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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Rare Update

I haven't updated recently because I haven't been coaching. I am only coaching my AAU team this year so this is still my off season I guess.

I have been watching all the games I can though. I have picked up a few plays and sets from different college teams. I have been watching NBA games also. I haven't been a big fan of the NBA since Jordan retired but this year I have been excited to watch games. I haven't picked up too many sets from NBA games, but their late game situational plays are probably what I can incorporate the most.

I have planned out what I want to do offensively and defensively with my team. I am now working on how I am going to teach my stuff systemically. I really want to run stuff that is going to help all the player progress individually while also letting us have success as a team. When you win in AAU tournaments consistently and make deep runs frequently people start to notice and will check the team out. That gets players attention from colleges and player ranking services. So that's what I am currently thinking about.

Congratulations to Zack Novak who broke the career scoring record for Chesterton High School in the first game of the season. He has had a great career so far and I hope he gets a chance to contribute to a division I program next year.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Start of the season

Quick update...the college season has already begun. I have made it to three college practices for three different colleges so far. I hope to make it to a few more places before the season starts. It is fun to see how each coach teaches something...the terms they use, the way they get their point across. Basketball is a simple game and most of the time people make it more complex than it really is by trying to do too much.

I am looking for some good coaching books/DVDs. If anyone has any suggestions let me know. I will update the blog soon when I have more time.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

It's been awhile

Let's see what is new since my last post. I moved, I started school, I started a new job and I am currently looking for a weekend job. School is my main priority right now. I think it is important for me to have a strong first semester back. I'm motivated and have a goal to work towards. Motivation and knowing what you want to do makes boring work just that more bearable. I really can't wait to finish school and start my career.

I haven't been thinking much basketball. I read my daily websites and sometimes those provoke a thought or two but I haven't been doing much else with basketball. I should find some old games to watch. Something to keep the mind sharp. I don't have a coaching job for this winter lined up. I might just focus on school and work with possibly volunteering somewhere. I think I will just go with the flow on that one.

An esp. educated young person who is anti materialistic, purposeless, apathetic, and usually works in a dead-end job by definition is a slacker. I was the living definition from 2003 til now basically. I had never looked up the word before, but it's not that bad of a word by definition. I think being anti materialistic is a very positive thing(I guess I am biased). Purposeless...hardly any young person really knows what they want to do with their life or what they want to have to eat for the next meal. It takes experiences in order to find a passion. A true passion is hard to find. Many people chose a career choice without having a passion for it. I am genuinely sorry for those people. They might even think they have a passion for it because they think of the material rewards tied with their career path. People usually find out that without a true passion they won't gain those material goals. Then they are either stuck in a job they hate or they have to find something else to do.

The stigma of being labeled a slacker is the worst part. Most people associate being a slacker to being a "loser" and labeling anyone a loser is probably unfair. I had a post about depression in young adults a few months back. I would guess most of the young adults fighting depression in the U.S. could be defined by the word slacker. So I urge everyone to embrace slackers. They are not losers. Their lives are not over. Many former slackers are among the richest people in the world. Once a slacker finds their passion the weight of the world is lifted off their shoulders and you will not meet a happier person no matter what situation they are in.

It's just a thought...I could be wrong :)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Long time, no post

Well let's see...I was in Florida for about a week and a half for two AAU tournaments. It was fun, learned a few things but it was a long time to be on the road. We did pretty well in the two tournaments. The same types of mistakes were the team's downfall in every game. Basketball is a very simple game in which poor fundamentals hurt you immensely. Poor fundamentals do not allow you to beat teams that are more talented than your team or teams that are very similar in talent/skill. Poor fundamentals are a habit though just like having good fundamentals. They are hard to change once you do things a certain way for many years. It's something that you have to really concentrate on to correct. Those mistakes have probably costs a couple of our guards scholarship offers, not saying that they won't get them later but for now they are lower on the list than they should be.

