Wednesday, November 10, 2010

More Opening Game Observations!!

-Wagner vs Jay excitement was intoxicating. I wish more big games were scheduled among the city elite teams and held on campuses. The high school feel of cheering and jeering makes the environment special. The fans living and dieing with every possession adds to the anticipation of the next play. Playing in big empty arenas gives the game a distant feel.

-"If you knew better, You would do better"- This was one of the often repeated sayings of a past mentor of mine. I thought about this last night. One of the best trainers in the city kept making excuses for an extremely talented player. This player kept making "scared" turnovers. The trainer is a close associate and someone whom I really respect. I respect him because his own son is one of the most skilled preteens that I have ever seen. I have trained a dozen or so preteens that eventually went D1 but this kid is ahead of the game.

Point is, the kid from last night has a long way to go in terms of skill set. She played on club teams that allowed her to use her athleticism to shine but did not give her the required skill set needed when playing those that are as big, as fast and as strong.

This reminds me of one of my favorite movies, 'Glory'. In one of the best scenes, the military commander played by Matthew Broderick picks out a soldier who is seemingly a marksmen with his rifle. The soldier is hitting every target and the rest of the troops are enjoying his shooting acumen. Broderick then tells him to load his musket. Broderick then starts to fire shot after shot into the air while standing directly behind the soldier. Broderick is yelling "Faster!" and he continues to shoot shot after shot over the head of the soldier. The soldier gets off a couple errant shots at a target. He can not function properly under such duress and eventually drops his musket loader and is in a nervous wreck. He is no longer the hot shooting soldier that all was celebrating. He was put in a situation that overwhelmed his ability.

That is what happens to a players that can not fall back on skill set when the going gets tough. If a player has to think about using a skill, it is too late when playing great competition. The skill must be instinctual and second nature.

-Continuous Offenses- Watching games in the past two days has me realizing that a lot of teams will depend on continuous offenses. SOME Continuous Offenses rely on the Equal Opportunity philosophy. That is fine and dandy if all the players are equally capable of producing on the offensive end. However, most of the time, this is not the case.

For instance, I saw a team that ran an offense that included an unskilled post player catching the ball at the three point line and making a reversal pass. This post player is a post in the truest form. She can not dribble effectively and does not posses range outside of 8-10 feet. What happens if the opposing team denies the reversal pass and every other pass aggressively. This would MAKE the post player MAKE a play using skills that she does not currently posses. It is a turnover waiting to happen. But that would take a coach that adjusts defensively and players with basketball IQ ,which is another subject for another day!

-A brief comment about basketball IQ- Muhammad Ali was the greatest! One reason why, he adjusted. He used the rope-a-dope to defeat the unbeatable Foreman. He circled away from the vicious left hook of Frazier. He used his strength to pulverize the smaller Patterson. He adjusted! He studied his opponent and he make adjustment to his style to give him the advantage in the ring. He prepared!

-I just found out yesterday that a kid from one school CAN NOT tape the game of a different school in order to advance scout. That blew me away. Never mind that every kid that will play in college has to study film of the competition before they meet. The UIL should overturn this archaic rule. If anyone knows why such a rule exists, please email me at I really want to learn the intent of the rule.

-Taft Junior, Monet Neal is an incredible athlete. She has to be in contention for highest vertical leaper in the city. In the game vs Johnson, Recee' Caldwell pulled up for a three point shot off of a horns screens. Monet switched and was standing at the elbow. Caldwell shot and Neal threw the attempt three quarters of the court! She covered the 8 feet or so in distance with amazing athleticism. The word is the the junior is only 15 years old!

-Madison sophomore Brianna Jones had a reported 16 rebounds last night in a loss to Marshall.

- District 26-5A has 3 out of the top 10 teams in the city.Roosevelt thumped East Central by 30 plus, Churchill beat a very good Stevens team by 13 and Reagan handled Judson by a 30 spot!

- I did not give preseason respect to Southwest. They are a good team and getting it done without scoring machine Shana Holmes. They drubbed Providence by 40. Chatavia "Baby" Boone-Fudge went for 21. Southwest is ranked #3 in the preseason by SA Express. I think that is a little too high. Time will tell but I find it hard to believe that they will finish higher than Reagan, Churchill, or Steele.

- Smithson Valley is balanced and experienced. Danielle Blagg started off her season with 17 in a blowout win over Del Rio. Fellow seniors Allison Salmon(11) and Ashley Bryand(15) combined for 26. With her college decision behind her, Blagg will have a monster season.

- Teams with good point guards will have success this season. The running of a team against pressing teams will dictate the outcome of many teams this year. I found it disturbing at how bad the decision making was facing press defenses the last couple of days. We have to travel more to pressing cities like Dallas in order to prepare our local kids for what they will face in Austin and college!