GREENFIELD — The work ethic of Nodaway Valley’s basketball team under coach Darrell Burmeister is legendary.
Leading up to Saturday’s substate victory over North Polk, Dan Ehrsam’s winning 3-point shot did not come by accident. He and the other primary perimeter players for the Wolverines had each made — not shot —700 3-pointers in the four days leading up to the game, including 100 on game day.
A typical practice may end with a series of “sevens” in which players see how many times they can make 7-of-10 free throws and 7-of-10 3-pointers in 10 minutes. And, that’s after making 70 left-handed full-court layups in 2:00 after doing the same thing right-handed.
That same workout is loaded with blockout drills and defensive positioning repetitions, over and over, until Burmeister and assistant Dick Kohler like what they see. There’s nothing behind this incredible nine-year run of tournament success except a lot of sweat in the two Nodaway Valley gyms.
But, there are also lighthearted moments and playful exchanges with the coaches.
Burmeister just smiles and shakes his head when you bring up the “Coach B’isms” T-shirts so popular this season with Wolverine fans.
On the back of the shirts — the brainchild of Dean Frank’s mother, Jennifer Welsch — are 12 common Burmeister expressions, or statements with back-stories associated with their coach.
“Like any coach, he can drive you crazy at times, but he’s a very good coach,” center Alex Welsch said.
“He wants everything perfect,” said Brad Baudler, Burmeister’s quarterback on the floor at point guard the past four years.
Following is a sampling of references to the top 12 B’isms, according to the players:
12. “TIME OUT!!!” (Record is 8 seconds from tip-off).
“That was the Corning game last year,” Welsch said. “I think we got the tip, but they got the ball away, and went down and scored a layup. He was like, “Time out!”
So what can a coach say when he just met with them in the pregame huddle eight seconds earlier?
“We’re not having any of this crap!” Welsch answered.
“Or, he’ll stare you down, if it’s somebody’s fault,” Baudler said, smiling.
10. “You’re not puppies anymore, you’re bulldogs now.”
“That’s more from summer camps when we were getting our butts kicked as freshmen and sophomores,” Baudler said. “It’s like, you’re not little kids anymore.”
9. “Mr. B better stop looking at water towers.”
Frank cracks up in telling this story. It happened near the DeSoto exit on Interstate 80, as the team was traveling to the UNI camp in Cedar Falls.
“They were putting up that new water tower near DeSoto,” Frank said. “Me and Dan (Ehrsam) were with B. Traffic came to a stop. He had to slam on his brakes and go over to the shoulder to avoid the car in front of him. After that, he turns around to us and said, ‘Mr. B better stop looking at water towers.’ “
8. “I’m sure he’s the nicest kid in the world.”
“Every time on the scouting reports, any time a kid is bad, he’ll start by saying, ‘I’m sure the kid is the nicest in the world, but he can’t dribble left,’ “ Baudler said.
6. “Why? WHY? WHY???”
Players don’t want to hear that from the bench. It means they just did something wrong, and probably something that’s been covered multiple times in practice.
“He’ll be like, ‘Alex, why? Why can’t you see the ball? It’s not that hard!” Welsch said.
“Game over,” Baudler said, describing the ball-control, clock-eating spread attack that seeks only to score on layups, or an occasional dunk by Welsch.
4. “Boom .. boom .. boom.”
That’s a reference to how Burmeister teaches dribbling. It better be a hard, fast cadence.
“It’s not walking the dog,” Baudler repeats from Burmeister’s lesson. “It’s boom-boom-boom, really pound it, fast.”
3. “Get in it! Get in it!”
A reminder to get into one of the many Nodaway Valley defensive presses, usually followed by an opponent’s turnover and a Wolverine fast break.
2. “Someone guard that kid!”
“That’s usually something we hear in practice, if a JV kid hits a three on us in practice,” Welsch said. “CAN SOMEBODY GUARD THAT KID?”
1. “That’s awesome.”
When does coach B say that?
“All the time,” Frank said. “That’s why it’s number one.”
“Yeah, I’ll come in to class and be like, ‘Hey B, I just got back from my dentist appointment,’” Welsch said.
“That’s awesome,” Burmeister replies.
It’s also a response these Wolverines want from their coach at the end of a three-game run at next week’s state tournament.