In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, Colgate University head coach Ganiyat Adeduntan shares insights on her defend, rebound, and champion plays philosophy and the joys in the journey.
In her second season Ganiyat Adeduntan orchestrated one of the greatest single-season improvements in program history. Colgate increased its win total by 10 games in 2022-23, finishing 16-14 overall and 10-8 in Patriot League play to secure the No. 4 seed in the Patriot League tournament.
One of the greatest factors contributing to last season’s success was Adeduntan’s defense, which ranked ninth nationally in three-point field goal percentage defense (25.6) and 12th in scoring defense (54.6) – good enough to lead the Patriot League in both categories. Colgate finished over .500 against Patriot League opponents for the third time since 2000. The Raiders capped the regular season on a four-game winning streak, highlighted by a 14-point win over Loyola in the finale, to go with regular-season sweeps of Lehigh and Navy.
Ganiyat Adeduntan arrived at Colgate after three seasons as the top assistant coach and four seasons overall on the staff of Jennifer Rizzotti at George Washington. She helped the Colonials win an Atlantic-10 Conference championship and served as the program’s recruiting coordinator has also had coaching stints at Northeastern University, Wheelock College Ganiyat Adeduntan and Florida State University School.
Before coaching, Adeduntan enjoyed a stellar playing career both at the prep and collegiate level. She was a four-year letterwinner and 1,000-point scorer at Florida State under head coach Sue Semrau.
Ganiyat Adeduntan Quotes:
“We focus a lot on holistic development . . Every single player on my team is different and unique. Of course, there are some similarities, but each one of them came from a different background. Each one of them has a different culture. Each one of them, their spirit is different. Their mind, their body is different. So, how can I meet them where they are and really try to coach them individually? Still coaching them together but coaching them individually. Because if I think about them as an individual, then I can hopefully get them the best out of them.”
“I do consider myself a pretty direct person. I don’t talk around things, so I’m clear and concise with things that I’m saying. And when I know I need some form of information, it’s going to be pretty clear.”
“When you’re building something, you’re not going to get that ultimate prize. But the joy is in the journey . . It may not be this huge, substantial growth where you’re winning a championship or you’re winning 20, 30 games, but every single day if you’re showing up and you’re growing just a little bit, you ultimately are going to reach the success at some point.”
“I love the saying, ‘Celebrate everything, get back to work.’ We’re not celebrating to be content. We’re celebrating to be . . happy with where we are, but we’re going to keep pushing ourselves and be hungry to continue to get better.”
“We’re really consistent with how we approach post gameday . . we come in the next day the same exact way. What went well? What didn’t go well? What are some things that we can do a little bit better, differently as we move forward?”
“It’s very intentional about letting them know I’m on you guys and really pushing you to continue to grow and improve. And when you do it, I’m going to celebrate it. I’m going to make sure that you know that I see it, but I’m going to keep pushing to keep working at it and continue to work to get better.”
“With development, I want my players to be collaborative with us as a coaching staff. So, it’s not just like we have these goals for you in our very first early meetings of the year. What goals do you have for yourself? Where do you want to go? Where do you want this season to be for you? But it can’t just be, ‘I want to be a better three-point shooter.’ Let’s make sure it’s measurable and let’s make sure we have an action plan.”
“We want you to continue to add to your tool belt and just keep improving, because if you can get better as an individual, then all of a sudden our entire team is getting better.”
“We have core values. And then we also have program-specific absolutes. They’re non negotiables. So, you have to communicate, you have to compete, you have to have energy and enthusiasm. And that transfers over a lot to the basketball side of things, but it also transfers to just how they live their lives, too.”
“Rebounding is something that we chart as well. We chart box out percentages and we’ll do this on the offensive end, too. The offensive end is more about effort. We’re not worried about how many offensive rebounds you’re getting on the offensive end. We’re just worried about how hard you’re actually crashing the boards. But on the defensive end, specifically, are you making contact? Are you checking if you can’t make contact because your guy’s not crashing the boards?”
“Competition is big, and that’s one of our absolutes. As much as we want them to drive themselves and just be a competitor in everything we do, we also have to create situations for them. Almost everything is competitive. Whether we’re doing a shooting drill individually against themselves, against teams, whether we’re playing, everything is scored. It’s time. There’s a goal.”
“We’re watching film on ourselves. If it’s a day that we’re really focused on, ‘We’re going to guard this way,’ we’re going to reflect and watch it back. Show what we call ‘teaching film.’ So, not bad, we’re just teaching. But when it comes to scout, it’s personnel, a lot of it is heavy personnel driven.”
Ganiyat Adeduntan Breakdown:
1:00 – Colgate Women’s Basketball
5:00 – Relationship with Players
8:30 – Practice Plan
10:00 – Player Development Philosophy
20:00 – Building Offense and Defense
24:00 – Identity
26:46 – 27:48 – Hoopalytics Ad 3
28:00 – Absolutes
31:00 – Defensive Rebounding
33:00 – Box Out
35:00 – Crash Effort
37:30 – Advantage Disadvantages
40:00 – Scout Specific
43:00 – Hiring Good People
46:00 – Extra Challenge
48:00 – Process of Reaching Out
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