LAUREN HILL 22
What have I learned from Lauren Hill?
The game of basketball is a backdrop to a more important message. However isn’t that what basketball is supposed to be for those that play?
Here are few things Lauren Hill shared and I gleaned in the moments I had with her:
Speak for those that can’t speak for themselves. Help those that can’t help themselves. She knew she was the voice for the DIPG Cancer patients that were young, elementary school age children that didn’t understand what was happening to them or couldn’t communicate. She was the voice, the face, the body for those in need to raise awareness of a terrible, incurable disease.
Live in the moment and live where your feet and seat are planted. How often do we worry about things not in our control? I worry too often. It reminded me of a saying by Coach Kay Yow: worry and worship cannot co-exist. Lauren gave me clarity in the moment. It is important to be with and surround yourself with people that lift you.
Find a blessing in everything and everybody. Lauren died of an incurable brain cancer. Yet, she felt blessed to find the strength to fight and give hope to other families and caregivers that continue to fight. She led by example. In dying, she made the most of her time living.
Crying is ok. We all have moments. Perk up and don’t stay down too long. You may be needed for the next task.
She’s not an object of inspiration, she is just Lauren. She led her way. Lauren was motivated, goal driven, passionate about making a difference and she fought like hell to make this earth better for someone else. She gave her body and mind to science. Lauren had unique and special qualities. God decided she was strong enough to teach others. She was chosen for something she did right, not something she did wrong. She left an unforgettable vision.
Finish the task. Set a goal and see if thru. That’s what Lauren decided to do. Score in a college basketball game, raise $1Million and raise awareness about DIPG.
She didn’t admire any particular basketball player or athlete. There was no star power from any athlete that she told me. Lauren enjoyed every game. Lauren played without looking at the scoreboard and told me after many high school games, she didn’t know the score, only the outcome because she loved to compete.
Help others who are battling. Make a difference for another human being.
Start a change. If you are passionate and driven, be the change. If one vote matters, so does one change.
It is ok to help someone’s dream come true. If you can help, serve the cause.
Why me? We all have challenges to face, obstacles to tackle. I’m not asking this question anymore. I have learned to say thank you for the many blessings I have been given. My Grandmother always said, “If you throw your troubles in a hat, you better hope you pick your own back out.” True.
Lauren Hill is my definition of Amazing Grace . . . amazing in her bravery, fortitude, spirit. During the telecast on November 2, 2014, I found myself mesmerized by her smile, her fight, her selflessness. So young, so wise.
I started my season at Xavier University in Cincinnati on Nov 2, 2014 due to the urging of my friend, Brad Johansen. He asked me to come and help with this cause. By the way, there was a game attached to it. I felt compelled and pulled by Lauren, her family, her story and how much my friend Brad was invested. It was the most difficult game I have ever called. It wasn’t about basketball. The game was the backdrop for Lauren’s message. Help, serve, be a conduit to making someone else’s life better. Throughout the season, I was aware of her accomplishments. The fund raising goal being met and exceeded, playing and scoring in other games, being awarded an honorary doctorate degree etc. . . but the moments of wow, amazing, incredible never left my soul. Lauren will always be a part of my world.
I ended my season in Tampa, April 7, 2015 on the call of the National Championship game. In the first half, I received a text from Lisa, Lauren’s mother letting me know the smile was on her face as she listened to the call on radio from her hospital room. 3 days later on April 10, 2015, she died. I will be forever empowered by her selfless, courageous gifts . . . giving spirit and an everlasting moment in a game of basketball that meant so much to Lauren . . . and meant so much to me.
My take on UCONN/ND
After watching UCONN 3 days in the Gulf Coast Showcase in Naples, here’s my take:
1. Stewart still toughest matchup in country
Nothing has changed even though Stewart didn’t make the All-Tournament team in the Gulf Coast Showcase. UCONN found some balance, leadership and toughness outside of Stewart in this event. If Stewart feels physical play on the inside, she can move her offensive game to the perimeter. She can work outside-in early in game with jump shots to set up diving/slashing to the rim. This strategy might remove the double teaming clutter near the block and give Stewart a chance to play one on one outside which is a tough matchup.
2. Zone, gap man and extended pressure Defense
Coach Auriemma is clever at disguising deficiencies on the defensive end connecting his team-defense; zone or man. This year is more challenging because some teams can match UCONN’s size and speed. Last year, Stephanie Dolson at 6’5 needed to be guarded with a post player on defense. Stewart rarely found a match to her size on either end. No team had 2 unique bigs like this frontcourt tandem. This season, UCONN plays smaller. Teams can spread them out opening up the court and taking them off the bounce in certain individual matchups. Some UCONN players lack foot speed or lateral to keep offensive players in front. Extending UCONN’s defensive pressure takes time off shot clock and forces opponents deeper into their offensive options. UCONN efforts to take-away offensive option 1 and 2. Not many teams can go to or get to option 3.
3. KML is the best shooter in the country
Over 40 minutes this will happen. She will shake free in transition for 3, they reverse the ball multiple times per possession and consistently find her from 3, they will penetrate and pitch for 3. She is going to make 3s. Finding, chasing, defending KML 40 minutes is tough.
