jalen Rose because we had Grant Hill and I’m happy with that. We didn’t look at the other, Juwan Howard [because] we knew he wasn’t going to come to Duke. The other two kids we didn’t think were the caliber that could play as well as Thomas Hill and Brian Davis and Billy McCaffery. They’re good kids. They were good kids.”

That sounds reasonable to me. Duke’s group did win a national title.

Read more here.

The IoT Bracket Challenge winner(?)

March 29, 2011

The National Championship game is a week away, but one member of the IoT team is already celebrating his "One Shining Moment."

The inaugural Instead of Texting Bracket Challenge ended at approximately 4:43 p.m. Sunday. With VCU’s win over top-seeded Kansas, the last shot that either Jimmy or I had for any of our picks to make the Final Four ended.

In a sense, you could say there really was no winner in our little competition.

Well, that’s not entirely true. There was a winner — me.

Like just about all of America (except for this guy), neither of us came anywhere close to picking the right Final Four. But thanks to a 26-for-32 first round, I didn’t fare quite as badly as my IoT partner.

So yeah, my victory may not have been pretty, but that’s not going to stop me from celebrating my One Shining Moment.

Arizona brand beats Duke brand

March 25, 2011

“Lute (Olson) is one of the top coaches to ever coach in college and that brand never went away, even though there were some not-so-good things happening, and then Sean (Miller) is just a heck of a coach. He’s a really good guy, but he’s a great coach and he had his team so well prepared. It was a great hire for them, to build back a brand that was right — you know, it’s there.” — Duke men’s basketball CEO Mike Krzyzewski, after last night’s season-ending loss to Arizona.

Coach K’s right — Sean Miller has really rebuilt that Arizona brand. At this juncture, Duke basketball’s brand managers are probably looking at that turnaround and asking themselves some difficult questions. Are we delivering on Duke basketball’s brand promise? Are we effectively communicating our value proposition? Are there fundamental flaws in our brand architecture?

Identifying Duke’s problems weaknesses challenges potential growth areas opportunities will require some soul-searching, a deep dive into the current state of the Duke basketball brand; the 30,000-foot view won’t be enough. Assess every touchpoint with customers. Focus-group this thing. Put some black-belt, Six sigma mojo on it.

Who knows what K’s brand management team will find? Maybe Duke’s frontline staff have been operating in silos, and it’s time to tear down the walls between them. Vertically integrate. Challenge the status quo. But as K and his team do so, they need to make sure they’re defining roles and clearly communicating action steps to each member of the team. Really flesh out that vision for the future state, and identify the change agents who can drive the process.

Once Duke’s defined the problems challenges opportunities, K should launch the solution phase of the process with an off-site, all-hands brainstorming session to start: a no-holds-barred approach where no idea, no matter how back-of-the-envelope, is dismissed. It takes that sort of environment to really cultivate outside-the-box thinking. K may want to bring in some outside thought leaders, critical thinkers who are plugged into best practices for reviving an aging declining faltering opportunity-blessed basketball brand.

The good news for Krzyzewski is that his company organization team family has a lot of quality human capital to draw on. K’s going to need buy-in all the way up to the C suite. But getting sweat equity from everyone shouldn’t be a problem for Coach K. The man knows how to motivate.

I think K’s management team is going to find that this isn’t a burning platform situation. The solutions here are evolutionary, not revolutionary. But that doesn’t mean there are going to be easy solutions. Just bringing in new brand ambassadors next year won’t solve the problem. There are no Band-aids for Duke’s problems issues opportunities and no workarounds to greatness excellence increased market share.

A Very Special IoT Tournament Challenge Update

March 24, 2011

You know, we have a lot of fun around here at Instead of Texting.

A few times a week, we all gather ’round the ol’ water cooler and just enjoy ourselves. We have some laughs over the foibles of our favorite athletes. We relive past sporting glories. We try to take a fresh look at the week’s sports news.

It’s all pretty light stuff.

But today, I want to talk to you about something serious: identity theft. Read the rest of this entry »

The Unfinished Odyssey of Juwan Howard

March 23, 2011

This aborted "Kid and Play" could hardly have ended worse.

Suppose that Ringo Starr had signed on with U2 in 1984.

Or that Al Pacino, 20-plus years after headlining “The Godfather,” crawled through 500 yards of shit-smelling foulness in “The Shawshank Redemption.”

