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Saturday February 13, 2010 - 1 PM - What a lot of fun it was to watch today’s basketball triumph. Our team was aggressive and played like a team. There were probably never more “Double Teaming” calls made in a game, but our players wanted the ball. You can penalize them if you wish, but my feeling is that if the other team is going to dribble the ball in the middle of 3 of our players, then they better expect to be swarmed. It is not our fault that they made the decision to enter the lion’s den, because our Spartans were hungry and ready to play,

SIDE NOTE - Aaron and Coach Leavitt were late to the game today.That’s right, we did not arrive until 6 minutes were left in the second quarter. I razzed a parent for being late that wandered in after we did, but they need to know that we had just arrived ourselves. So what took a priority over the basketball game? Aaron, his older brother Adam (15), and I belong to the local Timpanogos Grotto caving club and we were out rappelling and ascending in the 85-100 foot deep Pink Lime Pit out Southwest of Utah Lake. At the same time we should have been driving away we were all three standing at the bottom looking up at the top of the pit knowing that we still had to ascend up the ropes out of the pit.

GIVE ME THE ROCK! - One Mother was heard to say that she didn’t like it in other games when somebody would be the “Ball Hog”, yet today it was her son seemingly being the one refusing to give up the rock. From a coaching perspective I was thrilled to see her son’s desire to play hard, dribble to the basket, and score. Each week it seems we have one or two different players who show up ready to dominate. Today it was Brady, being closely followed up by Jesse. Awesome is the only way that it can be described as we watched them both play.

PlayerBRADY - Brady was on fire today.You could see his determination, drive and focus both on the sidelines and out on the court. There was nothing stopping him today.He took the ball and drove to the bucket.He grabbed rebounds and shot for the bucket. His opponent had the ball and Brady stole it from him. I am glad that I was not out there on the court playing against him today. Today Brady was our toughest player.

PlayerJESSE - I have concluded that what Jesse needs is a bit more height. He plays down on a lower level than I have ever seen before. He is an incredible dribbler and controls the game play very well. The only thing he lacks is the ability to see what is happening on the entire court. There were several times that he had players like Brayden open for easy under the bucket shots, but he could not see them. I marveled at the fact that even though Jesse never realized players were open he kept playing hard down on his own lower level.It was like a game within a game.All of the tall players were just obstacles that he ran around like a little guy in a video game forest. It is something I can’t relate to because I have never played from his perspective. So I watched in amazement as Jesse dribbled and shot. He scored 6 points and almost scored another 6 on close shots. Nobody blocked him and he dribbled passed picks set by his fellow players and he would fly by and head to the hoop. The world needs to watch out as Jesse’s court vision increases because he has all of the athletic skills and the disposition to be a great player. I look forward to watching him in the years to come.

BALANCED SCORING - The first thing you notice about today’s game is that there was very balanced scoring. No one person dominated that department today. Many times our player would have a shot, but they would pass to another player with an even better shot.

PlayerNICK SMOTHERED HIS OPPONENT - Nick has developed a smothering defense that closely resembles throwing a quilt over the top of the other player and then tackling him to the ground.He may use a bit too much arm hugging, but he is figuring out how to stay with his man and how to keep his opponent from scoring. In the process of all of this he is stealing the ball, rebounding, and even getting shots off that are close to going into the basket.

PlayerNATE WAS TENACIOUS - Nate played awesome today. I felt sorry for the other coaches son that had Nate shutting him down half of the game. Nate is tenacious and stays very close to his player on defense. If the other player gets the ball, then Nate makes certain that he isn’t going to get a good shot off. Nate rebounded well and was even caught dribbling the ball on several occassions.He looks so much more comfortable out there on the court and he is playing just where he should be.He also took several shots and they were close to passing through the hoop, but they were just a little bit off.
PlayerJOSEPH SET ANOTHER PICK - Joseph once again gets the pick of the week award. He set a hard pick out by the free throw line that allowed Jesse to come right around him and score. If our players that scored today gave Joseph a dollar for each pick he set to get them free, then our team would be broke and Joseph would be a rich young man.
PlayerBRAYDEN - Brayden hustled today and was in the right place at the right time.We failed to get him the ball when he needed it.He scored two points, but we could have ridden him like a bucking bronco for 30 points if we had passed it to him inside every time he had position and was open. I have been so impressed with his improvement this season and learning to play the role of the Big Man.
PlayerANDREW SCORES! - My memory of Andrew was the joy on his face as he scored nearly back to back buckets late in the 4th quarter. Andrew is our quiet player of very few words. And even though he is quiet, you can see much of what his feeling on his face, and there was no concealing his enthusiasm as he scored each time. Way-To-Go Andrew.

PlayerTYSON - Tyson did a great job playing and scoring today.He passed off a few times when he had a good shot and each time he allowed another player on our team to score. He scored 4 before I arrived and then 6 more after I arrived. My favorite shot was a lay-up that was part lay-up and the other part hook shot.This is his favorite move in practice and in drills, and it was fun to see him make one in the game. Tyson was very consistent today and he scored in every quarter. I think that is a good goal for our players to score at least once every time you are out on the court. This was the same type of goal we set as missionaries proselyting in Brasil. We taught at least one person every time we left the house. That is one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one or two more each night. Do that for six days a week and you have over twenty discussions each week. Consistent game play and consistent teaching makes you a superstar just because you are consistent. In basketball terms, if you are a “Flash in the Pan,” then you play in the D-league.But if you are consistent, then coach Jerry Sloan has you playing with the big boys.