1. Jewel Loyd greatest combo athleticism/skill in women’s basketball.
If women had a WNBA combine that measured athleticism like the NBA or NFL, Loyd would be listed as an athletic freak in a combo of sprints, bench and agilities. (I see you Courtney William, JR at USF with your 51 inch box jump and your jumper off the curl). Game planning for Loyd must be creative, deceptive, ever-changing because she is complete, mature and ready for big game responsibility with her skill, athleticism and experience. Limiting Loyd’s touches in scoring areas will be important management for UCONN. Loyd’s staying aggressive in attacking rim might be unguardable.
2. ND Freshman
Brionna Turner? Kathryn Westbeld? Mychal Johnson? Won’t take long to “awaken the senses” of the rivalry for the ND freshman. If Turner plays, her length could cause problems at both ends. If no Turner, that’s one less defender on Stewart, one less rebounder at both rims. The freshman will grow up quickly in this one because they factor in the rotation.
3. Close game prep
Situational offense/special situation scoring needed. Scoring on baseline-out-of-bounds plays, off timeouts and late game execution important. Michigan State played ND to an 8pt game but ND was in foul trouble. If UCONN gets into the ND depth, it might mean trouble for ND.
If you are reading, you are interested in the rivalry of these programs. This game has become a showcase for high level playmaking and the best in college basketball. The rivalry between Geno and Muffet is a storyline. However, this game is about 40 efficient minutes and game adjustments. I’m focusing on the matchups, the strategies, the preparation, film study and the competition.
Bottom line: Play making that leads to shot making will determine outcome. The team that shot-makes and care-takes will dictate their defensive tempo and win the game.
Most know I love offense. I’ve documented and delivered on several platforms for years my love for scoring. Sure, I care about defense. However I believe a good offensive player will beat a good defensive player 9 out of 10 times. I’m not a traveling salesman (or am I) when it comes to promoting the game. However, I have a list of offensive topics I will sell at any time! I created the “Offensive Incentive Plan” (got one Div I school buy-in and 2nd to agree to add principals to contract) and authored the “4 Ps of Basketball Economics: Product, Price, Promotion and Place” I carved out my “State of the Union” as Madame Resident (because I live in the game like you) at halftime of a CBS game in Georgetown the same night President Obama was delivering his a few blocks away. While you won’t find me published on the New York Times Best Seller list, it’s fair to say coming up with ideas to be a part of the solution and not just complaining about the issues invest me in our game.
I created one other offensive platform, the “100 Shot Challenge”. Tired of watching players not work on their game, miss open shots and spend more time in the weight room than shooting the ball left me pondering. How can I help provide a solution for players to become better shooters?
First 100 shot challenge started July 2013 when I challenged myself to make 100 15 footers every day in July. I set out to make 100 shots each day and test this muscle memory notion I learned from Austin and George Lehman as a Kay Yow Camper decades ago. I commitment to the task and wanted to inspire others to do the same to help our game. I gave little inspiration but received more from coaches around the country that loved the challenge/incentive and the reasons I took my game to my driveway.
This July 2014, I added an element of time to the “100 shot challenge.” I also wore a different college shirt to shoot my shots and issued direct challenge to that team. How fast could I make 100 15 footers between the elbows, 1 ball, 1 rebounder? How would my time stack up against the best college players? If I recorded a good time, would it motivate or humiliate because of my experience (I played before all of them were born). I had to go 2-a-days to keep up with the shirts I received in the mail from coaches that wanted their teams included. Fun right?
Muscle memory is real but I already knew that. I put in my time “back in the day” into proper technique and practice. I charted a time. On July 7, 2014 with my husband Frank on the stopwatch and former NC State player Marissa Kastanek as my rebounder, I made 100 of 104 in 5:32. That’s not embarrassing! I made the first 35 in a row before missing. July 1st I picked up the ball for the first time in months and renewed this challenge. 7 days later I recorded a respectable time. Katie McCormick, Georgetown (5:07) Kari Korver at UCLA (5:15) and Morgan Eye at Missouri (5:30) beat my time. Princeton had 3 players come in under 6 minutes! I was relieved someone beat my time as the times that were coming in were over 7 minutes. Shooting is the most important fundamental. Where are the shooters? Why don’t we have more shooters in this great game?
Should players be inspired by my time? What’s in question and what am I missing? Is it their shooting form, rebounder, footwork or is it something completely missing in their work ethic, their drive, their focus? It was a simple challenge. It wasn’t a conditioning or a strength test but it measured the most important skill in our game, shooting! Shooting leads to scoring. Do we expect our game to grow, draw fans and media if we don’t become better offensive players?
Is shooting the ball the solution? YES! PRACTICE!
I spent 8 years at Kentucky and Ohio State as the Director of Marketing with responsibility for promoting women’s basketball at both. What hasn’t changed in 3 decades is the need to market and grow the game. If we want to grow the game by attendance, we must grow the product. We want packed gyms. How do we achieve? If you go to my 4 Ps of Basketball Economics, the answer to this marketing and economic crossroads is the PRODUCT. Our PRODUCT will grow and get better when we commit to PRACTICE and becoming better offensive players. Better shooters lead to better scorers, more excitement in the game, more fans. I’m not interested in a fancy promotion, ticket price or best practices. How you are rewarding the fans with the product? Product comes first. Consumers will pay if they like the product, style of play and personalities of the players. I want a dramatic shift in our game. Limit the time in the weight room and switch the hours to the court so we can call more players shooters. Make the game more offensive and less physical. On television, remove the stats and highlights at halftime and pre-produce features on coaches and players highlighting IQ, personalities and intensity in the game. Incentivize the coaches for offense not academics!
