When I first watched the Mike Rice video that ESPN released on Tuesday April 2nd, I cringed. I cringed for the players. I cringed for Rutgers. I cringed for Mike Rice’s family. I cringed for basketball. When you are committing your life to something you are very passionate about, which involves both competition and mentoring there are at times those moments where you push the envelope, toe the line, and on occasion cross it.
For Mike Rice, there clearly wasn’t a line to begin with.
I have never coached division I college basketball. But passion for the game at the grade school, middle school and high school level where I have spent most of my time coaching is still just as genuine and just as intense for many. There comes a time as an intense basketball coach where you have to remind yourself you are a mentor and role model first, before anything else. There are many ways to still be an effective hard ass and push your kids without coming remotely close to practicing any of the antics that Mike Rice displayed. What he did, what he continued to do, what he consciously chose to do in his practice sessions is one of the worst displays of misguided anger and hate I have seen in a basketball setting.