Category Archives: Coach Stricklin

Curry or Westbrook? Shooter or Scorer?

Shooter or ScorerCharles Barkley has stirred up some controversy lately by going on the record and saying he doesn’t believe a team that relies primarily on jump shots can consistently shoot well enough to win an NBA championship.

While we will all know soon enough if he is right or not, this does seem to be a good time to wonder which is “better” a shooter or a scorer?

Shooters shoot plain and simple. Think Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Ray Allen, Kyle Korver, and JJ Reddick – all great shooters who can stretch defenses and light up the scoreboard with minimal possessions and touches.

Now think of Russell Westbrook and James Harden who are not necessarily great shooters but who are definitely great scorers. They score their points 7 different ways:

  1. Transition layups
  2. Attacking the rim in the half court
  3. Midrange/pull up jump shots
  4. 3 point shots
  5. Post ups
  6. Offensive rebounds and put backs
  7. Free throws

Which type of player is “better”?

A lot depends on your personal preference as well as the overall makeup of the team involved.

Personally, I like scorers because if their jump shot isn’t going in that day then they can still score in other ways but you would be hard pressed to find anyone who would turn down the chance the coach or even watch a player like Steph Curry!

3 Tips for Drawing up Game Winning Plays

Time is expiring and your team gets the ball out of a timeout. You’re down by one and you need a bucket to win the game.

What type of play do you run?

You run what you saw Rick Pitino run to beat Duke a few years back right?

The problem with many basketball coaches is they think that’s always the right answer. They think that running something they saw a big name coach run will give them the best open look in every situation.

The reality is, the same play doesn’t work for every team in every situation. There are a lot of things that go into what type of play will work best in the situation you are in.

In this video, Coach Stricklin breaks down how to go about determining what type of play to draw up when you are in a tight game down the stretch and you have to have an open look.

How to Defend Baseline Out of Bounds Plays (BLOBS)

Offenses have gotten better and better over the years at creating open shots on out of bounds plays.

If your team isn’t 100% clear on what your overall strategy is for defending these plays, the offense will always win.

Here’s some tips on how you can better defend out of bounds plays and make it very difficult for your opponents to score. If you win each of these battles during a game it could mean the difference in 4-10 points going in your favor and ultimately determining the outcome of the game.

Using a Screen Away from the Ball

ScreenThe cutter has the best chance of getting open if he waits for the pick to be set before cutting
tot he ball. Cut shoulder to shoulder off a screen to eliminate any chance your defender can slash through the screen. There are four basic options depending on how your defender plays the screen.

  1. Go over the top and continue to the basket when your defensive player trails you around the screen
  2.  

  3. Curl over the top for the quick shot if the screener’s defender allows your defender to slide behind the screen one man removed.
  4.  

  5. Pop Out or Step Back for the shot if your defender attempts to go completely behind the screener and their defender two men removed.
  6.  

  7. If your defender cheats and jumps high in front of the screen before it can be properly set you can either flare away from the screen in the opposite direction your defender has jumped, or you can go back door to the basket if your defender gets caught high side by the screener.

The above ideas were taken from one of Alan Lambert’s “Playground Pointers.”

Dean Smith – Loyalty Above Everything Else

Loyalty By now most basketball fans have heard that legendary UNC coach Dean Smith passed away
last night at the age of 83.

Throughout the day today former North Carolina players have been interviewed on television to share some of their experiences with Coach Smith.

Every single one of them mentioned their off court relationship with their coach and how loyal they were to each other.

Several years ago former UNC player David Chadwick interviewed Coach Smith and asked him why it seemed that he valued loyalty over success.

I loved to win and hated to lose. Yet for years I struggled with something internally. We would play poorly and win and I’d feel great. We’d play well and lose and I’d feel terrible. That didn’t make sense to me.

If two of your children were playing tennis against each other, would you really care who won? Is winning all that important in the scheme of things? No. That’s why I have ultimately placed compassion above competition. I want to win but caring for people is much more important to me. I finally concluded that success is not defined by winning or losing but in doing the best you can, where you are, with what you have.

Coach Smith was a teacher, an innovator, a winner, and a champion. But he will long be remembered as much for his loyalty and compassion and friendship as anything else. That would be a great goal for the rest of us too!

Don’t Look Now but the NCAA’s Elite are Playing “Junior College” Basketball

JUCOIs it just me or has anyone else noticed that NCAA college basketball has become junior college basketball? Well whether you’ve noticed or not, it has – at least in the elite programs! I’m definitely not saying that it’s a bad thing but I am saying that it’s a fact.

Now before you get your spandex bunched up in a wad here is my reasoning. I have been involved in junior college basketball in some capacity for nearly my entire life. My father was a junior college coach and I became his team’s official scorekeeper when I was 8 years old and didn’t miss a game until I made the high school varsity team.

