Best of the Basketball Podcast 2019 Part 2

December 31, 2019
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Best of the Basketball Podcast 2019, Part 2

Guest post by Mark Jablonski @Mark_Jabo

The end of the year is a good time to look back with gratitude for all the Basketball Podcast guests who took the time to share their insights and views on the game. Considering the amount of information shared I have broken down into two blogs. You can check out Part 1 here: Best of the Basketball Podcast 2019, Part 1

About Offense:

Vance Walberg – 

  • “When you get somebody a triple gap, the advantage is yours . . when you open up a triple gap you make an average player a good player, a good player a great player and a great player unstoppable.”
  • “The advantage of a 4-out offense is that you have a single post so that you’ve got one side you can really attack . . the advantage of a 3-out offense is that you have bigger gaps.”
  • “If you can really drive it, you’ve got to learn how to be able to hit that open three.”
  • “If you can really shoot it and you can’t drive it . . there’s two options you have: one, obviously is you want to learn how to drive . . but I think good shooters have to learn how to cut.”

David Arseneault, Jr. – 

  • We want our best shooters and best playmakers making the majority of the plays . . guys need to recognize where do they fall in the pecking order.”
  • “It’s amazing . . how role players can be just so important to our team . . somebody who doesn’t need the basketball in their hands . . that can be incredibly important.”

Dave Smart – “Everything we do is based on the individuals and the match-ups . . you’re not only looking at what the offense can and can’t do but what the defense can and can’t do against that offense.”

Jimmy Tillete – “When we’re teaching kids to finish, the whole idea is you want to start on balance, end on balance . . but we’re trying to get there as quickly as we can on balance.”

On Player Development:

Ryan Pannone – “I try to give each player a daily routine for practice . . for 20-25 minutes before, for 20-25 minutes after . . I want them to do something every day.”

“It didn’t matter how tired he was, how hard he went, how much he slept, he made 60 shots every day to end practice . . over a 10-year career that’s a huge difference.“

Dave Smart – “With really good coaches, practice doesn’t end when practice ends; practice ends after you’ve spoken to all the kids you feel who’ve had a struggle that day.”

Dave Smart – “Once they walk on the floor, everybody knows who our shooters are, who our penetrators are, who our post match-ups are. If they don’t like it. Fix it. Train. They fight to get in those spots . . so they’re always developing.”

Jim Crutchfield – 

  • “During the offseason we don’t do traditional conditioning . . we play a lot more 5-on-5 but the way we play is exhausting . . it’s full court, face guard, man-to-man, trap, chase . .”
  • “I have an agreement with the players that if you play that way in the off-season, and you push yourself really hard, then we’re not going to do conditioning . . And I’ve found that you get in shape both mentally and physically.”

Will Weaver – 

  • “You’re investing in your future. If you can get guys to understand that and that there’s some delayed gratification, that’s a big part of the battle.”
  • “I try to spend a lot more time thinking about what people are good at rather than what their weaknesses are because . . if you get to the level of play of the NBL, you’ve got plenty to offer . . you’ve got some good aspects to your game so it’s my job to show those off.”

Cody Toppert – “You can’t have fear and you can’t have insecurity . . there can’t be fear of a missed shot in a workout or insecurity of how other players would view a missed shot in a workout . . that’s the biggest barrier to guys working on their weak hand.”

Mike Sotsky“Player development is a lot broader than skill development . . player development, for us, goes beyond even things that ‘directly translate’ to their game . . We do a ton of events . . that we feel make them better young men.”

Scott Morrison“If I was going back to high school or college, I would definitely build everything around player development . . On the offensive side, as opposed to spending a whole block of time teaching sets . . I’d keep it simple and focus on gaining an advantage, making the right reads when you have an advantage, and finishing the play.”

