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.
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.
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.
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.