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.
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.
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:
Do they attribute their success to their talent or to their hard work?
A player that attributes success to hard work is more likely to rely on hard work in future situations.
A player that attributes success to talent is less likely to see the correlation between hard work and success.
How a player reacts to losses is the best indicator of their competitiveness. Everyone loves to win. Not everyone hates to lose.
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.
Two biggest red flags in a conversation: lies and excuses.
Excuses are loud. Coaches want people that will take responsibility personally.
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?
“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.
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.
The November newsletter features teaching points for PGs in transition, a half-court set used by Chris Holtmann to counter wing pressure and takes a look at the GS Warriors Post Split action. This edition also features shooting drills on The Gun used in practice by Head Coach, Danny Manning of Wake Forest University. Read articles on how Niko Medved is building his program at Colorado State & how Jeff Capel is using previous experiences to help guide his Pitt Panther program in year 1. Lastly, learn from UNC Women’s Soccer Coach, Anson Dorrance, on how he grades character & activities he uses with his players to allow them “to play for something greater than themselves.”
Click the link below to read our November Coaches Newsletter.
Work on three different 1 on 1 situations (great drill for offensive & defensive teaching points)
1). Transition 1 on 1 – player starts at half-court outside the lane line. Defense picks up with heels on the 3 pt line. Player has 5 seconds to score (defense sprinting back in transition). Defense is trying to keep player out of the paint & settle for mid-range jumper.
2). Flat ball-screen at the top of the key – defense crawls up in their shorts to apply pressure. Offense must set up the screen & get defensive player’s momentum going in the opposite direction. Get downhill for a paint touch (simulating late clock or shot clock situation)
3). Wing to wing skip vs closeout – defense must start on the mid-line creating a mini triangle & seeing both ball & man. Players will have tendency to lock onto the ball and lose sight of their man. Defense closes out on the “flight of the pass.” They can’t wait for the ball to get over their head to react. We preached “no middle” as a non-negotiable as if we were a “no middle, influence baseline team.” Offense “catch to shoot” & be ready to attack the defenders top foot on the closeout.
This series will give you an inside look into the college recruiting process from the coaching staffs prospective. Understanding what college coaches are asking themselves, looking for & discussing in recruiting meetings will help your communication lines as the recruiting process unfolds. Part 3 will break down the types of questions college coaches will ask about the prospect to family, friends, coaches & teachers.
College coaches are going to ask questions to those inside your social circle to learn more about your character throughout the recruiting process. They will ask your family, high school coach, teachers, counselors and teammates about your family background, personality and behavior. 100% of your day you’re being evaluated by someone.
Does the energy go up, go down or stay the same when they enter the room?
Do you enjoy working with & being around this person?
Who does he/she surround themselves with?
How much struggle has he/she overcome?
Has adversity caused the player to operate at the edges of his/her ability?
What does he/she do when he/she is by themselves?
-Coaches will ask about things the athlete has control over:
Are they on time to class, practice, events, etc.?
Do they put in extra work outside of what they are asked to do?
Practice, lifting, school work
Are they attentive & engaged in class?
Are they moody? Have emotional highs & lows throughout the day?
Do they respect other opinions, thoughts & feelings?
-Coaches will ask your parents/legal guardians questions about your upbringing or childhood:
They will seek out examples of competitiveness.
Questions about losses of specific games.
Questions about family structure & events?
Holidays, siblings & attachment to local community to gauge how important proximity to home will be.
How many years has he/she put into basketball?
Were they playing with older players at a young age?
They will inquire about the home environment:
What are the demands of that environment?
What daily demands do they have to rise to?
When coaches come to your practice, they are searching to learn more than just your makeup as a player. They come to see how you treat people and how you act in your everyday environment. How do you treat the staff, your teammates and managers? Do you treat everyone the same? Are you genuine? Are you early? Don’t give anyone an opportunity to say something negative about you.
This series will give you an inside look into the college recruiting process from the coaching staffs prospective. Understanding what college coaches are asking themselves, looking for & discussing in recruiting meetings will help your communication lines as the recruiting process unfolds. Part 2 will break down the types of questions college coaches will ask the prospect they are recruiting.
When talking to a prospect, college coaches end up initiating 95% of the conversation. Coaches are going to ask questions that guide these conversations in a direction that is relevant and substantive. Many will hold off to ask tougher questions later in the relationship when some sort of comfort and trust has been established. The best way to reveal the truth is by probing with follow up questions that ask for specifics.
-Coaches understand that prospects are used to talking about themselves. They know it will be revealing if they get you talking outside of yourself:
Tell us about your teammates?
How do you like playing for your coach?
Best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten from a coach?
What do you think about our roster this season? (They want to see if you have done your research to gauge your level of interest)
Who would you look forward to playing with on our team?
What does your ideal program look like? What characteristics does it have?
What coaches do you have the most respect for and why?
What would it mean to you to represent our program?
-Questions they will ask you to learn more about you as an individual:
Describe how you practice? How about when you are alone in the gym?
Who is your hero?
What do you want to accomplish while playing college basketball? (They are seeing if you are you driven by team or individual goals)
What do you do on an off day during the season?
What are your hobbies? (Where does basketball fit into your life)
What do you need to improve on when you come to college? How do you plan on doing that?
Compare your game to a similar player? (This serves as an indicator of how much basketball you watch & how realistic you are about their game)
-Coaches will ask you about specific memories or situations (ones they have seen, heard about or suspect may have occurred). Getting the prospect to talk about memories is a good indication of their core values. It is harder to give generic answers when the recruit is talking about a memory vs. a broader question.
They may ask you about a specific interaction they witnessed when watching a game (with a coach, teammate, ref, etc.)
Ask you about playing with a specific teammate?
What was your mentality heading into that game?
They will ask you about losses or times of adversity.
Ask about playing against a certain player?
What is the most memorable memory you have of playing basketball? (Is the answer about a team accomplishment or an individual one)
What has been the most difficult time during your career so far?
They will put you on the spot by bringing up a past mistake. Does he/she take responsibility or make an excuse?
With your own recruiting timeline take advice from John Wooden: “failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Think deeply and critically about these types of questions so you are best prepared to give thorough and genuine responses. Remember you are always being evaluated with your actions & your words.