Each year after watching the NCAA’s Men’s College “March Madness” knowing that it will lead to next winter’s Maine High School’s “March Madness” of it’s own all through the high school season right thru to the state games for the “basketball purists”.
This is because after watching all these men’s college games on the tube from the regular season thru to the final four, many boys high school coaches, players, parents and fans think that is the way basketball should be played at the boys high school and middle school levels today.
All you have to do to believe this is to watch how most of the boys high school teams play the game today.
What the people who think that this is the way high school boys basketball should be played forget several important things. First, these are outstanding athletic athletes who are recruited to play basketball, who play the game on their athletic ability not their basketball playing basketball skills. THEY ARE NOT WHAT US OLD TIMERS CALL BASKETBALL PLAYERS PLAYING BASKETBALL, Like Magic Johnson-the great assister, Larry Bird-Mr. Hustle, Tim Duncan-The Big Fundamental, Kareem Abdul Jabbar-Mr. Sky Hook, John Stockton-Made Karl Malone an all-star, Steve Nash-made his teammates Better, etc.
These were basketball players with high basketball IQ’s that lead to great basketball decision making. They were at best below average athletes compared to most of there counterparts in the NBA.
The most athletic sports events are track and field. So what track and field events would you put these 6 basketball players playing basketball in.
They didn’t have a lot of foot speed, quickness, strength, vertical jump or explosiveness. Maybe they would be timers and scorers with stop watches and clipboards to help run the events if the meet was for all the top athletes in the NBA (Not basketball Anymore) League.
Most athletes playing basketball play the game from the shoulders down, while basketball players play the game from the shoulders up.
To basketball purists, basketball is a six inch game. 6 inches from a players adam’s apple up to his brain and from 6 inches from his adam’s apple down to his heart and anything below the waist is just athleticism. Basketball players playing basketball play from the shoulders up usually have high basketball IQ’s and make excellent basketball decisions. While the athletes playing the game from the shoulders down usually rely entirely on their athletic skills, have low basketball IQ’s which lead to poor basketball decisions like leading to poor shot selection, turnovers and many needless fouls. It may be entertaining and exciting to watch, but the most of the time not very good solid fundamental basketball.
Basketball players playing basketball think before they act letting the game come to them, they read the court and then they act, while the athletes playing basketball usually just act first taking themselves to the game and then live with the results.
Coaches who try to be “D-1 wanta be coaches” and coach their players this way usually let the players decide who shoots, when they shoot and where they shoot from. This leads to very poor shot selection.
This is proven by the many low scores of games during the regular season and even continuing into post season play. How many games do you see listed in the line scores of the BDN where teams have scored in the 40’s, 30’s 20’s and even a few in the teens?
This is even considering that the game is longer today since 1962 when the clock was and is stopped every time the whistle is blown. Prior to 1962 the clock only stopped on fouls, jump balls and time outs. So comparing scores, many games are not even as high as they were prior to 1962 as the game was and is longer now then it was prior to 1962.
High school coaches who want their teams to attempt to play this athletic game let their players make the basketball decisions and to rely on what athletic basketball skills that they have. Most are not good enough athletes to even to attempt to play this way.
They not only don’t have the needed athletic talent, they don’t have high basketball IQ’s, thus they make many poor basketball decisions like poor shot selection, turnovers and needless fouling. These types of teams shoot way to many 3 point attempts, commit way to many turnovers, commit too many dumb fouls and are not good foul shooting teams.
These type of players being allowed to play this way are not fundamentally strong in many of the offensive and defensive fundamentals especially in their shooting techniques and methods.
Also allowing high school players to try to play by imitating the men’s “March Madness” they see on TV in March also makes it very easy way to coach. Just scrimmage all practice.
However, when teams meet that both play this way, somebody is going to have to win, but it is not going to be pretty.
Playing this way really makes it easy for the coach or supervisor of substitutions to do his job and fun for the players to play the game, entertainment for the parents and fans, but it makes for a very difficult jobs for the officials.
Then many of these players go right into AAU/travel basketball in March thru June, then to high school summer basketball and back into fall AAU/travel basketball were many of them are allowed to play the same way they were allowed to play in high school.
Because this is the style that many of the high school and AAU coaches want to imitate, as do their players, the players parents and their fans they get a 12 month year long dose of this men’s college “March Madness” type of play.
Also, this stye of imitation is even now finding it’s way down to the elementary and middle school levels.
THE FOLLOWING IS MY WAY OF GIVING BACK TO THE GAME THAT HAS GIVEN ME SO MUCH FOR MY ENTIRE LIFE by offering the following things that many athletes in D-1 Men’s March Madness don’t know or don’t do because they just rely on what athleticism they have to play the game.
Here’s some tips that could help to improve the coaching of fundamentals which would improve the play of Maine high school basketball. It’s really nothing more of “BACK TO BASICS’ for coaches and players.
So here are some fundamentals that if coaches insisted today’s players use would improve their games instead of lacking them if they are tying to imitate D-1 athletic players.
Offensive fundamentals that are lacking and that many of the players don’t do at all levels of basketball, but should. I saw all of the offensive DON’TS listed below in the Men’s March Madness Tournament that were done but shouldn’t have been done.
