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DDS:CB3 Dynasty: Mack Jones- The Hard Way

Started By Wayne23, Apr 11, 2014 06:32 PM

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#21

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Feb. 26: #18, RPI #19. Some time ta rest achy legs, an’ then prep for the tourney. We didn’t finish as strong as I woulda liked but my assistants are sayin’ that was prob’ly cua the games didn’t mean a lot, an’ because it’s jus’ a time when ya played so many games it’s tough ta get up. They figger we’ll be focused an’ ready when we need ta be. Hope they’re right but Len an’ Ed both been aroun’ a LONG time. I got a lotta respec’ for both of ‘em, so I guess I’m buyin’ it. Really lucky to have ‘em. Joey too.

We play Des Moines, here, in the round a eight. Beat ‘em by 20 at home but los’ by 7 there. They can play some but we really jus’ need ta play our game.

March 4: 62-57. Survive and advance. We led all the way but never by a lot. Ed Brel was huge, 18, 12, 2 an’ holdin’ the other guy down. 14, 2, 2 for Fram, 11, 5, 2 for Barr, 7, 8 for Black. 9 TOs, 7 less fouls.

16-13, 10-8 Missouri State in the semis. Beat them by 11 an’ 8. They play man. Their guards hurt us in both games so we gotta do what gives us such trouble, get out on the shooters. They’re 5-1 in the las’ six.

March 5: 91-73. Most we scored all year. 25, 7, 3 for Brel. 18, 2, 8 for Morr. 16, 1, 4 for Fram. 11 TOs. +8 RB. It was a shoot out an’ we had the big guns.
It’s great havin’ the tourney here. Lucy an’ my family get ta see us play an’ the guys get ta sleep in their own beds. Do not underestimate that.

It’s North Chicago, 13-16 for the title. I guess I thought it would be Wichita State but No. Chi caught fire late an’ it’s them. They just beat us las’ week.

They won their last 5, 6 outta 7. None of ‘em was real close. Balanced scorin’ from lotsa guys. They don’t rebound all that great an’ they can be turned over so that’s where we focus.

March 6: 75-71. We were up 4 at the half after a lotta back an’ forth. Then the 2nd played real even. They took the lead three times, the last time with 2:17 left. After that we outscored ‘em 11-5. We just banged it inta Brel an’ he finished or got fouled. He wound up with 22, 10, 2. The rest all did good stuff on O but it was Brel, tourney MVP an’ shoulda been. 7 TOs, +12 RB. 6 less fouls.

Big win. We’re 26-6, #18, RPI #15.12.1 TOs per game.

I’m hopin’ for a 4 seed. We better not get shafted like las’ year!

What a great year so far. If we can win a couple in the NCAA it will be even better.

March 12: Today’s the day. We’re all gathered together to watch. We’re now #17, RPI #14.

#6 East vs. 17-12 Indiana. I thought we deserved better, at least a #5 an’ not in the toughest bracket. We’ll take it.

#22

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Indiana plays man all the way but they do not press much. Real good back court an’ their C can play. We’ll need ta be at our best.

March 16: 69-55. Easier than I thought. Real balance for us tonight. 16, 6, 1 for Jode from the bench, 11 each fro Brel an’ Barr, 10 each for Fram. That’s balance! 12 TOs, 10 less fouls, +9 RB. We really controlled the game.

24-7 Florida A & M upset #3 seed Arkansas so we play a #14 in the second round. These guys can play but they didn’t face the level of competition some other teams did. Startin’ C tore his ACL in the win over Ark. That’s gotta hurt them a lot. They’re real good with the ball. We think we were a little better inside with their C, now it’s a lot.

Lucy is with me here in Boston. She got her assistants ta take care a the business. If we move on she’ll come with us again.

March 18: 82-70 an’ the Sweet Sixteen again this year! It stayed a game for a little better than 30 min. Then we went on a 12-0 run an’ kinda held onta that margin the rest a the way. 28 an’ 5 for Fram, 16, 7 for Brel, 12, 10 for Barr, 7, 8 for Jode. 8, 2, 3 for Morr but he fouled out late. It was settled by then though. 11 TOs. +11 RBs, 8 less fouls. Great win.

#6 ranked, #2 seed, 27-6 Georgia Tech. Great team. They have the best back court we’ve seen all year an’ a good inside game too. They play man, don’t press much. This one will be a challenge. They won their last 12 in the tough ACC. First time coachin’ in Madison Square Garden. That’s excitin’!

March 23: 77-66. Amazin’!!! GT went up early and got it out ta 15 an’ I thought we were done. But I didn’t let my kids see that. It took a couple time outs but we finally came up with a D that slowed ‘em down. Still down 9 at the half but I thought I saw what we had ta do. We doubled the PG all through the 2nd an’ he cracked under it. We got TOs an’ made ‘em pay. We worked it inta Brel over an’ over an’ they didn’t have an answer. When they did we popped it back out an’ the guards hit open shots from 12-17 feet. By the end we were in complete control. 26, 11 for Brel. Great game in a huge situation. 10, 3, 8 for Morr. The assists were huge. 9, 9 for Barr, 11 each for Black an’ Fram. What a win!

Elite eight vs. #5 seed, #17 ranked, 23-10 Duke. So a #5 vs. a #6. They’re big an’ tough inside. They play man an’ don’t press much. 4-4 in the last 8.

Startin’ C out with a broken finger. He was a huge rebounder. The PF is too, but now he’s the only one.

Can’t believe we’re one win away from the Final Four!

March 25: 64-73. We made it a game. Down 2 at the half. Foul trouble did us in as Brel, Fram an’ Jode fouled out, Barr an’ Wats got 4. I got my first T as a coach. 19, 7 for Black on a tough night.

My 3 freshmen, one sophomore, one Junior starting lineup had one h*ll of a season! 29-7. Nothin’ but proud!

On the way back home Lucy and I discussed the very real possibility of my getting an offer too good to refuse.

“Well, let’s see what happens.”

“But if it does?”

“Then we’ll deal with it.”

“That ain’t good enough.”

“Mack, I’m not about to lose you any more than you’re about to lose me. Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out.”

Good enough. That’s what I needed ta hear.

I go to the Final Four. It will be good ta meet an’; talk ta the “right people.”

4/3: An’ Ohio State beats Duke for the title. An’ I talked ta a lotta people.

4/4: Awards: Brel did not get POY. That’s an outrage! He got Freshman OY but still. I got the coach award again. 1st team: Brel an’ Fram. 2nd team: Morr an’ Barr.

4/9: Job Offers: This is what we been waitin’ for. I’m staying. Iowa is tempting but not tempting enough. This gives me an’ Lucy time ta plan for the future without pressure. She’s real glad when I tell her.

Team Prestige up ta 53. My ratings are now: Off.- 24, Def.- 33, Recruit- 83, Scout- still 90, Player Dev.- 31. Reputation- 49.

No staff ta hire.

April 23: Again this year I want $. Got $5,000. We deserved $10,000 but I’ll take it.

What a year! And my first six players are all back plus a great recruitin’ class. And, I’m in love. Can’t beat it!

April 24: Off for our cruise.

#23

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May 1: The cruise was great. We just relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. I had thought about proposing, given that this was going to be such a romantic vacation. Then I thought no, just relax, be with Lucy. It will be six months on May 15. I’m going to ring shop and propose on or shortly after that date. Ta be honest, I never thought this was somethin’ I’d be doin’. I’m nervous about it but I can’t let that stop me. Again, never thought it would happen but I have no doubt that I want to spend the rest of my life with Lucy. There’s a 15 year age difference. We’ve talked about that. It doesn’t bother her. So it doesn’t bother me.

