The Definition of Nobility: HoopsHD interviews Hall of Famer Cindy Noble Hauserman

The sports world is in a state of mourning today after learning of the passing of Hall of Fame Coach Pat Summitt.  Her career numbers are simply staggering: 1098 wins, 112 NCAA tourney wins, 38 consecutive postseason appearances, 16 SEC tourney titles, 8 NCAA titles, and a 1984 Olympic gold medal.  1 of the players who knew her the best was fellow Hall of Famer Cindy Noble Hauserman.  She played for Coach Summitt at Tennessee, made it to 2 straight AIAW tourney title games, and was named All-American in 1981.  3 years later she played for her college coach as a member of team USA as they both won Olympic gold medals.  HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Hauserman about her legendary coach, and we extend our condolences to the entire Tennessee women’s basketball family. 

noble

You won 2 state volleyball titles, 1 state basketball title, and 1 state track title at Adena High School: which sport were you best at, and which sport did you enjoy the most? We had a great group of athletes going through the high school during that time. Not only did we win those state tournaments but we also won the 1st-ever state track meet in 1975, the 1st-ever state volleyball tourney in the fall of 1975, and the 1st-ever state basketball tourney in the spring of 1976! 3 state titles in a 1-year period will probably never be repeated. I loved volleyball…but thanks to Title IX I was offered full scholarships in basketball and only partial scholarships in volleyball.

You attended Ohio State for 1 year before transferring to Tennessee: why did you decide to transfer, and what made you choose the Volunteers? I was heavily recruited by Coach Pat Summitt while in high school. The day I told her that I was staying close to home and going to OSU, I felt that I had made a mistake. I had a great freshman year (winning Big 10 ROY), but due to some circumstances I switched to UT the following summer. My career took off due to the intense training from the Tennessee staff.

In 1980 you shot a school-record 67.9 FG% while winning the 1st-ever SEC women’s tourney as a starter alongside Holly Warlick: what is the key to being a great shooter, and were you surprised that Holly later became a coach? My father was a huge credit to my shooting ability. Correct shooting form kind of came naturally to me, but my dad made me shoot hundreds of shots on our driveway court before doing anything else and it paid off. Holly was a great teammate: she was a leader both on and off the court and had a positive attitude all of the time. It did not surprise me at all when she was awarded the position at Tennessee: she is 1 of Knoxville’s finest.

That summer you made the US Olympic team: how did you feel about the boycott? It was very disheartening. We had won the pre-Olympic tournament held in Bulgaria and had a great team put together and coached by a great duo of head coach Sue Gunter and assistant coach Pat Summitt. Fortunately, I was one of the younger players on the team so my international career was not over. I had one more year of college and then played overseas in Italy for 1 year and in Japan for 1 year prior to the 1984 Olympic trials.

You made it to the AIAW tourney title game in 1980 and 1981 and lost both times (the 1st time to defending champ Old Dominion and the 2nd time to a Louisiana Tech team that finished 34-0): where do those rank among the most devastating losses of your career? We were at the top of the game. They were big losses but Pat turned the tables and had such a positive attitude towards us afterward the games that we all followed suit.

In 1981 you were named All-American: what did it mean to you to receive such an outstanding honor? It was a huge honor to be named to a list of the top-12 players in the nation during my senior year. After not making it to the 1980 Olympics I wanted to continue to play somewhere, so it increased my chances of being picked up by a foreign team. I was picked up by a team in Italy and then a team in Japan the next year. The Japanese experience heightened my game due to the intense day-long training and length of the season, so I was on top of my game for the 1984 Olympic trials.

After graduating you played professionally in Italy and Japan: what is the biggest difference between college basketball and pro basketball? Both were really a business and both had high expectations for me. I loved every minute of both levels of play and would never trade those experiences for anything in the world…but I still keep up with Tennessee and many of their athletic programs: Go Vols!

