Monday, 22 July 2013

Lee Westwood's Downfall

Lee Westwood is one of the best golfers in the world, a former World Number One player, multiple time winner of a victorious European Ryder Cup team where he has become talismanic as his countryman, Ian Poulter.

Yet one thing still remains missing from the Englishman's resume, a golfing major. In recent years, Westwood has been knocking on the door only for the door to be firmly shut.  Yesterday at Muirfield, he probably had his best chance ever of winning, leading by two strokes after the third round, Westwood knew if he could go round in level par or maybe a shot or two under par it would take something pretty magical from someone else to overcome him.

As luck would have it, even if Westwood did go round in level par it would only have been good enough for a play-off with eventual winner Phil Mickleson, whose final round 66 was the best round of the week and rightly deserving of winning his first Claret Jug.

Unlike last year, when Adam Scott's personal implosion of bogeying the last four holes gave the title to Ernie Els, this was more a matter of Mickelson winning the trophy rather than Westwood losing it.  Yet the question must be asked what does Westwood have to do to get the monkey off of his back, and why does he keep falling short.

Westwood did not do the things right, he missed fairways off the tee, failed to make greens in regulation and yet he made putts to save par when he needed to.  So often his putting has let him down, for once it empowered him and it was his play off the tee - wayward and rash - which cost him his chance.

This is now 63 majors without a success, is Westwood destined to be like Colin Montgomerie the best player year-in, year-out who cannot win the big one.

Golf is as much a sport of exterior circumstances, as opposed to your own play.  The performance of fellow competitors can affect your own performance, if you notice a leaderboard changing and a certain player making a charge of birdies it can cause you to become distracted.

Westwood may have been guilty of thinking that maybe this was not going to be his day, which leads to bad decision making and poor shot selection, leading to negative thought patterns such as blaming yourself when really an excuse can be made that the weather was not the best for Westwood's game.  His tendency to hit the ball high and long was not best suited to the windiest conditions of the week, in contrast to Friday and Saturday when the dry still wind led to him being able to control his ball flight.  Look at Mickelson, who used the elements to his advantage due to his imagination.

Westwood could have gained momentum from several par saving putts, yet it all came a cropper when he found a bunker on a Par 3 which took two strokes to escape from, leading to a bogey saving putt.  Yet a stroke was dropped, meaning the overnight leader came closer to the chasing pack, so Mickelson who was five strokes adrift all of a sudden looked capable of getting close.  Mickelson birdied four of the last six holes, the same six holes that people claimed were the hardest of the course.

Westwood needed to remain in control of his emotions and avoid making mistakes, perhaps emulating a hero of his - Nick Faldo's memorable Par 71 round in 1987 which led to his first major would have been the way to go - yet once dropped shots came before the turn and thereafter it was an uphill battle. Even the sight of playing partner Hunter Mahan making an eagle 3 on the par 5 9th must have been disheartening.

With the continual attempts to regain momentum suffering due to bad shots and failure to find the fairway, doubt can start to creep into any erstwhile competitor with the same questions of 'Will I ever win? What can I do different?' repeating themselves in your mind.

Westwood is still capable, and the employment of Sean Foley (Tiger Woods' swing coach) may well add a few strings to his bow, yet the chances are coming shorter yet the success of players after the age of 40 (Angel Cabrera, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson) in being able to win majors can fill him with confidence.

The only question is, how much of a battering has his confidence taken after this recent collapse at the final hurdle?

This was my first blog for, the link is here

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Cycling to the Ashes

Oli Broom was a chartered surveyor, but he found the idea of making money for other people whilst failing to save money for himself was disheartening.  He was the right side of 30 still and wanted one more adventure before he finally settled down with a family and a full time job.

The idea for an adventure came to him from his friend Becca one night, why not cycle to the Ashes and especially the first test in Brisbane in November 2010.  Cycling had been a passion of his since his year in Spain when he dreamed of cycling down to the southern border and across the Northern part of Africa.  The idea of doing this trek would be an adventure and rekindle his fitness which had long been lost under some city desk.

With little or no money in his savings, and little or no sponsors it seemed like he had no hope of gaining the necessary funds.  However, light came in the form of main sponsors Betfair and Mongoose cricket coupled with the support of the Lords Taverners.

