Saturday, May 28, 2016

Quick note on why I think Barkley and the crew are fools for their critique of Durant

Game 6 of Warriors-Thunder was fantastic. These two combined for 70. Klay Thompson made 11 threes and was hotter than any player I've ever seen. I'm happy we get a game 7.

But Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaq - with all due respect to them as legends of the game - are stupid in saying the game was won because Kevin Durant "went back to hero ball." He can't make the ball go in the hoop. And he shoots a lot because that's his job.

People who don't know the game say that guys whose shots go in on a given night are playing well and that players whose shots aren't going in aren't playing well. People who have played know that we all try to make every shot we take and that no matter how much we want it to be different, we can't make the ball go in after it leaves our hands. Barkley and those guys should know better.

In what universe where Thompson and Curry combine for 70 is the other team "supposed to win?" If Thompson goes 9-18 from 3 instead of 11-18 then the Thunder advances and those guys would (rightfully) say Westbrook is super human and Durant has a giant heart. There would be no talk of hero ball.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Joshua Toran III - A special interview with the Gates Millennium Scholar

I'm happy to make my special interview with Joshua Toran III AugBball's first feature of someone who does not play basketball. Toran made a splash last Saturday when his selection as a Gates Millennium Scholar was front page news in the Augusta Chronicle.

Of 53,000 applicants, only 1,000 Gates Millennium Scholars were chosen. Joshua was our area's only selection, and he is one of 90 statewide. The award will cover his undergraduate AND graduate school expenses at the University of Georgia. As the Augusta Chronicle article described and Joshua discussed in the interview above, the Gates program is a rigorous process (nine 500 word essays and multiple references are required) that began with a discussion with his mother when he was in the fifth grade.

As I expected, communicating with Joshua throughout the interview process uncovered many more interesting accomplishments and details about his impressive journey. His short history is filled with impressive feats. On the right is a short list of some of the highlights. And here are some of the stories we covered in detail during the interview:

As a fourth grader, Joshua won an oratorical contest his mother encouraged him to enter at Belle Terrace Presbyterian Church. The other contestants were high schoolers!

In 2014, Toran was nominated to attend the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Washington, DC. Joshua worked (he is currently employed at Hibbert Sports) and saved, he earned a special scholarship, and he even raised funds through a "go fund me" campaign, to be able to make the three day trip. In the interview he describes the ice storm induced travel adventures he and his mother encountered getting to the event.

Joshua also talks about being elected mayor by 30 peers at a week long Georgia Boys State event. And he describes the the benefits of being involved in the Youth Leadership of Augusta group.

Toran told me he spends an average of three hours every day working to maintain his GPA (his senior class rank is 9th), applying for scholarships, and participating in special programs. Add that to the 35-40 hours he spends at school and the 15-20 hours he works each week to understand how he achieves such impressive results. The "big" Gates award was well deserved.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Don Coleman makes stop in Augusta before heading to California

This is episode one of Dhrmaine Bradley's "More than the Masters" podcast.

One year ago Don Coleman's future was not nearly as certain as today. Butler's all time leading scorer and soon to be sophomore guard at the University of California had suddenly changed his original plan to attend Florida Atlantic University, where he would have played under head coach Mike Curry, Augusta's most accomplished basketball figure, a former NBA player and head coach who starred at Georgia Southern and Glenn Hills.
Coleman: Butler's all time scoring leader

Many wondered why the detour. Don was quiet. The only thing I saw or heard came from his biggest fan, his brother Dhrmaine Bradley, who posted a couple short videos of the sharp shooter working out alone here and eventually at Lawson State, the junior college in Alabama he attended and averaged 20 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds, making first team all conference as a freshman.

Don let his game do his talking these past 12 months. He led Lawson State to a 17-11 record and actually posted more impressive statistics as a college freshman than as a high school senior. Before the season ended it became clear he would sign with California, reporting June 23 - after a quick stop in Augusta - as a sophomore who will play immediately. Not bad for a guy who I thought shouldn't have turned down the scholarship offer he got from Augusta University in June!

During his quick break, Coleman became his brother Dhrmaine's first interviewee for his new podcast, "More than the Masters." I pasted the episode at the top. This is certainly my favorite ever interview from Don. The chemistry between brothers is fun. And unlike traditional newspaper and television news interviews, Coleman is able to explain his thoughts more completely.
Set Butler's single game scoring record

Here are two quick notes I made while listening to the discussion:

1) There is no bigger fan of Don than Dhrmaine. And his behind the scenes knowledge of Don's path is interesting. Dhrmaine gets Don to talk about his "scoring machine" days at Butler, his feelings after decommitting from Florida Atlantic and choosing Lawson State, and even his making a bunch of shots in pickup games during his recent visit to Cal.

