Saturday, January 31, 2009
Here are some of my favorites.
All of them are former coaches and bring a lot knowledge to the telecast. On the NBA side, I like the combo of Van Gundy and Mark Jackson. They bring insight and they have fun with it.
That also brings up of not always staring at the ball while watching a game. Watch away from the ball. Sometimes that is hard when watching on TV, but a lot of interesting things happen when people are trying to get open, the help side, the screening.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Duke and Wake Forest play tonight. I'm very excited for the game although I won't be rooting for either team. It should be a great game. I expect Wake to win...they definitely have more talent, but Duke plays so well together. Duke is almost a throwback team that does the little things right to win and win big.
Jeff Teague, the Wake point guard, is a Indianapolis native. He was underrated in high school. He sure would help Indiana right now. He is one of the best players in college basketball and he could prove that tonight. Wake Forest does have a huge height advantage though so they might have the ball go through the post every possession which might hurt Teague's numbers tonight. It would be interesting if Teague and Henderson guarded each other. Talk about athleticism, wow as Dickie V would say.
Side note, if Indiana University could shoot free-throws they would have 3 Big Ten wins right now. They have so many disadvantages with so many walk-ons and freshmen playing but they continue to fight. They have out rebounded each of their conference opponents so far...which is ridiculous if you ask me. Coach Crean has them playing incredibly hard though and if they cut down on a couple of unforced turnovers and knock down some free throws (especially in the clutch) then they will compete in their final conference games.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Here is a clip of Kevin Garnett after their game Thursday night. He talks about playing with effort every night.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
"I wish I was a baller, I wish I was taller"
The famous Skee-Lo song says it all. Every basketball player growing up dreams of being tall. All basketball players wish they were taller. Players plead with coaches to list them on the roster a inch or two taller. To be a baller the rule is you must be tall. Obviously, this is not true but most people believe it.
The interesting thing is that the game needs to be played low to the ground. Ball-handling is better the closer the ball is to the ground. Moves are more explosive if you are low to the ground. Post players cannot be pushed around easily if the post player has a low center of gravity. Almost every player could improve their game by constantly being lower to the ground.
Standing straight-up is the opposite of being low and will rarely do any good on the basketball court. The only time where I can think of that standing straight is a good thing is when creating a wall for someone to shoot over in the post area. Most players catch while being straight up and down then have to get lower to make a move or to protect the ball. When every player catches with their knees bent it is a indicator that they are well coached and that they are probably pretty fundamentally sound.
One thing about being low when making a dribble move...you need to actually get even lower on the move. Even if the player's knees are bent, on the move itself, they should get a little bit lower to increase ball protection and to increase the explosiveness of the move. Players usually think they are lower than they actually are. They will also think bending at the waist counts as getting low. Exaggerate the knee bent/squat-like position in practice because we all know in games there will be some slippage.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I love great individual performances that lift a team to victory. If Meeks doesn't have a great game last night I doubt Kentucky wins that game. Whenever I go to a major league baseball game I hope to see a no-hitter. It is rare and it is a great individual effort that takes support from the whole team. It is what made Michael Jordan so special because any night you could see something spectacular like that. Jordan could get into a zone and put up 60 points any night.
Congrats to Jodie Meeks and thank you for the great performance!
Thursday, January 8, 2009
-Both teams up give or take 8 points
-3:30 left in the game
-Both teams use up the full shot clock
-Both teams take a tough shot and get the offensive rebound
-Both teams kick the ball out to an open, good 3-point shooter at the 3-point line
Devon Dumes receives the pass and shoots a 22 foot shot immediately. This is a classic case of not understanding or being aware of time and score. If he hits the shot, it doesn't make a huge difference. If he backs it out and uses another 30 seconds then it would make a huge difference and puts Michigan in a terrible spot. Michigan would rather be down a couple more points than have less time. Time is their biggest enemy.
Dumes takes a bad shot which leads to a quick Michigan basket. It swung the game in a huge way. Indiana never really regained their poise. Indiana was rattled and didn't know how to handle the game pressure. Michigan ended up winning the game in overtime.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Jon Scheyer receives the kick out pass wide open on the 3-point line. Normally, this is an easy shot. Scheyer understands and is aware of the situation though and he backs the ball out immediately. Duke uses up more time and get a bucket after using clock. Davidson is now short on time and in a big hole. Davidson is the one that is pressing now and in a way they are rattled because they are paniced.
Little things make a big difference. Most wouldn't look at those situations as difference makers. Coaches spot those situations as a huge difference maker. It is something that you can absolutely control. Every player should know time and score situational strategy. Younger players will need to be reminded often but college players should know it like the back of their hand.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Teaching what balance feels and looks like is the starting place. Most players don't know how to start off balanced so how can they keep balance if they never have it to start with. The head dictates balance. If the head is leaning forward or to the side, the body will usually follow soon after that.
Once the balanced stance is taught then you can practice retaining balance. The way Coach Newell describes to teach this is to have the player get into a balance stance and then reach out one hand to shake the hand of a coach. Then the coach can pull on the player and player should try to remain still throughout the pull.
A player will struggle until they have great balance. Some referees let basically everything go in the post area so taking contact is critical. Balance should be worked on everyday even once it appears the player has mastered it because it is something that can be lost.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
The one year and done player though can basically turn the term "student-athlete" into a joke because he definitely doesn't need to go to class the second semester and he can take ridiculously easy classes the first semester. It is just another example of the NCAA being hypocritical. We won't get into that for now.
I'm with Dick Vitale on having the college baseball rule. Which is basically you can enter the draft after high school, but if you go to college you must stay for 3 years. That would let the elite players go straight to the NBA but keep most players in college for a few years. I would also accept 2 years, but one year and done is just a sham. Let the players who are good enough go and make a living. The NBA and college games would be helped greatly by the rule change.
I do want to talk about great effort. Effort can be a hard thing to teach because people usually have a false self image of what they are actually doing. Video tape can help in that area. I think the best thing is calling the player out when you know they are giving 80%. An effort that they will believe is good enough. A level of effort they are comfortable with. Breaking the "comfort zone" is a key in doing anything well in life. Fighting to get more out of yourself in any spectrum is crucial. The fact you know you have to fight through fatigue and the fact you know you can get more out of yourself when you originally might think you are maxed out.