In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, Youngstown State head coach Jerrod Calhoun joins the Basketball Podcast to share insights on unlocking offensive efficiency and success.
Jerrod Calhoun, who owns an 11-year career record of 220-134, has 96 wins at Youngstown State and owns a 76-52 record over the last four seasons, has elevated the Penguins’ basketball program to unprecedented success including the 2023 Horizon regular season championship, the first coach in program history to do so, and for which he was named 2023 Horizon Coach of the Year.
Jerrod Calhoun began his coaching career as an assistant at Walsh University from 2004 to 2006. He then joined Bob Huggins’ staff at West Virginia, where he spent five seasons and helped the Mountaineers reach four NCAA Tournaments, including a Final Four appearance in 2010.
In 2012, Jerrod Calhoun became the head coach at D2 Fairmont State where he turned them into a national powerhouse, winning four conference titles and reaching the national championship game in 2017. He compiled a record of 124-38 in five seasons at Fairmont State, earning three conference Coach of the Year honors and two national Coach of the Year awards.
Jerrod Calhoun Quotes:
“There’s a lot of ways you can get an advantage on offense, whether that’s on a defensive rebound and transition, on a spray . . or whether that’s off ball screening or a ball screen. We want to find that advantage right away in the possession, in the first 6 seconds, create it and then keep it to get a really good shot.”
“When you can be unpredictable and you can just trust the eyes and you can play with your instincts, those are the best type of offensive teams when there’s player movement, ball movement. So, we have different things in our package, whether it’s off ball screening, flares . . there’s a variety of things that we try to do.”
“We try to generate, as a staff, 20 to 30 points, whether that’s blobs, slobs, atos, whatever it may be throughout the course of a game. We want to be really efficient in those areas.”
“Typically, what we do is ten to 15 minutes of film on some of our install things. We’ll do it right on the floor on video . . and then we’ll walk through . . whatever we’re going to add for the day. We’re going to show them visually on film, and then we’re going to walk through it, and then we’re going to start our practice.”
“I think concepts are so much more important to understand than an actual playbook. I think teaching guys the proper steps to read a pick and roll, different coverages off ball screening, those sorts of things are very beneficial to the player and it teaches them how to play.”
“It has to be collaborative in your film sessions. A lot of times we’ll have the players lead . . talk me through this play from start to finish. Not just their position. It could be good or bad, but I think that’s the only way you get to understand your players and what they’re seeing, because at the end of the day, we can have the best plays we want, but if they’re not understanding and reading the defense, these things aren’t going to work.”
“You have to really study your team and understand your team’s strengths. You may have the best idea, but it may not be that particular idea works well with that group . . I think it’s day to day. I think there are certain concepts, certain packages you’ve got to get in, but you’ve really got to see how your guys process the information to move forward.”
“There’s a million ways you can attack mismatches, but I think the most important thing is teaching your players how to do that. We do a lot of drills at practice to really try to exploit mismatches. So much of today’s game is happening really fast, so I think you have to teach the players at practice what that mismatch looks like.”
“We talk about fix it situations. Defensively, we have a lot of different drills over the years, but the game of basketball is really about rotations, fixing the situation. Certainly, there’s times defensively where you can’t fix it and you may have to double team, you may have to dig, you may have to figure it out on the fly. But I think that’s what our game is about.”
“We want to be unpredictable off the ball. Then in the pick and roll, we want to be really efficient. So, we do a lot of different read drills . . We want our guys to understand every single pick and roll coverage, not only in the pick and roll with the two players, but the other three guys, to me are just as important . . and it’s really about understanding that possession, what we’re trying to do, and how we’re attacking that coverage.”
“We study cutting, what kind of impact cutting can have . . and screening. To me, screening and cutting are the two of the biggest keys in basketball . . these are things that we try to do within our offensive system. And I think that’s made us an elite offensive team.”
“I think you have to be really smart the way you recruit in the Portal. We kind of have a formula for all five positions, what we’re looking for from a skill set. We really want guys that know what winning basketball looks like, not just on game day.”
“The first thing is we’ve got to understand what we’re going to do that day. We want to explain to our players in our short 15-minute meeting, we’ll show them typically six to seven clips on both sides of the ball. We’re going to cover culture every single day. We’re never going to skip the steps of talking about culture, see how they’re doing, and then we’re going to dive into it.”
“Most of the guys that I’ve worked with have wanted to become head coaches, and I think it’s our job as the head coach to help prepare them. Well, the best way to help prepare them is to empower them.”
“As the game changed, I really fell in love with offense. I just love when [the offense] is free flowing and guys know how to play. But when you start to look at different defenses as an offensive guy, it makes you a good defensive coach as well.”
“We want to make sure our guys, whether they want to be doctors, engineers, basketball players, whatever they want to do, whatever field that they want to get in, we want to match those guys up with a mentor.”
Jerrod Calhoun Breakdown:
2:30 – Offense and Fight For Spacing
6:00 – Spain and Staff
9:00 – Adding and Subtracting
11:00 – Removing Ego and Attacking Matchups
17:00 – Shallow and Slide Cuts
20:00 – Partnership with Fairmount State
22:00 – Combining Structures
23:00 – Concept of Leveraging
28:00 – Developing Shooting
28:32 – 29:35 – Hoopsalytics AD 3
29:36 – Portals
34:00 – Diversity of Zones
37:00 – Youngstown State Practice
40:00 – Culture Clips
41:30 – Eliminating Ending
45:00 – Multiple Ball Screens
49:00 – Mentorship Program
53:00 – Bob Huggins
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