Side bar: I find it interesting we are following FIBA in the way our game is structured. I thought USA invented basketball with Dr. Naismith’s 13 rules of play. We often discuss the “European Players or the European way to play” as the style that references those players as skilled in passing, shooting, facing up no matter their size. How did our rule book get so large? We are quick to blame the refs but there are some officials that work harder than some coaches and players at their craft. Let’s make sure we continue to get the unnecessary physical out of our game.
Have we reached the tipping point and its UCONN and no one else? Will someone challenge Geno to keep the season interesting? You have to score with UCONN to beat them. You have to make shots. I challenge players to shoot game shots at game speed. You can make a difference in your own game and your teams results. Be part of the solution by getting in the gym and working on your offensive game. PLEASE PRACTICE!
I hope 100 players beat my time next summer. No reason why they shouldn’t!
2014 WNBA Draft Prospect List
Listed in order of who will be a good professional player, not by draft order. Each player has a few bullet point on their skills set and why they will be good picks and professionals in the WNBA.
1. Odyssey Sims:
Tenacious on-ball defender who can guard both guard position, best prepared in 2 man, can score and defend from 2 perimeter positions, going to be a terrific pro
2. Chiney Oguwmike:
Long, athletic, offensive rebounder, can score 1on1 on block, excellent in the pinch and better earlier than sister in the pinch, runs floor ahead of the ball, not good yet with trail 3 but will be a more balanced offensive player over time
3. Kayla McBride:
Can shoot it, create own shot, strong to rim off the bounce, smart, finisher in transition, strong core for working off screening action, beautiful stroke with the athleticism to get open
4. Alyssa Thomas:
Versatile yet needs most work on range and handle in top 5, the most powerful player in the game when defensive rebounds because of her finishing ability at other rim, has managed 2man and ready, but defending 2man issue, will have to guard 3-4, highly athletic, great attitude and will work to be a great pro
5. Stephanie Dolson:
6’5 pass and handle, score on block left and right, runs floor well compared to other 5s in wnba, can defend in a more physical style in pros than college, can shoot trail 3 and will take more trail 3s in W.
6. Markeisha Gatling:
Surprised to have her here but trust more than Howard due to strength, will become a bigger Erlana Larkins over time, will work and upside may be best in the draft besides Schimmel, strong, plays game low to high, seals and posts deep, runs, can defend with size, great hands, work ethic will need to be challenged at first but will be a good pro over time
7. Natasha Howard
Long, athletic, not demanding or as confident as should be in calling for ball on the block, runs best of all post players in draft, will defend and rebound; in space and the way game is officiated with the 3 second rule on defense, she will score in 1on1, think her Bball IQ is better than being advertised and will work her butt off to be a great pro
8. Bria Hartley
Senior numbers better than soph or junior which speaks to improvement, play 1 or 2, score from 3 pt line to rim, can defend 1 or 2, can score and handle in transition, solid not flashy game, if surrounded by same talent in W as in college will succeed
9. Shoni Schimmel:
Most upside in draft due to scoring/shooting ability yet hasn’t transformed her body into a pro yet, so if gets in better shape, will be an excellent steal in draft. Fearless on offense, razzle of the W will excite her and fans, coaching her will require some patience for her love for the flair of the game but in the right situation, could be a solid contributor on a roster.
10. Meighan Simmons
Some will worry about offensive discipline but I don’t at this level because your job/W2 at risk; explosive, speed, ball quicks, she has it. . .self-discipline to work, good teammate, will be good on ball defender 1 or 2s, 2000+ pts in college at Tenn is impressive
Next picks from teams patient til 2015 but for Pro potential, worth drafting if in position to take a chance and/or wait:
11. Natalie Achonwa:
Athletic, international toughness, handle, passer, scorer from low block, smart and will handle a high level scouting report, trail 3 potential in W,
12. Chelsea Gray
Chancy if can come back from injuries and have quality of life, might be a blessing that injury will allow her to heal body, go overseas, get some reps in a different style of play, big guard, good defender at top of defense but can defend shooter off 4 or 5 screens in one possession? Shooting improved over career, reads 2 man well now and emerging
Next 3 players are similar and offer same questions on the defensive end. We know they can score: Which one of these 3 will be the better pro?
13. Jordan Hooper
Size and three point shooting ability from perimeter, good footwork for shooter with 6’2 frame, offensively a 3, defensively a 4,
14. Tricia Liston
Big guard, shooter with range, 4 year improvement off the bounce vs small and quick: or big and slow defenders, smart defender, run her to the corners in horns/transition and space the floor, quick trigger
15. Maggie Lucas
Better overall offensive player than given credit because has evolved game for W, good at free throw line, works off screening action, quick trigger, need to get stronger to shake off quicker defenders
3 steals of the draft:
16. Ty Marshall
Mid range jumper that is a killer, scored over 2000 pts in college with only making 20 3s and 61 ft%. . mid range. . . similar to Hightower in size and athleticism, strong defender, pro body for a guard, not a 3 pt threat but excellent off the bounce. . . young Zellous. . .
17. Tiffany Bias
Point guard that defends and can run a team, love her work ethic and desire to be good, will develop quickly in pro style which is not what played in college, good decision maker in transition
18. Asia Taylor
6’1, long and athletic, 3 pt range, guards multiple players from 1-4, toughness, pro ready body, 3 pt range excellent
Bottom of the draft can get a good player because you can get a specialist to fill a void:
19. Kody Burke
Investment in future,6’3 frame, 3 pt range, trail 3, excellent student of game and hard worker, worth the investment in developing and holding her rights as she will continue to trend upwards
20. Keena Mays, SMU
Can play 2 man, shoot 3, undersized but tough, transferred from Kansas to SMU, under radar, small but good ball quicks, sees floor in transition and can play 1or2.