May 25: Well, I did it! We went out ta dinner. Then we took a walk an’ foun’ this absolutely beautiful spot. We sat on a rock an’ looked out over an open field an’ it was gorgeous. I reached inta my pocket where the ring was an’ grabbed it, looked at Lucy, an’ jus’ asked. She broke inta this amazin’, HUGE smile an’ jus’ fell inta my arms.

After a while she moved away a little an’ said, “Yes, Mack, I will most definitely marry you.”

I doubt that any words I ever hear in my life from here on will make me happier. The ring fit an’ she said she loved it. Rest a the night she kep’ lookin’ at it an’ smilin’. Yeah, I did spend a little money on it. There’s gonna be lots for us ta plan, which I will leave mostly ta her. She knows my sched. an’ she’s good at that kinda stuff. I’ll get married any time she says, anywhere, any way. She ain’t any more religious than me so it won’t be in a church or with any kinda preacher. We’re talkin’ that there’s prob’ly no way we’ll be in Peoria nex’ year if I have another good season. An’ she wondered if she should think about puttin’ her business on the market so’s we can move as soon as I get the job. If not she’d need ta stay here an’ go wherever I’m goin’ after the business gets sold. She said she thought maybe a late fall weddin’, at a time when we got a week between games. We could go on just like a 2-3 day trip. Wherever we go nex’ we’re gonna buy a house. She made it clear she’ll start a new business, hopefully involvin’ books, an’ I’m fine with that. We ain’t talked much about kids but enough ta know we both want at least one.

June 5: Lookin’ at transfers. There’s a guard we’d like ta pick up. We get him. Wade Laz. He is projecting at 4.5-5. Could be a real good pick up. Now ta get him eligible. He is not a great student.

June 26: 5 ta give. Lookin’ at about 22 ta start.

Aug. 7: Recruitin’ continues. The usual stuff.

“I don’t know if they’ll even come.”

“Hm?”

“My parents. I don’t know if they’ll even come to our wedding.”

“You don’t talk about ‘em much.”

“They still live in Racine, Wisconsin where I grew up. Same house.”

“You don’t seem ta visit.”

“Haven’t been home in maybe five years.”

“Because?”

“They are VERY conservative. We don’t agree on anything. They think a woman should be a housewife, mom, nothing else. Certainly not a business woman. And they’re big time religious, the type where everybody who disagrees with anything they believe is wrong, evil, going to hell.”

“I can see why you wouldn’t wanta see ‘em.”

“They raised me okay. I sure didn’t go through what you did. But I never felt much… I don’t know, caring, love. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they loved Ellie and me but they were- and are, just humorless people. I couldn’t wait to get away and I have no interest in ever going back. Ellie’s different, a little more like them, but not judgmental, not negative. She’s still in Racine, playing the good housewife, two kids, stays at home. We talk all the time and she’s a great sister. She and Ed will definitely be here with their girls.
Mom and Dad are invited but I won’t tease or beg. Come if they want or not, I don’t care.”

Wasn’t much I could say ta that. We’re goin’ with a small wedding. My staff and their wives, and the A.D., his wife and secretary an’ her husband. My foster family a course. That’s it. Lucy’s sister’s family, maybe her parents, her staff at the book store, a couple friends. We won’t book a date until my hoop schedule comes out, an’ it will be sometime soon after that, definitely before the end a the year. We’ll prob’ly do it on campus, maybe in the ballroom here, maybe some place else.

I’ll get rid a my apartment an’ move inta hers since we don’t expect ta be here next year.

Aug. 21: Time ta make some offers. We offer ta 3 PGs an’ 2 bigs.

#24

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Sept. 11: Home visits. Could only see 4 of the 5 but visits went well, we thought.

Sept. 18: Brian Evans, #60 C, commits.

An’ we have a schedule an’ a weddin’ date. Friday, Dec. 23. Not ideal but the schedule didn’t give us a break. We’ll go somewhere for 3 days, then back for a home game on 12/28. Best we could do.

As ta the sched., no in season tourney. We stepped up the quality a the opponents again. 4 ranked teams, 2 at home, 2 on the road.

Sept. 25: Lost a PG, but offered ta another one.

Oct. 2: We get one, lose 3. Got Kip Roy, #168 PG.

First day a practice. Pretty excited. The new guys will add a lot to a very solid lineup. I’d like one more guard but there’s three so one may develop. We’ll see.

Lost another one. Not doin’ that good so far with recruitin’. Oh well, lotsa guys still out there.

Oct. 23: An’ we lose another recruit. Hm. We’ll go through the list again first week a Nov.

Nov. : Last ratings change. Hopin’ ta pick up some new recruits ta go after, particularly PGs. 9 new guys, 7 guards. Let’s see what we got.

Exhibitions comin’ up.

Jim Barr, who eventually worked his way inta the startin’ lineup last year will start at SF. Morr at PG, Fram at SG, Brel at PF, Jode at C. Black is the first big off the bench an’ we won’t lose anythin’ when he comes in. First guard off the bench is Eric Jatt, the on’y new guy likely ta get minutes. He’ll do okay, at least okay.

It’s been all weddin’ plans for the last month or so. Lucy’s pretty level headed an’ she ain’t all crazy like some women get about weddin’s but they just take lots a plannin’ we’re findin’ out. She likes some of it but is annoyed by more of it. It gets more informal the more time she spends. No gowns, no tuxedos at this point. A buffet meal an’ a weddin’ cake, some music, an’ we got the ballroom on campus which is great. More like a party than a big deal weddin’. I offer ta help an’ I stay outta the way. I will do this any way she wants.

An’ here we go with season three.

#25

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We start at Rhode Island. They play man. We don’t really know much else.

Nov. 16: 68-66. Well, it’s a win. They led by as many as 11 in the 1st half, 5 at the half. Then it was back an’ forth practic’ly possession by possession, 22 lead changes, 13 ties. At the end we got it ta Nick Jode inside an’ he made a little half hook for the win. 11 TOs, stats were as even as the game was. 19, 9 for Jode, 13, 4, 3 for Fram, 10 each for Morr an’ Black.

At 2-0 UNLV next. They play man, press a lot, an’ ev’rybody scores but nobody too much. They beat two cupcakes.

Nov. 19: 71-80. 1st half was all back an’ forth. In the 2nd we kept playin’ catch up an’ never quite did. Fin’ly at the end they stretched the lead out a little. It was a 4-5 point game most a the way. We let ‘em shoot 59.2%. Really no need ta say anythin’ else. I see this as a really good defensive team so this is absolutely unacceptable. It WILL be addressed. Nothin’ wrong with our O but we will be workin’ on D- intensely!

Still chasin’ recruits. Still swingin’ an’ missin’.

Three straight at home then 4 straight on the road. With the weddin’ comin’ up Lucy doesn’t like that I’ll be away so much. Tryin’ ta get things done before I head out. We’ll be back an’ forth, not gone the whole time, but still.

We went ta buy me a suit an’ ta get it fitted. Bein’ 6’6”, 258, that ain’t so easy. Wound up with three suits. Now I got a real good coachin’ wardrobe AN’ weddin’ clothes. We bought me some casual stuff too. Spent some money but I make way more than I need. An’ we talked about that.

