NBA rookie, Javon Carter, wrote a letter to the City of Memphis. There were a lot of great takeaways from players, and some interesting insights into the program at West Virginia. Here are some of the things that stood out to me.
“See, it was like this at West Virginia: The only thing that mattered to Coach was that we played harder, every single play, than the other team.”
“Coach’s whole philosophy was about maintaining focus, minimizing mistakes and working hard. He wanted to make sure that no matter who we were up against, we were not going to be the first ones to get tired.”
“I remember when he first scouted me at an AAU game my senior year of high school. It was an 8 a.m. game. I wasn’t being recruited by that many D-I schools, even by my senior year. I remember that after the game he told me he liked me because the other guys on the court looked sluggish — but not me. He told me that he thought I was quicker than people gave me credit for, and that he was impressed that I got my hands on a lot of balls. I had been the top scorer in the game, but he didn’t talk about that at all.
No coach had ever talked to me about deflections. Huggins was different. I liked him right away. And when he gave me an opportunity, I jumped at it. That was all I needed.”
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Coach Ethan Leasher, Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at Davenport University, joined us on the Dynamic Coaching Tools Podcast. Coach Leasher is in his fourth year at Davenport (D2 in Michigan). In this episode we talked about offense, analytics that can be measured within the game, and what it is like to be a young college basketball coach. Below is information for Coach Leasher, as well as a few other items from this episode.
Coach Leasher Bio
Ethan Leasher enters his third season as an assistant coach for the Panthers. He will be the co-offensive coordinator and the recruiting coordinator this season. Leasher will also be handling all compliance tasks and alumni relations.
Leasher is a native of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan and graduated from Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting/finance. He played one year of college basketball at Adrian College in 2009-2010 under Mark White. Leasher served as head student manager of the CMU Men’s Basketball team under Ernie Ziegler in 2010-2011 and also coached the junior varsity boys basketball team at Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart Academy in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 compiling a 35-5 record. Leasher coached AAU basketball for Hoopgrind Michigan from 2011-2014 and saw seven athletes sign collegiate athletic scholarships. He spent the 2014-2015 season as a coaching assistant at Chadron State College (Neb.) and was responsible for recruiting, opponent scouting, film breakdown and team travel arrangements.
Coach Paddock said, “Ethan is a tremendous addition to our program. People sometimes say it is better to be lucky than good. In the case of Coach Leasher we are lucky and he is very good. Coach E is a basketball junkie. He spends tireless hours at his craft: studying tape, relationship building with our players, recruiting, etc. He loves the game, our program and is a tremendous asset to the DU community. There is no doubt he will help us continue to get better as a program as we move forward!”
WHAT WE DISCUSSED IN EPISODE 2:
- Offensive Concepts
- Analytics – In game measurable stats
- Life as a young College Coach
“Success lies in simplicity, confusion lies in sophistication.” -Kevin Eastman
Offensive Keys to Success at Davenport:
1 – Play fast
2 – Get to the free throw line
3 – Room for improvement: Take care of the ball, without taking players’ aggressiveness
“What are we going to hang our hat on? How do you measure it?”
“Players do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
“How do you manage being a “go to person” for them (players)?… You have to behave in a way that you are not their best buddy or pal… There is a big difference between being someone’s friend, and being someone that they look up to and respect.”
The article, “Jay Bilas Skills Camp: Top 5 Takeaways for Coaches,” was first published on FastModel Sports.
The 2018 edition of the Jay Bilas Skills Camp continued to provide both coaches and players exceptional opportunities to improve.
The Jay Bilas Skills Camp is quickly becoming one of the best basketball camps in the entire country. At the camp, players are split into teams, which are each led by a full coaching staff. The Head Coach of each camp team is a current college head coach. The three Assistant Coaches are a part of the camp’s Coaching Development Program.
Coaches in the Coaching Development Program range from College Head Coaches, to Graduate Assistants, Student Managers, and High School Coaches. The Coaching Development Program featured a tremendous lineup of speakers, including Don Showalter, Alan Stein, John Shulman, Jeff Lebo, Kevin Eastman, Mike Dunlap, Paul Biancardi, Bart Lundy, Grant Leonard, Bob Richey and, of course, Jay Bilas himself. I was also lucky enough and honored to give a short presentation to the coaches on how to maximize FastDraw to not only enhance your playbook, but your overall program as well (photo above).
