In this week’s coaching conversation, Japan National Men’s Team head coach Tom Hovasse joins the Basketball Podcast to share insights on the 5-Out offense style of play and Japanese Basketball.
During his career as head coach of the Japanese women’s basketball team, Tom Hovasse did what no one thought possible, leading the team to silver at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Tom is now channeling his skills into coaching the Japanese men’s team.
After graduating from Penn State University, he began playing basketball professionally for Sporting Portugal after missing out on being drafted to the National Basketball Association. After joining the Toyota Pacers in 1990, Hovasse went onto become the highest-scoring athlete in the Japanese league for four consecutive years. After a brief period with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks in 1994, Hovasse later transferred to a semiprofessional US team before returning to Japan to take the court for the Toyota Pacers, and playing a final stint with the Toshiba (now Kawasaki) Brave Thunders before retiring in 2001.
Hovasse’s appointment to the position of assistant coach to the JX-Eneos (now Eneos) Sunflowers, a Women’s Japan Basketball League team, in 2010 marked the beginning of his coaching career. In 2017, Hovasse was appointed to the position of head coach of the Japanese women’s basketball team. At the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, he led his team to win a silver medal, the first such achievement for a Japanese team. In September 2021, Hovasse was appointed as head coach of the Japanese men’s basketball team.
Tom Hovasse Coach Quotes:
“We really wanted to work the ball and, and get some movement and then attack.”
“For 5-out . . I think the point guard needs to score. I think you really have to put pressure on the defense from every single position.”
“We always try to create double gap drives . . So a lot of our stuff in practice every day is driving and kicking, shooter relocations.”
“We do have certain team rules, which are vital to what we do. One of the biggest things that I learned going through that Olympic experience was giving roles to players clear cut roles.”
“Once you know your role and your teammates’ roles, then it starts to become this fluid connected team.”
“If we’re not putting pressure on the defense at every single position . . that’s a killer for a 5-out system to have a seven-footer standing in the paint where we can’t finish in the paint.”
“As a team that’s small, you’re going to give up buckets under the rim. But they [the opposing players] have to get back 94 feet to pick you up and stop you . . So, the pace is picking up and that’s something that we wanted to do.”
“I started implementing the tagging up on the men’s team. It hasn’t increased our offensive rebounds. It hasn’t hurt, it just hasn’t increased. It has completely changed our transition defense . . we were giving up.. 16-18 points in transition and now it’s down to four.”
“We have the goal set. So how do you change their mindset? How do you go from being a little wishy-washy on what we’re going to do to being rock solid, focused on that goal and how do we attain that goal? And for me, it was always challenging the players to practice harder than any other country in the world and that became our bedrock.”
“A year and a half before the Olympics , it was more ‘I need your decision-making . . decision making is key to this.’ I think the players really love that and they really blossomed. But, you have to have that foundation of fundamentals, that foundation of what the team is, the team rules and the team concepts and knowing your roles.”
“Belief is a shallow thing. Belief is a deep, deep, deep concept. You can tell when people believe in something with their heart. And you can tell people who don’t believe.”
Tom Hovasse Breakdown:
1:00 – Japan Women’s Team Success
3:00 – Adapting 5-Out System
5:00 – Mirroring
8:30 – Creating Gaps
13:00 – Calling Plays
16:00 – Freedom From Choice
18:00 – Overload Spacing
21:00 – Screens
24:00 – 24:46 – Membership Sales Ads
25:00 – Tagging Up Concept
28:00 – Offensive Rebounding System
32:00 – Putting in Long Hours
36:00 – Following Structure
41:00 – Best Roster
44:00 – Conclusion
Tom Hovasse Links from the Podcast:
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