“You act like money is no object.”

“It ain’t really. I make more than we need even without your income an’ your business does good. Next year I’ll be makin’ somewhere between 3 an’ 10 times what I make now.”

“What!”

“Oh yeah. Count on it. I mean if I got a real big job it could be 10-15 times what I’m makin’ now. Money won’t be a problem.”

“Who knew? I still insist on having my business you know.”

“Not a problem, Lucy. I know it means a lot an’ I don’t see why that should bother me. It don’t.”

“Good.”

“An’ if we have kids you can have ‘em wuth ya in a little used bookstore easy. I just don’t see a problem.”

“That’s one of the many things I like about you, big guy. You’re reasonable. Even though you look like a cave man you sure don’t think like one.”

“Exactly- HEY!”

We laughed.

New Mexico, 0-1, is in. They’re good at 2, 3 an’ 4 but I think we’re better. They play man, all we seen so far.

Nov. 23: 64-59, OT. Man, we jus’ ain’t got it tagether yet. This didn’t need ta be this hard. We blew a 12 point lead late by standin’ aroun’ on D while their SF ate us up, an’ while they grabbed all the RBs. I read ‘em out at the end a regulation an’ they took charge, but d*mn! 14, 8, 2 for Jode, 11, 10 for Brel, 11 each for Fram an’ Black. We jus’ gotta start playin’ D and getting’ RBs.

2-1 Nashville is in. Can’t let the SF get away from us. They score mostly inside. They play 1-2-2.

Nov. 26: 74-38. FIN’LY!!! Now THAT’S D! 24, 1, 4 for Morr, 11, 5, 2 for Barr, 9, 3, 4 for Fram, 8, 5, 1 for Jode, 6, 7, 1 for Black. 9 TOs. Held ‘em ta 25.6% shootin’.

#26

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4-2 LSU is in. Tough inside an’ they play man.

Nov. 30: 68-42. Blew ‘em away in the 2nd, givin’ up on’y 16. 12 TOs, 43 RBs, held ‘em ta 22% shootin’. 16, 11 for Jode.

Now the long road trip.

We start at 3-2 Ohio State. They have a very good C and their SG is also good. On paper this one is a toss up.

Dec. 3: 76-63. They kept it close for a while but we never trailed. 20, 13 for Jode, 22, 6 for Barr, 15, 6, 4 for Fram. 11 TOs, 44 RBs.

Looks like we’ve turned it aroun’, now ta keep it that way.

At 3-3 Valparaiso. Good guards.

Dec. 6: 78-69. We took control early. 22, 9 for Jode, 18, 5, 3 for Barr.
At 6-2, #24 Temple. Good players at ev’ry position. They play man.

Dec. 13: 71-76. Close all the way but they led most a the time. They played with real discipline an’; wouldn’t let us in. Guards were great, 20 each, an’ the C had 16, 7, 5. Our starters weren’t getting’ open if not for sub Dave Black’s 28, 6 it would have been real ugly. 19 TOs, way too many. -7 RB.

Hey, they’re good.

Weddin’ in a little more than a week. Lucy’s frantic. Friends an’ the people who work for her seem to be doin’ weddin’ stuff ev’ry minute. If they need me ta I run errands, otherwise me an’ Tail try ta stay outta the way. I read when I’m not doin’ hoops stuff. Glad when it’s over, for lots a reasons.

#27

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Last game on the road trip, 2-7 Utah. They lost ta a few real bad teams an’ a couple good ones but the wins were against nobodies. They play man. Startin’ PF is out.

Dec. 21: 73-51. Good game! 19, 15 for Jode, 16 for Black who needs ta get more minutes.

An’ we’ll get home about 7:00 p.m. on the 22nd. Then it’s get ready for the big day on the 23rd!

Dec. 23: 7:00 p.m. ceremony. I won’t bore ya with all the details. It all went perfect, which I guess is why they spend so much time getting ready for it.

Oh, an’ the groom is a very minor role in the play! Lucy was beautiful in a pretty white dress, not a gown. There were flowers all ‘roun’, an a Justice a the Peace did the ceremony. One a Lucy’s friends is a singer an’ she sung three songs, all at diff’rent parts. They were all real good an’ right on target, romantic, nice.

Then the buffet dinner, more music, dancin’.

Lucy's parents did come. They were quiet an' man is she right. Humorless is the word.

I really like her sister an' her husban' an' kids. Hope ta see more of 'em.

At 11:00 Lucy said ta me, “Okay, we need to make our exit.”

So we said goodbye ta ev’rybody an’ headed for the airport. We decided ta fly ta New Orleans. We’re back late on the 26th. I got a game here on the 28th. The assistants will run practice on the 26th, the on’y day I’ll actually miss cuz kids get ta go home for the holiday.

The trip was great. No place like New Orleans.

All a my stuff got moved ta Lucy’s place over the past couple weeks so when we got back I was ready ta be livin’ there, which I practic’ly was anyways. It’s a little cozy, not a big place, but we’ll be fine.

We start conf. play with 3-6 Northern Iowa State here. They play 2-3, first time we’ve seen it this year. On paper this should be easy if we play. Lucy will be here as Mrs. Mack Jones for the first time. I like it!

Dec. 28: 61-48. Great D but we never got the O goin’. We were never in danger but I didn’t like the lack of execution. Marr had 23. 12 TOs, which is more like it.

At 4-6 North Chicago next. Don’t even get ta spend New Year’s Eve with my new wife. H*lluva thing! Oh well. They play man. It’s a road game but if we stay focused we should be fine.

Dec. 31: 81-71. Again, we led pretty much all the way, by as much as 17. 11 TOs. 24, 7 for Barr, 21, 6, 3 for Jode.

Happy 1977. I called Lucy right after midnight. We’d arranged it so’s I knew she’d be up.

We been top 10 RPI all season but haven’t cracked the ratings.

Nice ta be back home. We’ve settled in nicely. Don’t seem ta be getting’ in each other’s way. We talked a lot about balance. We both think there’s times ta do stuff tagether an’ times ta do stuff on our own. We think we do a good job a that, I know, it’s real early, but still.

3-8, 1-1 Missouri State is here. They play man an’ they cough up the ball a lot. We’re on that.

Jan. 4: 77-54. Kinda thought this one would go like it did. Our bigs jus’ killed theirs. 19 for Barr, 18, 7, 2 for Black, 16, 9 for Jode, 12, 2, 3 for Brel. 9 TOs.

Eric Jatt twisted his wrist. He’s questionable for the next game but it don’t look real serious.

#28

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At 6-6, 1-2 Des Moines. They play man an’ they ain’t lost at home yet this season. They been real up an’ down an’ they ain’t played nobody. No big scorer or rebounder.

Jan. 7: 69-60. They went up early, led by 11 once, 8 at the half. They were doin’ it with balance, a whole bunch a guys were scorin’. We worked on tightenin’ up the D at halftime. Held ‘em ta 19 in the 2nd so I guess it worked. 17, 12 for Jode, 17, 2, 4 for Morr. +8 TOs, +6 RBs.

Morr strained abdominals. I don’t think he’ll be able ta go in our next game. We’ll see. Jatt’s still hurt but almos’ 100% so it’s him for Morr.

Ranked! #25, RPI #8.

7-6, 1-3 Evansville is here. Morr won’t start. I can spot him here and there an’ that’s about it. Jatt is 100%. He’ll go. They play man, press a lot.