You played for team USA at the 1984 Olympics: what was it like to play for your college coach, and what did it mean to you to win a gold medal? I remember watching Ann Meyers do her thing on the court in 1976, the 1st time that women’s basketball was part of the Olympics. She was accompanied by a hard-working farm girl who thrived on her defense, and that team won the silver medal in Montreal. I was a junior in high school: at that moment I wanted to work hard because I thought I had the tools to get to that level. Never did I dream that I would soon be getting drilled in practice by that defensive specialist from the 1976 team (Pat Summitt!) and that Ann would be my roommate in Squaw Valley a short time later representing team USA. Winning the gold was the icing on the cake of my career. I was so blessed to have somehow taken the road to success that I did. Don’t get me wrong: there were times that I stumbled…but I got up time and time again.

In 1985 you were named assistant coach at Kentucky: why did you take the job, and how seriously do Wildcats fans take their basketball? I returned to Japan for 1 last season after the 1984 Olympics. I had hit about every plateau that a player could reach and I was ready to hang up my shoes. I love the SEC and UK had an assistant position come open during the summer of 1985. I applied and was hired by Terry Hall, a long-time coach for the Lady Wildcats. I was honored to be a part of their program during the 4 years that I spent there.

In 2000 you were inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame: where does that rank among the highlights of your career? It is a very special award. It was even greater that evening because the presenter for my induction was Coach Summitt. The Hall of Fame is located in downtown Knoxville, so my children/husband/father and some great friends were all there to help me celebrate.

Nothing but Net-olicky: HoopsHD interviews Bob Netolicky

Most players in last week’s NBA draft were just happy to get picked by a team, especially those in the 1st round who became instant millionaires.  However, a half-century ago some college graduates were so good that they had their choice of which league to play in.  Bob Netolicky finished his college career as an All-American at Drake, but after being drafted by the NBA’s San Diego Rockets he decided to join the ABA’s Indiana Pacers instead.  He made 4 straight All-Star teams and won 2 ABA titles before finishing his career as 1 of the top-5 rebounders in the history of the  league.  HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel recently got to chat with Bob about winning a pair of titles and playing for 2 teams in the same game.

neto

After being named an All-American at Drake you were drafted 18th overall by the San Diego Rockets in 1967 (1 spot behind Phil Jackson) but decided to join the Indiana Pacers: why did you choose the ABA over the NBA? There were only 8 NBA teams back then and they were even behind bowling in the TV ratings! Even in college nobody talked about joining the NBA. It was just about dollars: San Diego sent me a contract for $12,000…and then Indiana offered me $16,000 and a car. The only NBA players who made big money back then were Bill Russell/Wilt Chamberlain.

You were named an All-Star during each of your 1st 4 years from 1968-1971: how were you able to make such a smooth transition from college to the pros? Our coach Slick Leonard once told me that no matter how good you are you always have to keep improving. In high school you are at the bottom of a yardstick, and if you keep getting better then you might be able to reach the top of the yardstick. You always see some amazing college players who never make it: I was just lucky enough to keep improving exponentially because I had some undeveloped talent as a teenager. I did not play in high school but ended up growing about a foot. Art Heyman went to Duke and was 1 of the first big guards who would slash to the hoop, but he basically reached his peak in college (he was named ACC POY/NCAA tourney MOP in 1963).

In Game 6 of the 1970 ABA Finals you had 14 PTS/13 REB in a 4-PT road win over Los Angeles to clinch the title (Roger Brown scored 45 PTS): what did it mean to you to win a title? The 1st 1 is always the best because you never expect to do it. It was a thrill because we had an unusually talented team. Roger was banned from the NBA, which was a real screw-job. I am writing a book with a couple of other guys to tell the real stories: if we had lost Game 7 of the 1969 Eastern Division Semifinals to Kentucky, then our team would have folded!

In Game 6 of the 1972 ABA Finals you scored 7 PTS in a 4-PT road win over New York: how did the 2nd time compare to the 1st time? We felt like we were the best team in the league.  We also felt that we should have beaten Utah in the 1971 Western Division Semifinals and would have won 4-5 titles in a row.

