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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

DEAN SMITH ON TEAMWORK AND UNSELFISHNESS

Good people are happy when something good happens to someone else.

To build teamwork, it certainly helps to start with goodpeople.  As head coach I was very partial to young men who genuinely wanted to play at North Carolina, who needed no sales job to persuade them.

We didn't necessarily recruit unselfishness per se.  It takes some people longer to understand and grasp the personal benefits associated with putting the team firt.   We usually thought we could change a self-center behavior pattern once we got the players to North Carolina.

One person' selfish attitude could poison the locker room and make it hard, if not impossible, to establish teamwork.  We didn't make many recruiting mistakes in this area, but when we did, we either saw change or helpted the player find another school.  this happened only twice in my times as North Carolina's head coach.  Had we acted otherwised, we would have violated the very philosophy we taught to our players.  We weren't going to allow someone's selfish interests to supersede what was good for the team.  That simply was not going to happen.

Building teamwork is harder than it ought to be, simply because of both our society's fascination with individual success and the emphasis it places on winning no matter how it is achieved.  For example, when a child comes home from a basketball game, the first thing he or she is likely to hear from parents is "Did you wing?, followed by "How many points did you score?"

Basketball is a beautiful game when the five players on the court play with one heartbeat.  Passing, screening, cutting and movement away from the ball: The game can be almost balletic in its grace and simplicty.  A team can accomplish great things when the individual members don't worry about who gets the credit.

From "The Carolina Way" by Dean Smith with Gerald D. Bell and John Kilgo