On capitulation and two great Canadian coaches
Hey look: A morning offering that’s all basketball.
Who’d a’thunk it?
Don’t worry, it’s pretty much an off-day today, we’ll be back to normal tomorrow morning.
This about sums it up
Now, at some time I’m going to sit down seriously and try to come up words to fully describe this season but that’s for another day because – yikes!!! – there’s three weeks less a day and 11 games to go.
But when we were talking to Dwane after the game, he came up with the sentences that almost perfectly describe what transpired last night and what’s transpired most of this season.
“We didn’t respond when they got physical. We were looking for calls and they’re not calling them.”
Drops mic. We’re done here, nothing to see, time to move on, folks.
Really, the lack of mental toughness, and physical toughness to some major degree is the over-riding failure we’re seeing in the last quarter of another dead season.
It’s 75-75 after three, crowd’s still marginally in the game, a team that hasn’t played since Saturday is at home and what do we get?
Now, there is more than enough blame to go around – again, that’s for closer to the end of the year and it’s not one guy or one coach or one GM – but unless these guys find some mental fortitude, they’ll never be anything other than a team that can sometimes steal a game here and there.
It, above all else, has been the major failing since this thing began.
Oh yeah, there’s this, too
We read breathless analysis a week or so ago that the best shot in basketball is a three-pointer and it may be analytically correct.
As lone as someone one makes one every now and then.
After throwing up a 4-17 furball from distance on Wednesday night – that’s an atrocious percentage by any standards – Toronto is now shooting, as a team, 22.8 per cent in its last five games (26-for-114) and 28.6 in its past 10 (59-for-206).
That’s not efficient and no one can possible tell me that it is so if they are going to believe in that “take lots” theories, they might want to mention to the GM that they need people proficient from beyond the arc. Heck, they’d probably settle for marginally good rather than proficient because, right now, they suck.
Oh yeah, there’s this, too
The HOTH, who just a month ago were talking playoff run going into a “winnable” home game against Washington, are now percentage points behind the Wizards and 10th in the East and a meager 2 1-2 games up on 11th place Detroit.
How’s that make all you feel?
More? We’ve got some, as usual.
Fans are understandably impressed with the young Canadian basketball talent that’s out there and everyone was suitably proud of Andrew Wiggins and an injured Trey Lyle being named to the world team at the Nike Hoop Summit, one of the biggest talent showcases around.
But, to me, the most impressive announcement was that Roy Rana of Ryerson will once again coach the world team.
That’s a big deal, bigger than big, and speaks volumes about Rana’s talents and his place in the game, one aspect of Canada’s basketball growth that often goes a bit under-reported.
Canada Basketball needs guys like Roy out there spreading the word and making the contacts and developing his own skills to keep the program moving in the right direction.
There was a time when coaching in Canada lagged behind a lot of the world’s middling powers in basketball and it was the failing even further in arrears.
Now? Now I think it’s a bit of a strength and it’s guys like Rana, dedicated, willing to learn, able to get out and meet the right people and say the right things who are leading a resurgence.
Yes, the likes of Wiggins winning major awards and the strength of the young group is impressive.
So is what Roy’s doing.
Okay, am entirely unsure when I’ll get to any comments because the Smelly Ford Taurus is scheduled to roll on down the highway starting about 7 a.m. so I can get to picturesque (and by picturesque I mean quite gloomy) Auburn Hills, Mich., by midday.
But while you’re trying to figure out what to say, think of what you might want to ask because the mailbag’s open (firstname.lastname@example.org) and you know how much I love to hear from so many of you.
I should be back mid-afternoon and expect to find all kinds of fun stuff to deal with.
Hang on a sec.
Did someone say roll on down the highway?
Man, get a load of that hair.
Speaking of Canadian coaches, had a great hour-long chat with Lisa Thomaidis yesterday afternoon, the fruits of which you’ll see over the next couple of days or so.
Suffice it to say she’s quite impressive and I think Canada Basketball hit a home run by hiring a homebred coach who is innately familiar with the program, the players and the nuances of being a national team coach in a country where the best players are spread all over the world.
One of the more interesting part of the conversation was about what young girls need to do to develop skills that will best suit them.
“Probably the biggest thing that we need our players to do more of is play one-on-one. And against a variety of different players, playing against people who are quicker than them, taller than them, shorter than them; whatever it is. To have them understand we need players who can break down, who can create an advantage, who know how to create a shot for themselves.
“I think that’s something that isn’t emphasized as much. Someone else made the comment that the game has become, or the development has become, that players go to a team practice and they work on team stuff or they play a ton of games. And there’s not as much emphasis on the individual skill development … We’ve lost some of that edge that we need to get back to.”
She’s dead right on that, I think. The more young kids play and develop individual skills, the better they’ll be in the long run; there cannot be too many games where kids stand around and don’t do a lot for long periods of time, there can’t be an endless stream of walk-through drills working on plays that never are run.
So if you’ve got a young girl who wants to play, let her; get here out learning the individual skills and creativity the greats need.