Last year a young and talented coach in North Jersey was winning games by large margins . Many people thought he was doing so, to bring attention to his team, at the expense of other less talented teams. I like to think the young coach was inexperienced and may have not understood the impact he was leaving on opponents and the negative perception being cast upon his school. This was not the case watching, RUMSON and SADDLE RIVER DAY, Friday evening. What took place has no place in High School basketball and there are no excuses for it.
On Friday I witnessed what can only be described as a total lack of sportsmanship. RUMSON was leading Saddle River Day, in the 4th quarter. When the lead ballooned to 41 points with 7 minutes left, RFH coach Dave Callahan quickly removed his final 2 starters from floor. He had long since in the middle of the 3rd quarter removed his other three starters. If Coach Callahan choose too he could won this game by 60 points. But this is high school basketball game. Coach Callahan recognizes they must must be an element of respect and sportsmanship for opponents. But how did Saddle Day River Coach Danny Brown respond to the classy act by Dave Callahan? Rather than send his starters to the bench as well and play his subs. Danny Brown left his starters in the game. No problem there, because maybe he felt, he wanted to make the score a little more respectable or work on a few things, his talented team will need later down the road, before subbing. But what did I found out? …. this was not case.
Saddle River Day is a pressing aggressive defensive team. So seeing them press is no surprise. But what was a surprise, was watching coach Danny Brown Press the RFH subs baseline to baseline WITH HIS STARTERS down 40 points. Then with 90 seconds left in the game and still up 30, RFH subbed in its Freshman team. How did Danny Brown respond? Have his starters pressed even more aggressively, the RFH Freshman players could not get the ball over half court. What was Danny Brown’s star guard doing during all this? Well, she still on the floor firing up three point shots that simply would not drop. Now you can’t blame his star player, because it’s the coach that decides who plays…NOT THE PLAYER.
With under a minute left, rather than watch his young players continued to be humiliated, a visibly upset Coach Callahan removed his young players. Denying them, there families and friends from seeing them play; in many cases their first varsity game. Now Danny Brown may not give a hoot about the RFH kids. But what about his own kids? Does the insanely talented Michelle Sidor need another basket in a total blowout? Does she need people now questioning weather her stats are legit? Doesn’t running a classy program and teaching kids about respect MATTER more than stats. Coach Callahan gave Danny Brown a look that said “shame on you” as his starters retuned to the court. I then saw something I HAVE NEVER SEEN. The entire gym stood up and cheered Coach Callahan for returning his starters into the game that was over at halftime. They cheered to let Coach Brown know, his actions were unacceptable. Later that night, I spoke to somebody who said, Coach Brown asked why are they cheering? If he didn’t know why, then he is clueless and has lost total perspective on what is important in high school basketball.
Now I know Danny Brown from the AAU world. He is competitive and from what I know a pretty darn good coach. I always found him to be a pleasant and quality person. I believe as a coach, he has the right to do as he pleases with his team. If it’s important for him to have his star bombing three’s in a blow out… that’s his choice. If he chooses not to display or teach his kids, sportsmanship and respect for opponents …that’s his choice. If he chooses not to play his bench in a 40 point game to reward and let a few less talented kids gain a little experience while feeling good about themselves…That’s his choice. But remember it does not make it right and I HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO CALL HIM OUT. The parents of the kids on both teams should be upset. There was a missed opportunity for kids on both teams to get in a varsity game. The very same kids who worked just as hard as Coach Brown. The same kids who made the same sacrifices in the summer and fall he did. But because of ego and arrogance this was taken away from them. One group of kids he tried to humiliate weather he knows it or not. Then another group of kids had to be embrassed to know, they are not good even enough to play in a 40 point game. The parents of these kids too should call out the likes of Danny Brown and any other coach behaving in this manner.
I have seen too much of this type behavior in recent years. Coaches trying to promote players artificially. I have seen too many coaches trying to gain attention for there programs by running up scores and padding stats. I have seen too many out of control parents, like the gentlemen from Saddle River Day in the stands who embrassed himself on Friday. These things are becoming the norm these days…The ones who can stop it are the AD’s and if you want it to stop…learn there telephone numbers!