Get Ready

Herman Harried / Digital Sports

Herman Harried / Digital Sports

I spent parts of the last two days watching basketball practice. Of the many things I see, and places I go for my job, that hardly sounds glamorous. But for a hoops junkie, the squeaks and whistles kept me thoroughly engaged.

Now the practices were completely different. First on Wednesday about 40 minutes worth of Lake Clifton High School getting ready to face Mervo on Friday. The Lakers, with an 18-0 record showcase at least three kids that will play at the major Division One level. Serious, serious talent on display for head coach Herman Harried. And while Coach Harried can be tough (he has no fear of getting withing an inch of a kids face to fiercely explain what he did wrong), the practice was full of encouraging words and run at an almost leisurely pace. Harried is in full conservation mode as the Lakers try to best their Final Four appearance in last year’s state championship games.

But I was struck by how laid back the session was.

Then today I spent an hour at Morgan State University. I know it’s not necessarily fair to compare the two since the kids at Morgan enjoy a full scholarship and Todd Bozeman is paid to win games, while Herman Harried takes on the role of father figure as much as basketball coach, but for the kids that will leave Lake Clifton for college they have a serious wake up call in store.

Todd Bozeman / MEAC Sports Blog

Todd Bozeman / MEAC Sports Blog

Bozeman verbally worked his kids non stop. Nothing horrible mind you, no personal attacks, he just refused to sugar coat anything. And the number of suicides run as a result of mistakes made me start to cramp just watching. I asked if this was a typical practice and he said it was. 

As you can see, Bozeman isn’t afraid to get a little closer as well.  And his point to me about the style of coaching (which is far kinder than Gary Williams offers at Maryland) was to keep the kids looking forward and forgetting the past. 

I have grown to tremendously respect both coaches.  Herman Harried returned to Baltimore City knowing so many kids need his help.  Other opportunities have presented themselves, yet he stays at Lake Clifton.

Bozeman battled back from a personal transgression and now defines perseverance.  His kids have a role model in handling adversity. 

I’m just glad to have the opportunity to study their crafts and share them with you.

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