What is Athleticism?

Utah forward Jeremy Evans recently had this fantastic sequence of events.

A monstrous block, a mind-blowing dunk, and then a great hustle play to deflect a pass out of bounds, all in about 10 seconds. That was pretty cool to watch. But what I want to talk about, if I can put on my snobby, basketball purist hat, is how people are going to say things like “Evans is the most athletic player in the league!”

Athleticism is not all about who can jump the highest and run the fastest. (And I’m not just saying that because I have as many career dunks as Mike Penberthy.) Knowing angles, having a quick first step, and having exquisite body control all play a huge role in how “athletic” someone is. Continue reading “What is Athleticism?”

Playoff Update/ Book Reviews

We advanced to the final four. I played the second game of the first round series with a mask on. It was terrible. I was happy that the team gave me anything, but trust me that this mask was not meant to be worn during basketball games. It has these pads all over it that kill my peripheral vision. I felt like I was playing with glaucoma. Surprisingly, the most noticeable affect was on my ball handling. I never realized how much I actually rely on my peripheral vision when dribbling. Probably something I should work on.

I was so ineffective that game that I decided to chuck the mask for our first game against Yavne. My nose is still sore, and if I caught an elbow I would be down for the count, but I figured the chances of that happening twice in 4 games was slim. Not the best logic, but I’m trying to win a championship here, ya feel me.

I got a little nervous during the pre game introductions. I saw one of their players whispering to their assistant coach, and they both started staring at me. This team is notorious for hard fouls and tough defense, and I was praying they weren’t concocting a plot to “accidentally” hit me in the face. Continue reading “Playoff Update/ Book Reviews”

Team Meetings

I have a serious bone to pick with the concept of the team meeting. Maybe it is my tendency to view everything through the most bitter lens possible, but I believe they serve no purpose. They are only called when things are going bad. Everyone knows things are going bad. The problems with bad teams usually run deep, and a 45 minute meeting is not going to be enough to change the tide. Call me pessimistic, but that has been my experience.

I have been on some bad teams, but maybe none more dysfunctional than my team last year. The Calabasas Coyotes circa 2002 had some serious head cases, but that is too long ago for the memories to stick out. I also had some classic team meetings in college, but I’ll have to really think about those details before I write about them. So we are sticking with Haifa for now. Continue reading “Team Meetings”

The Problems With Scouting Reports

Today was my first Israeli scouting report, and it was very entertaining.  There were no chopped up video clips detailing the strengths and weaknesses of each player. There was no going over every possible play they might run. All these things were replaced by watching the first quarter of their last game along with a with a simple 15 minute team meeting and a piece of paper with a sentence about each player.

This was all right up my alley. I know that coaches have good intentions and work hard to put together their reports, but do we really need to spend a half hour talking about their 8th, 9th and 10th players? You could probably feel it coming, so hear it is. Time to rant about college pregame scouting reports and walk-throughs! Continue reading “The Problems With Scouting Reports”