Thinking about Assistant Coaches and Their Responsibilities:

Michael Fly –  

  • “I had such good influences . . like every young guy I was excited about getting on the court . . I can remember those guys [FSU coaches Leonard Hamilton, Stan Jones] telling me, ‘Don’t get ahead of yourself. Just worry about being as good as what you do as anybody in the country . . “
  • “For me it was always what can I do to contribute to winning and what can I do to make Coach Dooley and Coach Enfield’s life easier. I think if that’s your motivation . . the next job takes care of itself.”
  • “I used to think of it in terms of, ‘What do I hate doing? What’s really not fun and not sexy about coaching?’ And if you can do all those things . . that’s what head coaches care about because they don’t want to do it either and . . you’ve provided that extra layer of value.”

Vance Walberg  – “When I was starting my career, I went and watched a lot of different coaches . . I did that for 15-20 years . . and it was probably the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Dave Smart – “I have one of my assistants just worried about spacing. So, in anything we’re doing, he is locked in on our spacing.”

Scott Morrison 

  • “The biggest thing about being an assistant that I’ve learned is when you get assigned your role or get put in your lane, just try to explode through that lane as much as you can without . . [getting] into someone else’s job or role . . as long as I have my role clearly defined then I can just run with it.”
  • “To be a great assistant coach, you have to not only stay in that lane, but you have to have an incredible attention to detail and look for the small details in your work but also in players’ games.

On Teaching:

Chris Oliver – 

  • “Every time one of our players make a mistake . . we’re going to stop it and reconnect that concept for them.”
  • “When [players] feel like you’re teaching them . . they’re going to rebound a little harder, they’re going to defend a little more . . all the selfless stuff, they’re going to be more willing to do . . I don’t think you can put a price tag on what it does for moving you toward success as a team.”

Aaron Fearne – 

“I would want my son or daughter to be coached hard. A lot of them don’t understand how hard kids get coached internationally.”  “How do you get better if you’re not challenged?”

Randy Brown “Put a role into a positive framework . Tell a kid, ‘Here’s what we need you to do to have a positive impact on us winning this game or having a great season.’”

Alan Keane – “There’s no doubt that the player can improve . . a pattern without the defense . . you’re practicing a pattern, a proscribed action . . however, when the defense is on the floor, every action is unpredictable.”

Pascal Meurs – [Has cross teaching offense and defense at the same time helped your development as a coach?] “Without a doubt . . it is something you have to grow in . . it is quite a challenge . . you learn by doing it.”

Dave Smart – “If they can’t handle the fact that they’ve got to earn it, they’re not going to be ready for life. Now, how we say it to the university guys and how we say it to the grade 4s is very different.”

Jim Crutchfield “When it comes to video . . I try to pull out some situations where I’m not just criticizing this one player but it’s something that needs to be learned across the board . . a lot of them are effort related . . so we constantly push the concept of more effort.”

Mike Sotsky “Try to find the things that have downstream consequences . . you can’t be a good transition defense team if you’re turning the ball over constantly and you’re taking bad shots . . so by emphasizing transition defense, you’re really checking off two pretty important boxes on the offensive end as well.”

Mark Bennett – “I would say, traditional coaching is the softest coaching. Effective, athlete-centered is the toughest coaching.”

Jota Cuspinera – 

  • “If you haven’t developed them to know how to self-evaluate, your dialogue’s going to be difficult when you start doing the one-to-one [conversations].”
  • “The brain learns from complete situations . . you can show your kids [a particular move] and then tell them, ‘Try to imitate it.’ . . you start correcting individually and . . now you start to focus on the things you want them to solve.”
  • “This is a great question for coaches: ‘Where do you start teaching?’ . . Make a decision what you want to teach first based on what you see when you tell them to do something.

On drill design:

Chris Oliver – “You choose a drill because it should solve a specific problem for your players.”

“Any drill . . should be game-like, game-specific and be performed at game speed.  That’s the 3 Gs of drill design.”

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On the trends and the state of the game:

Frank Dehel – “At the NBA level, . . possessions that end in a ball screen – they’ve increased 24% over the last five years.  And in college basketball, D-1, it’s right in line.”