The book which has been released during another intense Ashes summer yet the greatest cricketing rivalry ia a light at the end of the journey, a reason to get to where he is going. Cricket is paramount to his journey and yet it is as much a book about cycling, traversing and encountering people who have little or no knowledge of the sport, yet respect his passion and desire in this seemingly impossible journey

Cycling to the Ashes is that rare book that is part memoir, part satire and part travelogue, helped by the cynical Englishman lost abroad facet we have seen from Michael Palin or Alan Whicker before him.  When he encounters an Australian backpacker in South East Asia, Oli finds out that he is travelling around for one year and does not know where he will end up, Broom makes the observation that he could not do that sort of journey without a sense of purpose or direction.  Broom's resilience and stubbornness are apparent in equal abundance; the tenacity to get to Brisbane in time is a marvel.

What becomes apparent is how fortuitous Broom has been or how willing he has been to trust strangers when he is more of a stranger in these strange lands; at one point going to Goa for a few days and leaving his bike unattended with a man who owns a dhaba, a roadside cafe. He comes back to a bike cleaner than ever before, this is just one of many episodes where people offer lodgings and food just because he looks tired. Broom is amazed at the Samaritan he finds in passing strangers.

India seems to cost Broom is sanity at one point, odd considering that cricket is a religion in that over-populated country and how small he felt in a country of 1.3 billion people.  The breakdown he suffers at a sign saying Kolkata 997km is very strong, in marked contrast to the elation he feels when he finally sees the first sign of Brisbane 1695km.  A photo of himself with this sign shows him in a new light, it may seem like a lot but it seems so near to him after nearly 13,000km pedalled already.

Broom writes with a real fluency and happiness recalling his experiences, none more so than when he is remembering his encounters with his friends in every country none more so than Laszlo, a Hungarian man who becomes his best friend, filming his times in Eastern Europe setting him up with film-makers in Turkey and Africa, before meeting up with him for the last 1000km or three weeks into Brisbane.

You wonder how Broom would have done the trip had he been truly alone, but sometimes the power of community and friendship can help one man do things he never thought he could do, that were beyond the realms of possibility.  Some people (and those people are probably the Neanderthals who thing that football is the one and only) may think why do this just to see a cricket match.  Myself, being a cricket fan for so long can attest to that, cricket is the sport that taught me about the globe, places to travel to and all for a game that may not end in a result.

Oli Broom has written a wonderful book full of incident and accidents without a hint of allegation or circumstance - the book is funny and touching in equal measure, and the feat all the more astonishing and memorable considering he did not know how far he would go, and so it becomes a tale of one man exceeding himself and going further than he thought.

Cycling to the Ashes is out now from Yellow Jersey Press for £16.99 in Hardback

Monday, 15 July 2013

The Stupid Footballer is Dead

The title is not a vendetta, and this is not a knife in the back versus the stupid footballing culture of young men getting lots of money too soon in the career.  Instead this small tome is a nice piece of intellectual and insightful piece of work by a former professional footballer.

Paul McVeigh, is a former Northern Ireland international who played in the top flight for amongst others Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City.

McVeigh retired in 2010 after making his debut in 1996 at the age of 33.  That might sound a bit too early, yet McVeigh is now a highly respected motivational speaker and media analyst ( who is utilised by high ranking sides as a voice of reason and personality to speak to young players who are going through bad times.

Part autobiography, part memoir mixed in with the type of intellect seen previously in Matthew Syed's Bounce and Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers; McVeigh's book looks back on his own life lessons - such as turning up hungover for a reserve game, playing out of his skin in the first half and then hitting the physical wall after half-time.

Unlike present day players it seems McVeigh learnt from his mistakes and this is part of his theory into practice; he believes players need to put into practice mental preparation exercises as well as the physical conditioning and innate talent and skill at their disposal.

Each chapter has a mental framepoint exercise, where McVeigh mixes personal stories with mental exercises, ending with a personal appraisal of a role model. For example, Lesson Seven - Mix Intensity with Control where the author gives examples of Joey Barton, Mario Balotelli and Wayne Rooney as players who give into the red mist of anger from time to time, the role model he selects is Scott Parker.  A player who plays hard in training, and yet is a model professional off the field and like McVeigh has made the most of his ability to become a Footballer of the Year and England international.

