The Basketball Podcast: EP245 with Roy Rana on Defensive Adaptability

RELEASE DATE : 07/12/2022

In this week’s coaching conversation, international coach Roy Rana joins the Basketball Podcast to share insights on building an unbreakable mindset and a defensive base with adaptability.

Roy Rana is a Canadian professional basketball coach who is the head coach for the Kyoto Hannaryz of the B.League and head coach of the Egyptian men’s national basketball team. Rana served as head coach for Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team during the 2019 FIBA World Cup Americas Qualifiers where he led Canada to a 10-2 record and a first place finish in Group F to secure a 2019 FIBA World Cup bid.

Rana was a guest coach at the NBA Summer League for the Utah Jazz in 2014 and the San Antonio Spurs in 2015. In 2019, Rana was hired as an assistant coach by the Sacramento Kings of the NBA where he served in that role for three seasons.

Rana has incredible international experience serving as national team head coach for Canada at the senior level on down to the youth level. Most notably in 2017, Rana led Canada to the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup title, the nation’s first-ever title in the tournament. He also served as Germany’s lead assistant at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

Roy Rana was also the head coach of the Ryerson University (now Toronto Metropolitan University) men’s basketball team where he helped guide the Ryerson Rams to a 31-7 record during the 2018-19 season and a bronze medal finish in the 2019 U Sports Men’s Final 8 tournament. Rana ended his tenure at Ryerson with an overall record of 195-87 after being hired as the Rams’ head coach in 2010. Under Rana the Rams made 6 National Championship appearances in his 9 seasons.

In 2000, Roy Rana took over the head coaching job at Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute and became “one of the most successful high school basketball coaches in Canadian history”. During his nine-year tenure at Eastern Commerce, Rana guided the Saints to five provincial high school championships and a combined 14 regional and city titles. Under his guidance, Eastern Commerce finished six of his nine seasons as the top-ranked team in Canada. He compiled a record of 256–39 with a winning percentage of 86.7 at Eastern Commerce.

Listen Here:

Roy Rana Coach Quotes:

“I just like people, I like learning their stories. I like meeting new people and I think that served me well. I’ve also been in environments where I’ve had a lot of people that want to get to know me because of the access that I had.”

“Offense is a different journey. It’s complicated, it’s complex, it’s feel, it’s rhythm, it’s all these things whereas the defensive side of the ball, I think you can be a lot more impactful from a structure, perspective and discipline [standpoint]. And with young players, it was easy to impact that side of the floor.”

“As coaches, we’ve got to have two or three things that kind of define us and define our teams. And those are the things that you know, every single day, you’re going to do this.”

“We tried to do a little bit of defensive work in our player development work . . every opportunity to work on both sides of the ball, we’ll try and do that as much as we can.”

“For us, we’re going to try to really scout individual tendencies and try to force players into their weaknesses. And then, based upon quickness, based upon size, we’re going to decide how hard we want to shrink in. Where do we send the ball? How early do we help?”

“For me, defensively, analytics have always been a key to drive behavior . . we may look at our coverages and make adjustments but, to be honest, for the most part, we’re looking at ourselves and trying to drive better behavior through analytics within our own team.”

“We are the youngest team, we’re a total rebuild . . it’s going to take some time to build this. So, my risk tolerance isn’t as high because we have nine new players, we have a brand new coaching staff . . Maybe in game 30, we might be further along as we build our chemistry and our trust but right now, my risk tolerance isn’t as high because I don’t want to be a contributing factor.”

“I think the key is defining identity. What is the identity of the team that you want to have on the defensive side of the floor? We have to have an unbreakable mindset.”

“What you are willing not to do is more important than what do you want to teach because you can’t teach everything. You have to be willing to say, ‘Okay, if they hurt us this way, and we weren’t prepared for it, I’m okay with that.”

“I think what’s happened in player development is so much of it has become about adding; adding a different type of finish, adding a different type of dribble move, adding a different type of pass with your weak hand. My whole thing is, are we creating very talented players that really aren’t good at anything? Or are we trying to create a player who’s really good at a few things and then build from there? So, we’ve scaled back. We’re trying to be a little bit more focused and narrow in how we develop our players and grow them over time.”

Roy Rana Breakdown:

1:00 – Opportunities
5:00 – Evolved Philosophy
8:00 – Defensive Base
10:00 – Heels
14:00 – Scout
16:00 – Professional Schedule
20:00 – Driven by Imports
22:30 – Defending Isolations
23:30 – Analytics
26:03 – 26:47 – Membership Sales Ad
27:00 – Adaptability
29:00 – Building Base
32:00 – Natural Questioning
34:30 – International Competition
37:00 – Unbreakable Mindset
39:00 – Player Development
42:00 – Takeaways from the NBA
45:00 – High School Coaching
49:00 – Canada Basketball
52:00 – Egypt Basketball
55:00 – Conclusion

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