Temple coach takes relationship with team too far

by Todd Zolecki

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Temple coach John Chaney relates to his players by learning slang and speaking their language.
He takes this approach literally. Owls freshman Pepe Sanchez, born and raised in Argentina, speaks some English, but is more comfortable with Spanish. Chaney wanted to get Sanchez’ attention at practice by using some Spanish slang, but Sanchez refused Chaney’s request to teach him Spanish.
So Chaney went to an outside source and learned the word “Bluto.” The next day at practice, Chaney called Sanchez “Bluto” after he made a bad pass.
Sanchez looked up and was amazed. He couldn’t believe it.
The next day Chaney found out what “Bluto” meant: “Asshole.” Once he learned that, he said he never called Sanchez “Bluto” again.
Chaney has done a good job relating to his players.
“My mother said, ‘Shut your mouth and listen,'” he said. “She told me old people die when you don’t listen. They live a long time as long as people listen to them. When I have kids that’ll listen to me, I can stick around. I don’t want to quit yet.”
Players and Chaney share a caring relationship. After the Owls’ first round win against Mississippi, the coach kissed just about every player on the team. He got so wrapped up in it that he accidentally bit one player.
“You know he cares about you when he shows you that way,” Owls forward Lynard Stewart said. “I’m the one he bit (on the shoulder).”
Jackson’s knee causes a scare
A hush went through Kemper Arena on Friday when Gophers guard Bobby Jackson went down in the first half against Southwest Texas State. Jackson hit the court, began to grab his right knee and appeared to be in pain. Play stopped until Jackson walked off the court.
The first thought to enter Jackson’s mind?
“That I was going to be out for the rest of the tournament,” he said.
As it turned out, Jackson only banged knees with a Southwest Texas State player. He returned almost two minutes later and finished the game with 12 points, five steals, four rebounds and four assists.
“My heart skipped a few beats,” Gophers coach Clem Haskins said. “We’re big on rotation and play nine guys.”
Jackson also being Big Ten Player of the Year probably added to the palpitation problem.
Rodney Dangerfield-esque
The Gophers finished the regular season 27-3, won the Big Ten championship for the first time in 15 years and earned a No. 1 seed in the tournament. But Minnesota apparently hasn’t done enough to impress some members of the media. One reporter confused the Gophers’ success with their struggles from a year ago when they failed to make the tournament.
At Thursday’s press conference, the reporter asked four Gophers (Sam Jacobson, John Thomas, Jackson and Eric Harris) how they overcame their 3-6 start to open the Big Ten season.
“That was last year,” the four chimed in.
For the record, the Gophers were 16-2 in the Big Ten this season.
Coach won’t reflect on award
Clem Haskins has said all year that he won’t enjoy this season until it’s over. That includes his recent Chevrolet National Coach of the Year award, which he won Thursday.
“I really haven’t had time to think about it,” he said. “I really can’t put it into words today because I’m so driven and so focused on winning the national championship.”
Harris said Haskins deserved the award because he kept the players under control all season.
Fast break points
ù Miami of Ohio forward Devin Davis, most recognizable as the player with long dreadlocks tied together in a pony tail, finished his career Friday in the 68-56 loss to Clemson. The senior will be missed.
“He had a great career in Miami,” Redskins coach Charlie Coles said. “His experience was unique. He helped Miami, Miami helped him. He helped take us to two NIT’s and two NCAA’s. He was primarily responsible for our success.”
ù Bobcats guard Donte Mathis’ thoughts on Friday’s game: “It was devastating. Minnesota is a good team.
“We came out and didn’t attack. We knew what our problem was and couldn’t do anything about it.”
ù Chaney on the Gophers: “They seem to be well-rounded with fundamentals. They are what I’d like to be with my team.
“Clem has done a great job. I wonder where he got all those guys from. I’d like to take a look at his black book.”