McVeigh goes in depth with self-visualisation (which David James lived by) so players should imagine themselves scoring goals or saving them; focus on the game from day to day; by doing mental preparation it will improve your physical play.

My only concern would be when do young footballers get the time to do this self-assessment work on their own performance, players usually train for two hours a day and then go home.  Can they be expected to do this sort of homework when no-one is watching them?  He praises Paul Lambert immensely, and you can imagine Lambert was big on mental preparation for his young side as Aston Villa fought off the threat of relegation.

An especially enlightening story told is how Norwich lost at Leeds United due to a last minute mistake by Fraser Forster (now of Celtic).  Instead of reading the riot act to his side for losing all three points, he praised his side for doing so well and mistakes happen.  Forster felt better immediately, and his play at Celtic last season led to an England international call-up, Norwich then went on an unbeaten seven match run.  McVeigh's point is that by moving on to the next game and not focusing on the negative and instead focusing on the positive led to greater results.  Other managers would have crucified Forster and probably dropped him.

McVeigh says this was due to the time Lambert spent in Germany with Borussia Dortmund.  The perfect player for him would be a mixture of German mentality and technical ability of the Spanish footballers, particularly those from the Barcelona academy.

The Stupid Footballer is Dead is not a critique or an appraisal of the modern day footballer, more a plan of action to change the way footballers prepare for a game and then analyse their game to gain a further improvement. A must not only for football fans, but footballers themselves which is both accessible and riveting.

The book is out now from Bloomsbury Sport in paperback for £14.99

Friday, 12 July 2013

In praise of...Ricky Ponting

Ten years ago, I would not have been able to write this column.  Ponting was the archetypal Australian cricketer - pugnacious, tenacious and a pain.  His natural talent and combative leadership were sometimes blinded to me by the fact of his nationality, and his ability to score run after run and ton after ton.

However, as he retires from first class cricket today he does so on his terms.  Embattled and crucially undefeated as he walked off the Kia Oval on Thursday 11th July for the last time in his whites with a score of 169 not out as the Nottinghamshire bowlers could not make inroads to the Surrey second innings to bring about a low total to chase.

Ponting found himself with his back against the wall, and he responded with the sort of commitment to the cause you would expect from someone who has scored over 13,000 Test runs.  The stage was set at the close of the previous day's play when Ponting was fed a leg side long hop that he dispatched with his trademark pull to end on 41 not out.  He then progressed to complete his 82nd first class century in his last innings.

The change of opinion in my eyes came through not a masterful innings, but more so the character he showed in defeat when Australia lost the Ashes to England in 2005.  A series full of moments and lore for more than one book, the tone was set on the first morning at Lords when Steve Harmison gave Ponting and Justin Langer some chin music; both required on field treatment.  

In the third test at a sold out Old Trafford, England were primed to take a 2-1 series lead with Australia wilting under a seam bombardment from Harmison and Andrew Flintoff. Yet Ponting, captain of the team stood firm and resolute with an astounding 156 that helped save the match as Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath saw out the vital draw.  England would ultimately regain the Ashes, and Ponting slowly morphed from pantomine villain to plucky loser; in spite of him mouthing off to Duncan Fletcher for utilising specialist fielders like Gary Pratt during the series, an episode that led to Ponting's second innings dismissal for 48 at Trent Bridge.  Ponting was booed, Pratt adored yet Ricky endured.  He scored 8 Ashes centuries.

He recovered from knockbacks with his dogged determination, none more so than during a home test series versus Pakistan in January 2010.  Ponting had not scored a test century since the Cardiff test of the 2009 Ashes series in July, with more single digit scores than half centuries.  The Pakistani pace attack by the then reputable Mohammed Amir had seemed to figure him out, with a golden duck in the previous test at Sydney.  Ponting needed a knock, and he found it at his home ground of Hobart for the third test.  Ponting was helped by a mis-timed pull being dropped in the deep when on nought.  Ponting made Pakistan pay by scoring 209 and then 89 in the second innings.  Ponting had his doubters and he proved them wrong time and time again.

Ponting retires with a test average of 51.85 and 41 test centuries, a mark only surpassed by Sachin Tendulkar a player who is most likely the equal of him.  Yet in One Day Internationals, Ponting was just as adept scoring 13704 runs in 375 games with 30 hundreds, none were better than his knock of 140* in the 2003 World Cup Final in Johannesburg versus India, a knock of power, precision and poise that made it too much for India too chase and started Australia's nine year dominance of the format with three World Cup victories.

