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Start Smart Basketball (Mike Dunlap) - Notes from Coaching Clinics

Basketball Thoughts

Alvin Gentry

•    screen and flare with a good player is the toughest thing to guard in the NBA

•    very difficult to trap ballscreens, guards too good, plus low post punches into the middle

•    best defensive teams in the NBA rebound defensively, defend, are simple with rotations, very physical, therefore in every game

Jeff Van Gundy

•    give great shooters one direction to use screens

•    on a low post catch, the other post goes under the backboard, leaving the middle open

•    no cutting action when the post catches in the paint

•    ball screening versus zone defence is very effective

John Calipari

•    once I gave up on the secondary break our scoring went up about 15 points a game

John Lucas

•    complicated defence gives players a way out, stay with simplicity, make players accountable

Larry Brown

•    secondary break can be too structured, takes away scoring opportunities

•    Dean Smith would double a ballscreen - so why not send the ballhandler away from the screen?

•    Dean Smith - make bad shooters a driver

•    with a new program, defensively put in place no second shots, transition defence, don’t foul

•    if your best player is a good guy you have no problems, your biggest ally

•    onball defence - run don’t slide

•    you act on defence, make the offence react, don’t let them run their stuff

•    dribble handoffs and penetration were effective in the world games

•    yell “no foul” in late-game situations , helps with referees

•    defending the last play, worry about the second shot more than the first

Tim Floyd

•    if you give your players one way to defend, they will react, if you give 3 or 4 ways, they have to think


John Wooden

•    defence - more suggestions and less rules

•    1/3 of practice 5 on 5, e.g., set offence and pressing defence, set defence and fast break

•    hard then easy drill

•    3 on 2 conditioner - hard

•    no showmanship

•    recruiting - quickness with size, quickness with control


Bobby Knight

•    you understand when you write it down

•    rarely prevents kids from playing, it punishes the team - raw them to death or get rid of them

•    let players decide everything you don’t care about

•    familiarity can lead to lack of discipline, keep some distance

•    he’s not your buddy when you play for him, when you leave he’s your best friend

•    it’s player quickness not press structure that gets thing done

•    their press is our offence

•    can’t be too prepared

•    Pete Newell - you are not a social worker

•    don’t enable the deviant, it retards team progress

•    not a coach for all people


Lawrence Frank

•    who is not doing it - hold players accountable

•    the group will not defy your best player

•    trim the fat - 10-15 minutes of 3-man weave

•    pre-game - need your eyes and ears

•    how other team defends ballscreen, post, double screen, dribble handoff

•    hot hand - stay with it

•    officials - Kenyon Martin rule - throw up your arms you come out

•    get on refs during dead ball

•    touch guys every day

•    dribble handoff harder to guard than pick and roll

•    receive handoff, hold and read for ½ second

•    if you aren’t a shooter, dribble handoff


Jeff Van Gundy

•    Pat Riley scripted every word, never spoke off the cuff

•    glass not ½ full for me, it’s completely empty

•    need a positive coach around me

•    greatest players in the NBA are the most fragile

•    double high post - 5 ballscreens for 1 going left then downscreens with 4 for 2, 4 then comes across to ballscreen for 1 and fades, 3 cuts backdoor, 5 ducks in

•    corner all side pick and rolls

•    it’s not post moves, it’s post depth or position - get the ball in the paint

•    zone attack - pick and roll

•    to win you have to beat the best players - enough variety to take them out

•    if they are doing it as hard as they can, you have to have an answer for them

•    how are you going to limit the best players you face

•    who can you coach - can’t coach anyone with two of the s’s (soft, stupid, selfish)

•    can’t dumb it down until it is just dumb

•    Lakers - down everybody but early trap Bryant


Jim Calhoun

•    do what you’ve done all year

•    do a limited number of thing very well

•    do too many things, you do them poorly

•    what are the four things your team will do very well

•    1 drill 15 times vs 15 drills 1 time

•    we run - 24-35 minutes a day - must get easy baskets

•    you can’t create quickness, but you can create speed

•    post man must sprint middle every time

•    rebound - 9.6 differential, work on it, always go after the ball

•    one coach watches offence, one watches defence

•    3 on 2 means 2 on 1 rebounding

•    find your man, check your man, get the ball

•    or find, check and control your man, get the ball

•    running and rebounding makes opponents think about getting back

•    contest all shots

•    baseline drive is a double team

•    85% of practice is fullcourt

•    everything in practice is competitive - consequences and penalties

•    make slashers fade, shooters curl - take away their favourite cut


Bill Self

•    offence should be simple, defence complicated

•    teach principles and tweak them for opponent

•    flatten bigs to create driving room

•    down with handoffs


Gordon Chiesa

•    teach people how to score - your born-again friend, then they listen on defence