Jan. 11: 73-49. Jatt did great, 11, 2, 4, on’y 3 TOs, shut down the other PG. 17, 6, 3 for Barr, 16, 2, 4 for Fram, 11, 10 for Black. 13 TOs, +8 RB.
Alone in 1st.

At 6-8, 3-2 Southern Illinois. Man and they press a lot. SG is very good, get out on him. They can be turned over.

Jan. 14: 66-54. Led by as many as 33. Never a game. 17, 10 for Jode, 1`4, 6 for Brel. Ev’rybody played well. 13 TOs.

Bad phone call at about 1:30.

“He’s gone!”

“Wha?”

Lucy was in tears.

“Tail is gone!”

“What happened? Where’d he go?”

“I had him in the back yard. You know, we do that. He likes to be out there. Then there was a noise and he just ran after something, I don’t know what. I spent the rest of the day looking for him but I never saw a trace. He’s gone.”

“D*mn! I wish I could be there.”

“Me too.”

“He’ll come back, hon.”

“I’m afraid something got him.”

“No, he’ll be back.”

“You don’t know that.”

“No, but I’m rootin’ for it.” Try ta get some sleep, hon. Nothin’ ya can do tonight.”

“I know, but I can’t sleep. I tried. And I can’t stop crying.”

“D*mn!”

We talked a while longer. We’re both crazy about that little guy. Hope he comes back.

At 10-5, 2-4 Illinois State. These guys beat up some pretty good teams in the pre-conf. season. Then their SG, their best player went down an’ they lost 4 straight ta start the conf. He’s back so watch out. We need ta have a hand in his face all night. Their SF can hurt ya too. They don’t rebound all that well an’ they don’t like pressure.

Jan. 18: 74-82. Can’t give up 82 an’ expect ta win. D was awful. Officials were worse. Fouls were 7 for them, 21 for us. Fram fouled out, 4 each for Morr, Jode, Black, an’ I had ta sit all of ‘em for long stretches. I got the 2nd T of my career, an’ d*mn near got tossed late. I thought about it then decided against. They shot 32 free throws, we shot 12, an’ that was the diff. BUT, we let ‘em make 13 threes. Can’t blame the three blind mice for that. O was fine, 6 in doubles, 13 TOs, +8 RBs.

I shouldn’t a said it but at the press conf. after the game I said the refs were awful, an' I kinda went inta detail. I’ll get fined for that. Oh well. I don’t lose control often. First time, really.

Still no sign a Tail. Can’t wait ta get home. Not that I can do much but I think it’ll help Lucy ta have me there.

Back tied for 1st with Wichita State, an’ there next, at our place.

Got home an’ we walked the whole back yard, the woods behind, everywhere we could, but no sign a Tail. Lucy is a pretty strong person but she’s takin’ this pretty hard. She got Tail when he was 8 weeks, an’ he’s 5 years now. I miss the little guy too.

Wichita State’s 14-4, 6-1, an’ they ain’t lost on the road- all 4 losses at home. That’s unusual. They play a tough 1-2-2. C is their best but they’re real good at SG an’ SF too. This one won’t be easy. We need to really focus.

Jan. 21: 70-51. We played great! Really rose ta the occasion. Jumped out ta a 11-0 lead an’ never looked back. The Peoria Center was the loudest I ever heard it but we gave ‘em lots a reasons ta make noise. Real balance. We had 7 guys with between 8 an’ 14 points. 11 TOs. We really were at our best tonight. Felt good.

Still no Tail. Not a hint. Been a week an’ that’s prob’ly a real bad sign.

#29

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At 8-10, 4-4 Indiana State. Good outside game. They play man.

Jan. 25: 70-52. We played real well again, jus’ in control, confident. 6 TOs. 16 for Jatt who was really feelin’ it. Jus’ a solid, solid effort.

Wichita State lost. 2 game lead.

At 6-12, 3-6 Northern Iowa, the bottom a the conf. On’y won by 13 at our place. They play the 2-3.

Jan. 28: 66-53. An’ again tonight, in control. 9 TOs. 17 for Barr, an’ the nex’ six guys all had between 6 an’ 11.

TOs at 12.2 per game.

Jan. 29: One of the PGs we offered ta didn’t hit the score. Don’t know about this year. We jus’ ain’t getting’ guys. Add a couple more an; keep tryin’.
Home late, jus’ fallin’ asleep. Hear a scratchin’ sound. Hear it again. Lucy’s sleepin’. I get up. It’s at the back door. I open it. Tail. An’ he’s a real mess.

“Lucy!”

After a minute she hears me, gets up.

“Oh, he’s bad!”

“What can we do at this hour, it’s like 2:00 a.m.?”

“There’s an all night vet hospital, other side of town. I’ll call.”

“I’ll get dressed.”

We take Tail in. They tell us there’s a lot a patchin’ ta do but they think he’ll pull through. Somethin’ tore him up. They can’t believe he lived through it. Musta managed ta escape an’ hide some place. We leave him, head back home. By now it’s about 5:30 so I don’t go back ta bed. Just go for a run. Lucy does go ta sleep. Hope the little guy makes it.

They keep Tail for 3 days an’ send him home. He’s weak, slow movin’, but he’s here an’ he’s makin’ it. Sleeps mosta the time but hey, he’s a cat. Likes ta be right with one of us, in a lap.

7-12, 4-6 North Chicago is here. Beat ‘em by 10 there. They play man. Decent C, guards not bad.

Feb. 1: 68-47. Same story, jus’ in charge. Jatt didn’t do much buit the other six all between 7 an’ 13 points. 13 TOs, +5 RB.

2 up on Wichita State, at least 4 on ev’rybody else with 7 ta play.

At 8-12, 6-5 Missouri State. Won by 23 at home.

Feb. 4: 64-53. Not as close as the final score. Same balanced scoring as the last few. 12 TOs. +10 RB.

#17, RPI #7, 18-3, 11-1. Got it goin’!

Tail is healing well, getting a little more energy but still pretty slow goin’.

Lucy decides ta put the bookstore on the market.

“It just makes sense.”

“No way ta guarantee we’ll get the right job offer.”

“I know, but if not I’ll find a job for a year. It’s fine. I don’t want to be stuck here with you somewhere else.”

“Good! I sure don’t want that either. Make sure ta get your price though.”

“Don’t worry about that! I won’t give this place away. I worked hard to build the business and it’s a money maker.”

10-11, 5-7 Des Moines is in. We won by 9 there. They play man an’ they don’t match up that bad with us on paper, but if we play we’ll be fine.

Feb. 8: 79-53. 20, 14, 2 for Jode, 4 others in double figures. 9 TOs, +13 RB.

Jus’ breezin’ along. On’y Wichita State is still in it, 2 back.

#30

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At 12-10, 6-7 Evansville. Beat ‘em by 24 at home. They play man an’ press some.

Feb. 11: 65-54. 18, 2 for Barr, 10, 10 for Jode, 14, 3, 1 for Morr. 12 TOs, +9
RB.

Wichita State lost again. Up 3 with 4 to play.

#13, RPI #5.

8-15, 5-9 Southern Illinois is here. We won by 12 there. They play man.

Feb. 15: 71-42. Never a doubt. 16, 7 for Black, 15, 7 for Jode, 15, 2, 5 for Morr. 7 TOs.

