Following these basketball fundamentals can lead to tourney wins

Fort Fairfield High School’s Jared Harvey (right) and Piscataquis Community High School’s Cameron Kane scramble for a rebound during a Class C North tourney game last February in Bangor. Tourney games tip off this week. Gabor Degre | BDN

With high school basketball prelims and tournaments tipping off this week, there are several things coaches and players can do to be more successful.

These are fundamental things that take little athletic skill and just the mental discipline to do. At times, I see these things not done at all levels of basketball from middle school through the NBA.

It amazes me coaches allow players to violate these fundamental skills that would really improve their play.

How many times do we see a defensive player guarding a player with the ball having their right hand up when the shooter is right-handed? It should be left hand on a right-handed shooter and right hand up for a lefty shooter. This can make quite a difference in not allowing shooters to get a clearer look at the basket.

How many times do you see a defender try to block a shot before the ball leaves a shooter’s hand and gets called for foul?

How many players guarding a player with the ball leave their feet before the shooter leaves their feet? This leaves the defender airborne and useless as the player they were guarding is still on the floor and can shoot, pass, dribble or draw a foul as the defender comes back to the floor.

How many 3-point shooters fake a three to get the close-out defender in the air? That can lead to a foul or leave the 3-point shooter an open shot or lane to the basket.

Conversely, one of the worst decisions a player with the ball can make is to leave their feet and not shoot the ball as it leads to many turnovers or poor shots.

Some coaches have their teams overuse the 3-point shot but can improve the 3-point percentages.

First, coaches need to know what their team’s percentage of field goal attempts are 3-point attempts. Then, coaches need to know what method is the most successful to get and make 3-pointers.

This can be done by charting 3-pointers attempted by each player, how they got the shot and if they made the shot.

Higher percentage methods are passes to stationary 3-point shooters who are already squared and facing the basket before receiving the pass. Those most effective are: a perimeter pass, a dribble penetration kick-out pass, a ball-reversal pass, a transition perimeter pass, and a pass to the block and then a kick-out pass.

Lower percentage methods for 3-point attempts result when a player is not stationary and doesn’t get squared to the basket before receiving a pass. Those attempts occur on: 1-on-1 off the dribble, transition off the dribble, a shooter cuts off screens in the lane, a screen to a shooter with the ball, and a shooter fakes a screen roll and loops back for a 3-pointer.

The higher percentage methods will have a shooter stationary, squared, and facing the basket with his hands in the shooting position while the lower percentage ways will have a shooter moving to get to a stationary position or shooting off the dribble, not getting squared to the basket and rushing the 3-pointer.

Coaches can chart the percentages by putting a player’s number in a correct column of how the shot occurred and circle the number if the player makes the shot and an uncircled number for a missed shot. This is easier to chart off game tapes because you can replay the tape to see how the shot occurred, who took the shot and who made or missed it.

When watching some of the upcoming prelim and tourney games, take time to determine what players and coaches are following some of these fundamentals. Those who are doing so are more likely to end up in the win column.