Ponting was that mixture of a leader who fittingly led, yet bounced back from knockdowns earlier in his career when his wayward drinking could have cost him his career.  He became the model professional something Andrew Symonds refused to adhere to and which cost him.

Ricky Ponting can enjoy his farewell tour now, ending in the West Indies 20/20 tournament as an overseas and marquee player.  A player of our time - in your face but who could back it up, he deserves his retirement as he can happily rest on his laurels.

Thanks to ESPNcricinfo whose Statsguru was indispensable for this article.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Interview with Rob Hayles

Following on from my review of his autobiography Easy Rider, I was granted the chance to interview the man himself about the genesis of the book, his memories of riding professionally and why the British cyclists are experiencing such a purple patch:

- Why write an autobiography?  
To my knowledge, there has not yet been a book about the fantastic story of the rise of British cycling’s success. Plus I felt I had a great story to tell.

- What would be the characteristics/traits that set you apart from your contemporaries?  
I feel I probably had an eye for some of the detail involved that many other riders would not think about. Things like the evolution of technologies and the correct use of them. Plus I had such a long career that compared to many of the younger generation I was more self sufficient as at the start I needed to be. These days it’s not drummed into them so much.

- Reading the book, the period with Cofidis seems quite scary along with the dark times with David Millar.  Was it tough to recall such a dark period?  
Not really no. I just found the whole structure of such a high profile team so amateurish and counterproductive to the whole reason it existed in the first place. With regard to Dave. I don't have a problem looking back on those days either. I guess mainly because I feel it was ultimately to his benefit on a human side, and the benefit of cycling in general. Without admission and subsequent ban< I dread to think where Dave's life away from cycling would have led.

- If you had lottery funding from the start of your career, would you have won more major honours? 
Without doubt. But would possibly have had a shorter career. It would be easy to look back with a hint of bitterness as to what may or may not have been. I just feel proud of what I achieved when I did, plus the fact that due myself and others around me at the time, British cycling is now where it is today.

- How did the funding change your sport? 
It enabled the squad to reach out and bring in the experts in all fields to help the riders attain their goals. Also it means riders can now live year round in a better environment rather than just dip into it during very small parts of the year.

- You are an unsung member of the cycling fraternity. Who in your mind on or off the track does not get the right recognition? 
I think the ones who really deserve the recognition are the hard working staff members. They are the ones who put the hours weeks and months of work in, for us, the riders. Whereas we are the ones living our hobbies basically. We are the ones gaining the medals and the plaudits.

- Do you miss the thrill of competition? 
Without a doubt! the racing is the reason I rode a bike. The training was in the main, a means to that end. 

- What can we look forward to during the Tour de France?  And is it a blessing that Sir Bradley Wiggins is injured and missing Le Tour and so avoiding this leadership clash with Chris Froome? 
You've hit the nail on the head there regarding Brad. A great shame he is not in a position to defend his title, but with him in the team this year I feel it would have taken away important team work required for Froome's result. The Tour I feel is his to lose this year.

My thanks to Kate Green at Transworld Publishers for the opportunity to interview Rob Hayles

Easy Rider is out now on hardback and on kindle from for £9.49

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Jeremy Hill/LSU news

The charging of Jeremy Hill, leaves the LSU Tigers with a mountain to climb in the SEC this season.

Jeremy Hill, the RB for the Louisiana State University has been charged with misdemeanor simple battery in connection with a late-night scuffle outside a night club in April.  Head coach, Les Miles, has said the player is suspended pending the investigation coming to a conclusion.  Hill is not helped by already being on probation following a January 2012 incident. 

The loss of Jeremy Hill for legal issues, will be a big blow to the running back core although Kenny Hilliard (82-464-6 TDs) and Alfred Blue (40-270-2 TDs) showed flashes of talent, especially Blue who is now in his last season before graduation, and will want to end his college career in style following a season ending knee injury suffered in the third game of last season.

Les Miles will again have a tough defence to succeed in the ultra-competitive SEC yet he will require a bit more of his starting quarterback, Zach Mettenberger who threw for only 2609 yards and 12 touchdowns.  

