The Basketball Podcast: EP316 with Joe Crispin on Creativity

RELEASE DATE : 17/04/2024

In this week’s coaching conversation, Penn State assistant coach Joe Crispin joins the Basketball Podcast to share his philosophy on cultivating creativity and adaptability in basketball.

One of Penn State’s all-time great players and longtime professional athlete, Joe Crispin is an Assistant to the Head Coach at Penn State. Crispin last appeared on Episode 247 and his Immersion Videos product All Access Practice with Joe Crispin has become a best seller as coaches learn about his play based philosophy from raw and real practices.

Crispin spent the last seven seasons as the head men’s basketball coach at Rowan University where he guided the Profs to a 114-54 record, three NCAA Tournament appearances, two conference titles and the 2023 Sweet 16. He collected the fourth-most wins by a head coach in school history through his seven years on the sideline.

Crispin engineered one of the most prolific offenses in the country at Rowan, as the Profs averaged more than 80 points per game in each of his final six seasons including 90+ points per game in each of the last two years.

A longtime professional player, Crispin joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2001 as a free agent and enjoyed a highly successful career in Europe for more than a decade.

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Joe Crispin Quotes:

“Even though I had been preparing to coach, the methodology was something that really happened more organically because I was just trying to be the coach that I always wanted to play for at the college level, and I was trying to be someone who made my own kids and his friends better.”

“I would read about education. I like to say that I didn’t love school, but I loved learning, especially as I got older and realized that we talk about a liberal arts education in terms of school and what a benefit that is. What about a liberal arts education in basketball?”

“We want to control this whole process. And then we don’t like the result in the end. There’s a disconnect between what we’re doing at a youth level and then what we’re doing here [in college].”

“We talk about decision making and comfort in chaos and . . the idea of rhythm flow, what we call logging the game.  Just an understanding and a feel for the difference between you can shoot that but that doesn’t mean you should shoot that.”

“The discipline of shot selection is contextually dependent in that you need to constantly be putting your players in the context of a game, especially if you want to play fast, so that they can learn and you can ask, ‘What did you think about that last possession? How much time is left? What’s the situation? What just happened the two possessions before that?’ These questions should always be going through your players’ minds. They’re not.”

“I love the idea of shot selection. I tell our guys, ‘The only shot you’re definitely not allowed to shoot is the one you’re not sure about.’ The moment you introduce uncertainty to the mix, your percentage is going to go down. But the other component to that is, it is dependent on your style of play.”

“Connect it [shot selection] to the larger picture of style of play. This is what we say we’re committed to. It might not be the best shot, but for us it’s fine because we want to play a little bit faster or, we want to be a little more methodical, or we have a great player that we haven’t gotten involved for three straight possessions. So, the coach does want to take the reins a little bit to help the players without being a complete crutch.”

“If you [the players] want to win the championship and the emotion is down and we’re on the road, you have to be the one to fill the gap, not me. That’s not how teams win championships. Players win in those moments. Players gather around their teammates in those moments. I can help you, but if it’s all me, I’m going to be exhausted and we’re probably going to lose. As a group, they embraced that. But the key to that was I had to leave the gap. I couldn’t just constantly fill it.”

“Don’t just prepare for the way you want things to be. Prepare for what will happen. So, I don’t want that kid to shoot a step back, fade away, necessarily. But he gets the ball with four or 5 seconds left on the clock, he’s going to shoot a step back, fade away. We might as well practice that move.”

“A lot of coaches put guys in boxes. We like to say that we give you the freedom, with our help, to create your own box . . Players are not afraid of a role, but there’s a difference between a role and a really tight, constrained box where you can’t deviate from it at all.”

“If you’re a parent, pay attention to how much it bothers you for your kid to miss, because if it’s bothering you, you’re cultivating in them a scarce conservative mindset. You can practice on the gun all you want, you can practice in the backyard all you want. The key to [developing] them at a young age is, is learning how to miss and handle it.”

“Encourage them [players] where they are. Teach aggressive mistakes as much as possible. Teach them how to be people who are looking to make a play, not just looking to play at conservative.”

“I think a lot of kids are being taught in school today and in life, ‘Let me just play it safe.’ That doesn’t work in basketball, and it definitely doesn’t work if you want to get where a lot of these kids say they want to get to.”

“[Playing it safe] is not going to help you win in the immediate weekend, but it will help you win the long game. And I think more importantly from a parental perspective, like developing confident kids, developing kids who can handle failure, developing kids who can say, ‘Yeah, I messed up. I apologize, guys. I didn’t help us win today.’ That’s of more value than all the made shots in the world.”

Joe Crispin Breakdown:

2:00 – Practice to Games
5:00 – Experiential
7:00 – Youth Basketball Development
11:30 – Higher Level Coaches
16:00 – Problem Solving
21:00 – Asking Questions
24:30 – Creating Solutions
27:00 – Freedom and Structure
30:00 – Organization Drills
34:00 – Stop and Listen
39:00 – Structure
43:00 – Run The Pattern
46:00 – Struggling with Flow
51:00 – Adaptability
56:00 – Working on the Game
59:00 – Take Away Decisions
1:02:00 – Creating Opportunities

Joe Crispin Selected Links from the Podcast:

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