…A. Don’t Leave feet with ball and do not shoot
…B. Don’t look before passing ball to teammate especially on the perimeter
…C. Don’t know time and score
…D. Don’t use the bounce pass on portable floors
…E. Don’t read the court before dribbling, passing or shooting
…A. Don’t They Act before they think
…B. Don’t get enough legs into shot
……1. Don’t square feet on foul shot or shots from floor
……2. Don’t hold hands in shooting position when receiving a pass on perimeter
……3. Don’t hold ball correctly when shooting
……2. Don’t aim at correct shooting target on rim
…C. Don’t know how to post up on block
……1. Don’t know how to seal defender
……2. Don’t know how to signal for where they want the ball
……3. Don’t know how to signal for ball
……4. Don’t know what to do when being denied ball in post
……5. Don’t know what to do when being fronted in post
……6. Don’t know how to not foul when being fronted
…D. Don’t box out their man on defensive rebounds
……1. Don’t find man as soon as shot is taken, they just turn immediately to find ball
……2. Don’t use proper technique in blocking out
…E..Don’t When catching the ball turn and face the basket so you can read the court before you act
Defensive fundamentals that are lacking and many of the players at all levels don’t do, but should. I saw all the defensive DON’TS listed below in this years Men’s March Madness Tournament that shouldn’t have been done, but were done.
I…Guarding a player with the ball
……1. Don’t keep Left hand up on right handed shooter vice versa for a left handed shooter
……2. Don’t leave feet before the player you are guarding leaves his feet
……3. Don’t block shot before ball leaves the shooters hands
……4. Don’t Drive dribbler to the middle
……5. Don’t give up baseline dribble drive
II. Guarding a player without the ball
……1. Don’t Keep triangle ball, man you are guarding and you
……2. Don’t Know if you are the next help man on dribble penetration
……3. allow big teammate on block to have to be a help defender
……4. Don’t adjust triangle ball, man and you as ball or your player moves or if both move at the same time
……5. Don’t know where to go if they lose their man when trying to keep the triangle
Here at a few examples of what effected the results of NCAA Women’s semi-final game, the game 7 of the Cleveland-Golden State championship series and what happens many times in games at all levels.
The in the lane 12 foot jump shot that the small 5’3” Mississippi guard William made to win the big upset over Connecticut in the semi-finals of the women’s final four game would probably have been blocked had the defender used the left hand to try to hinder the shot instead of the right hand.
This lack of a basic fundamental of left hand up on right hand shooter and vice versa when guarding the shooting lefty as played the winning part of last seasons NBA championship game in game 7 of the Golden State warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers when Stephen Curry tried t used his right hand to defender Irving’s game deciding 3 pointer at the buzzer.
You see this lack of a basic fundamental violated every game of high school, college or NBA game played this past year. Players use their right hand to defend the shooter when the right handed shooter takes a shot instead if using their left hand. By using the left hand it is at least a foot to a foot and a half longer than using the right hand as the right arm/hand loses it’s length because it is an an angle going across the body to get in position to try to block the shot while the left hand is lengthened because it is straight in the air which puts it much closer to the ball as the shooter release the ball on the shot. It also has a better chance of blocking the shot or at least altering the shot.
If a very simple basic fundamental is broken many times in any game of basketball, is only caused because the defenders have not been taught the basic fundamental of left hand up guarding a right hand shooter and right hand up when guarding a left handed shooter, how many other important fundamentals do the players don’t know because the coach has not taught them at any level of basketball be it middle school right thru the Pros,
Finally how about the strategy that I saw not implemented in the “March Madness”for Men’s games when the defensive team is up 3 points and 7 or under seconds to go in the game, DO NOT FOUL THE PLAYER WITH THE BALL WHO IS DRIBBLING THE BALL?
I have never, ever seen a team lose a game or have the game tied up by fouling in this situation. By fouling the dribbler so that the most he has is 2 foul shots has to do the following things have to happen in order to tie or win a game.
1. Make the first foul shot
2. Miss the second shot intentionally
3. Get the offensive rebound
4. Make a 2 pointer to tie the game or a 3 pointer to win the game.
This happens almost every time a team finds it self in this situation at any level of basketball.
Players need to practice how to foul the layer dribbling the ball. They should try to steal the dribble and if unsuccessful then bump into the dribble on the follow through of the movement to try to steal the ball.
I have never seen a team lose or have the game tied to go into overtime by fouling, but I have seen a lot of games at all levels tied up by getting off a three point shot. Then the team that did not foul eventually lose the game in overtime.
Also, how about a team wasting a timeout when they cannot get the ball in bounds in a throw in because the have to call a time out to avoid the 5 second throw in violation.
Players should be taught and each player should be put in that position to bounce the ball of the defender’s shin and step away to avoid the 5 second throw in violation and wasting a time out.
How about teams not blocking out the foul shooter which allows the shooting team to get the offensive rebounds?
These are just 5 examples of coaches not teaching their players the basic fundamentals that can win or lose a game. If they are not being taught these things how many tings else are they not teaching their players at the middle, high school, college or professional levels and just hoping their players athleticism win the games.
Not knowing the things I listed above that players don’t know because they have not been taught by their coaches and the 5 examples of poor coaching is it any wonder than the NCAA’s March Madness” causes the Maine high school Madness we will all see next basketball season at the games we watch or attend.
To top it all off, the coaches at the D-1 top college team levels and the NBA (Not Basketball Anymore) are making millions of dollars by just being “SUPERVISORS OF SUBSTITUTIONS) as they let their players try to win by using their athleticism skills and not their basketball knowledge IQ’s and skill’s.
My next Blog will be about the Women’s NCAA D-1 basketball’s “BIG DANCE”. This is what players, coaches, parents and fans should be watching if you want to see the way basketball should be played today. The women’s “Big Dance” is not March Madness it is MARCH GLADNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!