They do still have Odell Beckham at wide receiver who was nominated for the Paul Hornung award, for college football's most versatile player, along with Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and South Carolina receiver, Bruce Ellington. Last season, Beckham had 713 receiving yards for 2 touchdowns and was the leading receiver for the Tigers last year, although junior Jarvis Landry had the most receiving touchdowns, with 5 for 573 yards, and senior Kadron Boone, 348 yards for 4 TDs.

The Tigers are traditionally stingy team to score against, they are also a tough team to predict how many points they will score.  LSU finished with an average of 29.8 ppg placing them 59th in the national statistics, yet they conceded only 17.5 ppg for a position of 12th in the nation.  The defence this year may have lost some personnel to the draft, including Barkevious Mingo who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns. 

However, this team is used to reloading along the defensive line. Tackle Anthony Johnson has the meat and ability to be one of the best at his position, and excels as both a run-stopper and pass-rusher. He'll be helped by junior Ego Ferguson, who has all the talent to be successful but is still looking to reach his full potential. The staff is expecting big things from end Jermauria Rasco, who might be a better pure pass-rusher than Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery before him. Danielle Hunter and Jordan Allen should do more at end, while incoming freshman Tashawn Bower could see immediate playing time. 

Off the field conduct has been a thorn in the Tigers side for recent seasons, following on from the Tyrann Mathieu incident and another legal issue will not help LSU attempt to come out of the shadows of the Alabama Crimson Tide who are ruling the SEC West currently.  Last season, the Tigers finished 10-3 overall, 6-2 in Conference play, yet their overall record was 1 game behind the improving Texas A&M Aggies who have Johnny Manziel leading the charge.

Their 2013 schedule does not look favourable, with road games against Georgia (Sept 28th), Miss State (Oct 5th) and Alabama (Nov 9th), at best you can see LSU finishing with a 9-4 record. This will be dependent upon the improvements required by senior players like Mettenberger and the returning Blue to make plays, and the ever reliant defence to nullify the exceptional quarterbacks in the SEC - Aaron Murray, Manziel and AJ McCarron.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Villa's decision no surprise

Reports on Barcelona's club website report that they and Atletico Madrid have agreed a fee for the transfer of Spanish international, David Villa to move from the Catalan club to the nation's capital.

The deal is expected to be a maximum of 5.1m Euros (£4.4m) with Barcelona retaining the right to 50% sell on fee should Villa move on again.

This is upsetting to many a Tottenham Hotspur fan, for whom Villa seemed destined to become a new idol of  for the Lilywhites, however those rumours were more than likely a part of the gossip columns.

For Villa though, the decision to remain in his homeland is not a hard one.  At the end of next season, there is the World Cup and so for him to remain in the spotlight and back pages for Vicente Del Bosque to look over him week-in, week-out is a very tantalising caveat.

Villa has not really recovered from the broken leg he suffered in December 2011 during the World Club Championship in Japan.  He returned to the Barcelona side, very much second fiddle to the unstoppable Lionel Messi and was even losing playing time to Alexis Sanchez.  He leaves with a record of 48 goals in 119 games - not that great a record for one of Europe's elite strikers.

Much of the surprise about Tottenham being in the ring for Villa's services was the lack of European competition offered for the side, whereas Atletico will be in the Champions League next season, and he will be top dog after Falcao leaving for Monaco earlier this summer.

Villa's needs to regain his form as he is currently behind Fernando Torres in the Spanish striker power rankings after the Confederations Cup.

The search for a new striker at Tottenham continues with the expected departure of Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe, and Arsenal who were also chasing Villa's signature have just had an offer for Luis Suarez rejected today.

It has been a strange summer for strikers, with no-one really going where intended or expected to arrive at. Falcao was expected to go to Manchester City, instead he has gone to tax haven Monaco.  Mario Gomez left Bayern Munich to head for Fiorentina. Whilst the final destination of Edison Cavani, Luis Suarez and Wayne Rooney remains unclear.

The carousel is just cranking up, expect the ride to pick up speed soon enough.

This blog first appeared on The Sideline Agenda, click here for the link.