Currently, I am getting ready to move, looking for a new part-time job that will work with my school schedule and possibly a coaching job, but I'm also looking for a coaching job and still setting up my school for the fall. Moving won't be bad because I don't have many big things so I'm not too worried about that. The job is what I am worried about. I need to find something with flexible hours and good pay. Good pay is a tough thing to find in Indiana. All of the surrounding states have a minimum wage of $7+/hr while Indiana is at $5.35. It is ridiculous. Indiana is about 5 years beyond on everything though...music, fashion, beliefs, everything basically. It a good thing we have perfect weather or no one would ever want to live here! ha!

P.S. I'm glad Tiger Woods won SportsCenter's Who's Now segment. It was possibly the worst SportsCenter segment ever and I'm just glad it's over. Hopefully, they never do that again. Just stick to highlights and Kenny Mayne segments...life will be a lot better!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Year Objectives

Before the AAU season started I made up a list of objectives I wanted to complete with the team. Basically, things I thought an AAU coach at this level could get done or help improve. I'll copy/paste my list and just put a Pass/Fail grade for each objective...

1) Prepare players to compete at the Junior Varsity and Varsity level -Pass

2) Improve players offensive and defensive fundamentals-Pass

3) Teach the motion offense with a team emphasis, which includes but not limited to the following concepts…

a) Proper screening and screening angles-Tough one, probably a Fail

b) Proper use of screens

i) Cutter-shoulder to shoulder-Pass

ii) Cutter-reading the defender to curl, flare, straight cut, or backdoor-Pass

iii) Screener-setting solid screen then being the second cutter-Pass

c) Teach how to get open without using a screen

(1) “L” cut-Pass

(2) “V” cut with no “dancing”-Pass

(3) Backdoor cuts-Pass

d) Assist in the development of good/consistent shooting form

i) Using correct foot-work around screens and off the dribble-Didn't concentrate much on this for the most part they did this well already

ii) Getting set-up before the pass comes-Pass

4) Teach and improve defensive fundamentals that are key to any defensive strategy

a) Individual principles being as follows…

i) Head on ball, hand in passing lane, butt down-Pass

ii) Pressure ball handler, but not overly aggressive where there are frequent blow-bys-Pass only late in the season...Memorial Day weekend on it was excellent

iii) Influence ball handler to sideline and baseline-Fail, just never could get the importance of keeping a ball handler out of the lane to them.

iv) Run at open shooters with hand up in shooting vision and butt down to react to driving possibilities by the shooter-Pass, not perfect but habits were finally forming late in the year. It was just a matter of creating good habits.

v) Jump to ball when man you are defending passes to another player-Fail

vi) Front or play 3/4th’s on all post players-Pass

b) Team principles being as follows…

i) Help defense is almost zone like-lots of movement, helping and recovering=Pass, improved greatly late in season

ii) Soft hedges on all screens (ball, down, and back screens)-Fail, they had the technique correct but didn't have the habit or recognition to hedge every screen

iii) Teach different ways to defend screens-Over (2nd person), under (4th person), slide through (3rd person)-Pass and did this well

iv) The possession doesn’t end until we have the ball

(1) Make contact with opponent-Fail, always wanted to chase the ball instead of getting into their opponent. In the last game of the Best of the Midwest, they did this very well. So they knew how, it was a matter of them thinking it was important because they knew they couldn't out jump an opponent for once.

(2) Step through opponent with same side leg that you made contact with your arm

(3) Then finish the block out by reverse pivoting into opponent with hands at shoulder level


Overall, my objectives were a passing grade. This is probably because I am grading my own exam, haha. Early on most of the objectives were easily a failing grade. I would say for most of the points things really clicked during the Memorial Day weekend tournament in Fort Wayne and then kept improving the rest of the way. Effort was better especially on the defensive end. Attention to little things like blocking out, where we caught the ball in the offense, pass faking against pressure, staying out of dangerous areas against traps, staying with a play after a mistake, ignoring missed calls by the refs...all of these things improved dramatically! I would argue the last two things mentioned were the most important. Controlling emotions especially when dealing with things that are out of your control is extremely important in basketball. You just move on and hustle even more instead of giving up and feeling sorry for yourself. It was exciting to see things change seemingly overnight even though it definitely was not overnight!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Tournament and Fife

The Hoosier Shootout was held this past weekend in Indianapolis. It is the start of the insane month of July for recruiting. College coaches are out in force evaluating players and fighting over the top recruits. July can make or break programs for many years to come.

