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“In the Lab” with Nia Jackson

Posted in New Posts, News on September 17th, 2011 by Troy Miles

Nia Jackson

Nia Jackson is a former All-Pac 12 guard at the University of Oregon. Before her injury she was one of the most explosive players in the country.  I was able to spend three days (12 hours) with her in the “Lab” recently .  Nia has been working hard to rehab a knee injury suffered against the University of Washington last season.  Physically she is about 60 percent and is limited to what she is permitted to do on the court. The good news  is she was still able to add to her PTAG –Physical, Technical, Application (Intellectual)  and Grit (Emotional) development, because “Virtual” growth isn’t necessarily a physical process.

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No One Cares If It Ain’t Fair

Posted in New Posts, News on October 29th, 2010 by Troy Miles

Let’s be honest.  Not all coaches are fair. They all seem to want to win, but some are hell- bent on winning a certain way, and that may or may not include your services– in the beginning. Sometimes no matter how well you perform, coaches- especially at the college or pro level or any situation where they have a plethora of options, may not play you … just because. You choose it. He may not like something about your game, something about you, or whatever. It really could be… just because? SMH

I personally believe that coaches who don’t allow the players to decide who plays (based on their play), should be lined  up and exterminated.  It goes against the true spirit of competition and our american principles. It’s beyond wrong – but it happens all the time. And worse, everyone seems to stand idly by and let it happen.

The answer, if you find yourself “caught up”…

Resist the urge to whine to that seemingly sympathetic ear. Your teammates- and others want to support you (usually), but in reality they’re  singularly focused on their own circumstance. The assistant coaches will give  you the good cop, bad cop (head coach) routine. Uggh! (Remain pleasant).

However, the only real way to change your circumstance is to continue to demonstrate (every second) what you’re capable of and by maintaining a positive and supremely joyous attitude.  If you truly deserve to play, everyone knows it- including the head coach.

There’s usually some block (rational or irrational) in the mind of a coach who doesn’t play a person who deserves to play.  Remaining positive and gracious will eventually allow him or her to save face when your play demands that you be included- if only to preserve the integrity of the group. If you keep performing, something will give and sooner than it seems while your caught up in it (not playing).

Once the paradigm shift happens  and the coaches’ perception of you changes, he’ll (if only privately)  have a greater amount of respect for you and will typically be better able to evaluate you at face value. Equally important, he will eventually allow you to flourish according to your capabilities… and deservedly so!

So let’s clear the air.  No one cares if it ain’t fair. So in order to fare well, you’ll have to handle your circumstance well.  Don’t dwell on the negative.  Give all that you’ve got to get it done and cold-filter the rest (of the BS).  Trust me… I’ve been there!

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D is Key… If You Ask Me

Posted in New Posts, News on October 19th, 2010 by Troy Miles

When we typically think of a minute, it’s no big deal. Quietly, we give away minutes  everyday. “Ahh.. it’s okay, no problem.”  However, when it comes to sports and competition, a minute (of playing time) is golden.  In fact, getting as many as possible is always way up there on the short list of any true competitor.

Basketball players are no different.  Players are vying for those precious  rotation spots and desired role definitions as I type. Gym shoes are squeaking, elbows are flying as everyone is giving their all to play. Everyone should want to play and  everyone should want to be productive in any manner to help the team … although, I’m sure “scorer” would probably be the most desired description in the lineup.  You’re main concern should be to get out on the floor by any means (role) necessary! Which basically means expanding your value to the team at all times.


If you ask me, D is the key.

It seems fewer people truly understand the science of defense.  How many players today are actually interested in playing it… Tell me the last time you heard of or saw a player stick out his chest and say “I got D”, as a way to represent himself?

“The Virtual Game of Basketball” Learn to take your man to S.C.H.O.O.L defensively

Great defenders are part of the fabric of any successful team. Additionally, establishing yourself  as a bona-fide on-ball defender or a “Carom Scare ’em” of a rebounder, is not only a sure-fire way to make the team, but also a sound strategy to earn minutes- whatever level you play. Fierce defenders manage to keep top offensive players out of rhythm and help to disrupt the overall offensive flow of the other team- which should be the most important defensive key. Rugged rebounders on the other hand, secure and provide extra possessions for their teams.

The strategy for rebounding starts with P&P: Probability and Proximity.  Probability is the summation of facts to determine the likely destination of the ball following a missed shot. Proximity is a strategy for getting as close as you can, as soon as you can, to that location. “The Virtual Game of Basketball”

Ever notice how great  rebounders find themselves on top teams (Lol). Look at this short list of  top rebounders  from throughout history. They’ve all put on championship rings at the professional level.  Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlin, Nate Thurmond, Wes Unseld, Paul Silas, Maurice Lucas, Robert Parrish, Bill Walton, Dennis Rodman, Ben Wallace and I’m sure I missed a few. Sorry Ron Ron!

Dennis Rodman, Chicago Bulls

The truth is, no matter how tough you are as a team on a particular defensive stand, without the rebound you’re still on D.  Key stops  and  rebounds are game changing moments, and the players responsible are “Mo-Men” or momentum changers. Every team needs one… or two.

Shot-blockers fit into this category as well. Terrific shot-blockers can change an offensive scheme  quick, fast and in a hurry.  Ever heard of those “Georgetown Boys” (Patrick Ewing , Dikembe Mutumbo and Alonzo Mourning)?