21. Aysa Bussie
Tough on inside, shot blocker and post player that can run, if this was NBA and she was 7 footer, would go higher because of value on bigs that run, set screens, defend post and because the NBA has more skilled players that can score
22. Aaron Ellenberg
Shooter, small, will have to be able to play 1and2 in pros, not as many scoring points in W as needed, could be good “get” if needed back up combo
23. Ebony Rowe
Undersized scorer like a Willingham, tough on glass, limited face up but potential, defends 3-5, athletic around rim,
24. DaNesha Stallworth
Tough in the paint, limited range to 3pt line, excellent strength in traffic to play thru contact, defends 3-5 and will defend 2 man game if switch, trap, hedge, ice, under, over necessary. . .only 6 ways to defend a ball screen. . .
25. Jamerria Faulkner
Led nation in assist, quick and up tempo, emerging 3 pt range consistently, can make decisions quickly
26. Kayla Thornton
6’1, long and athletic, witnessed transformation from soft to playing tough like her body would lead you to believe, pro body, score from rim to 3pt line, improved each year
That’s the first and second rounds of the draft. Other players draft potential in third round? How many 3rd round picks make a roster?
Dara Taylor, Samarie Walker, Christina Foggie, Jasmine Lister, Jaterra Bond, Kirby Burkholder, Haley Peters, Bria Kulas, Hamsen, Jessica Kuster not familiar with international players
I love offense and care about our game. Not “hot off the press” to those who know me and my passion for the game, follow me on twitter (@debbieantonelli) or read this column. To grow and develop our game, I believe strongly in developing and improving the PRODUCT (4 Ps of Basketball Economics Coaching Women’s Basketball May 2013). For 31 days in July, I MADE 100 15 footers every day. It didn’t take me long with muscle memory and all. I mean, I’m a shooter and I know how to shoot the ball. I’m not trying to brag but it’s my scouting report and a fact. I teach the proper way to shoot the ball to young players still. I learned how to shoot the ball in camp, a version of summer basketball that is quite different than the summer travel ball for today’s coaches and players.
I knocked out my shots in 10-14 minutes. On most days, no rebounder. I actually had to chase a few missed shots on my own, without a personal basketball trainer or access to “The Gun”. Who does that anymore? Sometimes I employed my portable toss back, my old friend that usually gives me a good pass back. It actually fits in the back of my car. Occasionally I drove to a park and set up my toss back to rebound and save time. This toss back has been a loyal and trusty friend since the day I “escorted” it out of Reynolds Coliseum at NC State never to return it (stealing).
The reason I chose the 100 shots a day challenge in the heat and humidity of summer in the south, not in an air conditioned gym, was because I can, wanted to prove I could and wanted to be a part of the solution in our game. We need more shooters. Bad shooters are always open. We need offensive minded players and coaches. AND, we need to enforce the rules to protect the shooter and open up the game so we can have more scoring. If I could find the time to make 100 shots every day in July, why aren’t the current players making 500 a day. I don’t know any college players that have the amount of responsibility I have with 3 kids, a mortgage, bills, a full time career etc. I bet Lin Dunn and Kelly Krauskopf would sign me to a 7 day contract (NOT) with all the injuries Indiana has suffered this WNBA season if all I had to do was stand in the corner and shoot, occasionally running the wing to create space (we know I don’t play D). I already have a Fever jersey with my name and number on it!!
What will it take to get players more efficient in the mid-range game, pull up and hit a shot in transition, use the backboard, make open shots, finish in the paint? One team out of 343 Division I teams shot 50% from the floor. That stinks! I already proposed an offensive incentive plan in the previously mentioned article (CWB May 2013 with Geno on the cover). A derivative of that incentive was included in Val Ackerman’s “White Paper”. Check this out! I talked a mid-major athletics department into putting offensive incentives in their coaches’ contract. That’s right, spoke to the lawyer who spoke to the AD and the President. They are on the cutting edge with incentivizing their head coach in Men’s Basketball! Wake up people and see the game for its true offensive merit. We have a great game but we need to move it forward. No one wants to see women bump and bang in the post, miss wide open lay ups, beat each other up off the ball. If you watched @ESPN #nineforIX series #branded, you saw why. We need to practice offensive fundamentals including the hardest skill to teach and learn, SHOOTING!
We need a commitment to become better offensive players and teachers. A scorer who can make plays in a tight space, catch and shoot, make plays off the bounce, create separation will always beat a good defender and score. It’s a fact! Teams that play with offensive discipline, take shots they practice and pass the ball to uncontested jump shooters (like UCONN) win. It’s a fact!
It was amazing to me, at my age, not picking up a ball every day, how quickly I was able to get into a shooters rhythm. Reasons why: muscle memory, technique and 3 boys with a hoop for 18 years in the driveway. I learned to shoot the ball at summer camp many decades ago. Shooting the ball is like “riding a bike” cliché for a skill you never lose. I didn’t play AAU because we didn’t have the option. I went to camp and learned fundamentals on offense, the shell drill and how to jump to the ball on defense and played against good competition because other kids like me were there for the same reasons. I learned how to set and use screens, how to create separation with the ball, how to play without the ball. In the 80s, the game wasn’t this fast but it was highly skilled, just check out the players already inducted into the @WBHOF. We played a 2-1-2 zone, not a match up and played M2M. We played with the 29.5’ball and the 28.5’ because research showed it would help us shoot better and reduce turnovers (not sure the ball is the issue today).