My freshman to be team played in the event. No college coaches attended any of our games obviously, but I'm sure some scouting services were in attendance. We played well the whole tournament. It was a small, but very talented field. I believe there were 16 teams in our age group. I would say 12 were very tough teams.

We ended up coming in 3rd place in the tournament. We could have been in the championship game very easily. It came down to our inability to handle a full court run n jump defense. The traps were poorly executed and very exploitable but we didn't keep our heads up and realize where the double team was coming from. That literally was the only thing they had to do. They were trapping from straight on which is a horrible way to trap, but when you dribble with your head down you can't see it coming and you are in trouble.

Frustrating to say the least. We were leading the whole game basically until the 4Th quarter. Our effort was very good and I can't always say that. Our defense has improved greatly. I think that was partly because they spent all of June with their high school coaches and I'm sure they were scolded for their defense.

I was heading over to the court where the older team was playing when I heard someone say "hey Trevor" from the college coaches section. It was IPFW head coach Dane Fife. I really didn't think he would remember my name because he wasn't overly involved with the IPFW camp I worked. It was good to know he remembered me. I really built some nice connections in the month of June which I'm very happy about!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Rick Majerus Book

I just got done reading Rick Majerus' book. It was a pretty good read. It wasn't amazing, but it was entertaining for the most part. It talked a lot about his coaching stops and recruiting. It included a bunch of small stories.

I enjoyed reading about how he approached coaching. How he continually tries to improve by watching other coaches and see if it is better their way or his own way. He really is obsessed with the game of basketball. He lives basketball.

He made a good point about looking to go to different jobs. He said he always listened to offers and see what they had to offer, but every job is going to have problems. No job is perfect, climate and facilities don't make recruits automatically come to play for you.

Lots of small tidbits especially for aspiring coaches.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Quick Update

I have been working basketball camps all June. It hasn't been the variety of camps I had expected, but that can be a good thing too. I have worked Butler's camp twice now and it just forms a better connection with their staff. That is probably more valuable than just meeting a bunch of random coaches. I have actually got to know them instead of just learning their name.

Camps are going well. I have a lot of patience so dealing with kids that don't necessarily want to be at a basketball camp isn't a big deal to me. I have really been working on the energy and enthusiasm I try to motivate my campers with. I'm a low-key, laid back guy but I need to be able to change gears and instill a high level of energy to my players at times and I have been working on that. It's almost acting where I'm overly enthusiastic and giving praise to get the players going...every coach needs to be able to do that.

IPFW camp...I was the only non IPFW player or coach to work the camp. It was weird in a way, but I really feel awkward so I didn't have a problem with it. I really didn't know any of the players or coaches other than Dane Fife before I got there. The staff was great and I look forward to staying in contact with them and hopefully making it to a few of their games this coming year.

On a side note, I am looking for a coaching website/forum where I can talk to coaches reguarly. I want to talk and read about basketball and coaching basketball 24/7 and there are very few websites for coaching. I've found one decent forum, but it's geared more towards youth coaching. Just looking for more options. Leave a comment if anyone knows of anything.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Butler Camp

I worked the Butler University Boys' Basketball Camp this week. It was my first time working a major camp and I had a great time. The staff and players were very welcoming and friendly. Overall, it was an unbelievable first camp success.

The main goal was to get to know the staff. The staff actually made this easy for me. They made a lot of small talk and got to know the camp workers. I can only hope the coaches at future camps are that easy to talk to and to get to know! I think I made some good connections with the Butler staff...at least maybe for some free tickets next year.

