Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Development of coaches

We sometimes forget it, but coaches can learn as much as players can. Steve Shields is no different. I could be mistaken, but I think I have seen some development in him as a coach in the last couple of seasons, particularly this last one. He was more flexible, and got the most out of a team without any effective inside offensive game. Let's hope the Schooling of Steve continues.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Illogical schemes

Texas A&M's new coach, Billy Kennedy, says that his offensive scheme is designed to get off a shot "within the first seven seconds of the possession," according to Fox Sports. That is totally illogical. Normally you won't do much more than get across the half court line in that amount of time. Even on a fast break it is going to take a few seconds to get into shooting range. Is he saying his guys are just supposed to jack it up the minute anyone is even marginally open? Great way to get high-percentage shots, that is!

Equally illogical is the Princeton attitude that passes up open shots in order to go further into the shot clock. If you are open, you have a good shot. You might not get another open look that possession, so your passing it up just cost you a possession, and in the Princeton offense, possessions are precious because there are fewer of them than in faster-paced offenses.

Work for good looks and take good shots, but take them when you have them. That is good basketball. I really wonder about some of these illogical offensive schemes.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


It's great to be a Little Rock Trojan fan!

Monday, May 23, 2011


The three-point shot is like the siren call of Greek mythology. It is such a crowd-pleaser, and makes more points in a hurry than any other play. However, it has a built-in treachery. It promises more than it delivers, and many schools rely FAR too much on the three to the detriment of the rest of their game. So often, when they are not “on” from the arc, they do not have a Plan B to bail them out. We learned that painfully last year. I hope we are a little more balanced this season. It appears we will be.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Another example

Another example of why I do not like the emphasis in college basketball is Pittsburgh. Many fans are complaining about them not being "winners" because they have not been to the Final Four despite their good teams in recent years. They have been to the Sweet 16 six times in the last ten years. Only Duke and Kansas have been to more NCAA regionals in that time. They are one of seven programs to play in 10 consecutive NCAA tournaments. That would look to me like they are one of the truly elite programs in basketball REGARDLESS of whether or not they have advanced past the regional finals. Winner? They are big winners.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Reasonable expectations

What is a reasonable expectation for the level of success for this program to achieve? Here is mine:

1. Win 20 games more often than not.

2. Get to the point when it is rare for us not to be in the hunt for the division title. (If we aren't, everyone would consider it a down year.)

3. Win the regular season title at least once a decade.

Those are all things a program at our level with our resources ought to be able to do.
Some would notice that the NCAA tournament is not included in any of those. The reason is that if we take care of those three, I figure NCAA appearances will take care of themselves.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Solid size

It is very rare that really good big men come to our level. Chris Marcus at WKU was a very rare exception. However, I think we have some size this year that will be solid and reliable. If that pans out to be true, we can be at least in the top half of the SBC.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


It is always a little disconcerting just how optimistic we ought to be about an upcoming season. Any guesses are based very largely on assumptions, especially when you have very many recruits coming in, and we have (at least) six. It isn't wrong to be optimistic, but sometimes it isn't very realistic. I think there is a little realism in the optimism this off-season, though. The incoming class warrants it. Some of the returning talent warrants it. "Hopeful" might be a better word.

Shields and Newell

Assuming nothing out-of-the-ordinary happens, Steve Shields will become the winningest coach in Little Rock history early next season. Hats off to him for a great job. He has earned it.

Many will compare him to Mike Newell, but there probably is no comparison. They played in different conferences at different levels. Newell's teams played good tournament ball, and thus they went to post season a good bit. To fans who only pay attention to post season, this would make Newell the better coach. It is hard to say. Probably that is irrelevant.

Since I did not follow the Trojans in those days, I do not have any firsthand knowledge of Newell. However, I do of Shields. He has run a clean program - done it the right way. That means a lot to me. Little Rock is a team I am not ashamed to root for. No sleeze, which is so prevalent in college basketball. So, I'll tip my hat to Shields when he get the record. It has been a good run.


A good coach, assuming he has the players, will turn the press from a disadvantage into an advantage. Presses can be broken if players remain calm, position themselves correctly, and have good court awareness. When a press is broken, it becomes an immediate offensive advantage because the defense is out of position. I hate seeing these always-pressing teams get the advantage simply because the opponents can't/won't take advantage of it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


In the past, we have usually had the discipline, but not the talent. Maybe we could be entering a run where we have the talent as well. Could be good things ahead.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lots of wins

I predict a lot of wins over the next three years with Gus Leeper and Will Neighbour up front.

Getting the most

We look to have a couple of 3-star incoming recruits for the first time ever, probably. Here's a guess that we will get more out of our 3-stars than most other teams do, because Shields typically gets the most out of the talent he has.