Boston’s Ime Udoka says ‘Let me be the guy who complains the ref;’ wants players to focus on plays

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There were more than a few games in the Boston Celtics‘ 2020-21 NBA season that saw players of note in games where they were jawing with officials when they could have been getting back on defense, with the predictable outcome plaguing the team’s play and quite probably their win – loss record as well.

But if new Celtics head coach Ime Udoka has his way, that is going to become a thing of the past, with the Portland native looking to limit complaints to the refs as something that will come from just one person — him. Udoka made this position clear when asked if he were the type of coach to work the officials during games, or if he’d reserve his criticism for when it really mattered.

“Only when needed,” was his response, which he then pivoted to Wednesday’s practice to use as an example.

“I’ve stressed that to our team,” he added.

“We got a little chippy out here today in practice, just guys getting after it and I said ‘Let me (expletive) at the refs, you guys play through plays and move on to the next thing, and let me be the guy who complains the ref.’ But, that’s not the team we want to be and that’s not who I am so I don’t want the team to start crying about every call. I tell them to play through things from day one and camp.”

We’ve got some young guys who are not official referees here, so they’re going to have bad calls in practice,” offered Udoka. “We’re not going to cry the whole time — especially not me.”

While some of Boston’s players have always played with a chip in their shoulder and others are perhaps looking for the respect of superstar calls as they ascend to such heights, such a plan for the team is a wise one overall.

For all but the league’s biggest stars, such complaints can wear thin over time, even having the opposite of their intended effect. And more importantly, players will have their attention to the game going on in the present, rather than dwelling on the perceived slights of the past.

This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook!

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