18-6, 10-5 Illinois State is here. They beat us by 8 at their place, our on’y conf. loss so far. They do a lot well. Esp. good at 2, 3 an’ 4, an’ those are the guys that beat us.

Feb. 18: 84-67. Jode had a GAME! 32, 10. 10 TOs. 15 for Fram, 14 for Black. 10, 7, 2 for Brel.

17-9 Illinois-Chicago is in for the Bracket Breaker. They play man. Good guards an’ a deep bench.

Feb. 19: 74-48. It jus’ keeps goin’. Actually this one was close for 33 min. Then we exploded, 27-5 run. 18, 1, 8 for Morr, 16, 5 for Fram, 15, 5, 1 for Brel. 12 TOs.


“I may have an offer for the book store.”

“Already! That’s great!”

“Yeah. It’s a chain though. I’d rather sell to a private owner. Someone who has just this one store. I hate to see the big guys take over.”

“I agree. Up ta you though.”

“I think I’ll wait. My agent will go crazy. These guys will give me a great price.”

“Yeah, but if it’s not what you want for the store…”

“It’s not.”

At 21-7, 12-4 Wichita State. We won big at our place but it won’t be easy here. They’re 7-1 in the last 8. They have good players at ev’ry position.

Feb. 22: 68-58. They owned the first half, led by as many as 11, 5 at the half. In the 2nd we decided to pressure the PG, an’ we got out on the outside shooters much better. It all worked an’ we took charge. 27, 2, 5 for Morr, 17, 2, 2 for Barr. 11 TOs.

Tail is pretty much back to 100%. Great ta see.

One more ta play. 13-14, 9-8 Indiana State, here. We won by 18 there.

Watch the outside game.

Feb. 25: 55-45. We built a 26 point lead in the 1st an’ kinda relaxed after that. Balanced scoring. 10 TOs.

Averaging a great 11.7 TOs per game.

#8, RPI #5. 25-3, 17-1. Won our last 12. Won the conf. by 5 games.

It’s the post season!

“I think I may have another possible buyer.”

“Tell me!”

“It’s a middle age couple. They said they’ve always wanted this type of business. They seem really excited.”

“Great!”

“If they can come up with the money. I think it might be close whether they can put it together well enough to get the bank to loan them what they’ll need.”

“Oh. It gets complicated I guess.”

“Yes, it can. I really want these people to get the store. I think they’d keep the atmosphere I’ve built there. That means a lot to me.”

“I’ll keep my fingers crossed.”

“Mack… How would you feel if I lowered the price?”

“Hey, I don’t know anything about business. You do. I’ll support your decision.”

“If I came down about $7,000 they’d make it.”

“You’re willing to lose $7,000?”

“I guess I am.”

“Lotta money.”

“I suppose it is. Do you think I shouldn’t?”

“I think you should do what you want to do. The money won’t mean a thing when I get my next job. It’s no big deal. Do what makes you happy and that will make me happy.”

“Well… it kind of goes against my business sense a lot, but I want them to have the business. I need to think about it some more.”

“That’s fine. Keep me posted.”

#31

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We’ll play 9-19, 5-13 Southern Illinois in the ¼ finals. Beat them by 12 and 29.

March 4: 86-54. Biggest margin a the year. 22, 7, 4 for Barr, 20, 6, 3 for Jode. 8 TOs, +13 RBs.

14-15, 11-7 Missouri State in the semis. Beat ‘em by 23 an’ 11.

Ranked #5, RPI #7. BUT… Bubble Watch has us at 15.

March 5: 83-66. Another game that was never a contest. 27, 5, 2 for Jode, 19, 2, 4 for Fram, 16, 4, 2 for Morr, 10, 7 for Barr. We’ve outgrown this conference. I did not like 16 TOs.

Illinois State for the title. I thought it would be Wichita State but they faded. Ill. ST gave us more trouble. They are 23-7, 12-6, 10-1 in the last 11, losin’ on’y ta us. We split with them, each team winning at home. SG an’ SF can hurt you an’ they did in the first game. PG hurt us in the 2nd. We’ll pressure the PG an’ we gotta get out on the shooters.

March 6: 79-70. We led most of the way, by as many as 24. At the end they came back but I had my bench in. It wasn’t really close. Balanced scoring, 7 guys between 6 an’ 15 points. 13 TOs, +7 RB.

Now we wait to see where we go. I can see a #3 seed easily, even a #2- but we won’t get a #2, may not get a #3.

March 11: “It’s sold. They got the financing.”

“The $7,000 made the difference?”

“I think so, yes.”

“Great. I know this is what you wanted. When will it be official?”
"Closing is March 29, at least that’s the target date.”

“That’s wonderful news. Hopefully we’ll be moving soon after that.”

March 12: Here we go! Not in the East. Not in the Midwest. #4 South. We play Southern, 20-9 in the first round. Could have been worse.

Lucy can’t come with us to the first round games. Too much going on with the sale of the book store. Our games will be on TV though.

#32

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20-9 Southern plays man an’ they don’t press a lot. 3-2 in the last 5, but won the 7 before that. They don’t give up a lotta points. They score both inside and out but they aren’t big an’ they can be turned over.

March 17: 74-57. 36-15 at the half which sorta says it all. 5 guys in double figures. 13 TOs, +7 RB.

23-8, #5 seed Missouri. They play man, don’t press much. 6-1 in last 7 games. They score more inside than out an’ they take care a the ball. We wanta out RB them an’ stay outta foul trouble.

March 19: 78-51. Thought it would be tougher. Again, balanced scoring, 7 guys playing good, hard basketball. 10 TOs, +19 RB.

Tough match up with #1 seed, #4 ranked North Carolina, 28-7. On paper we’re in a lot of trouble. In reality, we need to play our very best and they need to be a little below theirs. Still, we didn’t come here to get beat. They play a very tight man and don’t press much. They go to SG an’ SF but they can score from ev’ry position. We need ta keep ‘em off balance- shift the D, pressure now an’ then, mix it up, try ta confuse ‘em. We can’t let ‘em own the boards an’ we can’t let ‘em do what they wanta do on O.

March 24: A 48 foot prayer at the end of regulation… Yep, we were up 70-67 after two free throws by Ed Brel. 2.2 left. They threw to half court and their SG threw up a 48 footer. It went in, we went to OT, they won 82-77. They took control early, built a 15 point lead an’ we battled back the resta the way. Finally tied it with :55 ta go. Got 2 free throws for the lead. They hit a 3, we hit 2 more free throws. They missed, we got 2 more. Then the 48 footer. It demoralized us and we couldn’t quite snap out of it in OT. H*ll of a way ta go out.

Balance again. This time 8 guys, Little used Neil Wise had 9, the other 7
between 6 an’ 12. We had 20 TOs but that was the only low. +5 RB, great D, smart decisions, mixed it up on D. I could not have asked for more- well, maybe an ounce of luck.

What a season, 30-4! I’m 85-20, .810 for my three years here, and I couldn’t be prouder of my kids. Tony Morr, Jim Barr an’ Nick Jode all graduate but this should be a really good team again next year, whether I’m here to lead it or not. Transfer Wade Laz is world class, and at least five good players are back. If any recruits develop at all these guys will be somethin’.

Now we wait. I will go to the Final Four again, for the exposure and the contacts.

March 26: Well, recruitin’ success at last. We get #47 SG Dave Bell, #93 PF Jay Gomes, an’ #145 PG Ivan Nell. So five recruits, three guards, two bigs.

