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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What we have learned so far...

Four things I have learned in Decemeber in the Greater Thumb Conference and North Central Thumb League girls and boys basketball races.

1. The powers are still powers on the girls side.
Take a look at the top of the standings in the GTC and NCTL. Reese, Sandusky, Brown City and Port Hope continue to produce victories.
In the GTW, Reese is using a balanced attack to start 6-0. Only one Rocket, Drew Findlay, is averaging over 7 points per game. The Rockets, though, have five other players who have went for double digits at least once so far this season. And all five of those players are averaging around 6 points per game — good enough to put Reese No. 2 in area scoring.
Reese’s nearest competitor in the GTW, Vassar, has five girls averaging over 7 points. That fivesome has combined for 249 of Vassar’s 279 points this season.
In the GTE, the Redskins and Green Devils will get pushed by Marlette, but that’s probably it.
Harbor Beach has been up and down so far while Ubly and Mayville are still winless.
In the NCTL, Port Hope lost last week for the first time against Memphis, but the Bluestars look like the class of the North Division.
In the South, Deckerville, Carsonville-Port Sanilac and Peck are all .500 or better, but the Yellowjackets are still my pick to win the league championship.

2. Don’t expect Unionville-Sebewaing Area to stay on the bottom of the GTW boys standings for very long.
The Patriots opened the season 0-2 with losses to GTE studs Harbor Beach and Ubly. They then went on the road and picked up an important win right before the holiday break over Sandusky in overtime.
Post player Jake Holland returned in that game and scored 10 points. Meanwhile, USA’s shooters have racked up 16 three-pointers in three games, including nine from junior Nick Fletcher.
USA comes back from the break with a Jan. 5 home game against a very good Marlette squad. The Patriots then open league play that Friday at Cass City.
Those two contests will definitely tell if the Patriots are going to contend in the GTW.

3. Both Cass City boys and girls teams need signature wins.
Yes, I picked the Red Hawk boys to win the GTW title. And I picked the girls team to finish with 12 victories and in the top half of the league standings.
And while we’re just a month into the seasons, both teams need a big time push to get to my marks, including a win against a top-notch contender.
For the boys, wins over Capac and Mayville have sandwiched losses to Sandusky, Marlette and Harbor Beach. 
The boys team this season has too much talent to hover below the .500 mark. 
As for the girls team, coach Lloyd Schinnerer said this was the year the Red Hawks would make a major jump. 
So far, they have beaten Mayville and Bad Axe — not exactly blue chip victories.
After coming out of the break with a game against Ubly, the Red Hawks take on a very good USA team at home.
That’s where the climb must begin.

4. Free throw shooting continues to, well, reek.
It’s been a trend I have noticed for several years, but the free throw shooting percentage of the majority of GTC and NCTL teams — both boys and girls — is right around 55 percent.
That’s just not good enough.
Is it lack of practice? Is it lack of concentration? 
I think it’s a combination of things.
And when I talk with losing coaches after tight games, they almost always say that if their team would have shot a little better from the line they might have won.

NOTE: I got a response from an area coach this morning regarding free throw shooting.
Here it is...
  First I agree with you, but I think it's a combination of things. It seems that all young players want to jump out of the gym and dunk or hit deep threes and spend too much of their own time working of those things. Very few will look at pure shooter like a Ray Allen and aspire to be him, it seems that they all want to do is attack the rim and dunk like Lebron James. The mid range 12-16 foot jumper is dying a slow death and it shows at all levels.

We shoot hundreds of free throws per week in all circumstances rather it be fresh legs, tired legs or somewhere in between. Our goal is to shoot 70 percent and I talk to my players all the time about being above 70 percent or it will cost us games down the stretch. We run extra line drills when we don't hit the 70 percent mark, but yet we are at 58 percent as a team. I spend one two hour practice a week on Sunday nights that is nothing but shooting, that includes mid range work. As a team we are shooting 53 percent from the floor, but some of that is because of the competition and the run out layups in the transition game. So for what it's worth, I think it's a combination of young players trying to be a high flyers rather than pure shooters....As a coach, I'll take a pure shooter in high school ball any day over a player that thinks only dunk and attack and can't shoot. 

Anybody else have anything?


Anonymous said...

I think it is kind of funny that kids think this way because how many dunks do you see in the Thumb over the course of a basketball season? Look at some of the most successful players that came from the Thumb and went on to play D1 college basketball - Brad Redford and Jordan Bitzer. What was it that got them to a D1 college? A high basketball IQ and the ability to shoot the ball. It also made them pretty darn successful in high school.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the coach above. I watch many 'big' guys out at the arc line pumping 3s during warmups, instead of working on the short jumpers. Reason being, 3 pointers and dunks are 'cool', turnaround jumpers in the lane arent.

I too have noticed the poor free throw shooting around the Thumb. I was a decent FT shooter in high school (80% my senior year) and I know the best thing for me was having a routine at the line and sticking to it. The routine itself didnt help my shot(spin ball twice, bounce 3 times), but it forced me to concentrate on the ball and shooting rather than what was going on around me (crowd, tired, score, etc).

Bogan said...

Thanks for the posts.

Anonymous said...

As a spectator, you don't realize what goes through a person's head during free-throws. Sure everyone has their own little routine (mine is a 2 dribble, deep breath, and shot), but practicing free throws is a whole lot different than shooting them in a real game. The crowd is cheering, and the adrenaline is pumping which can cause you to shoot with more power than you are used to having during practice. And as for the comment about big guys shooting 3's, maybe they have the ability to shoot from long range. Just because they are considered "big" does not mean they are justified to stay under the basket at all times. Perfect example, Rasheed Wallace is seven feet tall and he made half his living on the three line. I am tired of hearing how big guys are limited to centers and forwards without realizing they could have potential somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

I dont think it is neccesarily that everyone wants to attack the rim rather than score, but there has always been a stress on attacking the rim. Attacking the rim scores easy buckets, puts pressure on the defense by not only causing fouls, but also by causing shifts which frees up open jump shots. Some kids are shooters, some arent. A team needs both players who attack and create shots, as well as the kids who knock those shots down. This is what allows good teams to be well balanced. I also do not agree that "big" kids always need to be under the basket. This is an old school way of thinking. As a coach, I would love to have the biggest kid on my team be able to handle the ball and play the perimeter, just makes him that much more dangerous. There is no way I would tell a kid with the skill set to play outside to just play inside only. Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

last year nick zaleski from owen gage dunked four times so im sure there lots of dunks in the thumb in a season