Teamwork and Teammate

The epitome of teamwork is when we are obsessed with making our teammates successful.
— Larry Hunt

The compound word teammate forms one of the most powerful words in sports.  The word team itself implies a group of individuals who work together for a common cause.  Likewise, the word mate adds a collective, cohesive element.  When a player says someone is a "teammate of mine," he identifies a person with whom he works closely and confidently.

Teamwork and teammate are inseparable.  Teamwork requires players who truly want to be teammates!  If you are obsessed with yourself, your brand, your career, or your personal stats, you are not a teammate, and the team on which you play will certainly struggle with teamwork.  And it won't be because everyone around you is inferior; rather, it will be because of YOU.  Put the brand on hold and strive to make everyone around you better!  Be a true teammate - and reap the benefits of watching everyone else around you thrive!  You will be a better person and a better player. 

- by Larry Hunt

Champions Today

This past season, our team rallied around the phrase, Champions Today.  We found ourselves explaining its meaning to people who wondered about our purpose, and while many cynical people questioned our motives, we were given the opportunity to share our intention behind it. 

Champions and Championships are two totally different ideas; words that bring a vast accumulation of meaning.  For example, to be a champion means to fight for something, or to defend something that is important to you.  It implies that there is a process that needs to take place.  Championships, on the other hand, by definition give a distinction of completion.  The journey is already completed and achievement is already obtained.  

Champions Today by no means expresses that we have reached a premature state of success.  However, it does suggest the significance of the journey and the importance of our habits.  It indicates the influence that our present actions will have on our future achievement.  We can't assume that success will automatically appear to us just because we play the game.  We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard that focuses on the here and now.  Every decision, every habit we determine is our path that will ultimately lead us to our destination.  

Our program as a whole embraced this idea of being Champions Today and in turn, experienced positive results. Daily tasks such as showing up on time or serving a classmate became habits that allowed us to reach our goal of being champions at that very moment.  As our habits became consistent, there was a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that propelled us to the next level.  While we never perfected anything, we did become better men and better teammates.  Collective responsibility within our program became one of our most treasured core values because we saw how it allowed everyone to make each other better.  

As we continue our journey through the process we keep encouraging one another to build championship habits.  Habits that will ignite a passion inside of us to be our best.  Habits that will develop us into men of integrity.  Habits that will put aside our selfishness and humbly lift other people up.  And habits that will allow our team to trust each other.  Being a Champion Today is more than showing up and winning a trophy.  It's all about deciding what kind of person you want to become and taking the necessary steps to get there.  No one said it would be easy, but I promise you that it will be worth it!

NASA On Leadership

This week, our program at Bob Jones University had the privilege to have Daryl Woods speak to our team on leadership.  Some of you may be familiar with him if you read Jay Bilas' book, Toughness.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with him, Daryl is the Technical Assistant at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Marshall Space Flight Center.  He has a vast knowledge of strategic planning and project management in the world of engineering, and truly is a "rocket scientist."  In his book, Toughness, Jay Bilas shares the story about how he met Daryl and drops a great leadership quote on us that says,

Responsible to the element, accountable to the mission.
— Daryl Woods


During his talk with our team, Daryl explained to us how this mindset was an integral part to their success.  He told us that he was given the task to unite two separate teams together, one of which was plagued with low morale due to a recent project being cancelled.  Throughout this journey he shared how each member of this team was responsible for various elements, or parts of the space shuttle.  Each of these elements plays an important role in the overall performance of a successful flight.  Obviously, each responsible party was extremely dedicated to performing their specific role to a high level, but in the meantime other elements were struggling with various circumstances.  


As circumstances came up, members of one element began to contribute to other elements that needed help, whether it was financially or with personnel.  As this team began to help one another, it became very clear that the mission was the most important thing on their minds.  They began to understand that each element was crucial in the overall success of the mission and while they were responsible for their element, it was more valuable to be accountable to the mission.  This culture brought life to its members and they flourished because of a mindset that prioritized the team over any individual.  

Here are a couple tweets from our discussion with Daryl:


As we apply this leadership lesson to our basketball program, we see continual growth and love for each other.  When someone is having a rough day performing their role it is necessary that they find a way to stay responsible to their task, but it is also the duty of his teammates to pick him up and stay accountable to the team.  We can exercise this mindset in many aspects of our program, both on and off the court.  When this mindset is owned by every member we begin to see results that are truly remarkable.  No matter what is going on within your team, whether its in sports, business, or church, make sure that every member stays responsible to the element and accountable to the mission!  

Bootcamp Week

It’s a week that requires our players to grow as leaders and develop character. A championship mentality needs to be established by the end of this week.
— Andrew Wingreen (@CoachWingreen)

We officially begin every season with a week of bootcamp.  This is a week of grueling workouts that not only challenge our players physically, but more-so it challenges them mentally.  We want to finish the duration with a better focus and more awareness in the face of fatigue and adversity.  Most guys come into this week ready to show the coaches and their teammates how prepared they are physically, but they soon realize that they can't do it alone.


By the end of this week something amazing happens.  Leaders step up and their teammates follow.  They slowly begin to realize that the pain their bodies feel is actually the fuel that is bringing them closer together as a group.  They can no longer rely on themselves and they must continue to strengthen their relationships with their teammates.  The more they struggle, the more they cry, and the more they overcome - the more they become a family.  

As freshman, they simply try to survive. As seniors, they make sure everyone else survives.
— Tony Miller (@tonywmiller)

During the season when challenges arise and adversity strikes, the week of bootcamp will be in the forefront of our minds.  We will remember the lessons we learned and the importance of relying on each other for strength.  There will come a time when someone wants to throw in the towel, but his teammate won't let him.  We've been through too much together to give up.  Teams come and go, but families are forever.


Follow our men's basketball program on Instagram and Twitter @BJUBruinsMBB.