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Black news from Pasadena - Sports - Open Letter to Patrick Haden, Lisa Leslie, UCLA, and moreOPEN LETTER

To: Patrick Haden, Athletic Director, University of Southern California

Subject: Recommendation for Lisa Leslie to become the Head Coach of The USC Women's Basketball Team

Dear Mr. Haden:

I took the liberty of sending this letter to you, because I believe that you have the opportunity to make a truly historic improvement in the USC Women's Basketball Program. I also suspect that Ms. Leslie is one of the candidates that you may already be considering.

Ms. Leslie was a Champion at Morningside High School, USC, the Olympics, and in the WNBA. The details of her many accomplishments are well-documented, so I will not cover them here. In addition, Ms. Leslie has already demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities, and she has the poise and communication skills of a world-class diplomat. Although she has lived in the public limelight since she was a teenager, her life has been free of scandal and controversy. She has the potential to do for USC what Pat Summit did for Tennessee.

Black news from Pasadena - Sports - Lisa LeslieOne of the rightful concerns for you is the fact that Ms. Leslie does not have any experience coaching at the college level. However, she is much more than just a former basketball superstar. She is a quiet, determined force of nature, with endless reserve and determination. She is a competitor and a winner.

I do not know if Ms. Leslie has any interest in coaching, and I do not pretend to speak for her. It is my understanding that she does have a number of profitable business ventures at this time. However, if you contact her, and if she has any interest in coaching at USC, then please make her an offer that she cannot refuse!

Thank you sir,

John Randolph Rogers, Fellow Trojan

UCLA - This NCAA Tournament is likely to be déjà vu all over again for the Bruins. In 1995, they had to travel all the way to Oklahoma to meet Tulsa, which was then coached by Tubby Smith. Tyus Edney, one of the Bruin stars was very disappointed. "Where is Tulsa?" he yelled. Later, he found out, and he learned both some geography and humility from Tubby Smith.

This year the Bruins are headed to Austin, Texas to meet Tubby again. He is now the head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. These Bruins are also grumbling about the long trip that they have to take. The Gophers are not a powerhouse, but they are a team with sound fundamentals, and I expect them to eke out a win.

The Lakers apparently did not pay any attention as to how the Celtics and the Spurs reacted when they had to deal with serious injuries. When the Celtics point guard suffered a season-ending injury, the team just buckled down and went on a winning streak. When the Spurs suffered a similar fate, they did the same. Kobe Bryant did not play in the game against the Sacramento Kings, and the Lakers won without him. Six of their players scored in double figures, which should not be a surprise.

The Lakers have a number of good players who rarely get an opportunity to perform, when Bryant is healthy. Even then, when they are on the floor with him, they are so deferential that they rarely play well. I expected them to lose in Indianapolis, and then to win the next three games, with or without Bryant. That would earn them the opportunity to participate in the NBA Playoffs. Then they lost to the Phoenix Suns, so I was wrong again.

All head coaches know the same X's and O's. The main difference between those who are successful and those who are not, is Leadership. Great Leaders demand that their athletes be in top physical condition; know their fundamentals, and adhere to team discipline. The goal of the team must always be greater than the goals of any individual.

Head coach Mike D'Antoni seems to feel that he has to answer every question that is asked by reporters. This is a practice that will give him a lot of grief. He also sometimes allows himself to be trapped into making critical comments about his players. It may be that his comments should not upset them, but they do. He just does not seem to have the sophistication required to coach the team in a city like New York or Los Angeles. He probably should've stayed in Phoenix; they loved him there. Also, it does not help his image, when he is coaching half of the team on the sidelines, and Bryant is competing with him by coaching other half.

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