#1 Maryland, #2 KY, #4 No. Car. an’ long shot unranked Evansville in the Final Four.

March 30: Lucy’s closing happened today. It went the way it was supposed ta go, and she no longer owns “Old Friends”. She agreed to help the new owners out with the transition for the next week or so and seemed happy about that.

I leave tonight.

Lots of people ta talk with at the Final Four. Some nibbles, some interestin’ conversations. Some reasons ta believe I’ll be getting’ some phone calls.

April 1:#2 Ky vs. #4 North Carolina for the title.

April 3: KY by 15.

I fly home tanight. A couple A.D.’s all but told me they expect ta be discussin’ a coachin’ job soon. We’ll see.

April 4: Awards: I get Coach award again. 1st team: Jim Barr, Nick Jode. 2nd team: Dave Black, Tony Morr. Not bad.

April 9: Team Prestige didn’t move, which makes no sense.

The phone’s ringin’! An’ ringin’! An’ ringin’!

Hm. Lots of lateral, or jus’ better than lateral offers. Nothin; that JUMPS at me. Half a dozen offers ta schools at major conferences an’ I’m guessin’ I’ll end up at one a them cuz bigger budget, better facilities, bigger salary- although that alone wouldn’t do it. I’m gonna visit a few, most of ‘em in hot weather climates. I hate the heat but that seems ta be where the vacancies are.

#33

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And we’re goin’ ta Auburn. Power conf., salary doubles, bigger budget, way more prestige. We’ll need ta rebuild, maybe a couple a not so great seasons, but a good move, I think.

April 16: Time ta hire assistants. Great hires! #1 is Ed Roy, who will recruit.
He was #2 at Ole Miss an’ ready to move up. I grabbed him quick as I could, for 5 years.

#2 is Rick Lee, who will be bench/practice coach. He was #3 at Texas, lookin’ for a promotion, an’ I grabbed him real quick, too.

#3 is Roy Loud, who will scout. He was #3 at Va. Tech. Thought he’d get more visibility here, lookin’ ta move up. I may not have him long but I want him. Truly a world class staff!

April 23: I ask for a budget increase. Nope. I guess they spent enough on me- although I’m makin’ 100 grand less than the last guy.

My numbers are: Off.- 28, Def.- 39, Recruit-95, Scout- 90, Player Dev.- 36, Reputation- 54.

Great years in Peoria. Here’s hoping the ones here will be, too. Not lookin’ forward ta the heat but definitely lookin’ forward ta what we will build here. Hope they’re a little patient though.

#34

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May 1: Lucy an’ me- an Tail, are in faculty housin’ while we look for a place. We know what we want, jus’ a three bedroom, not too big, near campus, a little land. Nothin’ too fancy or too expensive. I figger we can put down between 35-50%, so a low mortgage.

At the same time Lucy’s lookin’ for a business. She wants another used book store an’ she might get lucky right off the bat. There’s one right on campus an’ the owner is not young. She looks in her 70’s. Lucy looked at the place, loved it. She says down south ya go slow so she’s gonna make a friend a the owner before she starts askin’ if the place might be for sale. Lucy should have enough money from the sale a her place ta put down a lot if it is for sale, so she’ll have a small mortgage too. So we’re real busy on that front.

This is a class school an’ the athletic facilities show that. The offices are in the Auburn Dome, where we play our games. The place is not new, an’ it could use a little work, but it’s spotless. I share a secretary with baseball, 50-50, so that’ll be great. My office looks like it got all new furniture for the new coach, a beautiful desk, conference table, an’ a recliner, which I love. I don’t sleep in the office much since Lucy entered my life but it happens, an’ more often I get worn out an’ want a nap. The recliner’ll be great for that.
Great filin’ system an’ plenty a room. The assistants each have a small office a their own, near mine. A. D. Buck May is just down the hall.

Man! 4 guards on the entire squad an’ not a senior. We’re switchin’ a couple ta hardship or academic scholarships an’ lookin’ for transfers.

We buy the Gold Southeast report, an’ basic national an’ international.

Ouch! Two guys transfer out. That’s gonna hurt. One was a guard. Man!

June 5: Lookin’ at some transfers.

We found a place we really like. A little bigger than we wanted but not much, four bedrooms, a big finished basement, unusual down here, an’ in a beautiful spot about ½ mile east a the campus. We’re talkin’ price.

Lucy an’ the woman at the bookstore are friends an’ Lucy says she’s about ready ta ask if there’s any interest in sellin’.

June 12: Got one transfer. Junior C Joe Sand. Looks like he could help us.

June 25: It is gonna be a LONG year. I don’t see a lotta talent here. We’d better recruit well.

We put in an offer on the house an’ it looks like they’re gonna accept. Lucy says the woman sounds like she’s open ta sellin’ her business. Things are getting’ interestin’.

June 26: 6 ta give. We need guards more than bigs. Lookin’ at 23 ta start, 14 guards, 9 bigs.

July 2: House offer accepted. We hope ta close in a couple weeks, be in by early August. We both love the place. Tail isn’t committin’.

Lucy says she’s close ta makin’ an offer on the book store. She really loves the place an’ the woman who owns it. The woman’s 74 as it turns out. She’s a widow an’ the store is her life. Lucy says she wants part a the offer ta be that she can stay on as long as she wants. They’ve really become friends an’ Lucy says she’d be a huge asset.

July 18: Lucy offered. The woman said she’d think about it but wasn’t in a big hurry. The part about stayin’ on was big though, Lucy thought.

We closed on the house yesterday an’ we can move any time but we want ta do a little fixin’ up first, an’ install central AC which it don’t have. We need it since we don’t like the heat at all, either of us. Still hope ta be by early Aug.

Aug. 7: Pluggin’ away at the recruits. Looks good, really.

Aug. 10: We’re in the new place. Lovin’ it!

Aug. 16: The woman said she wanted ta talk about sellin’. Lucy is thrilled.

Aug. 21: We can offer scholarships today. Tough choices.
We offer ta 4 guards, 2 bigs.

Aug. 29: Lucy thinks she has a deal.

Sept. 11: We can visit 4 of the 6 we offered to.

Sept. 14: Lucy has a deal. Closing next week. She got a great price and put down 60%. Both sides are happy.

Sept. 18: We get one. Jim Mack, #42, PG. Good catch!

And we have a schedule. We’re at the Coaches’ Classic. Not sure we’re ready for that but hopefully we can steal at least one win. We went just a little soft in the pre-conf. part. Conference will be tough enough.

Sept. 25: BIG day. We get 4 of the 5 remaining, lose one. We get Steve Buck, #62 SG, Ian White, #33 PF, Dan Wall, #49 PG, Ike Eber, #36 SG. So we’re chasin’ a big guy.

Oct. 2: We get our last guy, Walt Cole, #60 C.

First day of practice.

We’re picked ta finish 5th. I’d take it.

Practices are going well but lots of mysteries. Not sure what to make of some of these guys. Hope to get a better feel of who can do what as practices continue.

Nov. 6: Exhibitions this week.

Still not a great feel for this team. We’ve settled on a lineup but expect things to change up during the early season. This team is very hard to figger.

On the home front we love our place but neither of us spends much time there. I’m really busy, as expected. First year in a new job is like that. Lucy is all but living at the book store. She really likes the set up. I never mentioned but it’s almost directly across the street from the Auburn Dome. I often call before lunch, pick something up, bring it over there and we have lunch together. It’s nice when we can do that. Gives us a little more time tagether.