On November 14, 1973 you played for San Antonio in a home loss to Indiana on a last-second shot, but after the Spurs successfully protested the loss to the ABA Commissioner and the final 30 seconds of the game were ordered to be replayed immediately before the next Pacers-Spurs game on December 2, you had already been traded to Indiana so you played the final 30 seconds of regulation and OT for the Pacers: how weird was it to be 1 of the few pro basketball players to ever play for 2 teams in 1 game?! The funny part is that I never even realized that until 20 years later.

In the 1975 Finals you lost to Kentucky in 5 games: where does Artis Gilmore’s Game 3 performance (41 PTS/28 REB) rank among the greatest that you have ever seen? There is a big party weekend for ex-Colonels every year, and they love to invite me to remind them of their victory. 1 year I had breakfast with Artis and he reminded me that he beat me 1 time, so I think that series meant more to them than it did to us.

Your 5518 career REB is #5 all-time in ABA history: what is the secret to being a great rebounder? I could jump really high and I had good timing so rebounding was 1 of my strengths. We had 1 game where Mel Daniels had 27 REB…yet I was still able to get 16 of my own. I cannot figure out how some of the big centers in the NBA today can only get 8 RPG. Slick took me out of a game once in the 2nd quarter and was cussing me out at halftime. I had 13 REB in the 1st half and I asked him why he was mad: he said that I should have had 20!

You were known for living a mod lifestyle and having exotic pets: what did you do with a lion and an ocelot? That was back in my college days, which was a different era. My roommate was in Chicago at a pet shop and said we could buy a lion cub for $75.  He asked me if that was okay and I told him to go for it. She was like a big pet at our fraternity house.

You also owned a popular nightclub called “Neto’s in the Meadows”: did you do it as a good investment or to have a place to hang out after games or something else? I think I had it both ways. It never made me a ton of money but paid itself off. There were not a lot of bars in town so we leased/remodeled it and for 4 years it was incredible. Fans would actually leave our games at halftime to head over and get a seat at the bar. We had a $1 cover charge and would have a line around the corner. We always gave free drinks to our opponents the night before they played us in an attempt to get an edge on the court. It was a different world back then: if there had been cell phone cameras then we might all be in jail!

You have previously said that David Thompson “was probably as good as Michael Jordan” and that if Michael had tried to guard Roger Brown he “probably would have broken both his ankles”: how do you compare Hall of Famers from different eras? You just never saw anyone like these guys. Roger’s legs were shot by the time he made the pros but back in the day I saw him go head to head with future Hall of Famer Billy Cunningham: Billy scored 12 PTS and Roger had 47! Roger would come back to scrimmage against the current Pacer team when he was in his 40s: he would tell the guys what move he was going to do, then go out and do it and put the ball in the basket. David could jump through the roof but developed a bad drug habit (which hurt a lot of other players as well), and then he had some knee injuries.

You also previously said that you learned more about basketball from guarding Connie Hawkins in 1 game than from an entire season of playing college basketball: what made the “Hawk” such a great player, and what was it that you learned from him? I was blessed with really big hands, which Connie also had, so I watched the way he was able to play by palming/cupping the ball. Very few players can do that.

In 1997 you were named to the ABA All-Time Team: where does that rank among the highlights of your career? It was so much fun to be at the 30th anniversary reunion and was quite an honor. There are some pretty heavy hitters on that list like Julius Erving/George Gervin!

The Hoops HD Report: June Session

Chad and the panel are together again for the final podcast of the 2015-2016 athletic year.  This was recorded during the NBA Draft, and they discuss some of the impact players that were leaving, as well as others who decided to return to school, and still others who decided not to return, but probably should have.  They also delve into the issue of players transferring and discuss why the numbers seem to be increasing every year.  They talk about the situation at Baylor, and briefly mention the Big Twelve’s talks regarding expansion.  All that, and much more!

 

 

And for all you radio lovers, below is an mp3 version of the show….

