At the end of each season, I try to sum up where we have been, where we are, and where we are going to close inside the basketball program at our year-end banquet. Think of it a bit like a State of The Program address to everyone involved in our Basketball Program.
It's a way to honor those who are leaving the program and also encourage and create anticipation for players who are coming up in the program. I read this after all the awards are handed out to wrap up the evening. In many ways, I view this as the first step to creating success for next season.
Here is an excerpt from a past State of the Program speech I gave at a past year end banquet.
I will start by saying thank you to every parent for chipping in and helping with the concession stand, providing team meals, and dealing with the busyness of basketball over the holiday breaks.
This season, like most, was met with challenges both on and off the court. Our freshman team learned that the game goes on and doesn’t wait for a situation to change or maturity to set in. The JV had to find new players to step up as a main contributor of their team was pulled to the varsity. The varsity found out that the team is bigger than any one person. We all learned that if we have a team of players who truly desire to succeed and don’t care who hits the shots or gets the recognition great things can and will happen.
You see, as a member of not just a team, but a program, we all are building for something greater. Some have visions of scoring the most points right now, some dream of being a starter, and others just want to compete and win. While none of these things are bad they all pull in different directions. The one who wishes to score missed the open teammate for a layup. The one who wants to start forgets the team is made of 10,11, or 12 other guys, and those who finish the game are typically the ones who matter most. The players who want to compete and win lose sight that winning can’t be done by oneself, you have to convince, even lead your teammates to do the same. Finally, players need to be led. We don’t need one leader, we need a team of leaders. If players decide to be individuals and not lead or decide not to be led they pull at the very fabric of what is trying to be built.
With skill alone - success won’t be found. Through effort alone - success won’t be found. And skill and effort without purpose will only make you tired. If you think you are a leader take a moment to look behind you. If there is no one following you than you are just out for a walk. To have success you must have effort. This must accompany purpose and skill with the intentions to lead those around you. At this point, and only this point, do you give the team a chance at true success. The type of success achieved this year by this group of guys.
I believe there is enough talent in this room for us to find success for years to come. The program is bigger than me, the coaches, an individual player or parent. The program is made up of all of these things. If parts of the program are pulling in different directions, a win may be found on a given night, but success will not be found at the level we all dream.
The strength of this years team, and one major reason for a 19-2 record and conference championship, is they bought into what I just told you. While this year is a special year and credit is due to all of these players, this can be done again year after year. This does not have to be a once in a decade accomplishment. This type of year can happen again if we choose to nurture what it means to be a program that has effort, skill, purpose and leadership.
Thank you again, parents, for coming out tonight and for all you’ve done this season and I look forward to getting to know you more and building this program for future success.