When the strength and conditioning coach gets more time with the players than the basketball skill development coach we might have a problem. I conditioned on my own as a player. I ran outside on the road or track and lifted weights. There wasn’t cross training, plyometrics, body sculpting, whatever. We didn’t even get in the pool because some of my teammates couldn’t swim (had to pass beginning swimming to graduate from NC STATE fyi ha). I also played 3 sports in high school in their traditional seasons. Volleyball in the Fall, basketball in the Winter and softball in the Spring. That was my cross training! I didn’t have a personal trainer, basketball shot coach or nutritionist. AND, I didn’t have to decide at 11 years old which sport I was going to specialize in! Ridiculous!! Makes me mad! As a parent of an 11 year old soccer/golf/basketball player I will not allow my son to succumb to peer pressure and choose now. I had offers to play all 3 sports in college and I loved playing those sports.
We are quick to blame entitlement and lack of accountability on our players yet we want to pay a stipend for scholarship players’ extra spending money instead of encouraging them to get a job in the off season which will help their resume in future employment pursuits. We want to blame our society for technological advances that affect our interpersonal communication. Conflict, disappointment and adversity still exist in the vocab but the remedies/solutions aren’t the same? Discipline, hard work and commitment will never become “old school” terms for our game or society to remain on top of the food chain. I hear winning coaches say it’s hard to stay at the top. When does discipline, hard work and commitment get easy? Not any stage of my life yet. Not if you are a competitor.
So the 100 MADE 15 footer shot challenge allowed me to accomplished personal goals and find an occasional “celebrity rebounder” (@catchin24, Tamika Catchings). The intangibles that drive me haven’t changed. If you want to make a difference, make a change. Doug Bruno, head coach at DePaul and his “ONE CHANGE” mission statement makes it seem simple because there is one thing each of us can do as players and coaches. Players practice and Coaches teach and officials officiate the rules the way they are written.
I LOVE OFFENSE. Love a shooter who can tickle the twine, get in the zone, strip the nets.
Love a scorer who can read the two man game, finish a backdoor, shoot the
transition 3. A player equipped with a complete skill set can score against ANY DEFENSE!
The offensive state of our game is good but could be better. Stick with me as I
apply a basic economic theory to our game. This theory is called the 4 Ps;
product, price, promotion and place. If your product isn’t good, no one is going to buy it no matter the price, promotion or how it is positioned on the shelf. Let’s spend time on the product and find a way to make offense the rule. Statistics showed this year that scoring was down and fouls were less. The Division I NCAA women’s tournament is 89 of 89 championships in terms of revenue? We need a fix. I’m concentrating on the product in this article.
Coaches share similar concerns across the landscape. You may hear these issues in anybody’s
- Summer team travel basketball has ruined our
- Players don’t go in the gym on their own to work on shooting
anymore (keep in mind every major BCS school has a practice gym separate
from the men)
officials are inconsistent.
However, if these concerns vanished, would players have spent enough time working to showcase scoring when the court opens up. I’m launching a challenge to the coaches and teachers in the game under the umbrella of The 4 P’s of BASKETBALL ECONOMICS and the “offensive incentive plan”.Proposal:
Dramatically change and challenge the way the game is taught, played and emphasized by creating an “Offensive Incentive Plan” for Division I basketball to grow the product. Concept:
Create an incentive plan to encourage offensive skill development to encourage coaches to train, teach and master the offensive skills of the game with their players. . . scoring and ball handling!! Put skill development back to the forefront of growing our game. Money and competition motivate and grab coaches’ attention. Create a monetary reward system for teams that shoot 45% at the end of their respective conference season so all Division I levels have equal opportunity to participate. In theory, if the product improves, price, promotion and place will follow. This is no chicken and the egg. I’m talking practice!! That’s right Iverson, practice! How can our game be 89 out of 89 NCAA Championships?? It’s concerning and if we don’t act dramatically, other sports are going to overtake our position on campus as the 3rd sport. (football and men’s
basketball are 1 and 2)Strategy:
Craft a program similar to NCAA Capital One program on ESPN. Capital One keeps a running tally of the teams that are on the top of the women’s sports standing for overall achievement. Create a similar program for women’s basketball with the emphasis on field goal percentage. If a team shoots 45% from the floor in the final conference stats, they win a shared percentage of the prize. NCAA Division I Statistics
from April 9,2013
# women’s teams that shoot 50%FG: 1
# men’s teams that shoot 50% FG: 2
# women’s teams that shoot +45%: 9
# men’s teams that shoot +45% FG: 85THE SALE or CLOSE
: Let’s put the game back in the teachers hands.
If you play on TV, you might consider a rotation on the rules committee since TV is a part of the growth of the game. Incentivize coaches to create better offensive players, not run another play.
A good offensive player beats a good defense.
Don’t spend 75% of your practice time on defense and running or tweeking
a play. Lets’ challenge the profession to teach a player how to score, create separation, shoot the ball
correctly and handle. Let’s create rules that feature offense, protect the shooter and dramatically change and
challenge the way coaches prepare, plan, recruit and spend time with their players. Allow coaches to spend time with their players. We need offensive . This economic theory
that has been around for centuries!!
