If you don’t know, I am the head coach of the champion U16 team from last summer and will head the U17 group this spring/summer. That said, I want to be clear, open, and honest about a few things before we get started.
1. Because you were a member of last years’ team does not guarantee a spot on this years. Yes, this will be a REAL tryout. I do not believe in a reward to those who did not put in the correct effort just because they are “grandfathered” in. However, this also does not mean if you do not have a great tryout that you are automatically eliminated from consideration either. I don’t think anyone watching Raheen Dudley at the tryout last spring would have thought he could come in and be a great all around guard for us like he was…good thing I did. A half-hearted effort will not be rewarded.
2. Loyalty does mean something to us as well. I am not talking simply playing for the Lakers each year, I am talking the total package of loyalty to include transportation, attendance, accountability, etc. We understand that there are limits on some that may not be on others, but we do not understand selling your team out when they are depending on you to be at practices and games without giving proper heads up to the coaches. We do not understand not making the proper arrangements with administration regarding fees. I won’t go into further detail, but I believe you get the drift.
3. There are nominal fees for participation with this club. Please understand that our mission is not to make money off of our athletes or parents, which is why we do not charge the type of fees seen elsewhere. There will an initial cost for the tryout, a base cost for participation if you make the team, and then the cost of food and lodging as we travel. I personally know clubs that charge up to $1000.00 for these opportunities, but that is not the case here. The fee for the tryout is $10.00. If you are selected to a team, the fee will be $450.00, which includes 6-8 tournaments and your jersey/shorts to use (there will potentially be an option to purchase them- more to come). The food/lodging costs vary on how long we stay in a place and how greedy you are. We are only talking in the neighborhood of $10-20 for lodging and you are free to spend what you so desire on food. The fees are non-refundable. As always, please speak to a coach or our chief administrator, Jared Field, if arrangements for pay need to be made. We would like for all that are chosen to be able to participate.
4. The MML program does not “borrow and lend” players with other programs. This means that you should not expect to play with us this week and the next with a different club. Now, we would be foolish to deny a kid an opportunity to be seen on the national tournament scene and we won’t do that. So, if you have an opportunity to attend a national tournament in Las Vegas for example, just TALK to your coach. Playing in Davison while the team is in Lansing is NOT an example of that and will not be acceptable. All of this will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
5. Remember that your coaches, scorekeepers, and administrators are VOLUNTEERS! They all deserve thanks and respect for sacrificing their time, energy, and finances (especially for gas) to benefit the program as a whole. We demand that they be treated with such, and disrespect will lead to discipline, up to and including dismissal from the team.
6. For the U17 team, be advised that playing for MML means more than me rolling out the ball and watching you run aimlessly up and down the floor at a glorified open gym that is hidden behind the veil of “practice”. Unlike many coaches, I teach the game of basketball at each practice. Corresponding with that, I teach about life as well. Take note that this team will be run with basic Christian principles as its backbone and with helping boys translate into better basketball players and even more importantly, better young men. You may not like everything I say or do, but it will all be for your benefit. I have a full-time career that supports me, so this is not a platform for me to be recognized, but rather a chance to provide opportunities for some of you that may have not had them otherwise. If this is not for you, I understand. But if you are interested in growth on the court and off, and a chance to be seen by college coaches of ALL division levels, I welcome the opportunity to assist wherever I can.
7. I can only speak for the U17 team, but there will be NO cursing on my squad. Ask a member from last year what happens if there is a slip up. We will learn how to express ourselves in more ways than language unsuited for growth.
8. Everyone on the U17 team will be treated FAIRLY, but not EQUALLY. I know that sounds strange, but the reality is that there are only so many minutes in a game so everyone cannot play the same amount. The minutes YOU GET will be the minutes YOU EARN. As you gain trust, you may be afforded more leeway to make errors on the court. Simply put, the more you can do, the more chance you will have to do it. It also means the more responsibility and accountability you will have as well. It is just like life gentlemen.
9. Do not be surprised if there is a community service project that you will be expected to participate in. We will always foster the idea of giving back. It is a lesson that if you learn now, will benefit you forever.
10. Finally, I encourage all of the members of this program to ask for help if needed. We have great minds working with us. We have those with engineering degrees and backgrounds. We have certified masters of english and business principles. We have literary and philosophical giants as well. We have those who have multiple degrees with high honor. To put it mildly, we surround you with those that can help you in many facets of life, including your education. Having trouble with the ACT? Ask and we can help. Parents, we put people in positions of leadership that know what that means and do not take it lightly. So young men…do not be afraid or let pride stand in the way of your success!
All in all, the MML track record speaks for itself. In the 6th year of existence, we have been able to win some titles and produce a number of college-level players out of the program. I encourage you to click on the alumni link to see the names and think about the characters of the young men that are now performing on the college level. We started MML to be a clean, trusted program in the midst of many of those that are not. Parents will not have to be worried about their children being mistreated or taken advantage of here. We will stand behind them and watch over them when they are in our care. We certainly need the help of as many parents that are willing to be involved in transporting kids, running fundraisers, keeping score, videotaping, etc. Just let us know where and when you are willing to help. Thank you all for your continued support of the Mid-Michigan Lakers.