Decision Making – Ball-Screen Reads

3-man Ball-Screen action with the defense rotating out of the ball-side corner to take away the roll. The ball-handler coming off the ball-screen must:

1). Beat 1

2). Engage 2

3). See 3

Successful decision making is predicated on the ball-handlers ability to quickly “See 3” to counter the help-side rotations to hit the open player.

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Identifying the Last Finger on the Release of the Basketball

The placement of your last finger to touch the ball on your release will dictate the direction of the basketball. In order to be a good shooter…you must become a STRAIGHT shooter 1st!

Identify if either your index or middle finger is the last point of contact as you release your shot. This finger should be on the middle “stripe” of the ball. Your goal as a shooter is to get your hand to the middle of the basketball as early as possible so you can push through the center of the ball.

“Middle of the ball = middle of the rim.”

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How to Improve your Footwork – the Quick Hop

The Quick Hop is beneficial when the shooter is on the move. Pre-shot movement can be sliding laterally along the perimeter, uphill coming off an away screen or downhill off the dribble/curl.

With all footwork it is imperative that you do your work early. When the “Ball in the air = feet in the air.” Players will need to drive their toes into the ground on the catch.

The Quick Hop will assist your:
POP TIME (time elapsed from the catch to the release)

“The quality of your feet will determine the quality of your shot.”

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Inside the Huddle – What Really Matters

What can we learn from Coach McDermott (Creighton) & Coach Steele (Xavier)

  1. Defensive Communication Early is paramount
    -“Early, Loud & Often”
  2. SET YOUR FEET – Play off 2 in the paint
    -“Make decisions at our pace.”
    -“Do what the game tells us to do.”
  3. KYP – Know your Personnel
    -Who are you guarding? What do they do well?
  4. Rebound with 2!
  5. When the ball moves = WE SCORE
    -“When we dribble it, we are in trouble.”
  6. Disciplined Defense without fouling
    -KILLS = 3 Defensive Stops in a row
  7. “Don’t let switching paralyze you.”
    -“Set some / Slip some.” Keep the defense honest
  8. POSSESSION TOUGHNESS – Every Single Possession Matters
    -Poor shots lead to transition
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Injuries and Becoming Mentally Strong by Overseas Pro, Kellon Thomas

One of the toughest parts about sports are injuries. In a perfect world, no one would ever get injured but let’s be real, it’s a big part in sports today. In time of injuries, there are two options one can choose from:

  1. Feel sorry for themself and do nothing
  2. Embrace it and do everything they can to better the situation.

My advice would be to embrace it and control only the things you can control. When having a positive attitude during your time of an injury, can refocus your mind and make your time sitting out go a lot faster.

Just how you give 100% effort on the court, you must give the same energy in your rehab and recovery. Effective rehab leads to better and faster healing time to get back on the court. Eating right and making healthy decisions are also important during this time.

Even though it is tough, attitude plays a big part in the rehab process. Every day it’s a grind to rehab and sit out from practice and games. Even when you don’t feel like it, the best thing you can do during this time of sitting out is to challenge your mind. All Summer and preseason you get to train your body and work on your game physically. Use this time sitting out to watch game film, study plays, scout other teams and help yourself and teammates understand the game better from a different perspective.

In my playing career I’ve suffered two major injuries. A bone chip in my knee after my freshman year in college. This sidelined me for 7 months and missing a pivotal summer to progress and prove myself to my coaches. Another injury I had was an orbital bone fracture in my left eye during my junior season of my college career. This forced me to redshirt and miss the rest of the season. Both times during my injury I was upset and frustrated but I was given the same advice I just stated earlier. Remain patient, control what I can control and work on my mental state during this time.

Returning from both injuries, my stats, leadership, work ethic and role all increased because of how invested I was to my rehab, commitment to the team and to coming back stronger. So if going through an injury and having to miss time on the court, remember to use this time to work on areas of your game that you can control. Rehab to the best of your ability and become mentally strong through a tough time so when you do return, you’re better than ever.

Kellon Thomas

Just Hoops Coach and Professional Basketball Player

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Lasting Lessons from Coach Pat Summitt

Respect Yourself and Others
There is no such thing as self-respect without respect for others.
Individual success is a myth. No one succeeds all by themselves.
People who do not respect those around them will not make good team members and
probably lack self-esteem themselves.
When you ask yourself, “Do I deserve to succeed?”, make sure the answer is yes.

