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Dean Smith’s Coaching Philosophy

In Coaching, N.C.A.A. Basketball by Coach Brock

A couple of discussions inspired me to reflect further about Dean Smith and delve deeper into his coaching philosophy and leadership style. Certainly, this post may have been timelier had I published it at the time of Smith’s passing in 2015 but I feel that the thoughts remain relevant because of his lasting impact on the game. When I began coaching, I was drawn to Smith’s methods because of his winning track record and the fact that he was one of the limited numbers of coaches who had published a book that was easily available in the 1990s. To me, …

Duke’s First Practice

In N.C.A.A. Basketball by Coach Brock

Mike Krzyzewski talks about building a team culture with the 2014-15 Duke Blue Devils. Concerns for the coach included developing leadership on the court, planning and periodization with only ten scholarship players (which later became eight) and creating a team identity after a summer spent training in smaller groups. The team is seen working on fundamentals – such as a variety of passes and footwork – and defense, two excellent building blocks for any team. Even on the first day, the team is shown getting after it on double teams in the post and downing and hedging screens. Read and …

Duke’s Summer Workouts

In N.C.A.A. Basketball by Coach Brock

Duke won a National Championship and made three first round drafts picks during their offseason work. Basketball players need to train in order to push themselves to the next level. The Blue Devils developed: strength in the weight room explosiveness using plyometrics agility and footwork on the court foot and ankle stability on the beach toughness on the stadium stairs core strength by doing functional movements togetherness by working out as a team

Screening Zones

In N.C.A.A. Basketball by Coach Brock

Screening zones generates opportunities: Marshall Plumlee sets a possible flare screen on the top of Syracuse’s 2-3 zone. When Amile Jefferson sets a ball screen, the middle defender must step up to contest Rasheed’s Sulaimon’s drive. The wings are matched up with Duke’s outside shooters. As the shot goes up, Plumlee rolls to the hoop, in a seam between defenders and towards the likely area for a missed shot to land. He is able to time the rebound perfectly and dunks the putback before any defender is ready. If Sulaimon had turned the corner, Plumlee would have been ready to …

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Learning from Three Upsets

In N.C.A.A. Basketball by Coach Brock

Certainly, there is a great deal of excitement during the N.C.A.A. Tournament, especially when the lower seeds overcome the odds and wins. There is also a tremendous amount of information that players can absorb and add to their repertoires when the games are over. The upsets don’t occur by happenstance but because the underdogs create a solid gameplan – usually based on a favourable match-up or exploiting a team strength – and execute it effectively. Talent can be defeated with team play, tactics and tenacity.

When Duke Doesn’t Rebound

In N.C.A.A. Basketball by Coach Brock

Duke lost to North Carolina State 84-76 on Saturday, their first loss of the season. Although there were some injuries, the Blue Devils were too focused on the outside and not aggressive enough, as has been the case in many high profile losses. Many times, the Blue Devils were out of position and Richard Howell and C.J. Leslie pounded Duke inside and on the glass.

Four Factors at the Final Four

In N.C.A.A. Basketball by Coach Brock

If the four primary basketball statistics prevail (Effective Field Goal %, Turnover %, Offensive Rebounding % and Free Throw Rate), the N.C.A.A. Final will feature Kentucky defeating Kansas.  By the way, the 4 Factors suggested Kansas would beat North Carolina, even before Kendall Marshall was injured.

Watching the N.C.A.A. Tournament

In N.C.A.A. Basketball by Coach Brock

As the 2012 N.C.A.A. Tournament reaches the Sweet 16 stage, more and more players, coaches and fans will be tuning in to watch the games. The volume of basketball has decreased significantly from the opening weekend but the viewers’ interest rises exponentially. The games are entertaining simply because of the excitement but they can also serve as a learning opportunity for elite athletes. Apparently, Generation Y prefers to talk more about an issue rather actually addressing it but there is no reason for players to forgo an opportunity to develop their game.

Duke Tournament Losses

In N.C.A.A. Basketball by Coach Brock

Recent Duke losses in the NCAA Tournament, from LSU in 2006 to Arizona in 2011 to Lehigh in 2012 all follow a similar narrative. Duke’s strength is their consistency but it can fail them because they have a hard time adapting to adversity.

Tournament Experience

In N.C.A.A. Basketball by Coach Brock

The one factor that might trip up Kentucky’s favoured team is that they all have their sights set on other goals.  They could fall victim to a squad that is more experienced and more motivated to win the tournament.

Where’s Fab Melo?

In N.C.A.A. Basketball by Coach Brock

What is Syracuse missing without Fab Melo? It may be time to re-do the East Regional part of your bracket given Melo’s ineligibility.

Delay of Game

In N.C.A.A. Basketball by Coach Brock

Hockey fans and media members are awash in consternation after a recent game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Philadelphia Flyers. Wednesday night, the Flyers responded to the Lightning’s 1-3-1 zone by holding the puck in a formation reminiscent of North Carolina’s “Four Corners” offense. Twice, referees blew the whistle and called for a face-off due to the inaction.

Blue Devils and Raptors

In N.C.A.A. Basketball by Coach Brock

I like ball movement. I like player movement. I even like it more when the two coincide. I like the Duke Blue Devils. I like the Toronto Raptors. So the twenty-four hour period that began at 21h00 on Saturday night contained both highs and lows. There was one primary reason that Duke beat West Virginia in the National Semi-Finals: motion. Golden State beat Toronto Sunday afternoon for the same reason: motion. I like motion.

Last Sunday

In N.C.A.A. Basketball by Coach Brock

When a Michigan State upsets a Louisville or a Tiger Woods tracks down a Sean O’Hair on Sunday, it often comes about because of one criteria: who forced the other to play their game? The Trojans made the Mid-West Regional Final a defensive halfcourt battle and Tiger Woods started erasing the five-stroke margin as soon as he took the course. The winner of the battle of wills was decided during the months before. Who has the discipline to stick to their gameplan? Who has the desire to do the little things which are part of the program? Who has the …

Clutch Performance

In N.C.A.A. Basketball by Coach Brock

According to a study of collegiate basketball, the two statistics most correlated with winning are field goal percentage and free throws attempted. During Monday’s N.C.A.A. Final, Kansas made 53% of their shots, Memphis shot nineteen foul shots, and the Jayhawks won 75-68 in overtime. The game was close enough that a number of plays could have altered the outcome. Why did Kansas win? A student said that the result wasn’t fair, that the Tigers only lost because Derrick Rose performed below his normal standards. The reason that Rose shot poorly and went scoreless for so long was the Jayhawks’ defensive …

Tourney Concerns

In N.C.A.A. Basketball by Coach Brock

Last night’s narrow victory over Belmont exemplified the glaring weaknesses of Duke since J.J. Reddick was recruited in 2002. The lack of penetration and interior presence become severe obstacles when the game becomes a halfcourt contest or the Blue Devils are faced with an athletic team. Television views have seen this situation unfold twice, during the final regular season game versus North Carolina and the 71-70 First Round victory. When pressured, Duke’s two guard front is neutralized. When Jon Sheyer and Greg Paulus dribble or pass the ball back and forth, several turnovers seem imminent. On the other hand, due …