Next up is the Butler University Girls' camp. It's going to be a long week of camp. There are two camps in one. Individual camp from 8am-4pm and then a team camp each night from 5pm-10pm. Definitely should be fun!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tournament, Camps, and Delilah

We played in the Spiece Memorial Day Run N Slam this past weekend. We lost our first pool game to a very solid Gary Falcons team. I was happy with our defensive effort, but we didn't finish a couple possessions with good block outs and that ended up hurting us. They had multiple possessions where they had 2, 3, 4 shots and in a close game that will break your back. That being said, offensively we could not hit a shot. No one was shooting a high percentage.

We led most of the first half while it was a close game the whole time. We were up only two points at halftime. In the second half, they grabbed the lead early and we were fighting back and forth. With two minutes left, we were down five points and had the ball. We came up empty on that possession and only had one more basket the rest of the game. We didn't execute and they turned up the defensive pressure late.

In the second pool game, we played a tough Wisconsin Playground Warriors team. When I say they were tough I mean physically and also good players. They took the lead early but we fought back and gained the lead about half way through the first half. Our big guys were carrying us as most of our points were coming from in the paint. The refs were letting a lot of contact go underneath and I think that actually worked to our advantage.

We were up about 12 or so with three minutes left when Wisconsin made their run. They started pressuring us and turning us over leading to easy baskets for them. We remained calm and ended up breaking their press a couple times after a time-out to get everyone on the same page. We ended up only winning by four points, but it was a good, hard-fought game. We have lacked physical and mental toughness so it was good to see.

We went on to win our first tournament game in overtime. It was a pretty sloppy game and we had a big drop off in energy and effort from our game against Wisconsin. It seems like we have a habit of taking two steps of progress and then the next game we take a step or two back. We can't just keep building on our success. I guess that can be attributed to lack of maturity.

We lost our second tournament game to Ohio Basketball Club. They were a really tough team. Two big guys around 6'6 that we had no answer to. We could have done some things differently to get the big guys away from the basket but defensively we had to way to stop them. They were highly skilled which is rare for big, young guys.

After going 2-2 in this tournament, I believe that puts our season record at 14-12. Winning is definitely not the most important thing at this level. I just want the players to have improved fundamentally with a better sense of what they need to do to grow as players. I believe most of our players have at least improved one part of their game. Optimally, I think we could be 16-10 or 17-9 but again that isn't the most important thing for our players.

I'm in the process of finalizing all the college camps I'm going to work this summer. I know have four committed and hope to add two or three more. I'm looking at it as getting paid to improve myself as a teacher/coach. One thing I think I have greatly improved on is my teaching of the game. When I first started I let a lot of small mistakes go just because I didn't want to stop the players every two seconds. I now know that I need to really focus on the details and correct them as soon as possible so they don't become bad habits. So hopefully, I learn a couple things that help me become a better teacher.

Here's what I want to achieve through working college camps...
1) Become a better teacher as mentioned above
2) Make multiple friendships/connections with college coaches. Never know if an assistant will get a head job somewhere and will be looking to fill out their staff in the next couple years. Just like any other business, coaching is about who you know as much as how much you know. Head Coaches hand pick their coaching staffs.
3) Make some good money doing something I like to do. Enough said here I believe.
4) This kind of goes with number 2, but I want to pick the brain of multiple assistants about teaching the game and game strategy.

That is what I want to do on my summer vacation.
Random thought...I really like that song "Hey there Delilah" I like the sound of it. It's very relaxing and can clear my mind of frustrations.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

AAU Basketball

AAU basketball is a helluva interesting thing. For you that don't know, AAU basketball is played by high school players in the spring and summer for the main purpose of being seen by colleges. That's part of the reason that AAU basketball is interesting.

Everyone wants to excel in front of the college recruiters. This means everyone wants to be in the game at all times. That is difficult though because most teams are basically all-star teams with good players 1-10 on their depth chart. So, in many instances players get upset about not starting, not playing enough minutes, not getting enough shots, not getting enough touches, not playing down the stretch in close games. I think we can all see the drama building.

