Sunday, March 25, 2012

More Coaching Tidbits From the Minnesota State Tournament

The 100th Minnesota State Tournament will go down as one of the better ones of all time. There were some things to complain about of course - such as games starting over an hour late and high ticket prices, but there was nothing to complain about when it came to the performances on the floor. The coaches, officials, and players were all outstanding!

Coaching wise we saw everything from very uptempo teams scoring in the 80s to a game with two grind out out teams that ended 33-31. Almost every game was competitive, including at least three that ended with buzzer beaters! This was definitely a tournament for the ages. Below are several coaching related items that I thought would be helpful, enjoy.





Southwest Christian BLOB Set
I have always been a fan of simple yet effective. This SLOB set by Southwest Minnesota Christian High School illustrates the simple yet effective theme. In their 1-4 low SLOB sets the backside post usually popped high. In this one, the backside post took 2 steps high and just cut hard to the rim for the layup. The ballside block posted hard to engage his man and the backside ended up with an easy lay up.
Love the fact it's a simple counter that you can put into almost any BLOB set you have - look like you are going to do what you've always done, then break off to the rim.

Minneapolis Washburn 1-4 High Set
The main reason I like this set is the variety of looks that you can get out of this 1-4 high quick hitter. The point guard dribbles at the wing who backcuts to the rim to start the set. The cutting wing then sets the back/cross screen in the middle of the paint for the opposite high post who cuts ballside block and posts (always a good look). As he sets the back/cross screen the ballside post sets a downscreen for him and he pops up to the top for a shot.



Mountain Lake-Butterfield-Odin 1-4 High Post Set
This set caught my attention because it is a kind of misdirection play that can be very effective - especially in a late game. It is similar to what White Bear Lake ran this year to upset Tartan in the playoffs. It's designed to get the ball inside to your stud post player. 

The offense starts in a 1-4 high look. The point guard takes the ball off a high screen and roll with the right side high post (not who you want to score). The wing being dribbled at back cuts to just before the block (unless he is wide open). If the backdoor isn't there the point guard takes the ball back off a re-screen by the same high post. The wing pops back up. As this is happening the backside high post cuts hard to the rim and posts across the front of the rim. The guard throws the ball inside for the big guy. The play worked really well for MLBO when the big guy sold it, looked uninterested, and waited until his defender started to ball watch before he cut.

Hopkins Offensive Start
Hopkins had one of the best point guards in the state this year and runs great motion offense. During the tournament it looked as if they were starting their motion offense in the alignment shown below:
It appeared that they used a staggered 4-Out look to start the offense. They started by putting the point guard at the top and opening up the floor on the point's dominant hand side. They put a shooter on the dominant side corner, post on the opposite side block, and spaced the other players on the weak hand side. This starting look gives the point a chance to initially penetrate and kick to start the offense - a good look when your best player is your point guard. I like this better than starting with a high pick and roll but needs to be a look you have only if you trust your point guard to recognize when to give it up.


DeLaSalle Warm-Ups
Every time I watch the Islander's warm up I am blown away. The concept is simple but every team needs to do it. DeLaSalle uses breakdown drills from their offense as their warm up drills and they use both sides of the basket. This creates constant movement where all players are engaged in game like activities. For example they might have players on the point with a ball and players on the wings. Point dribbles at the wing, wing back cuts, feed for a lay-up. Then they transition to wings and posts where the wings post feed, relocate, kick out shot. They continue like this for the entire warm up, breaking down their offense.

A lot of teams use layup lines where 90% of the players are simply standing around and walking through the lines (including me at times). When you watch DeLaSalle however, everyone is in constant motion and working up a good initial sweat and drilling their offensive movements at the same time. This is the way we are warming up next year for sure. I'm going to spend the summer looking at our offense and defense to find what works best for our warm ups.

Braham BLOB Inbounds Look
The Bombers from Braham lived up to their name this year at the tournament hitting from deep time after time. But something they did really effectively to score points inside was look for the over the defense lob on EVERY BLOB play. Before they started to run their set the inbounder





So there you have it, it was a great year in Minnesota Basketball that ended with an equally great finish in the tournament. Now comes the off season - time of reflection, rest, and improvement.

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