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A Tale of Two Programs: Leadership vs. Trash Talking

January 16, 2017

I witnessed a bad basketball game in Moby Arena on Saturday evening.  It had very little to do with the final score.

It had to do with two teams who decided pre-game that winning the trash-talking battle was of the highest priority.  It began pre-game with players heard saying things to each other. It continued during the game both on and off the court.  And it also went on well after the game was over with more yack in the parking lot.

The two biggest culprits for CSU…

Seniors Gian Clavell and Emmanuel Omogbo.

Both of whom could be seen on the court not just talking but selfishly trying to go one against five in their attempt to “lead” their team.

More than once Omogbo grabbed a rebound or loose ball in the backcourt and decided he was going to go coast to coast.  Its a play that earns a player a scholarship at an AAU event or a JuCo game but it isnt a winning play at the D-1 level.  A winning play is to put the ball into the hands of a guard and then run the win hard in hopes of receiving a return pass for an easy layup.  Inb Omogbo’s case, his first attempt ended with a layup being blocked. The second was an embarrassing pass to nobody that zipped out of bounds after he had stumbled, spun, and completely lost his bearings.

Clavell was yacking with a UNM player on the bench the entire game. He had a horrible turnover right there,no doubt  focused on the wrong thing. And in the second half, a wild spin move near the elbow created a turnover and easy runout for the opponent.

Mental weakness and selfish play by the players expected to be leaders.

Contrast this with the performance of two seniors Ellen Nystrom and Elie Gustavsson as the CSU Womens team met New Mexico later that day.

CSU struggled after Nystrom went to the bench with her second foul early in the second quarter.  They trailed 32-24 at the half and by 48-37 with 2 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter.

And then the seniors stepped up.

Nystrom did her thing, directing the offense on one end and defending players big and small on the other. Gustavsson did her thing, guarding much bigger players in the post, rebounding, running the floor and scoring inside and out.

At games end, the Rams had completely turned the game around, scoring a 79-64 road win. Nystrom delivered 5 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal in those final 12 minutes.  Gustavsson delivered 9 points(including the go ahead jumper), 3 rebounds, and 1 assist in those final 12 minutes.  They were the best players on the floor when it mattered.

With the win, Nystrom and Gustavsson’s career record in conference regular season games is now 52-7.

With the loss, Clavell’s MWC regular season record moved to 26-15. Omogbo’s 11-12.

I know leaders when I see them. And the results dont lie.

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