April Newsletter for Coaches, Players & Parents

  • Transition Defense Tenants from Kevin Eastman
  • Shooting Drills on The Gun from former Gonzaga Coach, Jerry Krause
  • Chris Beard, “Why I Coach”, from his time as Head Coach at Angelo State
  • Articles on how heartbreak didn’t break Tony Bennett and ND Coach Muffet McGraw Says ‘We Don’t Have Enough Women in Power.’
  • A look at Virginia readings away screens & turning a flare screen into a back-screen
  • Play of the Month: Virginia – Elevator Rip

Click the link below to read our April Coaches Newsletter.

Just Hoops April Newsletter

Teaching Points from the 2019 Men’s Final Four

Tom Izzo

Rebounding – Send 4 to the boards

  • Guys are constantly going (gives your players mental edge, keeps them aggressive)
  • If you send 4 and they don’t get board you lose (players must fight for every board)
  • Forces other teams to adjust
  • Most basketball players don’t enjoy contact—tougher team usually wins
  • Go after ball instead of letting it come to you

DRILL: 2 v 2 Rebounding—Block out drill

  • Working on hit, find, and get
  • Make sure players go after ball with 2 hands
  • Grab ball above your head=good rebound
  • Coaching offensive and defensive rebounding at the same time. Offensive rebounder tries to get even footing with the defender. Don’t just lean on defensive guy

Tony Bennett

“Pack Line” Defense

  • Dotted line on the floor 16-17 feet from the basket.
  • Nobody goes outside the line with the exception of the on-ball defender.
  • Defenders inside the pack must stay in a stance and see both. Have vision!
  • No help move, just a recovery move.

Ball Pressure

  • Closeouts – run 2 steps, chop rest of the way. Come out with high hands.
  • DO NOT let the ball-handler go baseline.
  • DO NOT allow the ball-handler to shoot a rhythm shot.
  • Try to force the ball-handler to an angle. Turn him and level him off.
  • No straight line drives – the more you turn the ball-handler, the better.
  • Shooters – Have to bother hand. Get hands up on the ball, not on the face.
  • Against the ball you must =
    Closeout/Take away baseline/Take away rhythm shots/Level off/Bother/Jump to the ball

Bruce Pearl

“Raise the level of expectations they have for themselves. As sons, as brothers, as son’s of God. No one should have higher expectations for you than yourself. Focus on the positives, everyone is good at something, find that in all your players.”

Under out of bounds defense “15”

Coach Pearl uses a number system to call all of his defense. First digit indicates where the defense picks up (50’s were full court, 40’s were 3/4, 30’s half court, 20’s in the scoring area, and 10’s were under out).

The second number indicates the type of defense (0 = no switching, 1= 1-3-1, 2 = 2-3, 3 = 3-2, 5= switching everything).
55 would then be full court man, switch everything etc.
15 builds from the inside out. The ball can’t ever go inside. If they get anything it has to be a lob or a pass way outside. If you have good ball pressure you can steal these passes.
1)Don’t let the man on the ball side block duck in.
2)Don’t allow any clean screens.
3)All defenders must stay inside their man.
4)On ball defender must have hands up. Any low pass is a steal for someone else.
5)Come together on all screens. If you are switching onto a screener win the foot fight and get below him so he can’t slip.

Chris Beard

“In basketball, there is no right decision. After you make a decision, you make it the right decision.”

300 Club – Making 300 made 3’s every day in practice from the start of the season to the end
Kill Drill – 3 Consecutive Stops (7 kills in a game is an automatic win) – 21 stops in a game

We believe in daily film. Daily film is crucial-Day to Day work in the film room-minimum of 10 minutes a day.
No cell phones at team functions (team meals and bus rides)

Should High School basketball use a shot clock?

Would implementing a shot clock at the high school level improve the game of basketball? With every game that is slowed down by long possessions & the final score kept in the 30’s, regardless of outcome, the debate rages on among the basketball community.

Would adding a shot clock improve player development? Provide a better viewing experience? Allow the better team that night the best chance to win? Better prepare players for the college level? How much will it cost?

Below are two insightful articles that cover both sides of the argument:

For –

Against –

Earlier this season, our Twitter poll question overwhelmingly was in favor of adding a shot clock in the state of Ohio. Comment below and let us know where you stand.

February Newsletter for Coaches, Players & Parents

The February newsletter features:

  • Program Organization from Virginia Tech Head Coach, Buzz Williams
  • Shooting Drills on The Gun from Davidson Head Coach, Bob McKillop
  • Kobe Bryant visits with Nick Saban during Alabama Training Days
  • Articles on Arizona State women’s Head Coach, Charli Turner Thorne, who pushes her team to stay positive & How the managing partner of a multi-billion-dollar private equity firm became a college basketball coach in Virginia
  • A look at Michigan State’s primary fastbreak
  • Play of the Month: Marquette – Double Blur

Click the link below to read our February Coaches Newsletter.

Just Hoops February Newsletter

Kobe Bryant with Nick Saban on the importance of loving the process

1). Edit your life – What is most important to you? Things will become clearer very quickly.

2). If you want to be at a excellent level; you have to be excellent all of the time. It’s a way of life.

3). The Process – loving the daily grind and putting the puzzle together. The successes and setbacks are all a part of the journey.

4). Everybody wants to be the beast but not everybody wants to do what the beasts do.

5). With patience you have to be impatient but you can’t get frustrated. Ask yourself: “why am I not playing and what can I do differently?”