•    the slower and less athletic, the more screens you must set

•    finish your cut if you don’t get a pass, drag a defender with you

•    winners roll to the basket, losers step back

•    the better the shooter, the easier for the screener to get a paint cut

•    after offensive rebound - re-space, kick out for 3

•    can’t coach everyone the same way

•    can’t be the heavy everyday

•    inner peace with your superstar

•    everybody goes small in NBA game 6 and 7

•    lambaste a player and lose for a month

•    correct it and out of there

•    go cut baseline - pass to low post, cut baseline for drop pass, layup on other side of the rim (rim is friend and ally)


Detroit Piston Training Camp

•    3-man passing, scoring pass is bounce pass

•    3-man weave - 5 them 4 then 3 passes, bounce pass to score

•    4-man break - ball does not touch floor at all

•    5-man break - one big outlets to other big who hits point guard as if overplayed, first big up rebounds and outlets to trailing big

•    3 on 2, 2 on 1 - 2 defender outlet to coach before attacking, no dribbling

•    then 3 on 2, 2 on 1, 1 on 1

•    3-man shooting, 2 balls - catch and shoot, pull-ups; when perimeter players shoot, posts rest

•    3 on 3 fullcourt - emphasize play without the dribble, no ballscreens

•    3 on 3 halfcourt - play to 5, 1 point for a stop and stay on D, -1 point and stay on D, score to go on D, no ballscreens, drive or handoff if no one open, on-ball defence - play a yard, losers run a ladder, can shoot for it

•    shooting drills - 3-ball, cutting and shooting, bust-up

•    if your man has the ball, make him a driver, and who are your buddies (defenders one pass away)

•    guard your yard

•    we don’t allow middle

•    inside pivot when ball is entered to the pinch post

•    defending the dribble handoff - xballhandler steps off, xnewballhandler goes through

•    on UCLA cut, xscreener must contact show

•    attacking 3 on 2 or 2 on 1- layup or short jumper

•    5 on 4 and 4 on 3 - swing the ball

•    5 on 4 - swing then sidescreen


Hubie Brown

•    on pick and roll, always two dribbles past screen

•    every drill must end with a make

•    always use a defender on post drills, trains them to bang

•    don’t full front the post, you can’t jump; front with forearm in chest, outside hand up

•    young teams can never be surprised

•    say something to every kid every day

•    5-man break - great conditioner INSTEAD of suicides (never pass behind)

•    pressured on a sidelines out - 1 inbounds, 2 and 3 stack facing the sideline, 3 (behind) curls around 2 upcourt, 2 steps other way for a pass, 1 can come get it back.


Pete Newell

•    how you practice is how your game will be - put game face on

•    cutter - hands in surrender position

•    face up - look right at the basket - most important thing at this camp

•    use inside pivot - closer to basket, easier handoff, create space

•    common error - jab step is too long

•    use one dribble - defender catches up on two dribbles

•    kiki stepback move

•    getting open

      •    walk up lane and show hands

      •    jab into defender, reverse pivot, seal and pop out

•    pivot first, don’t burn your dribble

•    a centre who blocks shots is the most important defensive component

•    universal fastbreak/secondary break - no value late in season

•    jam rebounders - gives you 3 more seconds to recover

•    losing tests your system - take things away in next practice, clean practice

•    mismatches are overrated

•    make bad calls in practice - play thru bad calls

•    turnover - take away a point and give it to the other team

•    least denied spot in offence are the elbows

•    swim move - left hand on defender’s hip, step through with right foot, right hand over and under (or right hand on hip, left hand over and under, left foot step through)

•    2-2-1 - coward’s press - keep out of middle


Mike Dunlap

•    behave the same way if the gym is empty (practice) or packed

•    post up - see back of hands

•    pass to wing on fast break - point steps across to 3pt line, slides ballside

•    change side of floor each day in practice

•    2-minute scrimmages - have two things to do, see if they retain skills and systems