Mike Taylor – “What you’re seeing in Europe is a trend toward really small, athletic, mobile big men . .”

Ettore Messina – “Pick up points are becoming more and more important because the higher you can pick up the ball handler the more you can sneak under on the first pick and roll.”

Mike Longabardi “The actions that have been very difficult to defend, in my opinion, are the pin, DHO action . . and then the Spain pick-and-roll action.”

Scott Morrison “[Scouts, coaches, GMs are looking for] . . guys that can move the ball, who can play defense, who can do the little things on the floor and play a role . . but also are a positive guy on the bench or off the floor with body language and things like that . . [they] are looking for someone who can play five minutes a game, knock down an open three and move the ball.”

Things To Do as Head Coach: Things I want to remember as a head coach:

Beno Udrih – “When you’re coming off the bench . . I think you should be focusing on, ‘Okay, I’m going into the game and we’re tied, I’m coming out of the game and we’re plus four’. . I think it’s very important to look at that plus/minus when you’re a backup player.”

Alan Keane[At halftime] “The first thing we will ask them to do is review their behavior . . did you commit? . . Did you commit to the stuff we said we were going to do? If we did, then we review the execution of that commitment.”

Ryan Pannone – “At the end of the day, I find as a coach, there’s a few reasons you’re not doing something – you’re either not good enough to do it or you don’t care enough to do it.”

Dedrique Taylor 

  • “Something really significant for me as a younger coach was when I heard . . ‘When the coach becomes more aware of himself, he becomes a better coach.’ . . I’m more aware of what I like, what I think wins and what’s significant to me so I can now promote it . . in our system.”
  • “What do you want to do? What do you think’s best? Is that the best option . . ? How do you know that? How did you come to that? What was your thought process that delivered you to those things? Don’t just come in here and say, ‘This is what I think?’ . . Why did you think that?”

Will Weaver “It’s always served as an opportunity for me to reflect, especially before you take a job . . ‘What does our family’s pie chart look like for the coming several months?’ If it’s going to be hot and heavy for me, there needs to be a valley for me to give to the family.”

Gail Goestenkors – 

  • “As I . . gained confidence as a coach and a leader, I became much more trusting, much more collaborative . . I think everybody felt better about the way things were going and we became much more successful.”
  • “I always had . . one of my assistants in charge of special situations and she would always have my top five plays I wanted to run.”
  • “As a head coach, you have a responsibility to help them [assistant coaches] grow.”
  • “I would always ask my staff, ‘Should I have made this call here? Is there something else we could have done? What about this substitution?’ I needed feedback from the people that I trusted.”

Kelvin Sampson – 

  • “There’s three people who can never have a bad practice: the head coach, your best player and the point guard.”
  • “There’s a lot of responsibilities that go along with being a head coach, with being the point guard, and the best player. You’re not like everybody else. You’re different. So your standards are going to be a little bit higher.”

Michael Lombardi 

  • “Every time people give you a solution there’s always an A or B. That’s false duality – two solutions to a problem. The great coaches find out where there are 5, 6, 7 or 8 possible solutions to look into.”
  • “[Bill] Walsh used to say all the time . . ‘If we’re all thinking alike, no one’s thinking.’”
  • “Building a staff is no different . . than a draft. The FBI doesn’t search for serial killers in the phone book. They build a profile . . You, as an up and coming head coach, have got to build a profile for every single position you’re going to hire down to the ball boy.”

Most Inspirational 

Randy Brown “It is such a privilege to be able to play sports . . in a bigger picture . . your life is going to be based on relationships . . Look around. There might be a guy in this group who, when you’re 42 years old you have to call at three in the morning to share some . . horrible news and they’re going to come to your aid.”

Ettore Messina “There are concepts that are basic in terms of how you would like people in your organization to relate to each other . . respect is a major one . . It’s easy to respect the important people and maybe lose attention to the people who are working in the shade. Treat everyone the way you want to be treated.”

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