Can’t believe we got to the start of the season so fast.

#35

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We start with Provo at the Coaches Classic. They’re the 8 seed, we’re 9. They play man, they have a very good SF and that’s about all we know. I’m more interested in what we’ll learn about ourselves.

Nov. 13: 63-52. Good start! It went back and forth for close to 35 minutes as my guys learned to play tagether. We got decent ball movement but were missin’ some switches on D in the 1st half. We rebounded really well (+10 for the game). Ball handlin’ was on’y okay, 16 TOs. Then we kinda figgered it out late, went ona 14-3 run, built the lead ta 21 an’ walked it home. Sub guard Al Carr had 15, 2, 2 in 24 min., Nick Penn had 13 at SF an’ held down their best player. Colin More had 10 RBs at C, an’ big man Art Gore came off the bench for 12 an’ 10. So we’ll be lookin’ close at Carr an’ Gore. I knew we’d be makin’ adjustments though.

Now we get ta play the #1 seed, #7 ranked Kansas. I do not think we are ready for this kind of match up but again, we’ll learn some things. They play man, are solid at all 5 spots, an' have a deep bench. Fasten seat belts, it could be a bumpy ride!

Nov. 15: 68-82. Okay, not all that bad considerin’. They’re a lot better than we are but we hung in, didn’t quit, even when they went up 20. So we got heart. I can work with that. Speakin’ a heart, John Hart at PG had a nice game, 14, 5, 2, an’ a nice job n a very good PG. 20, 14 for More at C. Figgered him for, our go to, an’ still do. Penn had 12, 5 at SF. Too many TOs, 19, but +6 RB.

We’ll basically play 7 guysan’ the 7 are okay, maybe a little better than I thought. First week was encouragin’, all in all.

Nov. 20: All 6 recruits come in to sign. Great lookin’ bunch with great numbers- ranked 27, 37, 44, 49, 54, 68. We could be trouble nex’ year!

Home opener vs. Lewisburg. The local press has been welcoming. Expectations are too high an’ I’m tryin’ ta calm that down, remindin’ folks that this program’s been down for a few years an’ we’ll need a little time. Hope they give it ta me. Fans an’ press ain’t always patient or reasonable. This team looks like cup cake city.

Nov. 23: 61-47. No challenge but I wasn’t feelin’ a lot of energy from my guys. 21, 7, 2 for More, 9 TOs, which I liked a lot. Balanced scorin’. I want more though.

2-1 George Mason is here. They play man. On paper this looks like a pretty even match up. This early it’s hard to say.

Nov. 26: 66-58. Some back and forth but we were pretty much in control, but again, I’m not seeing the energy I’d like to see from this team. 21, 9 for Penn at SF, 10, 8, 3 for More, 10, 7, 2 for Evans at SG. 8, 6, 3 for Hart at the Point.

The staff evaluates regularly. We talk about adjusting minutes but we're still in the gathering data stage. No one has stepped up in a way that makes us think we NEED to give him more minutes. At least not yet.

#36

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2-2 Houston is here. On paper this looks like a battle, and I think it will be decided inside.

Nov. 30: 60-61. Close all the way, never more than an 8 point diff. At the end they had it last an’ scored. 1.1 lef’ an’ we couldn’t do anythin’ with that. The issue was that we let ‘em shoot 53.8%. Can’t win that way. And we won the inside battle, easy. They beat us outside an’ at the line. 14, 13 for More, 18 for Carr. 13 TOs, +2 RBs. Again, the D did us in.

Dec. 2: “I’m pregnant.”

Now there’s a line that stops ev’ry man dead in his tracks. I mean no real surprise, that’s been the idea for a few months now but somehow those two words... After the initial shock it’s an incredibly wonderful thing to hear, of course. Then ya start ta think about ev’ry single thing in your life is about ta change, but it’s still great. Then there’s hugs, emotion, excitement, a zillion things ta discuss, none of ‘em meanin’ a thing just yet. I mean we’re talkin’ June maybe before there’s an actual baby so we got time. But wow. Just WOW!

#14, 5-1 Arizona is in. Now this should be a challenge. On paper they’re better at most ev’ry position, an’ they got a long bench. They haven’t played anybody though, an' their top scorer jus’ broke his arm. They’re tough inside an’ good with the ball.

Dec. 3: 71-63. Yeah! 12 lead changes, 8 ties. -13 RBs, they were REAL tough inside, but 9 TOs (+7), an’ we took 10 more free throws. Their SG an’ SF scored too easy but we stopped ev’rybody else. 18, 5, 2 for More, 18, 2, 1 for Carr who’s been hot. We’re lookin’ ta see if we can get him more time. 13 for Penn. Great win!

We shake up the lineup. We’ll be smaller but a lot quicker. Carr will start.
5-2 Ohio visits. Good outside. Very good PG.

Dec. 7: 66-47. Carr responds to starting with 31. Makin’ me look good! 14, 12 for More.

At 2-4 Arkansas State. Guards carry the load. No inside game.

Dec. 10: 71-53. 27, 4, 2 for Carr. 12, 5, 1 for Hill, 8, 6 for More, 8, 7 for Gore from the bench.

The morning sickness has started. Bein’ thankful I’m a guy!

#37

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At 3-5 Tulsa. Very good at C.

Dec. 13: 71-57. 15, 10 for More, 15, 3, 1 for Carr, good contributions from the others. 13 TOS, +11 RB.

6-3 Utah St. is in. 2 quality wins, 3 bad losses.

Dec. 17: 69-54. 23, 14 for More who dominated inside. 7 TOs, +13 RB. We seem to have hit our stride and starting Carr has really worked out well.
Dec. 18: Ranked! #25. First time in 4 years for the program. I didn’t expect it this year. We’re doin’ great.

At 5-4 New Hampshire. Talent mismatch, just play our game.

Dec.21: 78-69. 24, 3, 4 for Carr, 9, 3, 5 for Hart. 11 TOs

Dec. 23: Our first anniversary. We went out an’ Lucy wasn’t sick so she was able ta enjoy a nice dinner. She says the morning sickness is jus’ once in a while an’ by lunch she’s good for the day. Says she feels good mosta the time. Easy ta see she’s real excited about the baby. Me too, but I don’t hafta go through what she is. It was a nice anniversary.

At 6-2 North Baltimore ta end the pre-conf. season. They’re better inside than out.

Dec. 24: 75-55. 23 for Carr, 10, 10 for More, 3 guys had 7 each.

Dec. 25: We decided we wanted it to be just the two of us for the holiday. For the next coupla decades it will be family time. Who knows when it will be just the two of us again, esp. if we have more than one kid. So we wanted this one ta be just us. It was an’ it was nice.

A surprising 10-2 goin’ inta conf. play. Never woulda figgered that. #21, RPI.

#11. Peoria is 5-5, unranked. I’m shocked.

It will get harder. This is a strong conference.

#38

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At 4-8 LSU ta start. More outside than in.

Jan. 4: 74-60. 19, 9, 3 for More, 14, 4, 2 for Carr, 12, 3, 1 for Evans, 11, 8 for Hill. Good start.

#23, 11-2 Alabama is here. This should be a test. They’re good. We can beat them, get out on the outside shooter, rebound.

Jan. 7: 70-62. Back an’ forth. We started ta take over in the last 5. 22 for Carr, 11, 15 for Hill, 10, 7, 2 for More.

