Notes from UCSB men's basketball practice on 10/7/2016
One of the first drills was practicing the hand off. The post player executes a jump stop, pivots, and hands off the ball to a curling perimeter player. The ball should not be tossed up, but handed off to avoid turnovers.
The next drill was executing and defending the entry pass into the low block. The post players would practice establishing position and defending the position. Simultaneously, the perimeter players were making and defending the entry pass, so all four players were getting coached up on offense and defense. The perimeter defender is supposed to open up his hips and then defend the cutting offensive player (the give-and-go). The post player on offense needed to chop his steps and shield the defender to maintain balance before receiving the entry pass.
In the high post offense, a wrinkle was added to include a backdoor cut and feed.
The next drills incorporated the previous drills to run the transition offense, without and then against a defense.
Note: Clifton Powell has an uncanny fade away jumper over his right shoulder (he's right handed). He just gets so much lift that it is hard for the defender to get a hand in his face. When he received a pass down low after a cut, he would use that move to get separation from his defender, and rise to release a feathery turnaround jumper.
Powell and athletic power forward Felix White have major hops. White blocked several shots from out of nowhere. He is a very gifted athlete. He may be "raw" and played against weak competition in high school, but I think the high-major schools missed on him. He is going to be a good player. Coach Bromley stayed after practice to help him practice finishing post moves with his back to the basket.
Coach Williams strongly urged the players to "Catch the ball, and only dribble it if you are going somewhere. If you dribble the ball without purpose and pick it up, we are ****ed!"
"If I'm up top, and the wings are covered, bigs--you come up."
Direct, hard cuts to the basket were demanded instead of rounding off cuts.
The bigs were coached to hold the ball high when switching sides, consistent with how UNC post players are coached. This highlights the passing option. I mentioned that Fresno City College players switch ball sides by swinging their arms low. But Coach Williams said Fresno City College has a dribble-penetration first offense, while the Gaucho offense is a pass-first offense.
The next drill was an out of bounds play along the baseline. Included was the UCLA out of bounds play.
Note: Jarriese Blackmon's 3 point shot looks more solid this season.
Next came a defensive rotation drill. The goal is to close out on the right shooters when the ball is reversed. It's not a trapping defense, but a baseline drive will attract two defenders to stop dribble-penetration. Everybody else has to rotate to the right perimeter shooter. Communication is key in this drill.
Coach Williams mentioned he can field a big lineup without sacrificing much quickness. An intriguing lineup in one of the drills had Gabriel Vincent, Christian Terrell, Maxwell Kupchak, Alex Hart, and Ami Lakoju.
When players were talking out of turn and not paying attention to the coaches, all players had to run wind sprints across the Thunderdome floor as punishment. "Don't listen = run wind sprints."
Note: Terrell resembles former Gaucho Michael Bryson, but he is bigger. Clifton Powell resembles former Gaucho Chris Brew, but Powell is also bigger.
Another coaching nugget yelled by Coach Williams: "Don't stand around looking for the ball. Go backdoor!" "Post players don't stand around in the corner! Move toward the basket when the ball is reversed."
Next was a 5-4 with a twist transition offense. I believe this is the offense they will run against a zone defense. Pass and cut into a 2-man twist.
Note: during drills, Canty wasn't engaged. But once the drills were put together in full court drills, he woke up. He's a good passer.
Coach Williams: "The best 3 point shot is after an offensive rebound, or when the ball goes inside-out."
They then ran a 45-second 3-man weave drill. The goal was to complete 8 layups full court in under 45 seconds. Only two players managed to beat the clock, while the goal was to incrementally increase that number daily. Overall, this team is speedier than previous teams, especially the post players.
They finished off with free throws while fatigued, and players who committed turnovers during the drills had to stay extra to work on their shot.
Coach Williams finished practice reminding them to eat a good breakfast and lunch every day. Listening to the coaches instructions was emphasized.