That drama created between players and coaches and players and players is compounded when you throw in the parent factor. They are also worried about their kid and their kid only getting minutes and points and stuff like that. The small amount of drama created between players and coaches is nothing compared to that of coaches and parents. Parents are usually less understanding and less patient.

The drama often boils over into fights and verbal arguments. Parents being the ones who usually start the verbal abuse. Players usually just gripe to a couple teammates and once in awhile say something small to their coach. Parents will complain to other parents in the stands and then to the coach at some point. A lot of parents are being bad role models to their kids about how to deal with problems and it is pretty disgusting.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Good, Bad, & Ugly

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

This weekend my AAU team played in the Adidas May Classic in Bloomington, Indiana. It was a pretty big tournament for the older divisions. The AMC is mainly a Senior-to-be and Junior-to-be tournament like most AAU tournaments are geared for. I got a chance to see many top rated players from across the country. I was most impressed with Terrence Jennings, who plays for So Cal Academy. He is an Amare Stoudemire look-alike and plays very much the same way. He is rumored to be heading to Arizona in the class of 2008.

The Good

My team made progress in many areas of the game. We had better effort on defense. Our defense is definitely a work in progress. Most of the players were never forced to play help side defense and their man-to-man perimeter defense was pretty poor. They have been making an effort to improve on both accounts. There are obviously still makes made, but I believe the effort to do what we want is there.

Offensively, we really made a lot of progress in regards to ball movement and not being stagnant. We have one player that forces a lot of shots. The way the other players have dealt with it is to force their own shots. It’s a snowball effect to the definition. We have started to put a stop to the forcing of shots, but it is again a work in progress. The number of forced shots has gone down drastically though. I really don’t think parents understand the concept of progress at least in terms of basketball. I will come back to this point later.

The Bad

Saturday morning, in our second game, we played a team with average talent. They were solid players, but nothing special. A team we should beat and beat by 10 points. They didn’t have any post players and their perimeter players were average athletically and above average shooters.

We lead the whole first half. We were in control up until the final few minutes of the half where they made a little run and I could feel the momentum slipping. I believe we were up something like 5 or 6 points at the half. In the second half, they started to penetrate and kick out for three point attempts. Of course, our player would get beat off the dribble and someone would have to come help. When that happened the shooters were left wide open and we didn’t recover quick enough to bother their shots. They got hot and we could never get anything going.

I was really disappointed with our team effort in the second half. We don’t have anyone who will step up and stop someone from penetrating. If you are a competitor like I think a few of my players are, you find a way to stop someone. It is really bothering me that no one will step-up to a challenge and find a way to get it done.

The Ugly

Parents have understandably been upset about one player forcing shots and making multiple turnovers with no punishment. The parents obviously don’t know the whole story and don’t quite get basketball. I don’t take players out because of a turnover. I will take them out if there are multiple turnovers resulting from something that I have told them not to do.

The parents are not seeing the progress made. They see one or two forced shots and think he is still getting a green light for any shot when that is not true at all. We made a lot of progress in that area with the whole team. Things take time to correct completely.

Hopefully things keep improving in the next tournament and we can continually get better in all aspects of the game. Especially on the defensive end in terms of help side defense and stopping people one on one.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Previous Tournament and the next tournament

April 27-29Th Who's Next Invitational

First game of the tournament was horrible. Our defense couldn't get worse than what we played the first game. The team we played wasn't bad by any means, but it was a less talented team. Our fundamental defense was poor; both individually and as a team. We were reaching instead of moving over to stop penetration. When we did come over to help, our second rotation was non-existent. They are in for a rude awakening in high school. They only care about offense and not having themselves look bad.

We ended up losing the game by two points on a shot with about 10 seconds left. We should have won by 10 points, easily. Our offense was all one on one with no patience or movement. It was really poor to even watch.

