Latest Basketball Blogs

Coach's Guide To Managing the Coach-Parent Relationship
Bar none, the most emotionally draining element of coaching a youth sports team is interacting with the parents.  Having coached youth teams for over twenty seasons and been an officer in multiple youth organizations, I can personally attest to the fact that parent-coach interaction is important to the team's success.  The mismanagement of the parent-coach relationship by the coach, more then anything else, leads to their demise.  By establishing expectations early in the season, having a conflict resolution mechanism, and managing the disagreement discussion, a coach can reduce the emotional impact to themselves and maintain their team's positive attitude. 

Basketball Drill: Baseline Shooting Drill
This is a shooting drill, like the rebounding box-out drill, where the players are trained to follow their shot for the rebound.  When a player shoots it is common for the shot to either go too far and hit the back of the rim or come up short and hit the front of the rim.  When the shot is too short, the rebound comes back in the direction of the shooter.  If the shooter follows their shot, they can be in position to recover the rebound.  The baseline shooting drill re-enforces the "follow your shot" behavior.

Basketball Drill: V-cut Shooting Drill
Against man and zone defenses, a very common offensive move without the basketball is a V-cut that is used to either setup the man defender for a screen or to turn the zone defender's head.  Several years ago, I was coaching a 5th grade basketball team and we were struggling with having our shooters come off screens and quickly shoot the jump shot before the defense would recover.  We developed this basketball shooting drill to teach the players to come out of a V-cut ready to receive a pass in a coiled (or triple threat) position and quickly elevate, instead of receiving the pass, then coil, and finally elevate.  The latter was too many movements that took too long and allowed the defense to recover before the shot was taken.

Basketball Drill: Defending a Fast Break
In a previous post, I described a 3-on-2 and 2-on-1 fast break drill that I use at the beginning of practice.  After a dynamic warm up, the fastbreak drill is used to push players into a full paced sprint while simultaneously getting the minds focused on the fundamentals of basketball: rebounding, passing, defense, full speed dribbling, and quality decision making.  In that description of the drill, I wrote about key fundamentals the offense should follow to execute a fast break.  In this post, I want to follow up with the defensive side. 

Basketball Drill: Fast break
A very common warm up drill in basketball is the fast break drill.  After a dynamic warm up, my teams always move into the fastbreak drill or other active movement shooting drill.  The goal is to take their warm muscles and push them to a full paced sprint while simultaneously getting the minds focused on the fundamentals of basketball: rebounding, passing, defense, full speed dribbling, and quality decision making.  In this post, I describe the 3-on-2 to 2-on-1 fast break drill.

Increase Your Vertical Jump
One of the most exciting plays to watch in basketball is the above-the-rim roundhouse dunk.  This one activity requires a tremendous amount of pure athleticism.  Have your ever tried one, even on a shorter 8 or 9 foot hoop?  You will realize that it not only requires a good vertical leap, but also core strength and hand quickness.  Most resources that work on improving your vertical jump only focus on the leaping ability, but the Vertical Jump Development Bible pulls together a training program that works on ten different elements of athleticism that enable a player to pull off the roundhouse dunk by not only increasing your jumping ability but also your core strength, stability and control, and speed of movement.

Teaching Basketball Players Offensive Floor Spacing
Have you ever noticed that almost all ten and under (10U) youth basketball teams struggle running any type of offense because the players are "bunching" together instead of playing their proper positions and staying spread out on the floor.  This bunching up problem is solvable; in fact coaching colleague of mine cured the bunching problem with his daughter's second grade (7 and 8 year olds) basketball team.  Let explore why it happens and type of drills to help eliminate the "bunches."

Basketball Offense: By The Numbers
The basketball offense by the numbers is a simple but effective offense that can be used against either a man-to-man defense or zone defense.  It is easy for players of all ages to remember and can be used by young teams as the primary offense or by older competitive teams as a special play to complement the primary offense.  The best part about this offense is that it can be very simple for use by a young team and become progressively more advanced for older teams.

Drill For Learning to Dribble the Basketball With Your Head Up
A fundamental basketball skill that should be mastered at a young age is to dribble the basketball with their head up.  The two ball full court dribble is a simple drill to teach your players to dribble the basketball with their head up.