At 10-4, 1-1 Missouri. They’re tough inside.

Lucy says she’s making at least twice as much money in the new store as she did in Peoria. Her friend who owned it really built it up beautifully and it is a very smooth operation with a large, loyal clientele. Lucy knows how to take care of people, and she can turn on the charm, so it will only get better. Since I also make more than twice what I did at Peoria we have no financial worries and we’re saving and investing a lot of money.

Jan. 11: 54-62. First bump in the road in a long time. 9 game streak ends. Their 11 threes hurt but we didn’t score many points. When ya give up 62 ya should win. 16, 3 for Carr, 12 each for More an’ Hill but nobody else did much.

3-11 Nashville is here. They’re havin’ all kindsa trouble.

Jan. 14: 57-50. Two poor offensive performances in a row. Hm. 26, 3 for Carr. 10, 9, 2 for Gore from the bench.

Jan. 15: #20, RPI #11. 13-3, 3-1.

#39

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#8, 13-2 Kentucky is in. Very strong inside game. We need to contain it to have any chance at a win.

Jan. 18: 78-76. H*ll of a game! Down as many as 12 early, 6 at the half.

They were killin’ us inside but Carr couldn’t miss, which kept us in it. In the 2nd we went 2-3 to have more bodies down low, an’ it worked. Carr stayed hot an’ that was the diff. 37, 3, 2 for Carr with 8 threes. 17, 5 for Hill. 10, 0, 8 assists for Hart. We really played hard an’ well tonight. This is the kind a win that can make a team believe!

At 3-13, 0-5 South Carolina. They play 3-2 which could lead to a field day for Carr if we can find him. These guys are better than they been playin’ though. I’m tellin’ my guys ta expect a battle.

Jan, 21: 75-53. No contest. 17, 4, 6 for Carr, 17, 4, 7 for Hart, 16, 12 for More, 13, 5, 1 for Hill.

#19, RPI #11, 15-3, 5-1.

Lucy had a little set back. Didn’t seem so little an’ we rushed her ta the hospital. They calmed us down, solved the problem, kept her overnight. In the mornin’ her doc said she was fine, the baby was fine, jus’ take it a little easier. No need ta stop workin’ or anythin’ jus’ take it easy, put her feet up an’ rest ev’ry now an’ then. Whew! Ya do tend ta over react in these situations. It’s on’y natural.

Mississippi State, 4-2, 1 back a us an’ KY is in. They’re tough at 2, 3, 4, an’ can score inside an’ out. We’re gonna pressure the PG. We gotta hold our own on the boards too.

Jan. 25: 79-77. Whew! Down one, 8 ticks. Hart brought it down, dribbled for a few, shot it to Al Carr who calmly drained a three with a hand in his face. 23, 2, 2. 10, 5, 5 for Hart, 15, 7, 4 for Evans, 12 for Hill. They focused on stopping More, which they did, but Hart found the open man all night long. We had ta work for this one. Very satisfying win.

At #18, 15-4, 5-2 Arkansas. These guys can play, strong at every position. They play a tough man to man. We need ta hold our own inside ta have any shot here. It won’t be easy.

Jan. 28: 61-69. They went up 16 early, 12 at the half, never quite gave up the lead. We got close a half dozen times but couldn’t get over the hump. We managed to win the inside game but turned it over 18 times ta their 6, an’ that was the diff.

It’s a tough conference. We’re doin’ fine so far. We’ll lose some, that’s jus’ how it is. And we’re a year away, maybe two.

Jan. 29: All our guys hit the SAT score. We may free up a spot or two late. If so we have a couple a guys we’re still talkin’ with.

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12-8, 5-3 Texas A & M is in. This is another very good team. Tough inside. Not many easy teams in this conf.

Feb. 1: 84-65. 1st half was a war, back an’ forth all the way. They were doin’ it with balance, 9 guys scored in the 1st for them. Once again we decided ta go 2-3 in the 2nd. They had been settin’ such good picks against the man that we needed ta try somethin’ different. It worked. It plugged the passin’ lanes, we started turnin’ ‘em over, regularly. On O we were doin’ a great job a mixin’ inside ta Hill an’ More, then when they collapsed a little we got it ta Carr an’ he wasn’t missin’. We opened up a lead an’ stretched it out, controllin’ the 2nd half. It wasn’t as easy as the final score made it look.

Good win! 23, 2, 5 for Carr. What a different team we’ve been since he’s been startin’. 17, 8, 3 for Hill,12, 5 for More, 11, 3, 1 for Evans. Very good minutes from the bench, 21, 6, 1.

At 13-9, 6-3 Georgia, another really good team. Better outside than in but tough all around.

Feb. 4: 63-55. We were on top most a the way but they stayed close enough ta keep it interestin’. Balance for us. More an’ Hill had real good games inside, Penn was solid from the bench. Our guards had their hands full but matched an’ contained theirs. 11 TOs, +5 RBs.

Nice times at home. Lucy’s pregnancy jus’ kinda sets a happy atmosphere. Plans, dreams, what ifs, all sorts of things. We’ve never been closer.

Tied with Ark., one back a KY. 18-4, 8-2, #17, RPI #7. Again, way better than I expected.

13-11, 3-7 Florida is here. Not the typical year for this team but they are always dangerous.

Feb. 8: 82-60. 51 in the 1st. 20, 5, 4 for Carr, 11, 7 for More. 8 TOs.

Alone in 2nd.

At 12-10, 5-6 Mississippi. They play 3-2. With that D if we can get it to Carr he should have a lot of open looks. This team has struggled lately, 2-4.

Startin’ C broke his hand, which is a big part a that. They’re good with the ball. We need to control the inside game.

Feb. 11: 72-80. We didn’t play good D, let ‘em shoot 50%. Can’t be givin’ up 80.

KY lost too. Still 1 back but now one of three there- Alabama an’ Ark. Are the others. 3 of our last 4 are at home which is a huge help.

Lucy has been feelin’ great. Due date is June 7, so almost 4 months to go.

Tail seems ta know somethin’s goin’ on. Always right there. When we sit he’s in one of our laps or bumpin’ up against us. Kinda funny. Been more clingy since the attack anyway but even more than that these days.

Got in a little trouble with the local press maybe. Maybe more'n a little.

“Coach, you’ve had great success this year. Thoughts on that?”

“Well, the guys have responded real well ta what we’ve tried ta teach ‘em. I got a great staff an’ the credit goes ta them, an’ again ta the players who been workin’ so hard.”

“What have you liked most about being here at Auburn?”

“It’s a great place. Terrific university, great community. We been made to feel welcome right from the start. That “Southern hospitality" thing we always heard about? We’ve definitely experienced it right from the start.”

“How about the other side. Any disappointments?”

“Nope. None at all. On’y thing we don’t like is the weather. We ain’t used ta the heat an’ ta be honest, that’s a struggle. I’m a runner an’ even at dawn it’s too dang hot ta run, at least comfortably. I run anyway but whew!”

“So we can assume you’ll be out of here as soon as possible?”

“Now why in h*ll would you assume that! I didn’t say nothin’ like that. This has been great so far an’ we like it. We’ll deal with the weather. Can’t believe you said that, tell ya the truth, an’ it jus’ ain’t so. We never ever had a conversation about anythin’ but our future here an’ I hope that’s what you’ll quote!”

A course what got emphasized was “Coach Jones hates Auburn weather, probably won’t stay long.” That’s the press. Shoulda known better.




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