The next two games, we played really weak teams and we crushed them. In these tournaments, there is a wide range of teams. Some teams are really talented and some look like they are 4 years younger than everyone else.

We ended up winning a draw to get a number one seed and a bye into the semi-finals of the tournament. In that game, we ended up playing a really good team that we had lost to earlier in the year by 30. They really are a solid team, athletic and very unselfish. We had it within 6 points halfway through the 3rd quarter but couldn't get any closer.

I have made some adjustments to our offense. I am going to be a lot more liberal with my enforcement of what I want done. If they don't understand what needs to be done every possession, they will not play. It is really killing the team when people are forcing shots. Defensively, I am just searching for people who will put the effort and desire to stop people. We don't have a player who will step up and take the challenge to shut down the other team's best player.

We have a tournament in Bloomington this weekend. I am looking forward to it and I expect us to do well. Along with a lot of changes to take place. It is embarrassing as a coach to have a team look non-fundamental and unorganized. I have reached a point where I won't put up with it anymore. That being said, this weekend could get interesting depending on how the players adjust to my new, strict policy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Life Frustrations

The past few days have been very frustrating for me. In the big picture, the stuff is not that huge. The frustration comes from a plethora of areas in my life and it is the combination of it all that really gets into my head. I am a very laid back, even keeled person usually. At times though, it doesn’t matter what I do or tell myself I just get frustrated beyond belief. I have noticed that a lot of my friends are the same way or have gone through the same thing at some point, but why?

Most of my friends are young adults that come from middle-class families and are either in college or just out of college. So if an outside person were looking at a person like this they would probably think they have no real problems and should be pretty happy with life. Obviously, stereotypes are rarely if ever correct. Every situation is different in some way, but what are some of the similarities in why some of my friends go through times of depression.

My number one similarity in my theory to why my friends are depressed even though on the outside surface everything looks to be fine in their life is the middle-class up bringing. This does not make much sense at first glance. What is wrong with a middle-class up bringing? You do not have the life struggles of a poor family. You do not have the spoiling of an upper-class family. So why do the young adults from middle-class families hit a point where they are depressed and highly frustrated? Let’s look at a typical middle-call up bring first.

The typical middle-class family lives well, but not over the top. The family is concerned about looking good to the public. They try to make people believe they have a perfect family. This is where the trouble comes from in my theory. Parents will hide things about their life to make their children believe that everything is perfect. Of course, sometimes the parents have no choice, but to inform their children of these hard times. It is rare though or it is not until the children are young adults themselves. Growing up in a middle-class family you will never hear about financial troubles. Are all middle-class families that well off to never have financial hard times? I do not think that’s the case at all. Most middle-class families carry a huge sum of credit card debt. Why would these families have a lot of credit card debt? Are they not making enough money to live on? No, they spend money on things to make other people believe they have a great life. They buy cars they shouldn’t buy on their budget. They buy furniture and televisions on their credit cards to make others believe that they are really living life.

Okay, so most families have credit card debt…what is the big deal? It is not really that big of deal, but it is the fact that the families are covering up life struggles with it. Kids come from this way of life and think they should have no struggles. They get a distorted view on life. Then later in life they come to a realization point and that’s where most of the depression and frustration comes from. They expect things to work out when most of the times they do not. The patience and planning of life is very underrated. In school, you learn about planning out your life and career but rarely do they tell you of the struggles you will have to go through to meet those goals.

So, that can’t be the only reason why young adults are feeling depressed. This could turn into a thirty-page theory if I went through every possible reason. I believe some of the stress comes from parents that apply pressure, but don’t provide guidance or suggestions. They just tell you they want it fixed and expect it to be done in your life immediately. Debt is also very tough to handle mentally. It wears on you month after month and if more unexpected expenses come up; making rent can be a tough chore. Most people overlook how much stress debt adds to a person’s life. Most young adults have debt from college and other areas from their time in college.

