MACON, Ga. - Wimp Sanderson is not shy about offering advice to his son Scott about how to coach the Lipscomb Bisons, but he doesn’t think anyone is listening.
“I know he listens, but I don’t if what I say to him is beneficial to him or not,” Wimp Sanderson said. “I don’t know if he uses any of it or not.”
He would be surprised how much his son listens when it comes to winning conference tournaments.
Wimp Sanderson won five Southeastern Conference tournaments in 11 seasons at the University of Alabama. So when his father offered some tips on how Scott should approach the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament this week, he listened.
“I’ve talked with him a lot about it,” Scott Sanderson said. “Every game you play is a championship game.”
The Bisons open the tournament Wednesday afternoon against No. 8-seed Kennesaw State. The Bisons, who were one of four teams tied for the A-Sun regular season title, won the No. 1 seed due to a tiebreaker.
Game time at the University Center on the Mercer University campus is 1:30 p.m. The game can be seen for free through A-Sun TV, available through the Lipscombsports.com web site.
“You can’t worry about Friday if you don’t take care of winning Wednesday. We have to have our focus on Kennesaw State. We have to learn and understand what we need to do on both ends of the court to give us the best chance to win.
“Kennesaw State is a very good basketball team. They are very athletic. They are big and strong and can cause a lot of problems for you.”
The Bisons lost to Kennesaw State 97-91 on Dec. 5. They beat the Owls at Allen Arena 74-66 last Thursday.
“In tournament basketball you have to be able to beat the teams you are supposed to beat and then some way or another beat the teams that are a toss up for you.
“Lipscomb beat Kennesaw a week ago in a very hard-fought game. That is not a real great draw for Lipscomb. I don’t think it is a good draw at all. Of the four teams that finished first, I think that is the worst draw a team could have.”
The father often calls his son after games, but if the Bisons lose he usually doesn’t call.
“I’m always chiming in with something I think he needs to do, but I don’t think he listens much to me,” Wimp Sanderson said. “He does it the way he wants to do it.
“After he loses is probably the time when I should call him, but I don‘t. There is nothing worse than for somebody to call you, especially your Daddy, and ask you what happened and why it happened.”
Scott Sanderson admits that he doesn’t call his father after every game, especially the losses.
“If we talk it is usually because I call him,” Scott said. “It aggravates him that I don’t call him. I sometimes wait a day before I call him.
“He wants to know what is going on. He wants to talk about it. He wants us to do well so bad. That is his only purpose for telling me something.”
They talk about both personnel and the Xs and Os.
“He is my biggest influence,” Scott said. “He had so many great players. One of the best things he did was he coached his best players.
“He held his best players accountable. He got after them. When you do that it holds everybody else in line. That is what I have tried to do here.”
Wimp Sanderson knows that one of the main reasons his teams were successful at Alabama was because he had good players. But he also knows that those players believed in what he saying when he stressed the importance of the conference tournament each year.
“We really put a lot of emphasis on the tournament as the one way to get yourself into the NCAA Tournament,” Wimp Sanderson said. “And in the particular case at Lipscomb it is the only way.
“You don’t want to heap so much pressure on them that they are nervous. But at the same time you don’t want them to think they don’t have to play to win.”