Home Court Advantage Comes From Local Support

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With the Holiday Hoops girls basketball tournament on the calendar for Dec. 29 and 30, it's time to make plans to take in as many of the games as possible.

A good turnout not only gives the players the support they must have to be successful, it also proves to visitors that we are a community that cares for our youth.

When the Lady Horn players charge onto the court for each upcoming game, they should be greeted by resounding cheers from their friends, classmates, teachers and family. Those cheers will be assurance that the teens have the support of the school and community.

The ovation will also help provide the home court advantage that has often been the difference between winning and losing.

The team members sacrifice daily by spending their after-school hours practicing and improving their skills so they can better represent the Rim Country. They also represent some of the finest students in the school and are our future.

They deserve all the support our town can give.

That same enthusiasm should be present at the Tim Van Horn Wrestling Invitational when it is held Jan. 19 and 20 in Wilson Dome and at the 3A East championships when they are contested Feb. 3 also in the Dome.

Erickson's hiring questioned

The hot topic on football fan blogs and in watering holes around the state appears to be the controversial hiring of Dennis Erickson as Dirk Koetter's replacement to coach the Arizona State University Sun Devils.

Some question Vice President of Athletics Lisa Love's decision to hire a coach who has bounced from one job to the other on both the collegiate level and in the professional ranks. He has rarely held a job for more than a few years.

Erickson has also been criticized for condoning outlaw-type behavior from his players both at Oregon State and Miami.

It's too early to tell if Erickson was a good hire, but a couple of statements he's made have some ASU alum thinking he could be a solution to the Sun Devils' gridiron problems.

They include Erickson saying he's long been an admirer of ASU coaching legend Frank Kush and he is eagerly looking forward to preseason training at Camp Tontozona east of Payson.

There are more than a few Devils disciples who believe Koetter didn't understand the importance and tradition of Tontozona.

Under his leadership, the stays at the scenic mountain retreat were shortened and there were respites into Payson for swimming and to the movies that had longtime football purists and former players cringing in disbelief.

Last summer, players could be heard grumping on the Tontozona sidelines that their cell phones didn't work and the camp facilities were too rustic.

Koetter, who appeared to be swayed by his players' opinions about Tontozona, finally decided last summer to pull up stakes and return to Tempe two days early.

Also, Koetter never sang the praises and values of the camp as most other ASU coaches had done.

Instead, he quietly tiptoed around the subject, leaving many fans to believe he looked at the summer stays in the mountains as a job requirement and not the opportunity to lay the foundation for a PAC-10 championship team.

No matter what criticism Erickson receives, his teams at Oregon State and Miami played smash-mouth football.

Past Sun Devil teams often appeared to lack the mentality and motivation to line up with players on the other side of the LOS.

With Koetter gone and the new coach in place, one thing about the ASU football program is certain -- watching the Erickson era unfold is going to be very interesting

What happened?

For all those Arizona faithful, not excluding Tony McDaniel, who were pounding their chests prior to the ASU Sun Devils' 28-14 thumping of their beloved Wildcats, I can only say "No Pity for the Kitty."

I admit there are some advantages to McDaniel and others being devoted Wildcat football fans. They don't ever have to worry about getting bowl game tickets to see their team play.

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