Basically, I think today’s young adults are depressed or at least slightly depressed because they have come to a realization of how life really is. It is not the way they have seen it for most of their life and it is tough to understand how life can be that frustrating and tough. All you can really do is keep your mind open to the big picture of life and have patience. Knowing what struggles await you helps your mindset, but struggles have that name for a reason.

I hope this makes sense to you all. Let me know what you think. This is just my amateur psychologist try at a very troubling occurrence I have been noticing the past few years. Definitely let me know if you disagree with what I have said or if you think I have left out any major reasons.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tournament Wrap-Up

This weekend my AAU team played in the Battle of the Borders tournament held at the Indy Southside Sports Academy. It was a very good tournament with a ton of talented teams. It was similar to the AAU teams you see at the big 17& under tournaments. There were teams from Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Texas, Georgia, and Missouri. There were multiple dunks in every game I watched this weekend. These are 13 and 14 year olds. It is pretty amazing to see the level of athleticism that these young kids play.

Our first game of pool play, we played a very weak team from Lawrence. I was proud of the way we played though. I was pleased not only because we won by 40 points, but for the way we didn’t get sloppy. We weren’t gambling on defense like you will see a lot of times in a blow out. We played a solid game and took care of a team that we should beat. Beating a team that you should beat isn’t as easy as it seems. Many teams will play down to the level of their opponent which is a bad habit usually because they take the team for granted and don’t stick to their fundamentals.

In the second game of pool play, we played a super athletic team from Chicago. It was a complete 180 from our first game. The opponent was long, quick, aggressive, and great leapers. We committed a lot of early turnovers. It was mostly because we were forcing long passes that won’t work against quick teams. We regained our composure and fought back from our early deficit. We ended up losing the game for a variety of reasons. The main thing was our lack of blocking out. They attack the offensive glass and got way too many second chance points. Another reason was that our help defense was content to reach instead of stepping over and stopping penetration. Basketball is a very simple game. If you do the fundamentals of the game, you will have a great chance to win the game no matter if the opponent has more talent than you.

The third game was a very awkward and interesting game. At first, we thought the other team might be forfeiting because at game time they were not at the court. Finally, they were located and were ready to play. We played a very sloppy and inpatient game on both ends of the court. We were fortunate enough to escape with an overtime victory. There isn’t much to say about this game. I can only believe that we were mentally fatigued and that is why we played so poorly.

We ended up going 2-1 in our pool play and getting a three seed for the actual tournament. It is very rare to have a winning record in pool play and get such a bad seed. We were then forced to play a pool winner in the first round of the tournament, Indiana Elite. They are a very solid, good team. They all can shoot very well and don’t make many mistakes. Their best player will be playing at Bloomington South next year and they expect him to see a lot of varsity minutes as a freshman. We played them tough. I thought our defense was the best we had ever played. They just hit tough, contested shots. Sometimes they just hit shots and there is nothing you can do about it. We have a tendency to be stagnant on offense and going one on one too much, but after telling them not to ball screen in the second half we moved the ball a lot better. The offense actually looked good for once.

I came away from the tournament with many positives. We have things we can build off of. Hopefully, they see the success we had when they did the things I have been asking them to do. It seemed like they were trying to do what I asked, but they just have bad habits or lack of good habits. My job as a coach is to break bad habits and create good, fundamental habits. We will see how well I can do this for the rest of summer.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Practice, Plasma, and plenty of games ahead

Tuesday, I had my weekly AAU team practice. We added a new player to our roster. He is a big man and I expect him to help our team greatly. It might take him a few weeks to get used to our team, but after that I think he will really improve our team.

Over the weekend, I watched “The UCLA Dynasty” on HBO. I am a fan of most biography programming like Sports Century and Beyond the Glory along with non-sports related biographies. They are usually inspirational stories and sometimes you will get some life wisdom from either their success or mistakes. Back to “The UCLA Dynasty”, John Wooden is one of my favorite people. He is a great philosopher/teacher/coach/human being. If everyone lived life like him, this world would be an unbelievably great place. His book is a great read. I tried to implement a few things I learned from the HBO documentary in my practice Tuesday. The first thing I tried to implement was to make the practice faster paced. Our practices move slowly from drill to drill sometimes and it is a waste of time and the intensity always drops going from one drill to the next. Another thing that I made more of an effort at was correcting small details right when they happened. I am hesitant at times to jump in and stop action to make a correction on the spot when in actuality it needs to be done to stop habits.

