April 1, 2017
This month’s article was originally going to be concerned with a summary analysis of Hofstra’s 2016-17 men’s basketball season. However, I decided, because of the team’s defensive shortcomings, to include some defensive suggestions that will ultimately appear in a later newsletter and the next edition of my BASKETBALL COACHING 101 Book. In effect, there are two components to this newsletter. We’ll start with a presentation on the Hofstra analysis.
One could best describe Hofstra’s 2016-17 season with one word: underperformance. Mary and I sat next to a radio announcer from Northeastern University at the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament in Charlestown during March 4-7. (Note: A great city to visit). I believe his evaluation of Hofstra hit the nail on the head. He excused some of the team’s performance to the loss of three key starters, including the CAA Player of the Year; but then again, they had two excellent guards, two excellent big men (one of whom hardly played), the potential Freshman of the Year is Pennington, and the league’s premier 3-point shooter. On the other hand, I felt the team would improve with time and hopefully peak during the tournament. It turns out that they got knocked off in the first round in what I would consider an embarrassing loss; a victory would have resulted in their playing UNCW, the #1 seed. Almost everybody there in Charleston from the other schools were rooting for Hofstra because they felt that Hofstra had the personnel to beat UNCW. As we now know, that game did not take place.
On to the analysis for the season. Here are my bullet pointers.
- Once again (as with last year) defense was woefully weak.
- Once again, bench help was essentially non-existent.
- Sabathy (the reserve center) was underutilized.
- Rokas had a disappointing season. His defense play was often missing and also had a poor shooting season.
- Foreman emerged as a force to be reckoned with the next two years.
- The loss of Buie could have made a difference.
- Buie’s contribution the next three seasons is currently a wild card.
- The club lacked a floor leader.
- I don’t see a leader emerging next year; this should be potentially worrisome.
Here are my bullet pointers for next season.
- Hire an assistant coach to help reduce/eliminate defensive problems.
- STOP playing zone; Wisconsin had several players who couldn’t guard one-on-one and yet played a solid man-to-man defense.
- Recruit players who play stellar defense.
- Although the team’s goal should be to win games, the ultimate goal is to win the CAA tournament – and that should be reflected in the team’s philosophy and overall preparation during the season.
- Players should understand that the magic word in defense is INTENSITY! And this is where bench help comes into play.
Here are some earlier comments on defense that appeared in my BASKETBALL COACHING 101 book.” The author repeatedly told basketball aficionados that defense is 50% of the game. And every individual has responded with something to the effect: “of course, I (or we) know that’. But really? Who believes them? After all, from the first day a player is introduced to basketball, offense has been stressed. The novice is taught and/or learns how to shoot, dribble, pass, etc. Defense was almost always an afterthought. In fact, the author has repeatedly claimed that it is great guards that get a team to a championship game, but it is great defensive guards that win championships. It is their ability to create havoc on the opponent’s offense that makes the difference.”
“How important is defense? Here is a case in point. Stevie Mejia served as the point (or 1) guard for the 2012-2013 Hofstra team. Some in press row commented on several occasions that Stevie wasn’t playing to his full potential. What they were referring to was his scoring. Yet during the season, he stopped the star guards Scott Machado and Michael Alvarado of Iona and Manhattan College, respectively, COLD! These two players were projected first-round and second-round picks, respectively. Interestingly, Hofstra lost three games during the 2013-2014 season because of an inability to stop the star guard of the opposing team.”
Since I’m ranting and raving about defense, here are a baker’s dozen on some defensive suggestions that did not appear earlier in my book BASKETBALL COACHING 101. I hope to expand this material and add new offensive suggestions in a later newsletter.
- Need an assistant coach who can teach defense.
- Need to recruit (great) defensive plays.
- Need to play defensive players.
- Can’t allow the opposing offense an offensive rebound on a foul shot.
- Box out when a shot goes up, even if one has to resort to grabbing.
- Keep defensive scoring statistics for each player.
- Continuously stress the importance of defense.
- Continuously stress the importance of intensity on defense.
- Practice double teaming.
- Never allow the opposing offense to setup for the last play.
- Know who to foul at the end of a game.
- Anyone slacking off on defense gets substituted for immediately.
- Place one’s best defender on the opponent’s best scorer at the end of the game.
I hope this helps some young (perhaps not-so-young) aspiring coaches.
And, what about offense? This is a topic that will also be unveiled and addressed in both a later article and the next edition. Forget about the “triangle offense” that is more confusing than it is nearly impossible to implement; I can’t figure it out. My interest will primarily be on “my umbrella offense” that is certain to revolutionize the offenses of those teams with forward-thinking coaches.
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www.theodorenewsletter.com or on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101
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