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Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015: A little quiet time can go a long way

   Leading off today: It's a month after the fact, but shed some new light Saturday on the unprecedented double scored by the Fayetteville-Manlius boys and girls at the Nike Cross Nationals.

   I mention it here for one reason in particular -- a carefully crafted message that coach Bill Aris delivered to his runners by literally doing nothing.

   DyeStat editor Doug Binder recalled the pre-race scene inside a building at Glendoveer Golf Course, where nearly 400 championship-race athletes and their coaches prepared for the day's two big races:

   "As hundreds of athletes and coaches buzzed around the large room, Aris spotted some unused physio tables in the center of everything. He casually walked over to them, sat down, swung his legs up and laid down to rest as if he were prepared to take a nap.

   "He knew that he was in plain sight of everyone, especially his own athletes.

   "'I was thinking to myself "How can I set the tone for them to be relaxed and maintain perspective?"' Aris said. 'I didn't pace around, or dictate to them. I left them alone and went over to one of those tables, laid down, relaxed and composed.'"

   Imagine that -- a coach who didn't feel the need to coach right down to the final millisecond. Maybe there's a lesson to be learned there.

   There are a couple of other nuggets in the story, including a humorous observation by one of the greatest distance runners in Section 3 history. You can read the full story here.

   Battle to a draw: A pair of state-ranked hockey teams from Section 3 battled to a 3-3 tie Friday as Baldwinsville and New Hartford faced off. Baldwinsville entered this week No. 4 in the Division I rankings and New Hartford was No. 7 in Division II.

   Baldwinsville goalie Matt Sabourin stopped 30 shots, and Peter Rayhill scored twice for New Hartford.

   Milestone on deck: Lake George's boys basketball game scheduled for tonight vs. Hoosick Falls was postponed early in the day due to weather concerns in the eastern portion of the state.

   Lake George's Joel Wincowski, the NYSSWA's 2013 player of the year in Class C, is on hold at 1,995 career points. He'll go for 2,000 on Monday in a non-leaguer vs. Ticonderoga.

   Kobe speaks out: Kobe Bryant believes European basketball players are more skilled than their American counterparts, and he told ESPN that greed and coaching at the AAU level are part of the problem.

   "I just think European players are just way more skillful," Bryant said. "They are just taught the game the right way at an early age. ... They're more skillful. It's something we really have to fix."

   And the Lakers star thinks AAU ball would be a good place to start.

   "It's stupid," he said. "It doesn't teach our kids how to play the game at all so you wind up having players that are big and they bring it up and they do all this fancy crap and they don't know how to post. They don't know the fundamentals of the game. It's stupid."

   Bryant's remedy?

   "Teach players the game at an early age and stop treating them like cash cows for everyone to profit off of," he said. "That's how you do that. You have to teach them the game. Give them instruction."

   Bryant was born in Philadelphia but spent much of his childhood in Europe, where his father played professionally. He credits that for his development.

   "The Red Auerbachs and the Tex Winters and all those great coaches were doing clinics and camps in Europe," he said. "They were teaching all the club coaches, and the club coaches were following their advice and their fundamentals like the Bible, and they were teaching all of us kids that type of stuff. Me, Manu (Ginobili) and all these guys that grew up around that same time, we're a product of that. It's a big difference."

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