I say it will work for basketball also!! Put on the earth to do what?
I wrote this article for Coaching Women's Basketball for the November/December 2012 issue. However, the magazine only goes to the wbca membership. I thought you might like to read my thoughts on some future strategies for the good of the game. If I was Lobbyist for the day in women's basketball, these are the things I would impliment in my one day on the job!! I've already given my state of the union in a non election year so this time I went with Lobbyist!
What can I do to offer energy and/or empower the future of the game I love. I could write some thoughts, hope someone reads it, feels empowered and wants to join in discussion? Could it be that easy. . . maybe it was the foodchain discussion I had recently with my 10 year old that inspired me?
1. Take the Division I Sweet 16 to Vegas along with Division II and Division III Elite
Eight! Let’s make Vegas the new women’s basketball home. If the
Pac 12 moved their men’s tournament to Vegas, why not a permanent home for
women’s basketball in Vegas. Conference offices have autonomy from NCAA policies regarding betting
communities but the NCAA can’t endorse an event in a betting community?
2. Are we still showing the women student athletes the“don’t bet on it” video?
Why? Having a betting line on our games might promote interest? Every man I know looks at the “spread” in the sports section of the newspaper. Safe sex, responsible drinking and eating disorders appear to be relevant topics in women’s sports.
3. All Head Coaches have to take a sabbatical after (insert time period). Could this help prepare assistants for
head coaching jobs. Most Fortune 500 Companies make their top executives take a sabbatical, why not the CEOs of women’s basketball? 74 new head coaches in women’s basketball this year and were they ready?
4. Streamline decision-making process for the caretakers and stakeholders in the game to
empowered, not encumbered. If change is needed, do it. Other sports are starting to look in their rear view mirror at women’s basketball.
5. All Division I scholarship athletes are allowed to hold a job when not in season. You ARE allowed to
work. Haven’t heard any administrator say find a job. Instead, we would rather pay a stipend, pay for summer school and stay on campus and train. Are we developing life skills if we don’t teach what an I9, W2 or 1099 is?
Most people have to find a job if they don’t have any money.
6. Women's basketball sponsorship autonomy. The NCAA Corporate Partner Program is for men’s basketball. Most corporate partners don’t activate on the women’s side. Give the corporate partners a chance to activate, then try to package some inventory that might be appealing for others. I understand licensing, marketing, brand protection etc. . .can’t we try?
7. Freedom of movement and pace of play to create more scoring a must to advance the game. When the WNBA moved the shot clock to 24 seconds, scoring went up. We need offensive games to showcase skill.
We don’t need an experimental season, just try it to advance the game and not wait. A backcourt count is for offense, not defense.
8. Summer recruiting , AAU basketball and high school coaches have important places in
the lives of young players. At the end of July, players are tired and coaches are complaining.
Find a solution with calendar so high school experience and coach matters.
9. Eliminate NCAA advance site visits for first and second rounds and allow Top 16 seeds to host. NCAA can manage events along with on-site game management days in advance. There will not be a loss of neutrality. . . we will be playing on someone’s home court anyway! Tighten up the budget and spend more time on marketing and selling, not fulfillment.
10. NO scholarship reduction and no more conversation about it.
Stanford vs. Baylor November, 2012 in Hawaii
I watched the entire game on DVD because I wanted to know how
Stanford beat Baylor. I learned a lot about both teams. Stanford's
new look offense is going to be hard to defend because they can shoot it with
range, play unselfish basketball and can score from 5
Baylor was a different team without Odyssey Sims who played only
4 minutes. At the 15:40 mark in the first half, she got hurt, left the game not to return. Baylor was up 9-7 and Sims had hit a 3. She’s their best 3 point shooter and one of the best on ball defenders in basketball. In this game, Baylor didn't look like they improved shooting the ball. This is exactly the kind of loss that will
propel Mulkey to the think tank. Because it’s all fixable and in some ways, there is no worry about the “streak”. Mulkey already said what matters is the last 6 games.
Stanford had a plan and they executed.
Stanford never filled the low block and ran to the 3 pt line in transition filling 5
spots with Chiney Ogwumike in the middle at high post area. Excellent
spacing. Brittany Griner (BG) was guarding Chiney so she was constantly in the high post area, defending elbow to elbow.
Stanford hit shots and limited BG touches in 1st half with a front defender, a back
defender and gap help from the perimeter to discourage passing the ball to BG.
It worked because Baylor didn't hit any perimeter shots, lost their patience in
getting it inside, lost their confidence and their leader Sims. BG made a
2 dribble, spin move from top for her 1st basket and she had to work for that.
Stanford ran Princeton cutting/motion game and ball screening action mostly late in the shot clock. They didn’t run the Triangle unless BG was out of the game.
They played thru Chiney at the high post and it was effective.
They are running "UCONN's motion game".
That’s right, UCONN. Notre Dame runs the same offense and it works. Why don’t more teach and run this passing/motion game?
In this game, Baylor didn't look like they improved their perimeter shooting. They
can go 4 or 5 consecutive possessions and not get BG a touch. At the 10 minute
mark in the 1st half, Stanford up 9 and BG has 2 points
BG doesn't hedge, switch or trap on-ball screens. She gaps and clogs and takes up space
to discourage turning the corner. Stanford played with an attacking, high IQ game plan and took advantage many times off the dribble. Each dribble penetration was followed by a fill behind the dribbler. It was a consistent game plan with discipline.