•    then 4 of them, no talking

•    short scrimmage at end of practice gives you what to work on next

•    look off-ball when coaching

•    zone attack - move the ball, not players, most cuts do not hurt zone

•    best screen - wing passes to point, backscreens top of the zone at the elbow


Pete Newell and Mike Dunlap

•    centre most important position in game

•    pressure on ball - most important thing on defence

•    don’t let rebounder look upcourt, deny the outlet upcourt, do not double the rebounder

•    jam the rebounder - payoffs are big

•    Europeans run 1-4 well because of trapezoid

•    you can’t change physical habits by voice

•    understand the value of the ball - 1.2 points per possession - respect it

•    turnover - take a point away, give to opponent

•    necessity is mother of invention, they correct themselves, figure it out yourself

•    you don’t intimidate officials, you anger them

•    motion and flex - east/west offence; basket cuts - north/south offence

•    on defence, jam the ball, other four are ballside (split line)

•    coaching pros - delivery has to be different, get them to do it, can’t make them

•    overload drills - put players under duress


Gary Williams

•    pressing - don’t allow ball into ballside, make them throw it weakside

•    keep press on when ball is on the side, most teams don’t practice press offence from the side


Roy Williams 

•    play 94 feet offence

•    outlet - keeps you from being pressed - overhead and baseball pass

•    2 and 3 sprint other end

•    outlet ballside, catch on the run

•    pressure - get wide with butt to sideline

•    cut and get pass from other big if denied

•    other big looks at ball when at the top of the key, turn and catch and hit point guard on the run, or run to the front of the rim and post up

•    if 2 or less defenders back, score in 2 passes or less

•    if more than 2 defenders, run secondary break

•    rules against a set defence

      •    3 passes unless layup

      •    change side of floor

      •    feed the post - slash opposite the way he turns, or screen away

•    make your first 3 steps faster than the other team

•    bounce pass - only to feed the post


Dave Odom

•    never allow a bounce pass on the perimeter

•    press offence (a) 1 inbounds, (b) big inbounds


Joe Scott, Princeton

•    they do all things 5 on 5

•    never run or condition without the ball

•    your players must get better to win late-season games - 25-30 minutes a day of pass, dribble, etc


Dick Bennett, Washington State

•    the way you defend the post dictates how you play everything else

•    when you are doing defence drills you want the defence to score and be aggressive, make them get stops

•    rebounding - guards need to go to man, make contact and go find the ball; bigs need to make and maintain contact

•    screens - chase the guy down

•    if you touch the guy at all times you will not get screened

•    if you are guarding the screen you will help all guys you can but must stay attached; help in the direction the cutter is going

•    the more you allow switching the more it will handicap you late in the season

•    if you reach you will lose

•    help, then recover (don’t stand)

•    help comes from guards on defence, not from bigs


Dennis Felton, Georgia

•    if you can’t reverse the ball against pressure, backdoor, get the ball inside, drive the elbow, or the high post screens away


The Free Throw - Mike Dunlap

•    shoot with your legs - finish on tip toes

•    follow through for count of 2

•    eyes on target

•    breathing - important in relaxation

•    visualize the shot before stepping to the line

•    shoot them your way unless they shoot over 80%, leave them alone

•    make 25 foul shots before and after practice, players record how many shots it takes

•    absolute concentration during foul shot segments

•    put one player on the line, need to make both to win, otherwise everyone runs

•    lap game - divide team into groups; if the first player makes his shot, the second player will sprint a lap if he misses


Gordon Chiesa, Utah Jazz

•    single-double - cutter gets under the rim, dancing under the basket

•    most people cut too fast

•    use a change of pace, Jazz call it stop and go

•    if you draw a foul early, you take away defensive aggressiveness

•    if the defender uses an arm bar, go arm to arm to take away his leverage

•    if the passer throws to your inside hand, he is saying you are open for a catch and shoot

•    if he throws to your outside hand, he is saying your are open for a catch and go

•    the passer is the eyes of the cutter

•    screener needs to screen xcutter, not xscreener

•    weakside downscreen - starts with the ballside pass

•    never backpedal on offence

•    footwork on screen then flare - screen, turn hips, cross step on cut to corner

•    late game - pindown for a shooter with a shooter, who then flares to the corner

