After a slow start to the season and some disconnect with the Tucson Buckets players and previous coaching staff, we had to take the holiday season to reevaluate our approach. We have put significant amount of energy into growing this organization but the commitment and play were becoming a concern especially losing in the manner that we did early in the season. As a first year organization discovering our identity in a new league and with a team that lacked a proper training camp has been a learning lesson to say the least. Fortunately, we were able to assemble a team that had some prior history of playing around the city with each other. Chemistry has never been an issue with our roster. Each player enjoys one another and has one goal in mind and that is to win by any means. Although our turnovers and lack of fluidity during the initial four games of the season would indicate otherwise, we believe the team is on the verge of great things.
As a start up business we were forced to make a decision on the direction we wanted our organization to go. Mario Ramirez although one hell of a coach just did not deliver the personality we expected from our players. This being said the organization decided to part ways with coach Ramirez in December. We thank him for helping us get this organization off the ground but a change was needed to spark a needed flame. Our players have responded well since the change and come this weekend we will be able to show case our next growth. 2016 AZ/CAL DIVISION ABA SHOWCASE
Coaching Change with hopes to help our growth
The new head coach and General Manager of the Tucson Buckets is Marc Johnson. Johnson played 13 years in France in European Professional League. He brings a professional attitude adjustment to our organization. We started this journey with a roster full of players who for the most part had little to no professional experience. The weekly grind of sustaining a professional career is new to our players and having someone who worked and played professionally provides our players someone with respectable experience and knows how to handle the grind. His influence has already shown in the manner of practice since he was named interim coach in late December. He had a three weeks of unrestricted practices as well as a tournament Title on the Pascua Yaqui Reservation before Christmas.
Being a Tucson bred ball player and resident with a son who plays junior college basketball right now he has been maneuvering through the Tucson basketball scene for decades. Playing at The University of Montana Billings he grew to be very solid professional player. He sees the Tucson Buckets organization as an opportunity to provide Tucson athletes an opportunity to be a part of competitive basketball on a weekly basis. We are inviting the best ball players in the city out to play/ practice for our organization. Even I you can’t play, your energy and effort can help mold a championship team. We are young and eager to attract those who can bring a positive impact to our franchise.
Coach Johnson has a big vision for the Tucson Buckets franchise. He wants to utilize his connections to help bring our players overseas to compete with teams in France. Our job is to create an opportunity for our players to reach whatever level they can. We never want to hinder their growth just because we lacked personnel that could provide a valuable platform. Practices under coach Johnson are strenuous and tedious but the players are responding well. His hunger for perfection has made a significant difference on the play of our guards, an area we needed strengthening.
We have hired Mario Ramirez to head our coaching staff but we have helped him surround himself with dedicated assistants who have experience that will help push players to the next level. Bramaral Waters is a hard nose coach who speaks from the perspective of an ex player. We wanted to sit down and introduce our assistants and give them the platform to grow their names and portfolios for future positions. We realize everything is a process and we would not be this far in this journey as an organization without the commitment and assistance of Coach Waters. I sat down with him to ask him a few questions and see where his mind stood with the season approaching rapidly.
1. How have you enjoyed the process so far?
I have really enjoyed the process from the start when coaches and owners met to talk about expectations and how we can grow. The most exciting part is the talent we put together in our inaugural season.
2. Do you see your role expanding into other areas?
Absolutely, we are a new team and organization so there is plenty of growth that needs to be done and that includes taking on any role that I am asked to do. I am willing to do anything in order for this to thrive.
3. What do you think this team can bring to Tucson and the basketball community?
We know the people of Tucson love our sports, we want to bring something to the community that hasn’t been done in recent years. We want to bring a sense of pride to the area. Youth basketball is on the rise and here is our opportunity to put high level basketball right in front of their eyes.
4. Where are you from and tell me a little about your basketball history?
Growing up in the competitive Midwest basketball landscape. I had to learn the game fast in order to build a name. I can remember the first Basket I ever had that my Grandfather bought me to replace the milk crates, bike tires and anything else that we would use to substitute the real thing. I have generated my coaching style directly from the coaching influences I encountered throughout my playing years. Basketball has been a major part of my life as far back as I can remember and the passion I have for the game allows me to teach and coach the game comfortably but with results.
Tucson Buckets ABA will be debuting November 7th vs. the Orange County NovaStars at 8pm at Lead Athletics. This is fun family event that will be the first opportunity to see your own Tucson Buckets ABA play on their home court. We look forward to seeing everyone there!
Coach Mario Ramirez is the right guy for the job
The Tucson Buckets ABA have been putting in countless hours building this franchise. We have high expectations and look to be a major player in American Basketball Association for years to come. Finding the perfect pieces that will complement our growth and facilitate our vision through our players and performance on and off the court has been a main goal as we searched for a Head Coach and staff. Our search efforts took us around the city and brought us to one of Tucson’s premier names Mario Ramirez. Coach Ramirez has the basketball knowledge, experience and understanding that it takes to help us get our inaugural season off to the best start as we possibly can.
We wanted to formally introduce our Coach and the rest of the coaching staff through our partnership with AZ Live TV via Live Stream later this week as well. I didn’t want to do too much back story on Coach Ramirez, I honestly wanted to touch base with him and allow him to explain his journey, vision, and goals as OUR basketball coach from his own words. We asked him a few questions and here are his answers. Read and Enjoy
Question 1. Give me a short history on your coaching career? Where did you start and what year? How did those teams do? Are you from Tucson?
Coach Ramirez: I’m originally from Flagstaff, AZ. I moved to Tucson in 1986 where my first coaching opportunity started at Mountain View High School on the Northeast side of Tucson. From there I have been at the helm at various high schools throughout Tucson and in 2001 I became Head Coach for Pima Community College which lasted until 2008. Now I serve as a Head coach for the Tucson Summer Pro League.
Question 2: What type of Offensive and Defensive schemes are you prepared to run? Would you consider yourself an Offensive or Defensive coach?
Coach Ramirez: In my opinion defense wins games so I place my focus on defense. If I had to give you a number I think 60/40 defense to offense ratio will help us consistently win games. On offense I prefer an up tempo game which is complemented by an aggressive “in your face” defense that will produce turnovers.
Question 3: What interest you in coaching the Tucson Buckets ABA team? Will you be taking on a GM role as you build the team?
Coach Ramirez: My interest in coaching the Tucson Buckets are twofold. First I love coaching basketball and this team provides me with the opportunity to coach at a very high level. Also, by coaching the Buckets I can help showcase the talent we have to the Tucson community.
Question 4: What are your expectations of the players you ultimately choose to make the team? Is player and staff diversity important to you?
Coach Ramirez: Expectations for our players will be Hard Work, Commitment to Excellence, pride in the organization we are building and Determination to be the best and reach our full potential as coaches and players.
I also believe player and staff diversity is an important piece to our growth and strength as an organization. With diversity one can get a broader scope of the task and not be limited to anything. Tucson Buckets will stretch limitations.
Question 5: What are your goals for this season?
Coach Ramirez: To produce the best team possible that the city of Tucson and surrounding areas can rally behind with full support. We want to provide a level of play that will garners respect on the court as well as in the community.
Oh and to WIN!!!
We want to thank Coach Ramirez for being so candid with us and we look forward to much success with him at the head. The tryouts have run smoothly and we are down to our final decisions. We want to have 12-14 players on the team and a diverse team that will bring us a competitive edge and the winning attitude that generates winning results. Tucson Buckets ABA is ready to bring quality, high level basketball to your front door. Stand up Tucson we are on our way! #GetBuckets