Baylor had 11 pts with 8:13 left to play in the 1st and haven't gotten ball inside to
BG, terrible perimeter shooting at this point and really miss the skills and the
intangibles of Sims. Freshman Niya Johnson is playing in the biggest game of her short career and you can tell. She was unsure.
This will be turning point for her career.
Stanford was called for back to back illegal screens. That's how much their offense changed
away from the triangle offense that Stanford perfected with Jan Appel and
Candice Wiggins, former Stanford players.
If BG catches and reverses ball from high post, her tendency is to cut to opposite
block. That’s not synergy sports assessment, that’s mine. BG catches at
high post and cuts opposite. Baylor lacked their typical discipline on both
ends; didn't get ball to BG and fouled several times late in shot clock.
Stanford lost their double digit lead in the 1st because Baylor pressed,
played thru BG, got to FT line, changed tempo with D and cut the lead to 1 pt
with 2 minutes left in the 1st half. Stanford turned it over and got called for 2 illegal screening calls
during Baylor’s run. In the last 2 minutes of the 1st half, BG finally scores on the low block thru the
double team. She had 4 first half points. Stanford committed to a
game plan for BG on both ends of the floor. Their offensive attack kept her in the
high post area on the defensive end and they sandwiched her on the offensive end
to make someone else for Baylor beat them. What a terrific game plan by Stanford.
Their first half makes me think about the top coaches in our game. They
have a plan and a disciplined commitment by their teams to run the plan. This requires the ability to teach, demand, discipline and emphasize. Tara changed her offensive system to accommodate her personnel. I assume teaching the “Princeton-like/UCONN-like” offensive is not easy.
If it was, why aren’t more teams running it?
Even Notre Dame went to it after they struggled to beat UCONN for many
years and their recruiting led to more athletic, skilled players with a
basketball IQ. With Stanford, we’re talking “Nerd Nation” here! They
can think thru anything. By the way they looked, they weren’t thinking, they were playing.
And, they were playing in a non-robotic fashion.
To play this style takes time, rhythm, repetition and unselfish
players. By this measure, Stanford is loaded. They can score, they are big on the perimeter and they are hungry.
2 pt game at half
Stanford can shoot the ball! Stanford filled behind every dribble penetration.
Stanford made BG chase Chiney off screening action. BG came out of the top of the key area
which allowed driving lanes. Stanford point guard, Toni Kokenis got to the line off dribble
Second half adjustments: Baylor on ball pressure full court, BG gets touches on low
block and is patient with the “sandwich-defense” that Stanford is playing.
Kim Mulkey made adjustments on both ends and Niya Johnson did better job of
attacking in 2nd half. She grew up from 1st half to the 2nd.
Did Baylor lack defensive discipline? Were they lazy on help because they are used to having BG protect the rim? Was it the fear of the Stanford 3 point shooting that had the Baylor defense “hugging” their defenders on the weak side? Kokenis kept dribble alive, made good choices and drove hard with right hand to bucket several times to score.
Baylor didn't back off their pressure and Stanford sliced them up, 70% cutting game,
ball screens late in shot clock. It was very challenging to help with all those 3 point shooters on floor.
When BG wasn't in the game, Chiney went to the block to post.
It was the only time they occupied the low block on offense.
Stanford showed the poise of a program that has been to the last 5 final fours. They changed the tempo of their offense with passing/motion game and it was very much like the change of pace I see with UCONN teams.
Kokenis played well late in 2nd and hit some key shots. Denying Kokenis the ball did
cause shot clock violations. Tara VanDerveer played Amber Orrange with Kokenis late in the game when the momentum was shifting and it got Stanford back in rhythm with their offense.
Inside final minute, Baylor doesn’t execute and Stanford does.
There is a late baseline out of bounds (blob) and Stanford scores on weak
side up screen for a lay-up! It was a major defensive breakdown in communication. Baylor misses a wide open layup, Kim Mulkey tosses her sweater into the scorer's table upset with the easy
Chiney scores on a drive to basket and uses the rim to keep BG from blocking it. Destiny Williams hits the three to pull Baylor within 1 with 9.7 left. Stanford inbounds, Kokenis fouled, Stanford time
out, makes 1 of 2 for 2 point lead. 4.2 left, Baylor calls time out. Direct inbound pass to BG and she
misses the jumper. Stanford celebrates.
I leave this game with the following thoughts:
1. It’s wide open for the NCAA Tournament? Still 3 teams that can win it in Baylor, UCONN, Stanford.
The FF in New Orleans will be great!
2. What am I going to do with my AP vote? I decided to go with UCONN at #1. They easily handled Texas A&M and I had Stanford at #6 before this victory so I wasn’t going to jump UCONN.
Baylor was without Sims and that was a factor.
3. Hall of Famer Tara VanDerveer is a tremendous teacher, like we didn’t already know
that! Maybe we all need a retreat in August to refresh the body and the mind. She and her staff did some serious teaching, tweeking, thinking. She wants to win the NCAA title badly. Love the empowered way her team played with this new offense.
4. What “buy-in” by Stanford to change to a new system.
5. Baylor is fine and maybe it’s a blessing to lose early on a neutral court with
officials even I never heard of. . . who were those 3 in stripes?
6. BG is still the best game changer. What a compliment to UCONN and Baylor that
Stanford changed what they do to win. No ego, no “my way attitude” just find a way to win.