Take Full Responsibility
There are no shortcuts to success.
You can’t assume larger responsibility without taking responsibility for the small things, too.
Being responsible sometimes means making tough, unpopular decisions.
Admit to and make yourself accountable for mistakes. How can you improve if you’re
never wrong?

Develop and Demonstrate Loyalty
Loyalty is not unilateral. You have to give it to receive it.
The family business model is a successful one because it fosters loyalty and trust.
Surround yourself with people who are better than you are. Seek out quality people,
acknowledge their talents, and let them do their jobs. You win with people.

Learn to Be a Great Communicator
Communication eliminates mistakes.
Listening is crucial to good communication.
We communicate all the time, even when we don’t realize it. Be aware of body language.
Make good eye contact.
Silence is a form of communication, too. Sometimes less is more.

Discipline Yourself So No One Else Has To
Self-discipline helps you believe in yourself.
Group discipline produces a unified effort toward a common goal.
When disciplining others, be fair, be firm, be consistent.
Discipline helps you finish a job, and finishing is what separates excellent work from
average work.

Make Hard Work Your Passion
Do the things that aren’t fun first, and do them well.
Plan your work, and work your plan.
See yourself as self-employed.

Don’t Just Work Hard, Work Smart
Success is about having the right person, in the right place, at the right time.
Know your strengths, weaknesses, and needs.
When you understand yourself and those around you, you are better able to minimize
weaknesses and maximize strengths. Personality profiles help.

Put the Team Before Yourself
Teamwork doesn’t come naturally. It must be taught.
Teamwork allows common people to obtain uncommon results.
Not everyone is born to lead. Role players are critical to group success.
In group success there is individual success.

Make Winning an Attitude
Combine practice with belief.
Attitude is a choice. Maintain a positive outlook.
No one ever got anywhere by being negative.
Confidence is what happens when you’ve done the hard work that entitles you to succeed.

Be a Competitor
Competition isn’t social. It separates achievers from the average.
You can’t always be the most talented person in the room, but you can be the most competitive.
Influence your opponent: By being competitive you can affect how your adversary performs.
There is nothing wrong with having competitive instincts. They are survival instincts.

Change Is a Must
It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts the most.
Change equals self-improvement. Push yourself to places you haven’t been before.
Take risks. You can’t steal second base with your foot on first.

Handle Success Like You Handle Failure
You can’t always control what happens, but you can control how you handle it.
Sometimes you learn more from losing than winning. Losing forces you to reexamine.
It’s harder to stay on top than it is to make the climb. Continue to seek new goals.

Coach Summitt won 1,098 games with a 84.0 career winning percentage. Every player who completed her eligibility between 1976 and 2011 appeared in at least one Final Four. But most importantly, every player who entered the program and completed her eligiblity across Summitt’s 38-year career earned a degree.

To learn more about the career & lasting legacy of Coach Summitt:

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Forming a C to Get Better Lift on your Shot

What letter of the alphabet do you want to form when shooting? The best answer is “C.” When forming a C, the player will have a wrinkle in their wrist & their elbow will be directly underneath the basketball.

Helpful teaching points regarding the elbow that impact your arc include:

-Elbow is underneath the ball = LIFT

-Elbow is in-front of the ball = SLING SHOT

-Elbow is behind the ball = PUSH

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Horns Ball-Screen – Reading the Midline Defender

This video highlights reading the defensive coverage on a Horns Ball-Screen with the ball-side screener rolling to the front of the rim. The ball-handler must “engage 2” with the ball-screen & “see the help.” The midline defender guarding the opposite corner is responsible to help on the roll. Using his eyes & a ball fake, the ball-handler is able to pull this defender away from the rim anticipating the skip pass. Being able to read the help defender & making a quick decision allows the pass to be on time & on target.

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Shooting Line to Become a Straight Shooter

In order to become a great shooter, you must become a straight shooter first. From your shooting pocket you must move the basketball along your shooting line to eliminate any rounded or wasted movements. Your shooting line consists of:
1). Lead Foot
2). Lead Hip
3). Elbow
4). Shoulder
5). Wrist
A vertical/straight line must connect to all 5 parts of your shooting line.

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