Follow me @JamieGarwood

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Here, Then (Mao Mao, 2012)

Here, Then finally gets a UK release this month thanks to world cinema distributor Second Run. An almost impenetrable study of the disenfranchisement of youth, Here, Then is a film in the tradition of Mao's compatriots Jia Zhanghe and other purveyors of slow cinema - which rewards patience and an analytical appreciation of cinema. 

In a remote Chinese village lies a lost generation of youngsters, each patiently waiting for their fate to roll around the corner and send them in the right direction, yet they are eternally disillusioned.

Mao uses long takes thanks to the cinematography of Liu Ai Guo weaving these seemingly unrelated narrative strands into one sparse realm of alienation. Detached from both the action and the characters on screen, Mao Mao continues a recent trend in Chinese cinema of creating films which deftly enter the oblique ponderous space of our subconscious, allowing us to consider each action as we attempt to delve into the roots of this character's anxieties. 

This is most apparent when the director chooses to portray a rape scene in all of its gory glory.  From the outset the young female is resistant to the attack, yet slowly she gives in and the man has his way with her - yet why is this scene shown other than it being an example of the ugliness of these young people and the coldness of their actions.

Perhaps Mao is attempting to make a statement on the disillusionment of this lost generation and the current state of ennui within the large youth population of China.  All we learn is how empty these character's lives are and how little they have going for them.

That may sound dispiriting, yet Mao shoots with a real confidence and slight touch that is both chilling and professional.

Here, Then is out now on DVD from Second Run DVD

Bold Boston sign Brad Stevens

As if Boston has not had enough awe inspiring sporting headlines in recent months.  Starting with the Boston Marathon bombings, then the Aaron Hernandez murder charge, then fan favourite coach Doc Rivers leaves Boston after ten years to become Head Coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, then on draft night the Brooklyn Nets trade for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in a move that ended a golden era that brought one NBA title coupled with the continuing trade rumours involving Rajan Rondo.

Writers of the Boston Globe must have been hoping for a little bit of downtime following all the news, and we nearly forgot that the Boston Bruins lost the Stanley Cup finals to the Chicago Blackhawks. And then the Celtics GM Danny Ainge announced another blockbuster, with news of the replacement for Doc Rivers.

Many people speculated it would be Brian Shaw, a worthy assistant due his time at the helm, but Ainge surprised everyone by hiring a man from College Basketball, and not just anyone, but the highly regarded and proficient Brad Stevens from Butler, who has guided the Bulldogs to two National title games and game one long range three shot away from upsetting Duke.

Stevens has been at the helm for many Cinderella stories, but now he himself is living a fairytale. This is Cinderella staying for the night, getting drunk on Jager bombs and waking up next to Prince Charming and not minding the look of each other.

Stevens is 37 years old, he will be 38 on October 22nd, a few days before the season begins.  He is now the NBA's youngest head coach and will more than likely have players nearer to his age, than other coaches.  Yet he comes to the big dance (the proper one) with an amazing record behind him from his College days, taking Butler from the Horizon League nobody to tournament wonder story to college mainstay.  This has been cemented by Butler being inducted into the newly restructured Big East.

Butler liked the guy so much they gave him a contract to remain the head coach until 2021-22 and leaves with a .772 percentage after six seasons.  Stevens must heed the warnings however from past college coaches who have had less than thrilling times in the NBA such as Rick Pitino whose own time at Boston was one of infamy, a four year stint that ended 102-146 from 1997-2001 before he returned to the college ranks and Louisville.

For Boston, it can be construed as a gamble to hire a player who has only worked with college athletes and one without any experience of working with professional players either as a player or assistant coach (very similar to Chip Kelly's hiring) and yet they have a young, highly professional man of integrity and character who will get his players drilled.  Luckily, he will mostly be starting from scratch with new players and faces - even if they keep Rondo, the Celtics are one of the teams expected to be in the NBA draft lottery next year to get the No.1 pick which is expected to be Kansas Jayhawk, Andrew Wiggins.

In the worst case scenario, Stevens should be given at minimum two years with this and next year's draft picks to create a mood and positive environment; Boston is going through a transition and young Brad deserves a little bit more than the title of transition or a flash in the pan.  Should it all end in tears, Stevens will easily snap up any high end Division I college basketball job due to his great work ethic and results.

Think of it like David Moyes replacing Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United; the young new manager needs time and no sense of impatience nor upheaval.

This article first appeared on UK American Sports Fan website, click here for link