January Newsletter for Coaches, Players & Parents

The January newsletter features:

  • Some Things I Think Are Over-Done from Texas Legend GM, Del Harris
  • Shooting Drills on The Gun from Saint Joseph’s University Head Coach, Phil Martelli
  • “Where does changing team culture start?” from Cori Close, UCLA Women’s Head Coach
  • Articles on Michigan assistant coach, Luke Yaklich, who has taken Michigan to another gear defensively & how Kevin Keatts is building his style of play at NC State.
  • How to defend screen-the-screener action using the “shark” concept.
  • Play of the Month: MIlwaukee Bucks – SLOB – Box Double

Click the link below to read our January Coaches Newsletter.

Just Hoops January Newsletter

Just Hoops Highlight Series – Attacking Hedges

Hedging ball-screens is a staple of successful half-court defensive teams. The goal of hedging is to the funnel the ball-handler’s momentum to half-court. To help make quick decisions study the feet of the screeners defender to find out the ball-screen coverage. Trae Young showcases examples of how to counter hedging by attacking the defenders top hip & splitting the ball-screen when the defender was unattached.

December Newsletter for Coaches, Players & Parents

The December newsletter features:

  • Essential Coaching Skills from Nevada Head Coach, Eric Musselman
  • Shooting Drills on The Gun from Syracuse Head Coach, Jim Boeheim
  • “Don’t get caught up in the things that don’t matter” from Jocko Willink, who is a decorated retired Navy SEAL officer & author of the book, ” Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win.”
  • Articles on Bulls Interim Head Coach, Jim Boylen, who is attempting to toughen up his roster & why Buffalo has found success recruiting junior college players.
  • Hammer Action for a 3 from Loyola-Chicago during their NCAA Tournament run

Click the link below to read our December Coaches Newsletter.

Just Hoops December Newsletter

Part 4 of 4: How College Coaches Will Evaluate The Prospects Answers & Making Final Decisions

This series will give you an inside look into the college recruiting process from the coaching staff’s perspective. Understanding what college coaches are asking themselves, looking for & discussing in recruiting meetings will help your communication lines as the recruiting process unfolds. Part 4 will break down the various avenues coaches use to dissect responses from prospect & their families & what specific intangibles can separate you from the pack.

College coaches are evaluating every aspect of your life (academic, athletic, social, family structure) as they conduct their research and narrow down their top priorities. No part of the evaluation process is taken in isolation. Every factor within a player’s evaluation contributes to a bigger picture, which can then contribute to a decision. There are enough talented players to go around. The key is finding the right talented players.

Perception is often reality. Coaches are going to keep an eye on several factors: the prospect’s body language, behavior in huddles, communication with teammates & relationship with the coaching staff. Even more, coaches are going to dissect and evaluate your answers to get an inside look into your desires, motivations and beliefs.

  • Does he/she hold themselves accountable?
  • How does your individual agendas connect with the team agendas?
  • Does he/she have the desire to improve upon their weaknesses?
  • Are they humble enough to take coaching?
  • Does he/she acknowledge that they need to improve?

There are multiple ways a coach is going to try and identify how serious the athlete is taking their program. Is this athlete telling us what we want to hear or are they seriously considering us for their final decision? The prospect’s excitement & enthusiasm is contagious and will rub off on the coaching staff. Playing at the collegiate level is mentally & physically taxing. Coaches must know that through difficult times the athlete is going to stick to the process & work their way through it.

  • They will ask about their roster, game schedule, style of play, conference, etc.
    • How much knowledge does the prospect have about our team? Our season? Are they following our games/recruiting?
  • They will ask you about your goals, dreams & aspirations? Favorite memory of playing basketball?
    • Are they motivated by individual or team goals? Winning championships and/or individual accolades?
  • What are your hobbies? What do you do with your free time?
    • Where does basketball fit into this? Is it something you get to do or must do?
  • They will ask about a past mistake. A tough loss.
    • Does he/she take responsibility or make an excuse?

My best advice moving forward is for you to focus on these (4) specific areas as you communicate with college coaches:

  1. Do they attribute their success to their talent or to their hard work?
    1. A player that attributes success to hard work is more likely to rely on hard work in future situations.
    2. A player that attributes success to talent is less likely to see the correlation between hard work and success.
  2. How a player reacts to losses is the best indicator of their competitiveness. Everyone loves to win. Not everyone hates to lose.
    1. Players that take losses hard hours or days after a game must have a good amount of competitiveness. We are more emotionally tied to the things we care about the most.
  3. Two biggest red flags in a conversation: lies and excuses.
    1. Excuses are loud. Coaches want people that will take responsibility personally.
    2. One of the best ways to check this is to talk about losses. How much responsibility is a player willing to take for a loss?
  4. “I” language vs. “we” language. Do they see themselves as a part a team or is everything said isolated to the individual?

You need to be open, transparent and honest throughout the recruiting process. Take individual responsibility in all that you do. Start building these habits and mindsets now with your current team and coaches. All these qualities will help you move forward in life well beyond your playing days.

Read Part 1 of 4: What Questions Do College Coaches Ask Themselves While Evaluating Players?

Read Part 2 of 4: What Questions Will College Coaches Ask The Prospect?

Read Part 3 of 4: What Questions Will College Coaches Ask About The Prospect?

Just Hoops Highlight Series: Reading Defender on Away Screens

Understanding how you are being defended allows any offensive player to stay one-step ahead throughout the possession. Teaching points throughout this clip shows us the importance of turning a Flare screen into a Back-screen if the defender goes over top. A screener must be able to read & react accordingly if they need to change the angle of their screen. If a defender “shoots the gap” vs a Down-screen, the cutter must get to the level of the screen & pop-back off of the screener’s back. The toughest players to defend are those who can score with & without the basketball.