Wednesday, February 18, 2015

From Dr. James Naismith To Boogie Cousins In Five Easy Steps

DeMarcus "Boogie" Cousins might be the worst thing to happen to basketball, or he could be a 24 year old who became a millionaire too young and hasn’t figured out that everything he says or does will be scrutinized by old white men to an inordinate extreme. I’m going with option B. Either way, it’s now five easy steps to get from the inventor of the game to Boogie.
"What if we forbid people to use their hands and they just kicked the ball? Nahhh, that would be a silly game."
Step One: Dr. James Naismith invents basketball and becomes the first head coach at the University of Kansas, and also the only coach in school history with a losing record. (I will never get tired of sharing this fact.)
Dr. Naismith and Dr. Allen together, an iconic photo in Kansas basketball history.
 Step Two: In 1907, one of Dr. Naismith’s players is Forrest C. Allen. Allen goes on to become head coach at Kansas for about 40 years and is better known as Phog. The university named a building after him. You may have heard of it.
No, Dean was not born 60 years old. It just seems that way.
Step Three: In the early 1950’s, one of Dr. Allen’s little-used players is a guy everybody knows is a future coach. The great story is that the team seating chart for games was planned out with the first sub sitting near Dr. Allen and so on down the line, with the little-used players at the end of the bench. But after a few substitutions and a few timeouts, this little-used player had moved up right next to Dr. Allen, where he absorbed everything he could. That player was Dean Smith.
George Karl with hair will never not be amusing.
 Step Four: Dean Smith coaches North Carolina for 35 years, with a tremendous all-time roster of players. One of his point guards in the early-1970’s is a wild-haired fellow from Pennsylvania named George Karl.



Old white men pick photos like these to make Boogie look bad.
Step Five: George Karl becomes head coach of the Sacramento Kings, where Boogie Cousins plays.

So that’s how Boogie Cousins is five steps from Dr. Naismith. Of course, plenty of other players coached by Karl are five steps from the inventor of the game, like Shawn Kemp, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Mullin, Anthony Mason and Gary Payton. But Boogie, clearly, is the most interesting link so far. Could something that Dr. Naismith taught Dr. Allen which then got instructed to Dean Smith who then handed it off to George Karl get passed on to Boogie? Think about that the next time you see a Kings huddle.    

photos courtesy: kuathletics.com, kshs.org, dvdtalk.com, bigbluehistory.net, cbssports.com