In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, George Washington head coach Chris Caputo joins the Basketball Podcast to share insights on offensive efficiency and making decisions as a head coach.
In 2022-23 Caputo completed his first year as a head coach after a successful coaching career that spanned more than two decades and took him to a Final Four and an Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Under his leadership, George Washington posted their best regular season in six years, enjoying the most overall wins (16), most Atlantic 10 conference wins (10) and first A-10 winning record since the 2016-17 season.
Caputo recorded the second-most A-10 wins (10) for a first-year GW bench boss in program history and the fourth-most overall wins (16) in GW’s A-10 era.
All five starters had career seasons, highlighted by First Team All-Conference performer James Bishop IV, A-10 Most Improved Player of the Year and Third Team All-Conference member Brendan Adams and A-10 Rookie of the Year Maximus Edwards.
Caputo came to GW from the University of Miami, where he was the associate head coach under Jim Larrañaga since 2015. He was a skilled scout, recruiter and tactician who served as the team’s defensive coordinator. He helped coach the Hurricanes to seven postseason berths, five NCAA appearances and three Sweet 16s.
Chris Caputo Quotes:
“The best managers sometimes are people who have been with the same company. They’ve had a lot of different jobs within that company, and then if they were to rise to a leadership position, they really understood the business because they’ve done a lot within the business.”
“Becoming a head coach was not what the ultimate goal was. The ultimate goal was to be a part of something that was bigger than myself. To make an impact. To be a part of a program that was sustainable over time was not a one-year thing or a one player thing, but something that you could look back with a lot of pride on and feel like, whether I was the head coach or the associate head coach or the assistant coach or the video coordinator or whatever, that I was part of something.”
“I’m as ambitious as the next guy, but I aspired to be a part of something. And so, I was never discouraged when I had to go back to my job of which I really liked doing. Not everybody is as fortunate to feel that way, but I was. I think when you’re with good people, you like who you work with, you like who you coach, there’s a lot to that in this business.”
“I’ve been fortunate enough where I felt like we’ve had that in our staff . . where you have people that are lifelong learners and, not know it all, but learn it all is what we want.”
“I think there are things you’ve got to keep off the table based on your personnel. Yet again, I think there are things that don’t change like spacing, being able to read defenses, have coverage solutions, being able to play unselfishly the ball, and hitting the paint. Those things don’t really change. And so, how you get there with your personnel?”
“Creating decisions, reading close outs . . getting in the paint, spraying it out, relocating, reading the next close out . . the more you can create those situations within player development, workout type situations, I think the better. And then certainly as the season goes on, we’re going to play 5-on-5 full court, every day as much as we can.”
“You can play as fast as your defense allows. I don’t know of an offense that’s better where you have to take it out. It’s much better when you can take it off the backboard or off a turnover.”
“The first step to physical toughness is physical fitness. I think physical fitness leads to physical toughness, that will lead to better defenders as players, or at least they can max themselves out and be as best they can be individually based on their gifts.”
“if you play a team a second and third time, that chess match begins. And I think that’s where you’re trying to anticipate, okay, what worked for us last time? What worked for them last time? What have they been watching? If I were them, what would I do? Those type of things come into play, and that is the fun part for us as coaches sometimes.”
“One of the things about playing against the drop . . the screener would run up and we want him to screen low and stay low. You want them to get a piece of the defender . . So, the screener would actually yell, ‘Wait!’ And the wait was really for the guard . . set your guy up, wait with the ball, let me get a piece of the defender . . Against the drop, we want the defender to get hit, whereas against maybe a blitz or a hard show, we want to quickly advance the ball.”
Chris Caputo Breakdown:
1:00 – Preparation as Head Coach
4:00 – Technical Coaching
6:00 – Head Coaching Job
10:00 – Mental health
12:30 – Offensive Efficiency
15:00 – Making a Change
18:00 – Shooting Improvements
23:00 – Direct to Ball Screen
23:17 – 23:53 – B.I. Podcast AD Spring 2023
26:00 – Short Roles
28:00 – Player and Team Development
32:00 – Balance
36:00 – Specificity of Scout
40:00 – Increase Tempo
43:00 – Establishing Identity
44:30 – Conclusion
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