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Craig Ehlo

Last night former Sonic player and Assistant Coach Crag Ehlo was arrested.

I am always saddened when this type of news comes across the wire. There are only a few explanations and none provide any reason to celebrate. So whether Craig Ehlo is a good man who slipped up, a moderately good man who because of his celebrity has had unfair attention brought upon a human failing or a real bad guy whose demons we didn't know about are finally being exposed I'm sad for the situation.

This seems to happen all too often with celebrities and people who are put into influential situations. One of my favorite Sonics practice memories involves Coach Ehlo and his family. For lack of better content I'll share it here. In about 2005 as an journeyman blogger who had somehow gotten Sonics practice access I arrived to the Furtado Center early one afternoon. Normally the players would have been in closed practice and I would have had to wait in the media room until the final 30 minutes of practice were opened for media watching.

On this particular afternoon the team had been pulled into a film session and the floor was open. Being an opportunistic true fan I never missed the opportunity to take a few moments to shoot around with real NBA balls on a practice floor emblazoned with my team logo pretending for a moment that I really was an NBA player. I had been shooting around for a bit when Craig Ehlo came out with his kids and began giving them shooting instructions at the other end of the floor. His kids must have been something like 12 and 7 at the time but after a while he asked me if I wanted to come join them.

Ehlo was not some tremendous athlete. He made his name in the league because he could shoot and I was not about to pass up the opportunity to learn from him. I will never forget the lesson that he taught me. According to Craig Ehlo the secret to being a great shooter is to know your range and your position on the floor. Not knowing it a little bit, but knowing it exactly. Most shooters take their shots based on wherever they happen to be in the offense or by lines that are not related to their own shooting ability. He said you need to shoot enough that you understand your range. Many people shoot 10-20% higher from 11-13 feet than they do from 15-17 feet. Others have spots on the floor that they are just more accurate from.

Everybody is more confident if they are shooting from within their range than they are shooting an inch beyond it. So Craig said that the first thing to do is know your own ability and take shots that match your skills. Once you know that you can work on extending the range or adding to the repertoire but don't ever just be content taking the shots that happen to come your way. Put yourself in position to have the best odds of success and then you will make the most of it. It was a great lesson and one that helped my game.

Later I began applying it to other parts of my life and now I have a pretty good sense of what I can do and how to get myself in position for those skills to make an impact. I hope Craig Ehlo isn't a bad guy and wish his family well.