Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Large Expectations for Iowa Hawkeyes

If the Iowa Hawkeyes can live up to predictions in 2010, they will garner a stellar season.

Many so called experts think the Hawkeyes will finish in the top 10. It will be interesting to see how Iowa performs under the expectations. Will they do just fine or lay an egg?

Iowa enjoys the underdog role. Coach Kirk Ferentz is a master at playing the role. But now Iowa has a mark on its chest.

The talent is definitely there. Iowa returns 14 starters including eight on defense. It's defense can play with anyone in the country.

All eyes are on the offense. Quarterback Rick Stanzi had an up-and-down year last season. He was good when necessary. The breaks generally went Iowa's way and it won some close games. This season, Iowa hopes for improved offensive play so it doesn't depend on those breaks.

But the biggest weapon is Ferentz. The guy can coach. He doesn't get much national attention, but football people know him. He enjoys being an unassuming guy. Simply, he just wins. His organizational skills and winning ways make him quite attractive to NFL teams.

So with Ferentz on the sidelines and returning talent, look for the Hawkeyes to resemble a prince rather than a chicken.

What are your predictions for Iowa this season?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Closer Look at a Kenya Basketball Coach

Editor's Note: I discovered that hoops coaches in Africa are eager to learn the game and teach their players. I sat down with such a coach in Kenya.

Ben, a men and women’s basketball coach in Nairobi, thoroughly enjoys attending the AIA coaching clinics in Kenya. The 36-year-old husband and father is present for the third straight year.

Apart from the basketball knowledge, I also like the spiritual and basketball knowledge,” Ben said. ”They combine spiritual and Biblical knowledge.”

Ben played basketball for 11 years including a stint with the Kenya national team. He has coach for five years and considers it a privilege.

“I coach to give back to society,” he said. “Society gave the chance to me. (I want) to give them (players) not only skills in basketball but the way they live their daily life.”

Ben appreciates the AIA coaches’ emphasis on basketball basics.

“What I like about the AIA clinics is they work on the fundamentals of basketball so much.”

Ben also knows players might benefit from the clinics in a special way.

“The athletes if they are good enough will get an opportunity for a (college) scholarship. So they (AIA coaches) can improve the lives of athletes in Kenya.”

Ben, a Christian, is a big fan of AIA.

“I like to encourage AIA to keep up the good work. I look forward to having them here every year. I like their testimonies.”

Friday, August 27, 2010

Iowa State Makes Nice Jesture

The Iowa State athletic department announced yesterday that it will honor former Cyclone basketball coach Johnny Orr in a special way.

Soon to come to Hilton Coliseum will be a life-like statue of Orr and a bar-type area so that fans can remember and celebrate the Orr era at Iowa State. There will be various memorabilia of the time as well.

Orr was the must successful coach (wins) in Iowa State basketball history and put the sport at the school on the map. He came out on the court to the familiar Johnny Carson theme from the Tonight Show. Even opposing coaches, players and fans were struck by the Orr entrance.

Orr loved fans and still does. He still receives warm receptions and congratulations on his Iowa State accomplishments.

Congratulations to Iowa State for making this move. Johnny Orr is Iowa basketball and will be for long, long time.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Basketball in Rwanda

Editor's Note: This blog was written in Rwanda. Maybe in the future, Rwanda will supply players for college teams in the United States.

I sat down with the technical director of basketball here in Kigali, Rwanda, Shema Didier, to learn more about the state of Rwanda basketball.

Didiers' role involves competitions, training and clinics. He met with AIA staff last May to coordinate our visit.

Didier said that Rwanda started playing basketball in 1977. It sponsors senior, second and junior level teams. They are no professional teams. Rwanda participates in different African championships. It finished just 12th in Angola in 2007, but improved to 9th in Liberia in 2009. Rwanda hopes to make the finals in 2011. It also hopes to participate in world competitions in the future.

The technical director appreciates AIA's presence. He believes AIA offers a good program with expert coaches that teach Christian principles.

“That (Christian principles) is so, so good for the development of players,” he said.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Conversation with Coach Danny Miles

Editor's Note: I am back from my sports missions trip with Athletes in Action. We served in Kenya and Rwanda. Some also went to Uganda. Danny Miles coaches basketball at Oregon Tech. He is widely known in the college coaching ranks. Here is one of our talks while in Rwanda.

Coach Danny will enter his 40th season of collegiate coaching this fall.

The 64-year-old veteran has collected over 906 victories and two national championships on the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Collegiate Athletics) level.

Coach Danny has experience many things in basketball and life. I sat down with him in a Rwanda gym to get his thoughts on the African trip.

The Personal Side

“I’ve been blessed to go all over the world and coach and this is by far the most special trip,” he said. “The kids (at basketball camp) want to listen and learn so bad.

“I’ve just been placed with so many incredible coaches and support people that you don’t want to go home.

“To be able to share it with my wife (Judie) is really special.”


“The sharing of our (personal) testimonies (with each other) was just awesome.

“They were some children that were just special. I wish I could put them in my suitcase and take them home. There were (other) people that we met that just grabbed your heart.”

Spiritual Lessons

“Sometimes we take three steps forward and one back and I just think my wife and I have taken positive steps during this trip. (Coach Dan said that he became a Christian Nov, 16, 2001).

“To have the faith that these people in Rwanda do is so special.

“Any doubts I had about the Lord’s presence in our lives were completely vanished.

“For those who have been in the Word for many more years than I have…almost every case the person became stronger from trials and this was shown by the experience of the people in Rwanda.”

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hopefully I Will Return

Look for my blog to return in late August. I am off on a sports missions trip. Let's talk some heavy college football when I return. Okay?