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“Listening to Rick Majerus”

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on February 9, 2007

Years ago, after leaving coaching at Harvard, I spent five days at the University of Utah as a guest of Majerus, watching the Utes practice, having lunches with him, even sitting in on staff meetings (except for those that involved recruiting). I learned as much in those several days as I had in all my basketball life. I’m constantly referencing him when I coach players and clinics. Now, I love listening to Rick Majerus commentate a basketball game. He did the Notre Dame at DePaul game last night and, though his style is somewhat halting, not much flow or rhythm and he doesn’t really hold a “conversation” with his partner, as is the way with many others (Raftery, Elmore), what he says is loaded with basketball wisdom and advice. It’s a clinic; it’s like he’s letting you inside the brain of a true basketball man. For instance, when defense didn’t get back he said, it’s fundamental that they first “point, talk and touch”. When a defender got beat on a backdoor cut because he turned his head away from the ball, Majerus reinforced my belief (that many coaches seem to have gotten away from): “keep vision on the ball when the cutter goes through”. He reacted to a hustle play by saying: ” give him the “atta boy award”! And, my favorite insightful, insider’s tip? After a player had dribbled and dribbled, looking for something that was not there, Majerus said, “The Celtics have a sign in their lockerroom that says ‘no dancing with the ball'”. I’m gonna use that one!

Majerus, of course, is also known for his quips, analogies, self-deprecation. Al McGuire, who famously said of the portly Majerus, “him losing twenty pounds would be like a deck chair blowing off the Queen Mary”, was, after all, his coach and mentor.

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21 Responses to ““Listening to Rick Majerus””

  1. Dan Ziminski said

    I turned on ESPN this Saturday and happened to catch the tail end of the Wisconsin vs. Iowa St game. Majerus called the game. You are right, he was fantastic! I’d say he was definitely the most insightful NCAA announcer I can recall. I like when he mentioned the irony that Iowa was running the Flex Offense right back at Wisconsin (who also runs it). He also knew details about each player’s strengths and weaknesses. You can tell he does his homework for the games.


  2. Dan – – I turned that game on, too, and at the intros when they showed who was announcing I was, like, “yeah”! That “flex” comment was real coach talk and think. (Reminds me of when I once heard Hubie Brown say at a clinic, “you always press a pressing team”.)

    Anyway, these are some of the other Majerus quotes I liked during the Iowa/Wisconsin game:
    • Pay the price for being lax (on defense)
    • Don’t want to foul 92 feet from the basket (a player fouled after missing a shot)
    • Drive to shoot ratio of 1:7; Get out on him, make him bounce it
    • A challenged passer
    • Great offensive rebounder. Gets it in traffic, finishes in traffic: a double-dipper
    • Hard to evaluate your weaknesses when you’re winning
    • Like Cool Hand Luke being chased by dogs


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