By far the most impressive part of the Jay Bilas Skills Camp is the quality of on-court teaching that takes place. Players are treated to a crash course of “how to play basketball,” which featured skill development work, progressions, and special situations. The key however was that this section moved at a pace that resembles a college basketball practice. The progressions included different ball screen actions, off-ball screening actions, post splits, and more, and was all geared towards ensuring that the competitive games segment of camp featured high quality basketball.
1 – “If you think that a task is below you, then leadership will be beyond you.”
Jay Bilas Skills Camp staff featured former NBA coaches, College Head Coaches, and yet there were absolutely no egos. Everyone bought into the example that was set by Bilas, which was to serve others and pour everything into making the camp a tremendous experience for all involved. I felt like this phenomenal quote by Bilas had to be shared.
2 – “Relationships are the life blood.”
This was a line that was shared by Alan Stein, but it was a theme that was echoed by all of the speakers in the Coaching Development Program. You you want to maximize your impact as a coach, then you had better learn to connect with your players.
3 – Two Types of People: ‘Know-it-alls or Learn-it-alls’
Kevin Eastman dropped this knowledge during his presentation, while Mike Dunlap was a living example of a “Learn-it-all.” Coach Dunlap is the Head Coach at Loyola Marymount, and has been an NBA Head Coach as well. He is widely regarded as one of the most intelligent basketball minds in the business, and he chose to be a part of the Coaching Development Program. This example, from an extremely successful coach, just hammered home Eastman’s point about being a “learn-it-all.”
4 – Communication Circle
Coach Showalter shared this pre-practice exercise, in which players must hold hands, look each other in the eye, address a teammate by name, and then share information. This focus on communication builds team chemistry, teaches communication, and has countless other positive impacts on a team. Check out this video that demonstrates how Coach Showalter uses the “Communication Circle” with his teams.
5 – “Do NOT delay gratitude.”
Bilas gets a second mention in this top five list, and not just because his name is on the camp. This was a line that he used multiple times, but it was also a theme for the staff. Everyone was excited and thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow. This “attitude of gratitude” fostered a fantastic environment and atmosphere, and we all got better in our time spent at the camp.
It was truly an honor to present to the Coaching Development Program at the Jay Bilas Skills Camp. On the last day, I wrote a hand written note to thank John Searby (Camp Director). That note was written on the cardboard backing to my note pad. In all of my years of attending practices, camps, and clinics, it was the first time that I went through an entire note pad at one event. The amount of quality information that was shared by the speakers was incredible, and I am already looking forward to being a part of next year’s camp!
Coaches like Buzz Williams and Tom Izzo regularly reference the way that Football coaches do things. They also credit football coaches for making a positive impact on their programs. All basketball coaches should be looking around for great ideas, and other sports offer some opportunities to learn and grow. Below are three ideas, which basketball coaches should steal from their football programs.
1 – Script your first few possessions of the game
A great way to help your team find a rhythm offensively, is to script the first few half court possessions. The number of possessions is dependent on your teams ability to retain information and then execute. We like to script our first three possessions, as well as our first baseline out of bounds play. By scripting it, we are able to put our players into a comfortable position. We can select the set, based on something that we scouted on film. The players that are in a position to make a decision, or take a shot, have practiced that specific scenario the day before the game. This builds confidence. Furthermore, this is especially successful in hostile road environments, as you try to take the crowd out of the game.
2 – Put an Assistant Coach over both sides of the ball
As a Head Coach, one of the hardest things to do is to give up control. In reality, we need to recognize that we have all of the power, but no control at all. We can work on things, but it is up to our players to execute. We can ask our Assistant Coaches to be engaged, to buy in, and to help develop our team. Football coaches make the ultimate decisions, but they also hire an Offensive and Defensive Coordinator that they can trust. These Assistant Coaches play a major role in the success of the team. It also allows the Head Coach to focus on a specific side of the ball, without the other side feeling neglected. In practice, we might want to focus on the defensive side of the floor. Who is holding the offensive players accountable to do things the right way? Assigning an Assistant Coach to each side of the floor, will allow the Head Coach to focus on specific aspects of the team development, while also ensuring that nothing is neglected.
3 – Stress the importance of Special Teams
Football coaches make a huge deal about the impact the Special Teams have on the game. What are Special Teams in Basketball? We view Special Teams as baseline out of bounds plays and sideline out of bounds plays. Other coaches will add factors, such as points off of turnovers, second chance points, or free throws made. Simply using the out of bounds plays are very easy to track within the game. If your team is able to find an advantage within the “Special Teams,” it can be especially important in close games. Look back at last year’s numbers and see what impact the “Special Teams” had on your team.
For more ideas, feel free to contact us via e-mail INFO@dynamiccoachingtools.com
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