If rebounding, shot-blocking and on-ball D are not your most distinguishable attributes, you can still earn time as a legitimate “Lane Patrol Officer” (off-ball defender). On duty officers solidify “gap management” (“help” situations) and can come up big with timely steals.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to limit you to the role of “specialist”- far from it. Instead, I’m trying to provide you with a mindset and platform that will give you the opportunity to do many of the things that you’re capable of. I don’t care how much game you got, you can’t express yourself (outside of the cheering capacity) from the bench. Realistically, the differences between capable players is marginal. Therefore you have got to have something about your offering that separates you from the other guy or gal, trying to get in where they fit in.  One or more of these roles, whether primary or secondary could be the difference for you in your circumstance.

IF YOU MAKE IT TO THE FLOOR, there will be opportunities to score and do other things  galore. I’ll say it ’til I’m hoarse…It’s all about doing what you’re coached to do and also doing what you are capable of doing- inside the context of the team strategy–of course. Unfortunately, it’s not at all possible to dial in, until the coach calls your number.  So do ALL you can do to make it to the “favorites” list  on your team, so you too can hear the sweet ringing of your name being called… perhaps over and over again.


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If Only I knew

Posted in New Posts, News on September 4th, 2010 by Troy Miles

If only I knew something about basketball.  I wish I did, but how could I? It just wasn’t in the cards. Sure my dad’s mentor,  coach A.B Calvin  was a Hall of Fame Coach at Scipio A. Jones High School in North Little Rock, Arkansas and also a staunch fundamentalist.  However, he really didn’t know that much and he certainly didn’t teach anyone anything.    He traveled the country visiting camps and picking the brains of such luminaries as Henry Iba and other top coaches of that era.  You would think he would have put all that information to good use.  I still don’t understand how he won all those state championships.  The competition in Arkansas at the time must have been awful- at least amongst the all-black ranks.

It’s a shame he never transferred any knowledge to my dad (Eddie Miles).   My dad’s a big guy, maybe he could have been pretty good.  I’m not saying a  college All-American or NBA all-star, but decent?    Maybe had he known something or somebody, perhaps it might have worked out for him? Too bad. I’m a little “salty” about it,  because had  things been different,   I might have some legitimate pedigree.  Hell, I might have been one of the Barry boys or Danny Ferry even.  Imagine if I’d  have been privy to quality information growing up, instead of the crap I was fed all those years? What a waste.  Maybe I could have been a player too. It would have been nice to play high school ball and even better to have earned  a scholarship some place…@#%!  Life just isn’t fair.

I can’t think of anything I would have rather done.  I really love this game. I’m so passionate about basketball, I’m certain that with the right lineage and guidance, I could have done something special inside the game.  Okay, maybe not as a player, but surely as a coach or teacher.  As it is, I’ve written a book on basketball (“The Virtual Game of Basketball”). But what could I possibly know- especially about something so technical or “Hi-Sci” (highly scientific)?.  I mean, it’s not like I’ve been hanging out at Holiday Inns or anything.  I’m definitely not Einstein’s child or the son any other smart white guy.     If  that was the case, maybe I could be “Manningesque” or like Don Nelson’s boy- as far as credibility is concerned. Even then,  I might still be considered a fool… but I doubt I’d qualify as a damn fool.

It’s hard.  Sometimes I can’t help but think, what if things were different. It sure would be nice to have black kids listen to me.  But who am I kidding.  We’re from the same sub-culture,  I can’t fool them, they know I don’t know @#$! I mean, you can’t change the spots of a leper.  But imagine if  all the time and energy I’ve spent compiling  information translated into something of value for someone here in the states.

As it is now, I have to stay off Facebook and other social mediums.  I’m  bombarded daily with  questions from players outside of the US about my material.  How idiotic of  these types to put  themselves at the mercy of my answers and low-level information.  No wonder the US players are the intellectual giants  around the world of basketball.  European players are  frickin’ clueless. They’re just lucky they have superior athletes.  Otherwise they wouldn’t stand a chance against our players.

I swear. If I knew something about this game,  I would try hard to share the wealth.  I would exhaust myself trying to move players forward.  Really I would.  I’d proposition players of all ages and all levels – all the time.  I’d live at the gym and be willing to teach anyone willing to learn, regardless of what they thought about me.  I really would try to be the bigger person and  “tee tee my dub” (try to make it work).


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Where Did He Go?

Posted in New Posts, News on August 29th, 2010 by Troy Miles

In 1947 Jackie Robinson broke the color line in Major League Baseball, which at the time was the only Major sport in the country open to all races.   By 1948 the Chicago-based  Harlem Globetrotters, although not a member of the the BAA (the precursor to the NBA) were considered, along with the Minneapolis Lakers, the top basketball team on the planet.

Harlem Globetrotters

On February 19, 1948, the two teams met before a packed house at Chicago Stadium.  In the end the Globetrotters won on a last second shot 61 to 59. One year later (February 28th) the Trotters again defeated the World Champion Lakers 49 to 45.


During the summer of 1949, the National Basketball League and Basketball Association of America merged to form the National Basketball Association. Of greater significance, however, was the integration of the NBA, as the Boston Celtics drafted the first Black player  Chuck Cooper of Duquesne. Read more »

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