A History Boot Camp Should Be In Order

By Fred Whitted
Updated: April 23, 2008

NORTH CAROLINA — I do not understand how celebrities take the day to day attention. There is something about people walking up as if they know me that just take getting use to.

After more than a month I still run into people who watched “Black Magic” and recognize me. When I stopped to think about it, I began asking people what they thought about the important people in the documentary.

There was the usual “it was informative” and a few “I really learned things I didn’t know”. My favorite response was from a sports addict who was floored by the Secret Game, the Cleo Hill story and the fast-break.

He is one of those people who went to a predominately white college (PWC) and got brain damaged. I will not dime him out, but, he is still crying about the Kansas-UNC semifinal game.

As I sat and filled this brother in on some of the facts surrounding that whole weekend, I kept thinking Coach Mac would have been proud of how things turned out that night.

A Kansas alum, he would have been proud. Greater still, he would have seen his style of game played at a high level and the teams that executed it the best won.

Now that we have come down from the high of Black History Month and March Madness, I have settled in to preparations for the Quiz Bowl Challenge. In the process of pulling questions out of the information that has been put together, I keep going back to something one of my teachers told me years ago: seek the questions behind each answer, not just an answer.

One of the things I learned from talking to great coaches is they never answer questions for their players. They provide situations for their players to derive questions from each answer, not just the answer to a question.

For instance, in the fast break, the first objective is to get the ball. Thus, someone has to rebound the ball. Now, it is not just a simple matter of getting the ball.

There is also the problem of having pressure on the shooter to help them miss. There is proper positioning to get the rebound. There is timing one’s jump. There is seeing the trigger to move the ball down court.

There are people who must be in their proper lanes…..

I have seen this simple scenario written out and it takes almost a page to write it. What must be understood in all of this is to play the game right, players must be thinkers, as well as skilled.

Knowing this, l ask myself why do parents continue sending their kids to basketball camps that only work on their physical skills? The simple answer is they think that it is only a game of skill for the players and the coaches will think of the strategies.

This is a long way to get to the real issues in all of this. With mainstream media, much of what is important about basketball is washed away with the funk.

Black kids continue to go to camps and think Coach K or Coach Williams or whoever invented the game, or, at least certain strategies, back in the day. No one asks questions about truth or reality, they just assume what they have been told, or assumed, it fact.

Quite often, it is just fiction.

Before we go through another season of watching the fast break, we need a Black history boot-camp. This goes beyond just who invented fast break or the four corners. Those are small things in the big picture.

They still point to some really important things. If we do not know who invented the fast break, how do we know who invented west coast offense or split-line T? Do we still assume that whites invented all of the good things that make America great?

Just as great coaches present more questions than answers, so should a good boot-camp. There should be a simple format that helps young people build a foundation of learning.

From this basis knowledge, they build a greater body of knowledge. If they use a team learning concept, they will help each other learn because they will share in the research process. This forces them to talk to each other, and, share what they have learned with each other.

Parents and adults cannot be left out of this equation. Guess who gets to assist the youngsters? Correct, adults get to share in all of this fun. Who knows, they may be learn something in the process, which would be great.

Look at it this way: we have more than 1000 questions. This means there are potentially 10,000 answers, followed by another ten questions each. As you can see, the more you learn the more there is to learn.

Let’s start this summer. Hit me with an e-mail and learn more.