NBA Mock Draft (Version 2.0)

The NBA draft is coming up on Thursday, so we continue to predict where everyone will get drafted. Some websites do their mock drafts based on “best player available”, but we will try to focus on team needs: for example, if a non-playoff team like Minnesota already has Karl-Anthony Towns in the post, then they are probably not selecting a center with the #5 overall pick. So, please see our 1st round predictions below, and then let us know in the comments section what looks good and what might need a re-pick.

2016

# TEAM: NAME (POSITION, SCHOOL/COUNTRY)
1. Philadelphia: Ben Simmons (SF/PF, LSU)
2. LA Lakers: Brandon Ingram (SF, Duke)
3. Boston: Buddy Hield (SG, Oklahoma)
4. Phoenix: Dragan Bender (PF, Croatia)
5. Minnesota: Marquese Chriss (PF, Washington)
6. New Orleans: Kris Dunn (PG, Providence)
7. Denver: Jamal Murray (PG/SG, Kentucky)
8. Sacramento: Jaylen Brown (SG/SF, California)
9. Toronto: Jakob Poeltl (C, Utah)
10. Milwaukee: Domantas Sabonis (PF, Gonzaga)
11. Orlando: Henry Ellenson (PF/C, Marquette)
12. Utah: Furkan Korkmaz (SG, Turkey)
13. Phoenix: Skal Labissiere (PF/C, Kentucky)
14. Chicago: Deyonta Davis (PF/C, Michigan State)
15. Denver: Timothe Luwawu (SG/SF, France)
16. Boston: Cheick Diallo (PF/C, Kansas)
17. Memphis: Dejounte Murray (PG/SG, Washington)
18. Detroit: Denzel Valentine (SG/SF, Michigan State)
19. Denver: Malik Beasley (SG, Florida State)
20. Indiana: Damian Jones (C, Vanderbilt)
21. Atlanta: DeAndre Bembry (SG/SF, St. Joseph’s)
22. Charlotte: Brice Johnson (PF, North Carolina)
23. Boston: Taurean Prince (SF, Baylor)
24. Philadelphia: Wade Baldwin IV (PG, Vanderbilt)
25. LA Clippers: Malachi Richardson (SG, Syracuse)
26. Philadelphia: Demetrius Jackson (PG, Notre Dame)
27. Toronto: Stephen Zimmerman (PF/C, UNLV)
28. Phoenix: Ivica Zubac (C, Croatia)
29. San Antonio: Ante Zizic (C, Croatia)
30. Golden State: Thon Maker (PF/C, Australia)

Going for the Gold: HoopsHD interviews U17 World Championship player Wendell Carter, Jr.

The 2016 US Olympic basketball team is becoming known more for all of the superstars who will NOT be playing in Rio this summer due to injuries and other reasons: LaMarcus Aldridge, Steph Curry, Chris Paul, etc. Fortunately, there are plenty of teenagers ready to represent our country this summer as the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s U17 World Championship Team was announced on Tuesday. 1 member of that team who is getting ready to head to Spain is Wendell Carter, Jr., who also happens to be 1 of the best high school juniors in America. Earlier today HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Wendell about winning a gold medal in 2015 and when he is going to decide what college to attend in 2017.

carter

Last summer you won a gold medal with team USA at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Argentina: what did it mean to you to win a gold medal? It felt great to play the game I love for my country.

In March you helped lead Pace Academy to its 1st-ever Georgia Class AA state title with 30 PTS/20 REB/3-3 3PM in a win over Manchester: how were you able to play your best when it mattered the most, and how good a 3-PT shooter are you? I guess they were just falling that night! I tried to do all the small things (such as diving for loose balls) and play as hard as I could.

You are 1 of 4 guys on the U17 roster who are 6’10” (along with Jordan Brown/Jaren Jackson Jr./Austin Wiley): how much of an advantage will your team’s height be when facing international opponents? It will play a big role. We have a lot of guards who can push it so we just have to run the floor and then we can score with ease.