•    guarding the pindown - xscreener must show and get a piece of the cutter, xcutter locks and trails, forces the cutter to use the single screen (only one way to go)

•    cutter getting separation in the lane (cutter on the left, facing the basket)

      •    step in with right leg, sit and spin to seal

      •    swim over with right arm (towards baseline), step through with right leg

      •    straight slash - step across defender with left leg, get above his top leg

      •    hook reverse - defender takes away slash, cutter reverse spins and opens up on the opposite side

•    Jazz want at least 20 paint catches in a game (at least one foot in the paint)

•    rim running (Malone) - run under the rim, sit, spin and seal

•    on a double down - the passer cuts to the corner, the point guard fills behind, dive to dots from weakside, and fill offside wing

•    re-post on pass out of the double

•    against Shaq - help and recover on the dribble, not the pass

•    play to get 3 consecutive stops - especially to start a road game

•    you must surpass the home team’s effort to win

•    never let the help defender’s man score - help the helper

•    most successful coaches are very demanding without screaming

•    you must be very intense

•    NBA players don’t care who you are, they want you to treat them like men, know what you are talking about, help them get better

•    the first side pass is not a good time to go 1 on 1, would send a message that your individual game is more important than the team

•    a good time to go 1 on 1 is when the ball is reversed from side to side

•    two most unselfish offensive plays are setting a good screen, and swinging the ball

•    when the team is on win streak, coach must be hard in practice

•    when drafting, the Jazz take into account player character, and fitting into their system, but bigs get the benefit of the doubt

•    most bigs think they are a small trapped in a big’s body

•    what goes on the board at half time are paint catches, rebounds, deflections, and 1 or 1 plays that hurt them in the first half

•    put you eyes on the blackboard in the locker room, nobody touches their sneakers, gear, etc until coach is done speaking


John Chaney, Temple

•    don’t dribble the pass

•    know who is around you at all time - you are in a room full of snakes

•    point guard can’t finesse the ball in front of the defence or play with the halfcourt line

•    take pump fakes out, puts you in the hands of officials

•    deliver the mail upcourt against pressure - get the ball, get it across halfcourt, read and see, deliver the mail

•    posts - don’t catch passes at waist level, don’t dribble pass, catch in power position, look, look, look, pivot, baby dribble

•    push-pull concept - dribbler clears one teammate, another fills behind - floor balance

•    basic offence - 1-4 low - only one offence, make it work

•    receiving - go get the ball

•    North Carolina - ball goes above their head on every catch, they are thinking “we” not “I” (ball on the hip)

•    you alleviate pressure when you think pass first

•    most important premise - no turnovers - don’t beat yourself

•    inside shooting - work on simple moves; cross screening; locate defender

•    during the game we like to coach our guys on defence, especially in the second half; tough to coach offence

•    never leave your feet on the perimeter

•    we front the post no matter who it is

•    make rest your ally - game-day shooting practice can be destructive

•    bench alignment - I don’t want you running to the end of the bench

•    Maloney 1-2-1-1 press - put best athlete in the middle

•    success is monotonous

•    coaching adjustments should be made in the first half, see if they work

•    you must come at penetration and force the extra pass

•    rebounding very over-rated

•    stepping into the shot - no, no, no

•    ball defence - containment not steal

•    never work on a drill more than 5 minutes (team - 10 minutes)

•    perimeter rules - don’t ballscreen, or lob pass into the post

•    have a philosophy, everything reverts back to it

•    doesn’t allow foot fakes, only ball fakes

•    practice- teach new things early, repeat new things daily, follow hard drills with easy drills

•    work players not in 5 on 5, set up individual drills

•    when the ball is in the corner you eliminate your biggest offensive weapon, passing

•    you defence yourself in the corner

•    create opportunities for one guy to get free - if one guy is free, everyone is

•    avoid dribbling through zones and going airborne

•    you can’t emphasize12 things - they emphasize no turnovers

•    captain’s job - get your team ready to play, my value system is yours

•    posting up - use a two-second court

•    post play - keep ball up and tucked, look-see-read-shot, one dribble shot, crossover, jump hook, always to middle, Sikma

•    be hard on the ball when it’s on the wing, that’s the best passing lane

•    the short corner shot won’t beat you in the zone

•    they don’t do much trapping, if you break it usually leads to a score

•    you don’t have a offence to replace a good player; they play zone to stay away from foul trouble

