Baldwinsville resident Gary Pluff stands with his 14-year-old son, Casey, in the garage at his house that Gary converted into a basketball court. Gary just published a new book on basketball, The A-Z Basketball Book: What Every Player Needs to Know to be Great at the Game!.
Baldwinsville Gary Pluff sat next to an open campfire one summer night in the Adirondacks in 2011, thinking about how he could easily teach his then-11-year-old son, Casey, about how to become a better basketball player and a better person.
“So I just started writing things down and then thought, ‘You know what? This would probably make a good book,’ ” Pluff said.
For the next two years, Pluff, a 52-year-old teacher from Baldwinsville, said he kept a paper folded up in his pocket and would jot down an idea whenever and wherever it came to his mind.
And when he published his 114-page book, The A-Z Basketball Book: What Every Player Needs to Know to be Great at the Game!, in August 2013, Pluff also came away with a learning experience of his own.
A for Attitude
Going into the project, Pluff said he had a vision of creating something that was easy to read, but also had all the important information. He had read similar books, like Stuff Good Players Should Know: Intelligent Basketball From A-to-Z by Dick DeVenzio, but thought the book was “too long-winded and too advanced” for young players.
“What I want to do is kind of cut to the chase and just say, ‘Here’s what you need to concern yourself with,’ ” Pluff said.
Starting with the letter “A,” Pluff thought of simple words to remember: attitude, assist and adversity. Moving on to “B,” it was ball-handling and boxing out. But Pluff kept going back to each letter and, instead of adding more basketball words, he added words dealing with character, leadership and goal-setting.
“(It’s) stuff that’s transferable to whatever you choose to do,” he said. “I’m trying to give them life information and life skills, as well as basketball.”
A few months after Pluff began writing Casey saw him sketching out definitions on a piece of paper while in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Although Casey didn’t know if his father was going to turn those words into a book or not, he said he thought it was pretty cool when he saw the finished product a few years later.