Talking with several basketball people this tournament week, a couple asked if I thought high school basketball has changed? And if it has, WHY????
I thought this would be a good topic for today’s column.
In my opinion, Basketball at all levels has changed. Basketball prior to the 70’s was more a game of skill, finesse and like a ballet. Today it is an athletic track meet on a wooden basketball court
Why has it changed? Today the players are more athletic, bigger, stronger and quicker and they rely on their athletic skills more than they do their basketball skills at all levels.
This is because of Television showing D1 and the NBA (Not Basketball Anymore) games which have great athletes playing basketball, not great basketball players playing basketball.
Because many parents, fans, coaches, officials and players see the game as it is played on TV, many think that is the way the game should be played at any level
Well that is ok if you have the athletes to play that way. In Maine we do not have the athletes to play that way and when they try to imitate what they see on TV then you get what you have today. Poor shooting percentages because of poor shot selection and shooting techniques, increased turnovers, poor decison making skills and relying on your body not your brain to get you by.
I have always thought that basketball was a 6 inch game..Six inches from your throat to your brain and 6 inches down from your throat to your heart. Anything below your heart was athletic.
Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were not great athletes, in fact, if they took an athletic skills test they would have been in the bottom 10% of the NBA when they were playing. But they were great basketball players playing basketball. What events would you have put them in a Track Meet??????
They were the premier players in the NBA and College D1 when they were playing, and their teams dominated the NBA and Magic’s Michigan State Team was outstanding as was Larry’s Indiana State..
They were basketball players, not athletes and they played the game from the shoulders up not the shoulders down. They read the court before they did anything physically.
They actually made their teammates much better with their cerebal play. Their teammates caught on and understood that it takes more the physical talent to be a great basketball player playing on a great basketball team..
Michael Jordan was an incomplete athletic player until he put Magic’s and Larry’s Cerebral Game together with his great athletic skill, competitiveness and desire to become the best player of all time. A complete player using his brain and body together
Basketball players playing basketball will beat athletes playing basketball at many levels if they use their brains first and their bodies second.
Examples, look at last years NBA Championship Series between the Heat and the Mavericks. The Heat had great athletes in James, Wade and company and the Mavericks had basketball players in Novitiski, Kidd and who won the NBA CHampionship.
In the NCAA who made it to the final four finals two consecutive years? The non athletic Butler Bulldogs who nearly upset athletic Duke 2 years ago and athletic Connecticut last year.
Basketball was orignally designed to be a game of skill and finesse.
Where skill and talent counted, not raw athleticism. However, todays game has changed and the game has become more physical and athletic, but the coaches at all levels who stick to coaching fundamental basketball, teaching how to make good basketball decisions, team play, good shot selection, team defense and rely on their players basketball skills, not their athletic skills are usually successful, especially at the high school level. But they are few and far between.
It is easier to turn the athletes loose then to really teach and coach the game. This has filterated down to the high school game where here in Maine we do not have the athletes to play that athletic game and when they try to play that way, then you have what you have today.
If Maine had great athletes they would be getting it’s D1 scholarships
High school teams of the past would beat the teams of today because it would be basketball players playing basketball, not players trying to play athletic basketball when they do not have those skills.
Also, the basketball decision making is no where near as good today as it was in the past, because players really knew and understood how the game was designed to be played.
Why is it more European basketball players are coming to the D1 schools on scholarships and some being drafted into the NBA? It is because of their basketball skills not their athletic skills? The old time college coaches who went abroad to teach the game of fundamentals and how the game was played is what the Europeans learned and now still teach today.
They are fundamentally sound basketball players with excellent basketball skills, great basketball decsion making skills and they stand out like a sore thumb in the NBA or D1 Games.
Another good example was when the USA used college players and some Pros in the Olympics, we had to go to NBA All-Star Teams in order to win the Olympics against all those foreign born payers from all over the world.
Rule changes have also changed the game in D1 andi in the NBA to a game of 3 point shooting and dunks. We see alot of threes tried and a few dunks and a few missed dunks at the tourney. Remember, these are the best teams that made the final 8 in each class.
Not taking advantage of a teams own strengths has actually almost made a legitimate low block back to the basket post player extinct.
Who was the last real dominant high school back to the basket low block post player who dominated his class in Maine??????
Oh, for the good olde days.
If you have a suggestion for a subject for the column, please e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Aklso, alot of Posts on My Blogs this Week because of the Tourney. Go to bangordailynews.com and look for sports Blogs.