PlayerMICHAEL - Nicknamed “Mr. Hustle” in today’s game, I commented to his Dad that it was a shame that we couldn’t bottle his enthusiasm and energy and sell it on the open market. Michael could not be slowed down today.He completely shut down his own man and had energy enough to go after most of the other players on the court as well. It shows that he is ready for another league that allows double teaming. I was told that he scored 3 before I arrived and I watched him score 3 more.This included my witnessing him making a free throw. Michael is going to be a 90% free throw shooter on his high school team and fondly look back to the season that he shot at least 20 and made about 1 out of 5.

PlayerAARON - With great pride I watched my son rappel into a deeper pit than he had ever done before. Aaron dropped about 85 feet into the Pink Lime Pit and then ascending back up the rope smoothly and efficiently. Then I watched him get out on the court less than an hour later and play hard defense and help shut down the tall player on the other team. Aaron scored 4 points and passed off the ball for assists to his teammates. I was thrilled that Aaron left the game more interested in the team win that with his personal scorecard. It makes me feel like the time spent with these young men has been of value.


I was talking with my lovely wife Shelly as we drove home from the BYU basketball game against Air Force and I was questioning whether or not I was doing a good job as coach. We reflected over the past couple of months and compared our team’s progress with the other teams that we have encountered. I also reflected on the fact that I really have not had a chance to get to know any of the parents. I know your boys very well and they are good young men. They have great hearts and they have stepped up to every challenge that I have given them.

TEAMWORK - I have stressed that every person on our team is important and that everybody needs to look out for everybody.This means not just on the basketball court, but at school as well.

KINDNESS - Before the season started these 10 young men were not all friends. There was a small core of friends, but they were rather exclusive and sometimes they were even hurtful to the others by way of normal boy teasing. I was warned that there were even some players that I should never have out on the court at the same time because they were like oil and water. The oil and water lasted about 2 practices and then we squelched the idea. The boys were told that all would play with all and that there would be no favoritism or super starism on our team. I stressed that they were teammates and that they needed to be kind to one another.

BOYS WILL BE BOYS - BUT DO THEY HAVE TO BE? - Many of the parents don’t know bout this, but it was a changing point in our team. Most would probably have allowed what happened, chalking it up to boys just being boys, but I laid down the law. It happened when I was extremely sick earlier this season and we had a scheduled practice. My son Aaron was confident that he could still handle practice if we could find an adult to attend. At the practice a couple of the boys started calling everybody and everything “faggots.” They were also disrespectful to the adult present and very unwilling to take any direction from my son Aaron. I laid in bed proud of my son’s desire to not cancel practice because I was sick. I just knew everything would be okay. Boy was I wrong.

When Aaron came home he related what had happened and for the next couple of days I was tormented with what I should do when the team would get back together at our next Thursday practice. Walking into practice I still did not know what I would say to the boys. I set up 10 chairs on the stage and drew the curtains to make an intimate circle. The players trickled in and we ran our normal laps and ladders. Once all 10 players were present I blew the whistled and invited everybody up on the stage of our Stake Center. They started to sit up on the lip as I climbed up and walked through the curtains. Giving me strange looks they realized that they too needed to step through the curtains. Once seated we had a very special heart to heart, soul to soul conversation that allowed me to reprove betimes with sharpness and then show forth great love for the young men. Each left the stage with the goal placed before them to not belittle and demean others by calling them derogatory names like faggot.

I have had my testimony of the goodness of these young men strengthened throughout this season. I placed high expectations before these boys. Goals of teamwork, skills, kindness, and clean speech were set before them and these boys increased their efforts to clear the higher bar that I placed before them. I truly feel that these boys are better off for the time they have dedicated to our team this season. This coming Saturday will bring about a very sad moment for me as we take a final picture, eat some hot dogs, and say good-bye as a team. Thanks again for this opportunity to be the coach of the Spartans. It was a wonderful season filled with every emotion... To feel the great joy this year tears will fill my eyes as we draw a close to our season.

Coach Michael Leavitt

P.S. Please keep me informed about the events in the lives of these young men as the years pass by.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th TOTAL
Aaron - - 4 -
Andrew - - - 4
Brady 2 - - 2
Brayden - - - 2
Jesse - 2 2 2
Joseph - - - -
Michael 3 2 - 1
Nathan - - - -
Nick - - - -
Tyson 2 2 4 2
SPARTANS 6 4 10 13
OTHER TEAM 6 2 4 4

*NOTE: Nobody kept accurate scoring up to the point of my late arrival. I was told that the other team did not have enough people so we shared a couple with them to get the game going. Michael supposedly scored 3 for the other team.The conclusion was that when Aaron and I arrived the score was tied at about 6 a piece. I know this isn’t accurate and your player may have been slighted or overlooked.If you have corrections to the before my arrival game, then send them along and I will gladly correct the numbers.


PARENTS: Please bring your cameras and video cameras and capture the moments of our last game.

AFTER GAME PARTY: I am bringing a BBQ and will cook up large polish dogs for the players and the families immediately after the game in the parking lot. Please allow for a half hour after the game to spend at the parking lot eating and enjoying the memories of the season as we tailgate party together. Bring a desert if you like.The Leavitt’s will bring the super sized polish dogs, the chips, the drinks, and the condiments. This will be a rain or shine event!!!

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