I eventually played for my dad’s junior college team before moving on and transferring and then became a junior college coach myself soon after I graduated. I am as familiar with junior college basketball as anyone I know.

For years junior college coaches, players, and programs have often been treated like unwanted step children – mainly because they did things a little differently so they could adapt to their situation.

I can’t tell you how many times over the years I have heard things like: “Junior colleges almost never have the traditional two guards, two forwards, and a center. They just have a bunch of players the exact same size.” “Junior college coaches just try to fill their roster with good athletes and then teach them whatever skills they can.” “Offenses are way too simple in junior college; coaches don’t really coach, they just roll out the balls.” And on and on and on. . . . . . .

The truth of the matter is that some of those statements (and others like them) are true which is why junior college coaches are some of the best in the country! Faced with the challenge of replacing up to half their roster and often their entire starting five each and every year, junior college coaches have had to learn to make adjustments that their four year university counterparts never had to make. Until now.

In each of the last several years approximately 425 underclassmen have transferred from NCAA Division 1 schools for a variety of reasons and over 40 other underclassmen have opted to leave school early each year in order to enter the NBA draft. Add these numbers to those players lost to graduation and to those players who quit playing altogether because of injury, eligibility problems, or personal issues and what do you have? You have practically a brand new team every year. In other words, you have Junior College basketball in a university setting!

Not too long ago Division 1 rosters would be dominated by experienced players who had already developed chemistry with their teammates and coaches and so the few incoming freshmen were simply integrated into the program. When they entered college as freshmen, the new players thoroughly learned the offensive and defensive “systems” that were already firmly established, paid their dues, and got themselves ready to eventually make huge contributions. By the time they graduated from the same program four years later these players had often mastered several offenses (North Carolina’s Dean Smith, one of the most respected college coaches of all time, ran 5 complete yet different offenses nearly every season.) and increased their basketball IQ in the process.

That rarely happens anymore. As an example just look at this year’s University of Kentucky roster which lists 9 freshmen, 2 sophomores and a junior who started his career at a junior college. That’s 12 players with less than two years of experience in the program!

Now instead of learning multiple offenses, nearly every team runs a very simple pick and roll or dribble drive offense with a roster full of great athletes who have no real “position.” (It’s interesting to note that Kentucky’s now famous dribble drive offense was taught to Coach John Calipari by a junior college coach.)

Since most offenses today are far from complex, coaches can spend less time teaching offensive intricacies and more time on skill development and because many players won’t be in the program long enough to gradually improve their talents their basketball IQ, athleticism becomes a bigger premium than ever before.

Sound familiar? Well it does to most junior college coaches.

Again, I’m not saying this is a good thing or a bad thing. It’s just the way that it is – and it’s going to stay this way as long as transfer rates remain sky high and the “one and done” rule stay intact.

 

Shane Dreiling’s Match Up Zone Rules

Match up Zone DefenseShane Dreiling’s match up zone defense is a combination of defensive principles that he learned from Fred Litzenberger and the late Don Meyer.

These match up rules are fundamentally sound and can (and should) be applied to all defenses.

  1. Continually point to your man and talk to your teammates.
  2. Guard someone – do not have two defensive players on the same offensive player.
  3. The defense takes the shape of the offense’s alignment.
  4. Keep bigs in and smalls out.
  5. The post player comes out in emergencies only – when the offense have all 5 players on the perimeter.
  6. Help side defenders straddle the weak side lane line. Assume all offensive players are good shooters and then adjust accordingly.
  7. Guards dig into the post to force a pass back out to the perimeter.
  8. Switch everything to keep your biggest players inside. Do not switch the dribble.
  9. Pressure every shot
  10. Only defend out to the 3 point line – allows you to help on the high post.
  11. Pressure the ball but don’t deny any perimeter passes.
  12. Block out, Pursue, Chin the Rebound, Outlet – “BOPCRO”

“Bobbleheads” Can’t Shoot

Bobbleheads Can't ShootWhen players start to experience a mid season shooting slump they usually look for any possible flaws in their mechanics.

They check their shoulders, their elbows, their feet and their fingers. One thing they hardly ever check is their head!

Here is what Thomas Emma, President of Power Performances has to say about a shooter’s head:

Too much head movement can drastically hinder shooting accuracy by causing the shooter to
lose balance and focus. This shooting defect is a common problem for athletes at all levels of play from junior high school on up through the professional ranks.

When shooting it is imperative for the shooter to keep the head stationary. Even the slightest head tilt can be enough to send an otherwise perfectly aimed shot awry. Coaches should consistently be on the lookout for players who move their heads when shooting because it is very difficult for a shooter to detect this subtle flaw in shooting form on his or her own.

If you find yourself in a shooting slump and all your other shooting mechanics seem to be “normal” try taking a look to see if your head is moving.

Have your coach help you or have a friend or parent record a short video while you are going through a shooting workout.

Once the problem is recognized it becomes much easier to fix.