Your USA Basketball head coach is Don Showalter: what is it like to play for him, and is there any extra pressure knowing that he is a perfect 38-0 as coach of the USA Basketball U16 and U17 teams? He is a phenomenal coach: probably 1 of the best that I have ever played for. It does put pressure on me knowing that he is 38-0, so we just have to play together to keep him undefeated.

You are 1 of the top-ranked recruits in the Class of 2017: what schools are you looking at, and when do you plan to make a final decision? I am looking at several schools including Duke/Kentucky/Harvard/Cal/Georgia/Georgia Tech.  I plan to make my decision on signing day so that I can take my time to make the right decision.

That decision might also involve USA teammate Gary Trent Jr., as you recently said “it’s almost guaranteed that we’ll be going to college together”: how did you 2 become friends, and why do you have such great on-court chemistry? I played with him for the 1st time on the U16 team: we played great together and each of us knocked down a lot of shots.

You have a 3.8 GPA and are active in your school’s drama department: how do you balance your basketball with your academics with your acting? I go to my teachers for help when I need it and take advantage of the opportunities that I have. They know that I spend a lot of time on basketball. I have not made acting a priority quite yet but I plan to do it in the future.

You have said that the best player you ever faced is incoming Duke freshman Harry Giles: what makes him such a great player, and how do you think that he will fit into the Blue Devils’ style of play? He is a very versatile player who can run the court and finish very well. I think that he will be even bigger and better for Duke after coming back from an injury.

Your father Wendell Sr. played basketball professionally in the Dominican Republic and your mother Kylia played college basketball at Mississippi: who is the best athlete in the family? Probably my dad. My mom only played because she was tall but she was focused more on her education.

Your favorite basketball team is the Cleveland Cavaliers: do you think that they are going to beat Golden State in Game 7 on Sunday night? Cleveland is going to take the title and LeBron is going to do his thing!

Nobody Beats the Riz: HoopsHD interviews new GW women’s coach Jennifer Rizzotti

It was quite an eventful spring for the GW basketball program: the men’s team finished off March with a 16-PT win over Valparaiso to clinch the NIT title, and in April the women’s team hired Jennifer Rizzotti to become its new head coach.  Rizzotti first came to national prominence as the starting PG at UConn when they went 35-0 and won a national title in 1995.  The following year she was named national POY and won the Honda-Broderick Cup as the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.  She was a 2-time All-Star in the American Basketball League, then won back-to-back WNBA titles with the Houston Comets in 1999/2000.  After spending 16 years as head coach at Hartford, she is ready for her new challenge with the Colonials.  HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Coach Rizzotti about trying to help her old college coach win a gold medal this summer and the special relationship she has with 1 of her assistant coaches. 

riz
Take me through the 1995 NCAA tourney title game as the starting PG for UConn:
You scored 15 PTS and made a play with 2 minutes left that ended up on the cover of Sports Illustrated (you grabbed a rebound, drove the length of the court against Michelle Marciniak, made a cross-over dribble, and sank a lefty layup to take a lead that your team never gave up): did you realize what you were doing as you were doing it or did your natural instincts just take over? It was definitely natural instincts.

You had a 6-PT win over Tennessee to finish 35-0 and clinch the 1st national title in school history: how were you able to stay focused for every single game, and what did it mean to you to win a title? We remained focused all year and just tried to make every play count down the stretch. We had great leadership and were disappointed after missing the Final 4 the previous year so our seniors were on a mission. Coach Geno Auriemma is a master motivator: we never felt bored or uninspired and everyone was on the same page. To win the ultimate prize was super-rewarding because we had put a lot of work into it. We were the true meaning of the phrase “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.

In 1996 you set school records with 212 AST/112 STL: what is the key to being a good PG? For me it was about understanding my role and knowing when to set up my teammates because I had great players around me. At 5’5” I was an undersized player and had to compensate by outworking my opponents. My role was to be a spark on both ends of the floor.

