The Basketball Podcast: EP261 with John Rillie on a Top Offense

RELEASE DATE : 29/03/2023

In this week’s coaching conversation, Perth Wildcats head coach John Rillie joins the Basketball Podcast to share insights on a storied franchise, a top offense and coaching experiences that have shaped his philosophy.

John Rillie played 16 seasons in the NBL between 1995 and 2010 before embarking on a coaching career in the United States’ college system. Rillie has also been an assistant coach for the Australian Boomers, helping guide the Boomers to the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics. In 481 NBL games, Rillie averaged 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game. From 1997 to 2004, Rillie was a member of the Australian Boomers. He represented Australia at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Rillie played his college basketball at Gonzaga and joined Boise State head coach Leon Rice’s staff in 2010. In 2017, he was hired as an assistant coach for the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. After his first season with the Gauchos, he was promoted to associate head coach.

John Rillie began his coaching career in 2009, working in the Townsville Junior Basketball Association. In 2010, he was an assistant coach for both the Townsville Heat/Lightning U16 and North Queensland U16 teams.

Listen Here:

John Rillie Quotes:

‘If you want to evolve into a really good pro, you’ve got to be able to accumulate points. Cutting and offensive rebounding are two of the easiest ways. And running the floor in transition.”

“if it’s a switching or up to touch or a drop defense, then you’ve got to find the appropriate window to your skillset, to your shot making ability . . If you’re not a three-point shooter, and you’re catching it on the three point line, you’re not creating any advantage.”

“As simple as you keep it, you want to make that defender have to chase over the screen . . whatever your terminology is, at the end of the day, you have to make sure that defender goes over the top so the big is put in a tough situation. Does he help? Does he recover? And then the other thing is, are we getting it high enough on the floor where you still play to the guard’s advantage where they’re coming off in a scoring situation?”

“You want the guard getting into the paint . . and I certainly am a fan of charting paint touches.”

“Our initial conversations [with Bryce Cotton] were about me getting a better understanding of how he likes to score the ball. It’s easy to say, ‘Just give him the ball and get out of the way.’ But over the course of 40 minutes, that takes a lot of energy and effort . How can he come off screens? Is he better off coming off pin-downs versus flares? It’s all about efficiency. Bryce is a very efficient scorer. So [I want to] get him in spots where I know he can be successful.”

“One of my pet peeves is turnovers . . When you want to be a low turnover team, you need five guys that have the ability to look after the ball, but also to make decisions because of the way the game is played these days with bigs executing DHOs and playing out of the short roll as a playmaker.”

“Some of these teams run great false motion, but they turn it over because they’re just trying to move the defense instead of getting your best two players involved in some type of action.”

“You do have to get ball reversal. But then I do think you have to start to get heat on the paint so you can really get into the teeth of the defense and get some type of bite on penetration.”

“Spacing-wise, if you’re playing short roll it’s great to cut out of the corners because on the short roll someone’s usually stepping up to take that guy. So, there’s going to be space along the baseline. If it’s more of a flat or a side ball screen, that 45 cut is the dangerous one.”

“The best way to develop is through play. So, I try to create that in some part of my practice . . but then having a development plan for each guy outside of practice time so they can keep working on that.”

“I always tell them it’s their livelihood. So, if you sit on something that is agitating you and it doesn’t get fixed or discussed, there is no chance of it getting better. We all want the right things. We all get paid to win basketball games, so let’s create the best environment to allow that to happen.”

“On any team at any level, the points per possession on the first side in transition is probably going to be their worst offense most of the time because you just take bad shots. So, we’ve got a couple secondary breaks in our transition.”

“How can you create the ultimate confidence and send your team out to start a game or out of a timeout? You only get so many times to leave your footprint on a team when they leave to go out on the court and putting them in the right mindset of success is very important.”

John Rillie Breakdown:

1:00 – Points Per Possession
3:00 – Scaling
6:00 – Cues on Rolls
9:00 – Pro System
12:00 – Watching Film
13:30 – Low Turnovers and High Assists
16:00 – Ball Reversal
19:30 – Making the Decision to Cut
23:00 – Ideal Preference
25:04 – 25:39 – BI AD Jan 2023
27:30 – Game Wraps
30:00 – Recruiting College Players to Pro
33:00 – Evaluations
35:00 – Interactive Conversations
38:00 – Development Plans
41:00 – Tokyo Olympics Highlights
44:00 – Type of Interactions
45:30 – Concept of a Routine
49:30 – Improving this Off-Season

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