Oct. 19, 2004
Going into this season, players in lots of college basketball programs are saying they'll play like the NBA champion Detroit Pistons. That shows the kind of impact coach Larry Brown and his Pistons have made on the college scene.
During their world championship run, the Pistons talked about being unselfish, playing team defense, making the extra pass, sharing the basketball ... and it's beautiful to see that these are becoming popular concepts among players on the collegiate level.
Thanks, Larry ... you're still teaching and coaching on the collegiate level.
There has been constant conversation among many college players about playing as a unit and as a team like Chauncey Billups, Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace and Co. Bringing the NBA championship to the Motor City had an impact since most thought Shaq, Kobe and the Los Angeles Lakers would win. The surprise taught a lesson to many on how to win!
I know that at Michigan State, coach Tom Izzo's kids will echo that sentiment. They will follow the pattern and play a more team-oriented style. Coaches will take advantage of what they learned watching the Pistons and use it as a motivational factor with their personnel.
It's great to hear college players talking about "playing the right way" (which is Larry Brown's phrase). It's about doing things in a fundamentally sound way and getting it done as a team.
With his NBA championship this past June, Brown became the only coach to win both an NBA title and an NCAA title (with Kansas in '88).
Thanks, Larry -- while you're in the NBA now, you're still teaching and coaching on the collegiate level ... and your effort is making a difference.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.