Why doesn’t our government work like that? Tara for President!
7. Mulkey has her team in an excellent position to improve. Little Mulkey might need more playing time. She can shoot it!!
8. Why didn’t Mulkey get a technical foul for throwing her sweater/jacket into the
scorer’s table? Isn’t this the era of sportsmanship? I'll tell you why, she ain’t gonna get one at that point in the game. So, nothing has changed.
9. I believe it’s important to referee Griner before you get on a big game. What do they do in the NBA? Do you think someone who has never refereed Kobe/ LeBron etc is gonna be on a big game if
they didn’t ref them in a different situation? No way!
10. It’s just November and I want to be consistent with this blog. Anyone want to ghost-write for me?
Here are some of my thoughts on the 2012 playoffs.
ATL vs. IND
Make her play post defense to potentially get her in foul trouble and this will keep her from
getting in the open court and running the floor hard in transition.
2. Contain dribble penetration:
No ATL lay ups or FT. Make them earn their point scoring over your defense. Lin Dunn’s team rotate defensively very well and invert on BLOBS and SLOBS (baseline out of bounds and sideline out of bounds). Communication and solid defensive fundamentals important.
3. Shot Selection for Indy:
Good offensive execution and shot selection will allow Indy to send 3.5 to boards on
offensive and allow 1.5 to get back. Poor offensive execution cannot lead to break out transition
opportunities for ATL. Poor shots can’t lead to ATL offense.
4. Force Angel McCoughtry into the defense, into screens and don’t let them clear it
out for her to go 1on1. She’s too talented as the leading scorer in the WNBA.
CONN vs. NY:
1.NO Catch Cappie: Limit Cappie Pondexter’s catches in or out of her scoring zone. 80% of the NY offense is in Cappie’s hands. She makes the offensive decisions and is dangerous.
Try to keep the ball out of her hands and over the course of a 40 minute game, NY doesn’t have enough to win.
2. CONN Balance: Their balance is on display when they dictate and play their
tempo. They are smart and conservative in transition. This is not a high risk, high reward team and that’s why they are good. They don’t foul and don’t turn it over maximizing what they can
control. You have to attack them.
3. ATTACK: NY has to win the FT stats making more than CONN. Spread CONN out and
drive the gaps. Make them guard laterally. Play off the bounce not the pass.
4. Healthy Jones to ponder: Do you think CONN misses her face up game more than her offensive rebounding ability? I say them miss her offensive rebounding more. Jones has missed 14 games. Jones’career 3pt makes has never been over single digits in any given season. Her offensive rebounding numbers the best of her career to this point in the season. She is averaging more offensive rebounds in this limited season than any other in her career.
5. Playoff Experience: I keep hearing CONN has players on their roster that have limited playoff experience. That may be true. What they have is strength up the middle with Tina Charles at center and a good point guard in Kara Lawson. Any good baseball team has to be good up the middle (battery). And, of the 24 wins by CONN to this point, 15 have been by single digits. They know how to win.
LA vs. San Antonio
1. Rebounding:LA record vs. San Antonio in regular season 1-3. LA won the overall rebounding battle. Rebounding is a staple of their defensive philosophy and will be important to their transition game which is when they are at their best. The one game they did beat San Antonio they scored
over 100 points. That’s extra possessions created by their defense. Toliver 10-14 FG didn’t hurt!
2.Transition Defense for LA: LA must keep Danielle Robinson on one side of the court in
transition. Do not let her slice it up and play downhill. LA doesn’t have the guard foot speed to keep up with her and San Antonio runs to spots on the floor in transition. DRob knows the 3 w’s of
a good point guard: who, when and where with the ball and personnel!
3. Close Outs on Defense: San Antonio has the best offensive spacing in the league. LA must close down angles, maybe flood strong side and rely on help and recover on the weak side of
their defense. Got to play good 1on1 defense without a lot of gimmick to win this series.
MINN vs. Seattle:
1. LJ: Lauren Jackson didn’t play in any of the previous matchups and that could be potentially good and bad. I think it’s good for Seattle because of her versatility and ability to play in
transition. How does Minnesota guard her and with who? If rested and healthy
Sue Bird, interesting 2 man game.
2. Minnesota Transition Defense: Make them play in transition and play their game. Too much balance and experience on Minn and they are going to play up tempo anyway. Make them
guard in transition so Sue Bird can find the mismatches and exploit them with early offense.
3. OFFENSE: I love an efficient, unselfish offensive team. Minnesota shoots
it well, no one beats them. Seattle has to counter with the same tools. This will be an interesting
Hi, my name is Frankie Antonelli. I am an 8thgrader at
Cario. Welcome to Cario Middle
School, my school AND your
school. I like many things at
school. I like P E and Math and
I got skills and play on many teams. I play basketball, soccer, baseball,
golf and I swim. If we play
kickball, you want ME on your team. I am good!!
I am more like you than different.
I also have lots of friends.
My friends are nice, fun and work together to make Cario strong. Cario is strong because everyone works
hard to make good grades. Everyone shows respect for all teachers and students. No one is allowed to say mean things to people.
Mr. Bragg is the school leader.
He wants all students to do their best. If you make a bad choice with your
words, you will get in trouble. It is important to make good choices.
Some people are mean to me and my
friends. They say mean things and
they do not know me. Do you think
that is right? NO, that is not the
right thing to do. Please be nice
and show respect to everyone. If
you make good choices, we will have a fun time at school.