It’s almost unprecedented for one person to, at either end of a 20-year gap, find himself at the center of an era-defining phenomenon. And no, “Scent of a Woman” doesn’t count for Pacino.
Read the rest of this entry »

The New-Look NCAAs: A Pro-and-Pro Discussion

March 18, 2011

Jeremy: Jimmy, our favorite time of year has arrived. March Madness is here — and it’s got a different look this year.

IoT was on hiatus when the NCAA decided to tinker with the Tournament, so we’ve got a lot to talk about.

Let’s start with something positive: The TV coverage of the Tournament finally enters the 21st century for everyone this year.

With the new 14-year, $10.8 billion deal that CBS and Turner Broadcasting signed with the NCAA, every first- and second-round game will be shown on either CBS or one of three cable stations, TBS, TNT or truTV. Of course, fans who would rather see a competitive game than watch Duke beat up on some hapless 16 seed in the first round have had options for a while now (March Madness On Demand on their computer, the Mega March Madness package on DirecTV, a trip to the local sports bar, etc.). Innovative CBS stations like WRAL in Raleigh have also set up digital cable channels during the Tournament specifically to air out-of-market games. But since I moved to Florida, this is the first time that I’ll be able to flip around on my own TV and decide which game I want to watch without having to pay extra for it.

The CBS-Turner marriage also brings Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith to CBS’s studio show. If CBS turns Chuck loose like TNT does on its NBA broadcasts, that’s going to be highly entertaining.

And then there’s … well … ummm … it’s March Madness, and the NCAA can only do but so much to screw it up.

As you can probably already tell, I’m not a fan of the new “and improved” 68-team field, although it could have been worse (and still might be some day.)

The 64-team, pre-play-in-game(s) Tournament was perfect. Each team had an equal path to the national title — win six games and it’s yours. The old Tournament also felt like it had the appropriate quality of competition. Sure, some decent teams missed out every year, but to me, it should be hard to qualify as an at-large team. Sadly, now we’re stuck with four play-in games and debating whether increasingly mediocre teams should or should not have made it in.

So Jimmy, where do you stand on expansion? Is 68 teams too many or not enough? And now that we’ve got this new format, what do you think of the First Four setup?

Jimmy: Before I respond to your questions, JDA, I’d like to tip out a sip out of my Smirnoff Ice in memory of Sidney Lowe’s tenure at N.C. State.



I’ve got mixed feelings about the expansion. On one hand, anything that brings more Barkley to the world is a net good. I’d like to see him analyze pro football, host Bravo’s Real Housewives reunion shows and moderate presidential debates.

On the other hand, the “first four” expansion strikes me as a half-measure. It doesn’t satisfy those who want to see more games (and more money); nor does it serve the traditionalists who think a 64-team tournament is fine (and a 48-team tourney is perfect). And it doesn’t eliminate the snub. It just bumps a couple more teams off the snub list.

I’m still not sure I fully understand why the NCAA chose this particular expansion model. Why only three teams? And why not make them the four bottom seeds? This year’s zero-th round games match four would-be 16s and four would-be 12s. That makes no sense.

I am all in favor of the new TV deal. As you implied, it took far too long for the NCAA to join the rest of the free world in taking advantage of basic cable. I have to admit, though, I will miss the dramatic cutaways that have usually given me my only view of most first- and second-round games. I won’t miss those times when CBS chose not to cut away during a Duke-Southern Illinois blowout.

I’m coming back at you with a big question: What’s the state of the NCAA tournament? One argument against expansion is that it will dilute the pool of teams. I’d argue the pool’s been diluted for the better part of a decade (at least) by the fact that no team can stay together for more than a year.

Answering your own question is rude. All apologies. But back to you.

Read the rest of this entry »

The IoT Bracket Challenge

March 17, 2011

Who will win the IoT Bracket Challenge -- Jeremy or Jimmy?

It wouldn’t be March Madness without a little bracket challenge among friends. We’re no different here at IoT, except we’re posting our brackets online so we can be openly mocked or applauded by friends and family for our picks.

Jimmy and I get to the same place in the end — we both have Ohio State winning it all — but we take some very different paths to get there. Below you’ll find links to our brackets on ESPN’s Tournament Challenge along with our Final Four picks:

Jeremy’s Bracket: Ohio State, Kansas, San Diego State, Pittsburgh

Jimmy’s Bracket: Ohio State, Notre Dame, Duke, Florida

We’ll post updates with our progress after each weekend of the Tournament.

And incidentally, I’ve started out 10 for 12 on my first-day picks. Jimmy is 8 for 12 so far. Just something I thought I should point out.