•    sagging zone (3-2) against a lot of cutters

•    we’ll design how we lose

•    guards take the ball out of bounds against pressure - good defensive balance if they lose the ball

•    defence is constant, controllable

•    how to win - need point guard and centre

•    pre-game talk - 2-3 things about us, 1-2 about them

•    you have to play at two speeds to be a great defensive team - slow (contain) and fast (trap)

•    zone offence - get ball reversal, it’s 1 on 1 in the post

•    post play - work on seals, then reversing and getting it inside, if defence takes away the seal, release pressure and re-post off v-cut

•    when big men catch the ball in the low post, look middle first

•    what leads to turnovers - lobs, skip passes, ballscreens (not allowed)

•    if your guard turns it over, that’s trouble - a layup

•    5 on 0 rebound and fast break into man offence, zone offence

•    they average 8 turnovers per game

•    jump pass - out of a trap

•    no celebrating when a player scores - do you boo if he misses?

•    big men are not allowed to handle the ball

•    a lot of 5 on 5 whole-method teaching

•    defensive rebounding - no perimeter box-out - sight and flight

•    sideline fast break


Rick Majerus, Utah

•    press offence - always look to bypass with the wings, catch with butt to sideline looking upcourt, meet the ball on every pass, point guard must move two and three times to make a catch

•    flare screen as the ball comes to you - hardest to guard

•    your mind enters the game before your body - watch how the defence is playing before you enter

•    contesting shots - dig hand goes up, fingers to the ceiling

•    transition - first big to the rim

•    take all cuts to the rim and finish outside the 3-point line (except cut and replace), use this when lost in motion

•    small/big handoff - go under unless big is great shooter

•    when backdoored, snap your head

•    transition - if two wings on the same side, second calls “thru”, first goes hard out to other side

•    catch and drive - away from where the ball came

•    post feed - pass away from the defence, best feed is the in-out re-post

•    the most open guy in the game is the guy who screens the most

•    best way to defend the post is to keep the ball out of it

•    most important box-out - the player who shoots off a dribble drive

•    loops - wing to elbow or elbow to wing, not elbow to elbow

•    backpick, then pick for the backpicker

•    when a big with the ball in the low post turns to the baseline, always fill the corners

•    bigs always screen in when they are outside, always roll when they pick on the ball

•    helpside defence - nobody cuts below you to the rim

•    shooting - stay with your shot, never compromise it to get back on defence

•    when coming across the lane from the weakside, post players should not over run

•    rebounding a mismatch - just make sure your man doesn’t get even if you don’t

•    never attack a back dribble defensively, he is going to re-attack

•    the first 3 steps are the most important in offensive and defensive transition, one of the few times you lose sight of the ball

•    on attack, when the ball is in the low post, we want players filling the funnel lines in both wings for a pass

•    9 seconds left, 1 to 4 will switch everything defensively

•    3 times in a game to be selfish - coming off a ballscreen, getting the ball in the post, getting an offensive rebound

•    never spin dribble in the backcourt against a press, use a pullback to keep vision

•    if trailer is being denied in early attack, weakside wing backpicks

•    guards should not pick up their dribble until ready to pass

•    be tight with your game, economy of motion (watchwords of the NBA)

•    space offensively outside the NBA 3

•    all smalls press break - 1 inbounds, 3 screens for 2, 4 and 5 upcourt wide

•    Kentucky press break vs hard man pressure - 1 cuts towards the ball then breaks deep upcourt, other players break towards the ball

•    vacate the corner in a motion attack only when there is a flare screen on your side

•    hold the corner on a backpick

•    zone offence - bigs play below the zone, post lower on the block

•    gap dribble looking to score

•    if the zone traps we need three outlets - behind, up, middle

•    if you pass to the top from the wing - space away or pinch in

•    Jordan cut - flash by perimeter player into foul line area

•    defending triangle motion - bump the cross screen high, go through on the downscreen

•    receiving a skip pass, think shot or drive, almost never use a shot fake because you playing against a closeout

•    a small or big on the weakside block is the most dangerous player in the game - he is coming to the ball

•    in transition, wings run wide, cut their angle to the rim just below the 28-foot mark and above the block

•    on high pick and roll (Fist), if 4 passes to 3, ballscreen then fades to the corner, 5 ballcuts across the lane

•    outlet passing - pivot towards the ballside sidelineup


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