New World Virginia 17-under head coach Chris Rhone coaching up the troops
When it comes to AAU basketball, many have opinions as far as if its good for kids growth in basketball or if its isn't? Critics from every level of basketball have spoken loudly about how AAU basketball is killing the college and pro game. While, there are bad seeds planted in the ever evolving grassroots level of basketball, there are also those who genuinely are involved to help kids maximize their potential on and off the court. The genuine individuals usually are voiceless against the frequent attacks. I thought, why not change that? Why not have coaches who have been involved with AAU at the highest level and who are truly dedicated to the development of players give a inside perspective as to what it's all about. Enter Chris Rhone. Rhone is the head coach of Virginia Academy and head coach for the newly formed New World Virginia 17-under. While the New World organization as a whole competes on the Adidas circuit, New World Virginia is looking to prove that they are deserving by playing in some of the most competitive AAU tournaments in the country.
After a very disappointing appearance in the D.M.V Super Team Showcase, I just sat back and really reflected on how crazy this basketball scene can get at times. As a team we didn’t play up to our full potential. It seemed as if we didn’t have any energy and our timing felt completely off. As a coach, I realize you’re going to have some games like this. I truly love my players and I know they’ll bounce back.
During the games I had the delightful experience of observing a parent yelling from the sidelines the entire game. It was so annoying, we had other parents moving to get away from the nonsense. All you heard during the game was; pass the ball, he dribbling too much, he’s selfish, etc. You get the point! After the loss, he decided he wanted to express his concerns as a parent and he wanted to talk. To make matters worse, he gave me a summary of what he thinks we should do better as a team!
As a coach, I don’t take this AAU basketball too serious. I’ve been coaching for a long time and I have one philosophy; it’s simple, you’re going to either win or lose. As long as were competing and playing hard I’m satisfied as a coach. My goals are to put my players in the most competitive environments so they can achieve their dreams.
I told the hostile parent, I’ll talk to you later, but he insisted. So I let him vent.
As you can imagine, nothing but nonsense came out of his mouth. I forgot to mention he never played basketball either. Maybe he’s a professional YouTube coach. I take nothing from the teams we played, they simply came to play and they beat us. It’s a part of basketball.
After the parent expressed his concerns, I asked him did he ever consider any other factors on our team’s performance.
“I said to him, our players probably only had time to eat breakfast so they were playing on an empty stomach. We had to be on the road for 2 hours and our first game started 2 pm and we played again at 4 pm (due to an early start time.) We never had a chance to rest our legs. Also, we never left the gym to get anything to eat, etc. I asked him, has he ever played two games on an empty stomach. He replied “that’s no excuse.”
So to make a long story short, I replied well it simply wasn’t our day and they were mentally drained. ? I asked him, what he said to his son that was encouraging. I told him, you’ve been at all the games and you’ve never seen us play this bad. Furthermore, I don’t think the team went in saying ‘hey we're going to lose this one” so give them a break. If I’m not mad as a coach, why are you that mad as parent! I continued and told him, there were a lot of Div. II and III college coaches in the stands and they heard and saw you acting a pure fool. Why would they want to recruit you son now!!
Part II / Parents "The Circus Exhibit
It was my 10th grade year of high school. I was a 150 pound kid playing varsity basketball at Crossland. The year was….(You’ll never know) and I was playing under the great leadership of Coach Levi Franklin. Was I supposed to be playing? At first, "I thought so." That mindset quickly changed when I saw a 6"4, 220lb guard by the name of Julian Peterson (former NFL Pro Bowl) along with all our other studs on the basketball team dunking everything. It was at this moment when I realized cheering from the bench was going to be my greatest attribute I could contribute.
Did I play? I think I might have played five games that year and I don't remember giving the team any production as a player. My role was simple; pass, cut, and get the hell out the way!!! As the season progressed, I continued to ride the bench. The one value I clearly remember about our Cavalier family was the togetherness we had as a team. It wasn't about playing time for me. It was simply about winning.
We all loved one another and we genuinely cared about each other. The experiences and bonds we built years ago still hold strong to this day. My mother would come to the games and she knew I wasn't going to play. She never complained to the coach about my playing time and she never asked the coach what my son needs to do to get better, etc. You get the point! She didn't care! She allowed the coach to coach. All of the parents as well came to the basketball games to SUPPORT the TEAM!
In reality, I wasn't ready. When it was my time to start on varsity and shine, that’s what I did.
This brings me to the modern day “circus parent.” I'm sure all coaches across the nation experience the "my kid theory." It goes something like.... “My kid this, my kid that, my kid, my kid, my kid....
Exhibit A: The team is losing by two points with 10 seconds to go in the game. The coach calls his final timeout. As players approach the bench; we see something like this;
Parent A standing on the wall with his arms crossed, a slightly wrinkled Adidas (brand varies) sweat suit yelling instructions to his kid from the sidelines.
While in the huddle, the player continues to stare at his parent. He never clearly understands the play the coach instructs the team to run. As the game resumes, you can hear the parent saying something corny of this nature
"Let’s go baby or lets get it" (It varies from state to state.)
The ball gets inbound, the player who was listening to Parent A during the timeout has the ball in his hand. He deviates from the coaches’ play and the team loses game by two points. You (coach) are on the bench flaming mad and suddenly on the sideline you hear parent A say something dumb like "good shot or you can't win them all."
As a coach, you're mad because the player didn't even attempt to run the final play. Instead he made a play for himself because he wasn’t paying attention in the huddle. The parent gets upset for you holding the player accountable. Parent A forgets the fact that their sideline coaching is creating a very non coachable player and leading to a psychotic environment.
During the first live period, I recently had a situation where a player thought he was bigger than the team. I tell all my players, respect all of your coaches. Remember colleges make phone calls to your coaches to see what type of character you have as a player.
In short, he simply didn't want to follow any directions and decided he wanted to be disrespectful toward me and his teammates. I simply told him to take off my jersey and "you're no longer a player on our New World VA team." As a coach, I simply don’t have the patience to waste my time on a player that forgets the fact that I make phone calls daily to coaches on their behalf. I have nine other players that need my support.
His parents came to me after the game and gave me their opinion on the situation, but they never mentioned or acknowledged their son’s mistake.
In conclusion, as I was driving home from the tournament a Div. I coach called me asking about the player I just released from my team. The coach said he wanted to see the player one more time with his head coach at our next tournament and they’ll consider the offer.
I responded with these words to the coach, “he's not with us anymore, and I wish him the best with his future.”
The coach laughed, and said “Say No More.” We continued our conversation, and he asked what else do I have for him to recruit? I mentioned to him, I have 6’3 SG / Kevon Voyles, 6’4 Wing /Kobe Tigney, 6’0 PG / Shyheim Gilkerson, 6’8 PF/ Henry Okoye, 6’3 SG / Myles Jones…… and the list went on.
Needless to say, the player the coach was interested in offering just damaged his chances on receiving free money just that quick. So as parents, you must ask yourself? When we’re coaching and giving your child our time and dedication, and you’re sideline coaching, are you helping or hindering their chances of reaching their full potential?
Well that’s all for now. I have to get my team ready for the Adidas qualifier at the end of May. Hopefully, we’ll come to play….
Chris Rhone / New World Virginia 17U
Head Coach: Virginia Academy
With all the unnecessary drama going on lately, I’m sure you can’t wait for PART III / HOSTAGE HOST PARENTS COMING SOON