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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Identity problems ? Not for the Orange !

Having an identity… As a person, as a team and as a basketball coach. For some, having an identity, your own philosophy, is one of the most important thing in the game today. Basketball is a fast game, full of opportunities. At some point, during a basketball game, you will have to make a choice, to take decisions; as a player, and, certainly, as a coach… That is where your philosophy comes into play. Before practice, during the team meeting, those key words you repeat and repeat again, rely on your game philosophy. During the game, when you get pissed off, and you feel like your heart is going to explode... That often means somebody on the team didn’t stick to your plan that relies on your philosophy.

Every Championship-Winning College teams had a clean and clear identity… Every year. When everyone knows what the coach is clearly asking for, it is easier for the players to get together and work as a team. In clinics, every great coach tells other coaches to be their-selves, not anybody else. You can’t steal identities. Personally, I would rather pay to go watch two average clearly-defined IVY-League teams compete against each other, then any NBA game (Okay, let’s say regular season games…). Watching teams that seem lost on the court, getting yelled on by a coach that wants everything, but doesn’t want to give up anything, really pisses me off. Thank God, I got to see the 2003 NCAA Championship game. You remember now? I’ll give you a clue: Orange. Still didn’t find out? Here’s another one: 40 minutes zone defense. Well, if you are still searching, we forgive you anyways, but you got to watch the Syracuse Orangemen play defense! That’s right, the 2003 Championship was opposing two strongly defined teams, in Syracuse and Kansas. The game was not even started, that I hoped Syracuse would win, and I wasn’t even a big fan of the Orangemen.

The Boeheim’ squad played extremely well on the offensive end. Yes coaches, it was NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony first and last college year, but Syracuse did win with beautiful team play. With Gerry McNamara, one of nation’s best shooting-guard, Syracuse had a strong back-court. Evidently, the Orangemen played zone defense, according to Coach Jim Boeheim’s philosophy. However, I do think that Kansas got too many points in the paint. Even though the Jayhawks had good perimeter players and great bigs, Syracuse got lucky that Kansas didn’t shoot over 40% from the free-throw line, one of the worst championship-game foul-shooting percentages ever. Even though I blame the Orangemen defense, maybe I should look on the other side and admire Kansas’ zone offense. One of the better words to describe the way they got all these looks is: SIMPLE. The Jayhawks did put on a clinic on zone offense, against one of the best zone teams in the country. Now you tell me Kansas had two 6’11 big man, with greats hands and good feet, and taking example on them wouldn’t be fair. Wrong answer. You don’t need 7-footers to run simple and efficient Kansas zone offense, because you probably don’t have 7-footers defenders in your league. If so, please send me an e-mail and I would be glad to go watch your games! With a few quick-hitters, clever passing and player movement, Kansas was 4 points away from a Championship, falling to Syracuse in a 81-78 loss.
Here is one of Syracuse quick-hitting play :

Coach Morrow

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