Trinity Valley wins NJCAA WNIT

Fifth-ranked Trinity Valley Community College beat number two Central Arizona tonight, 81-70, at the National Junior College Athletic Association WNIT in Midland, Texas.

I’m still waiting for a story from the Midland newspaper, as well as the websites of those involved. But there are two game pictures at the bottom of the Mywesttexas sports page.

And Tennessee junior forward Glory Johnson is embodying the old Candace Parker work ethic by asking for extra sessions with assistant coach Dean Lockwood:

The way to Dean Lockwood’s coaching heart is through his cell phone. When a player calls and wants to meet him in the gym for repetitions that tells the Lady Vol assistant that the player has decided to invest in her own game. Candace Parker remains the gold standard at Tennessee for this extra effort, but Glory Johnson is now the one initiating the contact with her position coach.

“We just can’t do this in practice,” Assistant Coach Dean Lockwood said after a recent one-on-one workout in Pratt Pavilion with Glory Johnson that left him as sweat-soaked as the player. “You don’t have the luxury of working with players individually. You’ve got to do that outside of practice. The player has to be hungry and thirsty for it and really, really want to learn and get better.
“I use the Candace example. Candace Parker would have been good no matter what but one of the things I respect her so much for is that she cared and invested enough in her game that she took individual time.”

Johnson will next take the court for Tennessee, 3-0, on Sunday at 2 p.m. Eastern (SportSouth, Lady Vol Radio Network) against Arizona State, 2-0, at Thompson-Boling Arena. This will be the first time the Sun Devils have played in Knoxville.

Parker and Lockwood basically inhabited the gym in her third season at Tennessee and if Lockwood was on the road for recruiting reasons, Parker went on her own. She also was a habitué of the gym outside of practice in her first and second years, but it really increased in the third year. Lockwood hasn’t been nearly as busy lately – and that is partly due to injuries and court limitations with some post players – but Johnson has taken some steps to change that.

“Some of it was force-feeding early, but (last Sunday) she mentioned it,” Lockwood said. “She said, ‘Hey, can we do our thing today?’ I said, ‘By all means.’ It is rare that I won’t be available for you. Something freaky has to happen for me not to be available for one of those kids who wants to get better.

“Her investment is starting to pay some dividends because you can see some carryover. That is what I point to. It doesn’t mean anything if you can’t carry it over in a game. We’re seeing some of that stuff now and that’s to her credit. I give her all the credit, because she is the one investing, she is the one that is receptive, and she’s the one that sees this is important.”

I am going to copy this part of the story and give it to every kid I know, because they need to see it. Many don’t have any idea of the work involved in being a great player, and that includes assuming that Candace Parker just plays off her talent alone.

It takes work, kids – lots of concentrated work. So get to it like Glory.