One more hustle award for Holder

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 13, 1999

Vidalia High’s Andre Singleton and Jefferson County’s Latoya Winston won the hustle awards at the Natchez High Hoops Classic, which concluded Saturday.

Natchez High head basketball coach Mike Martin wishes he had one more hustle trophy to give out -&160;to assistant coach Bobby Holder.

Martin had to rush to Jackson Thursday – the first day of the tournament – where his father Francis underwent a successful triple bypass heart surgery.

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&uot;Everything was just kind of pushed onto Bobby,&uot; Martin said. &uot;There’s quite a bit to putting on a tournament, it’s a lot of work. He did a great job. I talked to him at 11:45 one night when he was washing uniforms for the next day.&uot;

Martin credits Holder and assistant coach Robert Cade with doing an exceptional job with the Bulldog team, as well.

After losing its opener to eventual tournament champion Vidalia, the Bulldogs defeated Jefferson County and Ferriday.

Martin returned to the Natchez bench on Saturday, but primarily left Holder and Cade running the show that night, an admirable act considering how other coaches would have just stepped in and acted as if they had to be in charge.

The tournament had some very exciting games, including two going into overtime.

But at times I was reminded of what Alcorn State head basketball coach Dave Whitney told me three weeks ago about the difference in today’s players as compared to when he first came into the league.

&uot;I&160;think the biggest difference in the players is that they are not as fundamentally sound,&uot; Whitney said. &uot;Kids today have all the talent in the world, but they don’t know how to play the game. They have trouble with the mental aspect of the game, and consequently don’t fit in.&160;They think they can get by on talent alone. Kids need to spend more time on the basics, that’s where it all starts.

Coaches seem to be fighting the egos of players and parents nowadays.

It seems hard to find players like Darrin Clark, Raymond Morris, Javis Johnson or Reggie Ware who defined teamwork to a T at Natchez High.

And I’m not saying every player in the area is like that, but I have noticed a sad lack of the blue collar-type player on the court.

And I’m sorry if that overshadows the players who play hard from one end of the court to the other every second of every game.

Because I could name you at least two off of every team, but that would make quite a few other people unhappy.

I don’t know if it’s the &uot;me first&uot; attitude of folks like Kobe Bryant, Latrell Sprewell and Shaquille O’Neal or the fact every kid is being told Duke should be on their doorsteps, but the work ethic just does not appear to be the same.

I have been impressed with how well Vidalia High’s boys and Jefferson County’s girls have played this year.

The Lady Tigers return a large group that made it to the semifinals last year.

Vidalia High has the talent and team chemistry that could take them a long way.

And Natchez High certainly has the talent to make a run and surprise all of those Jackson teams who seem to think the coliseum is reserved for them.

This Natchez team has something most Bulldog teams have not had. Home court advantage in the district tournament.

If the Bulldogs can pull together, work hard and do what their coaching staff asks, the coliseum in February could get another visit from Natchez teams.

Joey Martin is sports editor of The Democrat. He can be reached by calling 446-5172 ext. 232 or at