2) Don gives us a window into what it's like being somewhat of a local celebrity (my words, not his) and a teenager at the same time. He says he felt like people labeled him the "bad guy" in high school because he played at Butler and that if he'd played at Laney he may have been thought of more as the "good guy." And Dhrmaine even mentioned the lower "number of shares and likes" from the social media posts that announced Don's decision to go to Lawson State compared to the announcements about Florida Atlantic.
First team all conference; single game scoring (46) record holder* 

And if you want to learn a ton more about Coleman, here are some of the most popular posts featuring Don from over the past five years:

Friday, December 18, 2015

Ashley Brown brings us up to speed with two of Augusta's most explosive scorers

Monday, December 1, 2014

Don Coleman: A Timeline

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Coleman Measures Up Nicely

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Butler's Coleman Does it Again!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Highlights - Freshman Guard

Check out this blog

Bob Cook’s (my father) blog ( is the best one I’ve read. His writing about the economy, learning teaching, investing, and living life well make almost all regularly published websites look like amateur hour. He would never send a message out telling people to check it out. So I’ll be the one to tell you it’s a mistake not to see what is available at

He has published almost 2,400 posts in the six years since beginning to write on an almost daily basis. Here I lifted a few of his sentences from his two most recent posts and I leave a few thoughts along with links to the full posts.

From An American Disaster Dead Ahead? ... Individual Saving and Investing for Our Retirement Years Is an Absolute Necessity That Isn't Being Addressed  (May 2, 2016)

“Our highly indebted economy shows lackluster growth and as a result, our government receipts are far too few to balance the budget.

Yet our political class refuses to discuss or take any steps whatsoever to explain to We the People this ongoing financial catastrophe in the making and what needs to be done to deal with it.

No man-made problem, which of course this one is, has ever been too big to solve, but no man-made problem, unless first acknowledged openly, can in fact be solved.”

This is so well put. And the notion that 401K’s and IRA’s have made on balance an incredibly small contribution towards funding "personal pension plans" (see his post for a proper telling) is surprising. So the subject is interesting and worthwhile. 

These types of posts are a staple at “The People’s Place,” a title that went at the top of the blog around 2012.

Sunday’s post (below) is what caused my to write this one to encourage people to check out his blog. His opinion here is strong and very well informed.

From May 1 Is 'Bernie Sanders' Labor Day in Europe ... My Take on What It All Means (May 1, 2016)

This post fired me up, even before he brought one of my childhood heroes, Spud Webb, into it. And it made me laugh even before I understood the “huuuuuge”  joke (see below).

From the beginning of the post:

{NOTE: I strongly suspect that Bernie Sanders doesn't have real fact based knowledge of what Labor Day is actually like in much of the rest of the world. On the other hand, I do. Accordingly, I'd like to share some of what I know with you.}

After explaining very convincingly why he is more qualified than anyone I can imagine on the subject of labor relations from an American and a global perspective, he explains from his unique perspective why socialistic policies always look much better on paper than when practiced in real life and tells about the time he encounter Sweden’s version of Labor Day celebrations.

I’m leaving out the good parts because you’ll like the original better. But I will share my favorite paragraphs here, which finish a series of convincing criticism of the presidential hopefuls in both parties:

“Of course, we have huuuuuge problems to solve, but Bernie, Hillary, Donald and Ted won't be able to solve them for us. That's where We the People come in, and that's why we always have and always will win in the end. Because when the chips are down and the game is on the line, free Americans are always up to the task at hand, whatever it happens to be. We the People are winners!

And while we're at it, there's one more thing I'd like to share. Right here in 'River City,' former NBA basketball player, dunker extraordinaire and philosopher Spud Webb famously said all that needs to be said about America, "If you can dream it, you can do it."

Like I said above, I was slow to catch onto his use of “huuuuuge.” I did a little googling and found this SNL clip. I like Sanders better an an SNL guy than a President. But every famous person is at his best as an SNL guy.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Georgia Soul tops Conyers 75-72 in opener

LaCoya Terry and Special Jennings made a pair of buckets to close the Georgia Soul's 75-72 win Sunday over the Conyers Rockets in the new professional team's first ever game. Terry led the home team with 21 points. Eboni Fields added 16 points and Jennings chipped in 14.

The Soul used a 30-8 second quarter blitz to turn a 24-12 deficit into a 42-32 lead when Fields burried a three in transition just before halftime. The Rockets tied the game at 67 with three minutes remaining before Terry and Jennings closed the deal.

Everything about the Soul's debut game and season has been very impressive.
Team owner Nesia Wright, who starred at Augusta University, has helped create quite a buzz about the new professional team. The players and coaches conducted a free basketball clinic Saturday at Evans High School for 100 area female students.

The stands were full for the season opener. It seemed like half the people there were sporting Georgia Soul t-shirts. And the crowd cheered loudly for the home team.

The next home game is against the Georgia Stampede on May 21 at home.

Thoughts about Sunday's triple header of NBA Playoff games

I wrote yesterday that Saturday's game one, second round San Antonio versus OKC game tipped off what may be a great run of NBA action. I exclusively focused on the Spurs, Thunder, Warriors, and Cavs, which feature the five best players in the game. But if Goran Dragic's play in the first half of the Heat's game 7 home matchup with Charlotte is an indication of what's ahead during Sunday's triple header of NBA games, then I underestimated the potential in today's game 7 showdowns.

This second half has promise. So does tonight's Raptors-Pacers series deciding matchup. Add game one of the Warriors-Blazers and I'll say "day two" of the playoffs should be a great one!