Steinmetz: VanDerveer, Mullin have pre-Hall history


Steinmetz: VanDerveer, Mullin have pre-Hall history

Aug. 11, 2011


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Matt Steinmetz

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Chris Mullin and Tara VanDerveer -- two basketball and Bay Area legends -- will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame on Friday. On the surface, the two of them wouldn't seem to have a whole lot in common.

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Mullin was an NBA player, and VanDerveer is a women's college basketball coach at Stanford. That's about as different as basketball gets, some might say.Yet Mullin and VanDerveer share the same view of the game. Hard as it might be to believe, they both might have helped each other get to where they are now -- on the brink of the game of basketball's highest honor.

Turns out, a long time ago, in the late 1980s, Mullin used to go to Stanford and work out with VanDerveer's Cardinal women's team. That's right. Mullin, who was a member of the Warriors at the time, used to go to Stanford -- along with long-time Golden State director of athletic development Mark Grabow -- and scrimmage against the women."I was actually more comfortable at Stanford than I was with the Warriors (early on)," Mullin said recently. "I felt like I fit in there better. Women's team or not."STEINMETZ: Chris Mullin's all-time list
The reason: Because they played the right way at Stanford, and at the time Mullin didn't really feel like the Warriors were doing that. So, VanDerveer gave something to Mullin, which was a reprieve from the downer that was the Warriors at the time. And Mullin gave something to VanDerveer: an up-close look at his work ethic and a technical side of the game in terms of preparation and approach."He played with players on our team," VanDerveer recalled on Thursday, at media availability. "The way it happened was that I called Mark Grabow -- one of the all-time best trainers -- and said: 'I'm interested in learning some new drills.' Mark said: 'I'll be over tomorrow with Chris Mullin.'""He would drop everything. He'd come over, and Chris would do the drills for me and then play with the team. He was awesome. I remember players were very excited he was in the gym playing with them. They were like 'Wow, we're playing with Chris Mullin.'"
And Mullin was more than happy to be at Stanford. It was after Mullin had gotten back from alcohol rehab in late 1987 and early 1988, and he came back to a Warriors team that wasn't winning and wasn't having any fun. Mullin just didn't feel like many of his teammates on that team loved the game as much as he did."It was like digging ditches with that team," Mullin said. "I was like 'Really? It's that bad?'"It was just the opposite at Stanford, and it's a time in his life where Mullin acknowledges he re-found his love of the game.
"I was getting back into shape and I was doubling up on sessions," Mullin said. "Actually, I just ran into (former Stanford star and current USF women's coach) Jennifer (Azzi) and she asked me if I remembered that and I said 'Yeah.' I didn't know this but she said I wouldn't shoot at all. I'd just pass all the time. I said that I didn't remember that part. I guess I was working on my ballhandling and passing, but that (not shooting) I can't remember."They were good to me. All of them. Tara, obviously. It's cool going in with her."

Warriors as healthy as ever while playing waiting game for next opponent

Warriors as healthy as ever while playing waiting game for next opponent

OAKLAND -- Now that the Warriors have gone through a full-squad scrimmage for the first time in three weeks, there is only one issue to be resolved before they get back to the business of the playoffs.

Whom to play? And when?

As of Friday afternoon, the Warriors had no idea of either.

They will face the winner of the Clippers-Jazz first-round series, in which Utah took a 3-2 lead into Game 6 Friday night in Salt Lake City.

“Why are we talking about Utah like the Clippers are done?” Draymond Green wondered after fielding several Jazz-related questions after scrimmaging.

Well, because the Jazz won Games 4 and 5 and is favored to win Game 6 at home. If they win, they’ll come into Oracle Arena Sunday afternoon to meet the Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

If the Clippers win Game 6 to even the series, those teams will meet for Game 7 Sunday in Los Angeles, with the winner advancing to face the Warriors in Game 1 of the conference semifinals next Tuesday night in Oakland.

In any case, the Warriors appear about as healthy has they have been at any time since February.

Veteran guard Shaun Livingston, out with a finger/hand injury since Game 1 (April 16) of the first-round series against Portland, participated in the scrimmage, as did veteran forward Matt Barnes, who last played on April 8, when he sustained a bone bruise atop his right foot.

“They practiced today and they even went through the scrimmage,” acting head coach Mike Brown said. “But we’ll wait for our training staff to clear them, after they see how they feel today and (Saturday).”

In short, if swelling is minimal, both will be available for Game 1, regardless of when.

So, too, will Kevin Durant. After a strained left calf kept him out of Games 2 and 3 against the Trail Blazers, he started and played 20 minutes in decisive Game 4 without any ill effects.

Nothing changed during the scrimmage Friday.

“It felt great out there,” he said. “Nothing bothered me. It was definitely good. I’m just trying to hopefully put that injury stuff behind.”

Durant conceded that he continues to receive treatment and ice, but mostly to minimize potential swelling.

Durant makes plea to NBA officials: 'S--- talking is part of the game'

Durant makes plea to NBA officials: 'S--- talking is part of the game'

OAKLAND -- Kevin Durant wishes more NBA officials had a better grasp of the language of the game.

They don’t seem to understand that “trash talk” almost always is little more than an act in which healthy emotions are released. It’s as much of the game on the court as pointing out a bad haircut or a fashion error in the locker room.

“I was raised that if you weren’t talking on the court, then something (bad) is going on,” Durant said after Warriors practice on Friday.

Durant caught a glimpse of the chatter earlier this week between former Oklahoma City teammate Russell Westbrook and Houston guard Patrick Beverley in decisive Game 5 of the Thunder-Rockets series and was disappointed when the officials slapped each with a technical foul.

“I was like, ‘Man, just play on. It’s a part of the game,’” Durant said.

Though Durant himself is not a premier trash-talker, he plays alongside one in fellow forward Draymond Green.

“That’s why we started playing, to talk a little s--- here and there,” said Durant, who grew up in the Washington D.C. area. “Draymond is really good at it. There are a lot of guys in the league that are good. More guys are quiet now than before.

“But s--- talking is a part of the game. I love it. It’s fun when you’re on the same team as a guy that does it. And then, when you’re playing against it, it’s even better because it brings the best out of you.”

For Durant, there always will be a place for trash talk on the court. Not only did he experience it while growing up but he also was indoctrinated in the practice from the moment he arrived in the NBA in 2007.

He recalls, with fondness, being targeted as a rookie by Kevin Garnett and a few other Celtics.

“When I came into the league, that’s when the Celtics had just got together,” Durant said. “Paul Pierce and KG and those guys talked bad to me as a rookie. I was 19. And they talked so bad to me. And I was talking right back. It was just a fun exchange. That’s what basketball is about.”

Now if only he could get officials to realize this.