In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, Penn head coach Steve Donahue joins the podcast. Donahue is entering his fourth season with the Penn Quakers men’s basketball team. He is the former head coach of Boston College and Cornell. Donahue is the only person in Ivy League history to lead two different programs to conference championships, Cornell (2008, 2009, 2010) and Penn (2018).
Steve Donahue’s teams have won 4 Ivy League regular season championships, and one Ivy League Tournament. In the process he has been recognized for his coaching success with the Clair Bee Coach of the Year Award (2010), 2× NABC District Coach of the Year (2008, 2010), and the Ivy League Coach of the Year (2018).
Steve Donahue Quotes:
“All of us love to play fast . . but the hard thing is finding kids that can do that and make the right decisions.”
“We get back to playing fast . . that has very little to do with athleticism.”
“. . how are we going to get better? I think if you continually grade yourself on how well we didn’t turn it over, you’re missing the big picture. For us to improve, I want guys to try things.”
“I’m really hesitant to jump on a mistake if I feel they did it trying to make a great play.”
“I think the team that wins the majority of the time is the team that’s willing to make mistakes . . if it goes wrong and you can handle that, then I think we have a chance to be really good.“
“I just think it’s critical that you really evaluate yourself as you’re coaching your team.”
“The more you cut, the more critical re-spacing is.”
“We have what we call a 95% rule . . when a guy drives to the rim I want them for 95% certainty . . to score or get fouled.”
“How do you get stand-still threes? . . Most people say that’s why we drive it . . but if you consistently cut hard. . we’re going to get a lot of what we want without having to put the ball on the floor.”
“Villanova’s great for a lot of reasons . . they play like their not that talented, yet they have four NBA guys right now . .”
“We talk about exaggerating the points that we just emphasized . . I think that’s a good teaching tool for young kids.”
Click below to listen in if you listen on:
Steve Donahue Breakdown:
1:00 – Introduction
1:40 – “You don’t need to be athletic to be fast, you need Players who can make decision quickly”
3:00 – Player Evaluation
5:00 – Hard Skills and Soft Skills
8:00 – Playing with Better Players, Players become Better.
9:30 – Give the Player a Freedom to be Who They Are
11:10 – “For us to improve, I want my guys to try things.”
13:20 – Positive Coaching
17:00 – Communication
20:00 – Record Yourself in the Game
22:00 – Dribble-Pass Ratio
22:40 – Basket Cutting
26:00 – Decision-Making on Cuts
29:40 – Catching is Critical
32:00 – “The More You Cut, The More Critical Re-Spacing Is”
36:00 – How Do You Get Stand-Still Threes?
39:00 – “Play Like They Are Not That Talented”
42:00 – Adapting Your Offense From the Ivy League to the ACC
46:00 – How Coach Steve Watch Films?
50:00 – Final Thoughts
Steve Donahue Links:
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