In the 1996 Final 4 you scored 17 PTS while playing the entire 45 minutes but Tiffani Johnson blocked your shot from the top of the key with 5 seconds left in a 5-PT OT loss to eventual champion Tennessee: where does that rank among the most devastating losses of your career? It was probably 1 of the worst if not the worst losses, and not just because we did not get to repeat as champions. It also meant that I and our other seniors’ season was done and our college careers were over.

You finished the season by being named national POY, Academic All-American of the Year, and won the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award as the best women’s basketball player in the country under 5’6”: what did it mean to you to receive such outstanding honors? We were always taught that if the team was successful then the individual accolades would follow: it just showed how good/balanced a team we had. It was nice for me to be valued by the coaching community/media even though I was not the best scorer in the nation: I was proud of that.

Take me through the magical 1999 WNBA Finals with Houston:
In Game 2 you had a 2-PT lead with 2.4 seconds left before Teresa Weatherspoon banked in a 50-footer at the buzzer for a 1-PT win to even the series: where does that rank among the most amazing shots that you have ever seen? It was amazing: it has to be #1 in terms of shots that I ever witnessed in person. We had already won Game 1 so we were getting ready to celebrate winning a championship: when the ball went in it was a shock to all of us. However, my future AD at Hartford saw me play in that series and ended up hiring me, so I guess everything happens for a reason!

In Game 3 you had a 12-PT win over New York to win the 3rd straight title in franchise history: did you just simply have more talent with legends like Cynthia Cooper/Sheryl Swoopes/Tina Thompson? Absolutely: I have never been on a team that had more great players on the court at the same time. Regardless of who else was playing around them, they were all individually talented and could each be the best player on the floor at any point in a game.

You beat New York in the 2000 WNBA Finals to clinch Houston’s 4th straight title: what was it like to be part of a dynasty, and was it weird to be teammates with Tiffani Johnson after she ended your college career 4 years earlier? I learned a lot when I turned pro about how to leave things on the court once the game ends. I remember my 1st day in the locker room with the New England Blizzard in the ABL: I saw former Tennessee player Latina Davis and we just laughed about the 1996 title game. It was amazing to be in Houston during that era: the dynasty started well before I got there but I was proud to win a title at every level of my career from high school through the pros.

In 2013 you were inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame: where does that rank among the highlights of your career? That is up there. I was honestly surprised because there have been so many amazing players who came before me. It was a humbling experience and allowed me to reflect on my entire career as a player/coach.

In April you were named head coach at GW after setting an America East-record with 305 wins in 17 years as head coach at Hartford: why did you make the switch, and what is the biggest difference between the 2 programs so far? I feel that timing is everything. I was very fortunate to have been able to stay at Hartford for a long time: I was able to raise my family and I also got to grow as a coach. I was ready for a new challenge and a change of scenery: I wanted to be in a conference that is among the best in the country and where we can recruit a really high level of student/athlete. The kids at GW are grounded/intellectually stimulated and I look forward to spending a lot of time with them.

You have been helping your college coach Geno Auriemma prepare team USA for the 2016 Olympics: what makes Geno such a great coach, and how did you feel when you heard him describe you as a successful coach because you were “born to do this”? It is a tremendous honor to be respected by the best coach in the game right now. What he has accomplished at UConn is nothing short of amazing: to be able to build a dynasty up there and then sustain it year after year with different players is not easy. It has also been very special for me to see him succeed at the national level by adjusting his style/message to fit the pro game and coach players who did not grow up in his system. It is an honor that he asked me to be a scout and help him try to win another gold medal.

You met your husband Bill Sullivan in college and he became 1 of your assistant coaches at Hartford: what is the best part of having your husband on your staff and what is the “not best” part?! We had a chance to build a tremendous program with a winning tradition at Hartford and we did it the right way with a true commitment to improving our players. To come to another school and try to do it again is great. I share my vision with my life partner and work with him every day. We do not always agree, which can be tough, but I want a staff who challenges me and gives me a new way of thinking. We try to keep the coaching and family relationships separate.