Basketball Drill - Rebounding Box-Out Drill
Last week I wrote about a basketball drill framework that I use in my practices and highlighted how it is used to develop the skills necessary for a two man pick-n-roll play.  This post will continue to expand on that framework by showing how it can be used to practice rebounding and box-out skills. This rebounding drill can be used with teams 4th grad and above.

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NCAA Men's Basketball News

Following Manning

Mitchell Wilbekin changes commitment to play for legend
The Associated Press

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Mitchell Wilbekin always has been Danny Manning's kind of point guard.

So when Manning left Tulsa for Wake Forest, it was only natural that Wilbekin would follow.

Now the freshman guard is looking to step out of the shadow of his big brother -- Southeastern Conference player of the year Scottie Wilbekin -- and make a name for himself in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"It's the ACC -- it's the best conference in the country by far," Wilbekin said. "Wake Forest has a lot of basketball tradition, a lot of players in the NBA and I know (Manning's) offensive style and I'm comfortable with it."

The uptempo, screen-heavy system that Manning runs seems to mesh perfectly with Wilbekin -- who says he operated a similar system the past few years while averaging nearly 15 points last season at The Rock School in Gainesville, Florida.

"The ball-screening offense the last couple of years at my high school, that's really all we did. That was our offense," Wilbekin said. "That was kind of what I was looking for in college."


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He thought he found it when he signed to play for Manning at Tulsa. But after Manning led the Golden Hurricane to their first NCAA tournament since 2003, Wake Forest made a strong push for him and he took the job April 4.

Wilbekin was released from his letter of intent and reopened his recruitment, receiving offers from Virginia and South Florida. But Manning also had a spot open for him in Winston-Salem.

"He says we're just going to get up and down, play fast, use a lot of ball screens and play hard defense, pressure the ball," Wilbekin said.

It certainly helps, Manning said, that Wilbekin grew up playing against his big brother -- who averaged 13 points while leading Florida to the Final Four.

"I like his DNA," Manning said. "He's been following his brother around and his brother had a (darned) good year last year. ... The one advantage that he has over a normal freshman is having lived a college type of lifestyle, in terms of working out, because he's always tagged along with his brother. He's been playing against really good competition since he's been in the ninth grade."

Now he's ready to test himself against the best in the ACC.

He steps into a crowded backcourt that already includes two-year starter Codi Miller-McIntyre, steady junior Madison Jones and long-distance threat Miles Overton.

Those three along, with talented big man Devin Thomas, form the core of a team that made steady progress during each of the past two seasons under former coach Jeff Bzdelik — whose resignation in March cleared the way for Manning.

With those players on the roster, Manning isn't facing a total rebuilding job. His task is to find a way to propel that group to even greater heights.

And Wilbekin hopes to fit in with those returners and play an important role in that process.

"We have a lot of talented players. Coach obviously knows what he's doing," Wilbekin said. "His calm demeanor is really something I appreciate, and he knows so much about the game from all his years at ever level being successful. So I'm really just trying to come in and work hard and find a spot."

Thumb surgery set for Creighton point guard Austin Chatman

The Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. -- Creighton point guard Austin Chatman will have surgery to repair a ligament in his right thumb and is expected to be fully recovered before the season.

The school said Tuesday that Chatman would wear a cast for two months.

Chatman is the only returning starter for a team that has made the NCAA tournament three consecutive years. Chatman has started 71 games in a row and averaged 8.1 points as a junior. He's the Bluejays' top returning scorer.

Chatman scored 10 or more points in six of the last seven games and was named to the Big East all-tournament team.


Knee injury to sideline Florida guard DeVon Walker for upcoming season

The Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida guard DeVon Walker is expected to miss next season because of a knee injury.

A junior from Winter Haven, Florida, Walker tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Friday.

Walker played in 35 games last season, including seven starts, and averaged 2.4 points, 1.2 rebounds and 12.1 minutes. He played behind fellow guards Scottie Wilbekin, Michael Frazier II and Kasey Hill. With Wilbekin having graduated, Walker had been expected to play an increased role in 2014-15.

Now that Walker is out for the season, former Rutgers guard Eli Carter and freshmen Chris Chiozza and Brandone Francis are likely to see more playing time for the Gators. Preferred walk-on Zach Hodskins, who was born without the lower half of his left arm, also could be in the mix.