In this week’s coaching conversation, Bellarmine University head coach Scott Davenport joins the Basketball Podcast to discuss pressing on offense with the pass.
Scott Davenport became the 11th coach in Bellarmine University men’s basketball history, and in six years took Bellarmine all the way to the top by leading the Knights to the 2011 NCAA Division II Tournament national championship. For his efforts, he was named national Coach of the Year by two different organizations: the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the Division II Bulletin.
Davenport’s career record of 378-117 (through the 2020-21 season) ranks him as Bellarmine’s all-time winningest coach both in terms of total wins and winning percentage (.763).
In the 2020-21 season, Davenport guided the Knights to a highly successful transition as an NCAA Division I school. Bellarmine sported a 14-8 record overall and earned an invitation to a national postseason tournament (CBI) after falling just one game shy of capturing the ASUN Conference regular season crown. The national basketball community took notice of the Knights’ success, and Davenport was nominated for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award and the Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year, which recognizes coaches from mid-major conferences.
At the Division II level, Davenport experienced nearly unequaled success and was a four-time Great Lakes Valley Conference Coach of the Year. His teams won five GLVC Tournament titles and won or shared six regular season conference titles.
Perhaps more impressive than the domination of the highly competitive GLVC, was Davenport’s record in the NCAA Division II Championship. At the time Bellarmine transitioned to Division I, the Knights held the longest current streak of consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances with 11 and had qualified for a 12th straight, but the 2020 tourney was canceled due to COVID. In the NCAA tourney, Davenport held a coaching record of 26-10, and he led team to four final fours (2011, 2012, 2015, 2017).
Scott Davenport Quotes:
“You press on offense by making the defense uncomfortable and you speed them up.”
“We chart ball reversals. The last 10 years we were Division Two, we led all of Division Two basketball in field goal percentage, six of the 10 years.”
“The first lesson you ever learn in coaching is there’s more than one way to be successful . . it [ball reversal] works for us. We believe in it and we think it’s a fun way to play.”
“This past year we were third in the nation in shooting percentage . . With no ball reversals, we shot 38.4%. With only one ball reversal . . we shot 52.4%. With two plus ball reverses, the ball got reversed a minimum of twice, we shot 63.4%.”
“We’re not a one-dimensional team. One of the keys is we spend a lot of time reading the defense, not the offense.”
“You don’t just teach plays, you teach people . . how to become a basketball player. So, we emphasize teaching to read the defense and to be a basketball player, not a robot because the game is not a perfectly wrapped package . . it’s a very chaotic game.”
“We don’t want a challenged shot. And then the last part of the equation, we want the best shot that we practice . . we make shots we practice.”
“Your goal is to cut with purpose, cut to score, and probably most important the way we play, cut to get a teammate open. If I get you open and you score, what are you going to do for me? You’re going to cut to score now you’re going to get me open.”
“How are we going to teach it? How are we going to reward them when they learn it? I think the one thing we do . . is we push our players, I hope, harder than they’ve ever been pushed in our life. Because they’re in college, they should be pushed harder than they were in the sixth grade. They should be pushed harder than they were when they were on the freshman basketball team . . That’s fair, but only if you support them as much as they’ve ever been supported in their life outside of their parents.”
“Those 18 to 22 year-olds in that locker room, we need them. We need them to be great in all facets. [We need them] to be a great basketball player. [We need them] to be a great student. [We need them] to be a great leader, a great contributor.”
“Good players play the game. They shoot a high percentage, they score a lot of points. They block shots, they defend . . That’s what good players do. Extraordinary players make others better. What if everybody in that locker room . . is trying to make others better? That won’t be a good locker room. It’ll be extraordinary.”
Scott Davenport Breakdown:
1:00 – Passing, Passing and More Passing
5:00 – Making Defense Uncomfortable
8:00 – Passing and What Else
13:30 – Good Shot Percentage
17:00 – Passing Stats
25:00 – Value of Ball Reversal
30:00 – Teaching Shot Selection
33:00 – Balance and Catching to Shoot
37:00 – Passing Drills
40:00 – No Floaters and Cut to Score
44:00 – Inside Out Advantage
47:00 – Free Throw Blockouts
50:00 – Valuing Possessions
55:00 – Transition to D1
1:00:00 – Conclusion
Scott Davenport Links from the Podcast:
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