Friday, January 24, 2014
Crawling, Walking, Running
After the Air Force mens Basketball team lost to Wyoming this past Wednesday I talked with junior Forward Kam Williams. The Falcons have lost 4 Conference games by 6, 6, 7, and 7 points. I asked him how do you turn close losses like Wyoming into close wins. Williams replied, "Like Coach said, we gotta grow up." Air Force played at times like a veteran team against the Cowboys, opening up a 15 point halftime lead in the first half. But from then on, in the words of Head Coach Dave Pilipovich, "We got cute." The Falcons threw out their chest and said, "Look at us." They played soft, without as much fire, confident Wyoming would not mount a challenge. Wrong. The Cowboys stayed the course, with their second leading scorer in foul trouble, and their head coach back in Laramie on doctors orders. Late in the 2nd half the young Falcons looked unsure, hesitant, and tentative, and wound up losing, falling to 3-4 in conference play. I got the feeling after talking in the postgame with Pilipovich that he's seen enough. Almost as if he has seen this version of the team the last couple of weeks after an excellent 2-0 start in conference play. That quick burst out of the gate has given fans and media reason to be optmistic about this season. But I also believe it may have given the players a bit of a false sense of how the rest of the season could play out. Pilipovich is one of the rising stars on the national coaching scene. He is an excellent coach and motivator. He will get this team back on track. These Falcons have the potential to be very good this year. But they can't act the part. They have to show it every game, for 40 minutes. They just can't show up and live off two early season surprise wins. You learn how to win by learning from tough losses. You learn to walk as a baby after falling a few times. Can the Falcons go from walking to running this year? Thats the question.