Overall, the practice went well. I was happy with the overall intensity and effort. I am a big believer that high intensity and effort are a necessity in practice. You cannot improve as a player or a team if you are just going through the motions. Things must be done at or above game intensity/speed to help your game. Players always talk about how many hours they practice in the summer and how they outworked other players because of the pure hours they put in. They don’t take into account the fact that the other players are working harder for a shorter time period and are getting more improvement in that short time. This team has been known to lack intensity and desire as a lot of young, immature teams do. It is something that can improve greatly with the coach demanding more out of the players.

Wednesday I decided to head down to Bloomington to donate some plasma. I went to IU and hadn’t visited in a long time so I planned on doing some good by donating while getting a few bucks and getting to see some friends. The plasma donation didn’t go too great, but no real complications. They did end the process early just to make sure my whole arm didn’t bruise up too much. I’m not a great blood donator so it probably wasn’t the greatest idea for me to do it, but what can you do?

We have a big AAU tournament this weekend. It’s in Indianapolis and there are going to be a lot of out of state teams in it. We will play 3 games Saturday with a chance to play a fourth depending on how we do in pool play. The actual tournament part starts Saturday night and goes into Sunday. I just hope we continue to improve as a team and we compete at a high level. It really is about improving at this age. Teaching and learning are a priority while winning is just a plus. I will post some game summaries after the tournament is over.

Monday, April 9, 2007

The Beginning

Welcome to my blog, “A Coach’s Journey to Division I Basketball!” I have decided to pursue a career in coaching basketball. I hope to end up being the head coach of a Division I basketball team before my career is over. It is my dream and my passion. I love the game of basketball and have enjoyed my time roaming the sidelines as much as anyone can. This goal is set very high, but certainly obtainable.

Here is a little background on me so you know where I am coming from. I played basketball from the time I could walk. In high school, I dedicated myself to the game and had a decent high school career. I ended up going to Tri-State University to play basketball. It’s a small college in Northeast Indiana and it was NAIA at the time I went there. I had a great time at TSU, but after my freshmen year I decided to transfer to Indiana University to be a full-time student.

After two years at IU, I was still undecided on what I wanted to do with my life. Every person knows that if you are not motivated results will be poor for obvious reasons. I had no motivation because I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go. This is when I figured out I should probably take some time away from school and work until I found what I wanted to do.

During the time I was away from school, I decided to see if the high school I graduated from needed any help for the upcoming season. I was just thinking something like game scouting or something like that, but they ended up offering me a position to coach at the middle school. This is where my fire was lit to the coaching lifestyle.

I was very lucky to work with a great man and excellent coach, Andy Houpt. He had a great coaching resume and is one of the best teachers of the game I have been around. He really helped me and encouraged me in my coaching. Without Andy, I would have struggled greatly and probably wouldn’t have liked coaching very much at all. I look to him for advice on all sorts of things and I think every young coach needs a mentor like that.

Currently, I am coaching an AAU team that is based out of Carmel, Indiana. It’s a freshman to be team. The team has great individual talent, but they have never played with players that are as good as themselves. They have struggled with many team aspects of the game, but many have shined independently. AAU is a different beast than school basketball. Different complexities and different problems, but it is a good experience in quickly meshing talent. I’m hoping to get some time assisting the senior to be team this summer. The more experience the better.

That should give you a good idea of where I am starting my journey. I have some hurdles to get over since I didn’t play for a Division I college for four years. I, also, have some connections and advantages that the average beginning coach doesn’t have. I believe with 100% certainty I will succeed in the coaching business and will have the opportunity to be the head coach of a D-I basketball team. Let the wonderful journey begin!