(Guru's note: Things to do while working a slow desk night. The Guru will offer some fresh commentary after the shift. But for now, many of you would find this feature from the FIBA site of interest involving former Houston Comets assistant Kevin Cook, who was with Van Chancellor during his tenure in the Lone Star State).
NAIROBI (Coach clinic) - KENYA basketball this week gained immeasurably from the visiting USA college tactician Kevin Cook who conducted clinics for coaches and players in the City.
Cook's advice for local basketball was simple - "Your athletism is beyond question but what you need to improve on in your shooting skills. This should always be your number one priority. You need to considerably shot the ball and build on your fundamentals. In this way you will be unbeatable in Africa."
The veteran tactician who served for ten years as assistant coach with Houston Comets in the WNBA before moving back to college basketball told Fiba in an interview that Kenyan players have quickness and jumping ability but what is lacking is the fundamentals. This is whet he emphasised must be built on.
Cook, who is the head women's basketball coach at Gallaudet University, Washington DC - the world's only university for the deaf - said that all great players have something in common. "There is nothing mysterious about this fact, they master the skills in the sport."
"Kenyans are great runners.You have great opportunity to become great basketballers too if only you can use this to the best of your advantage in the game. You can rebound and translate this gift into great transition game that your opponents would find difficut to match."
For the four days Cook has been conducting clinics here, he observes that what the coaches enjoyed more was the full court shell drill and that they would work on it and make it a really strong weapon against the opposition.
Cook, who is no stranger to Africa has named the Nigeria women's head coach and handled the team during the 2006 World Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He also guided the side in the 2007 All Africa Games in Algiers, Algeria where they bagged silver medal while posting a 7-1 record.
Ronnie Owino, Fiba Africa coaches instructor and former Kenya national team head coach said." This was a very good clinic for the coaches and players who found time to attend. They gained alot. Even if your a great coach, there is always something to be learnt during a course like this. I got alot from coach Cook." he noted.
Beside the clinics for premier and division one coaches and players held at Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium, Cook also had sessions at St Georges Girls school and another one for the deaf.
The visitors busy schedule in Nairobi also saw him attend the launch of the H2O Beverages Sports Academy where he mingled with many sporting personalities including Olympians like Douglas Wakiihuri, Robert Ouko, Ruth Waithera, Pius Ochieng, John Ngugi and George Kariuki (Athletics).
Ben Ayimba (Rugby), Abdalla Kent (Boxing), Alex Ole Magelo (Football) were also present during the function as was the Sports Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, professor Wilson Langat, the deputy Sports Commissioner Maina Kamau and the H20 Beverages Ceo Myke Rabar.