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FuManShoes
02-14-2007, 07:23 PM
Never heard of this guy, but he makes a whole lot of sense.

http://spokesmanreview.com/zags/story.asp?ID=174255

Experience fuels Mackey's call for help

John Blanchette
The Spokesman-Review
February 14, 2007


Another day, another town, another ballgame for Kevin Mackey.

And another reminder.

Scouting for the NBA's Indiana Pacers takes him from one end of the country to another, his route crisscrossing like the laces on an old pair of Chuck Taylors. This time, the stop is Spokane, and when he picks up the newspaper he can't help but be struck by the timing, the coincidence and the shake-your-head sadness of it all.

Two Gonzaga University players, Josh Heytvelt and Theo Davis, have been arrested over the weekend for drug possession and suspended indefinitely. A program with a prominent national profile and a justifiable pride in a history free of this sort of trouble expressed its "shock and disappointment." And if the media reaction bordered on hysteria here – or crossed that border – it was a blip compared to what Kevin Mackey endured 17 years ago.

So his impulse was quick and sure.

"Gonzaga," he said, "needs to do the right thing. It needs to reach out and help."

He has no particular sense that the school doesn't intend to do just that. He knows the court case must play out and has no idea how it might – whether the charges will hold up or unravel in the inevitable legal footsy. He doesn't know Heytvelt or Davis.

But he feels he has a stake in the story – indeed, in every story like this.

In 1990, Mackey was the coach at Cleveland State University, renowned for a 1986 NCAA tournament run in which his 14th-seeded Cinderellas knocked off Bobby Knight and Indiana and then Saint Joseph's before losing to David Robinson and Navy by a point in the Sweet 16. He had a new $300,000 contract, and a new 13,000-seat on-campus arena was about a year from opening.

And on a summer night, he staggered out of a Cleveland crack house with a hooker in tow, drove off in his Lincoln Town Car and was pulled over by police who had received a tip from a street informant – and filmed by TV crews who'd been monitoring the police radio.

He was fired within days. He did time in a rehab facility, more time in the Houston clinic run by former NBA great John Lucas and then 13 years trying to rehab his name by coaching in all those minor leagues – the CBA, USBL, IBL, IBA, UPBL – that are basketball's version of a losing Scrabble rack.

He remains a recovering addict, with the trademark single-mindedness and faith in the precept of there being fire where there's smoke, no matter what the substance or the perceived level of abuse.

For example, is this abuse or youthful experimentation – and a community's overreaction? Mackey doesn't seem to think there's reason to split that hair.

"Look, I didn't think I had a problem," he said. "I was winning, every year I was making more money, I had all the answers. There are plenty of people who are functioning with the problem.

"If the kid's medicating himself, he has a problem."

And in the cases of these two kids – any kids in this s###, really – "you give them a chance," Mackey insisted.

"You get him treatment. You allow him to come back next year. He takes a drug test twice a week. You give him an opportunity. You can't say you're a family school and then kick the kid to the curb the first time there's a problem."

Again, Mackey has no preconception that Gonzaga is taking any other approach yet.

But he does sense that the initial shock in these situations often warps judgment. Surely there are already voices in the community calling for the hardest possible line, just as there have been more measured responses – and some of both mixed up with the disappointment of a season going a little south, as well as the program's reputation.

"Sure it's embarrassing," Mackey said. "But get over the embarrassment. They've done a great job here. They have a lot to be proud of. But success has many fathers, and failure is an orphan every time."

It may not qualify as irony but only an unfortunate twist of fate that one of the players Mackey was here on Monday to scout was Heytvelt. Asked if the arrest clouds the 6-foot-11 sophomore's basketball future and Mackey will only smile, knowing that he can't say what the NBA has made obvious – that talent will excuse all sorts of behavior.

"But now he'll always be under a microscope," Mackey said. "One of the things John teaches is that you have to be twice as good – come early, stay late, work harder – because you gave up the benefit of the doubt."

That, in fact, may be the biggest wild card – just how much examination to which the players want to subject themselves, how many conditions they care to meet.

Mackey only insists that the current circumstance is no reason to give up on any player.

"People are already looking at him like he has two heads," Mackey said. "Think about it if it was you. Your brother. Your kid. What would you want if it was your kid? You'd want him to get a chance. There has to be light at the end of the tunnel."

And the lingering civic trauma?

"It will do a lot of good for the whole community to see it," he said. "To think that this place is any different – that it happens other places but not here – is naοve.

"People shouldn't kid themselves. They've had a wonderful record and they've played with wonderful kids. This doesn't change that."

Zaghuatanejo
02-14-2007, 07:43 PM
"But now he'll always be under a microscope," Mackey said. "One of the things John teaches is that you have to be twice as good – come early, stay late, work harder – because you gave up the benefit of the doubt."


Great quote

rawkmandale
02-14-2007, 08:32 PM
Yes, but I prefer this one:

"Think about it if it was you. Your brother. Your kid. What would you want if it was your kid? You'd want him to get a chance. There has to be light at the end of the tunnel."

I can relate to this one.

treehorn
02-14-2007, 08:56 PM
I think the writing is kind of s###ty.

And in the cases of these two kids – any kids in this s###, really – "you give them a chance," Mackey insisted.
I thought this was a family newspaper.

zag69
02-14-2007, 09:09 PM
I believe it is ###entially a s### of censorship of the word ###, as in ###-boiler, ###holes in the road, ###shots.

ZagSlug
02-14-2007, 09:16 PM
Can't say ###? That is rather #####.

Nice article from someone who has experienced the highs and the lows.

It is amazing how much some people enjoy watching others fail or fall. I am not sure if it is a lack of compassion or a lack of proper perspective.

http://www.thepelhams.org/zagpics/bigslug.jpg

TheZagPhish
02-14-2007, 09:24 PM
It is amazing how much some people enjoy watching others fail or fall. I am not sure if it is a lack of compassion or a lack of proper perspective.

Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.
Kahlil Gibran

sullyzag66
02-14-2007, 09:32 PM
Can't say ###? That is rather #####.

Nice article from someone who has experienced the highs and the lows.

It is amazing how much some people enjoy watching others fail or fall. I am not sure if it is a lack of compassion or a lack of proper perspective.

http://www.thepelhams.org/zagpics/bigslug.jpg

Schadenfreude (http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Schadenfreude)

sittingon50
02-14-2007, 09:47 PM
I have to admit this article has given me a few things to chew on.

kdoggy
02-14-2007, 10:36 PM
Cleveland State beat Bobby Knights Hoosiers inthe NCAAS. They had a guard name Ken "The Mouse" McFadden. They kept it going another year or so, and then this happened. I remember it as being pretty amazing at the time...an NCAA coach at a crack house?

I pretty much share his perspective entirely. In particular, I liked his why split hairs comment. That pretty much nails it.

GonzagasaurusFlex
02-15-2007, 05:40 AM
"You get him treatment. You allow him to come back next year. He takes a drug test twice a week. You give him an opportunity. You can't say you're a family school and then kick the kid to the curb the first time there's a problem."

."

Good call coach