Saturday, August 24, 2013

PHO vs. SEA 8/23/13

I wasn't sure what to expect in this game to be completely honest.  In part...despite my defense of coach Corey Gaines in other forums...I really thought the advantage Seattle has over Phoenix in the past few years was mostly coaching superiority.

This is the professional level of the sport and match-ups matter more than they do at any other level.  Players see each other for far more than 2-4 years....this matters more than you may imagine.  Learning how to guard a player's tendencies is by far easier than developing a new offensive skill set.

I like the changes I see on the Mercury side of the ball from a defensive standpoint.  I think the players will tighten up as they learn what is expected of them and that the gaps we see from well coached teams will dissipate over time.  Offensively they are still a mess when faced with Indiana or Seattle.  They can probably beat the rest of the league handily if they are healthy and they follow their game plans.  Sorry folks...but those are the two teams that focus at least MOST of their efforts on shutting down the obvious scoring options in the game of basketball AND succeed.  They have the game plan and the personnel to give offensive teams headaches.

I, for one want to see this coach get a draft, a training camp and a full season under his belt.  He knows this game...that is why they are winning.  I want to see what he does when he understands the league and his competition.

Offensively for Phoenix...start the offense through Griner.  Let's she what she can do.  Have her focus on catching and raising the ball over her head.  No one will steal it there...she will have time to assess the defense and decide whether to score or pass.

For Seattle....uh...well...oh....hmmmm...listen to your coach?  He seems to have things figured out and your veterans are pretty solid on what to do.  So.... .... ... ... well... just play the game and have fun?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My once a year post?

I haven't posted much of late...I have said that a few times and the statement's level of understatement grows redundant.

When I started this blog so many years was just with a passion for the game that was looking for an outlet.

I still play...if you can call what I do on the court these days playing.  My basketball addiction just wasn't satisfied with the odd pick up game every couple of weeks, tickets to live, professional basketball (NBA & WNBA), NBA League Pass, college games on the ESPN channels and a steady diet of NBA Live or NBA 2K on my playstation.

My original tagline indicated that I was just a fan with no experience coaching or as an analyst.  Well my work here got me a regular gig analyzing women's basketball and writing about it throughout the year.  Around the same time I started coaching my youngest son in youth leagues.  That coaching led to coaching older kids in the same league.  That coaching led me to a job coaching JV basketball at the middle school level for the Seattle school system.  That job ended and my community youth coaching opened up a new opportunity to help out with a freshman boys team at the local high school.

I think at this point I have to admit that I have become a basketball coach.  I love it.  I love teaching the game at the mental level, and I have become passionate about teaching it at a physical level.  I have become meticulous about not just understanding the fundamentals but investigating every way possible to teach them.  Different kids learn in different ways...and I really want every child I work with to not only get better, but have fun while they take that journey.

I love it.  I love every minute of it.  I have stretched, grown and butted my head against my own limits so much in the past few years.  Every mistake has been tough...but they have each pushed me to do better the next time.  It has been a long time since I have had something that stirred that kind of passion in my life.

I had the privilege of coaching the same group of boys for three years...I watched them grow from a decent community team to a dominant team.  They lost more than half their games our first year and only one over the next two.  It was a truly unique situation...they were super smart boys who learned quickly everything that I tried to teach them.  While never being the most skilled or athletic as a team...they were usually the highest basketball IQ team on the court.  I still own that one loss in those two years...I made some mistakes in my lineup combinations and put far too much pressure on my point guard.

My middle school time was too short for growth.

However in coaching the high school level I have the new benefit of seeing these players year round.  We had a very frustrating season, ending with only four wins and really playing below our level of talent.  In the off season we have seen a remarkable transition in these players.  There are many differences between our summer season and our winter season...not the least of which is the new head coach...and the addition of some physically talented incoming freshman.  That aside, when I just look at the growth of individual players...they have made such strides...not just in their physical abilities, but more importantly in their understanding of the game and their mental approach.

This is thing that I am passionate about.  Sure, it is fun that our team is winning this summer...but what I like more is what I see in practice...what I see in how these young men behave in the flow of the game.  I am lucky to be part of a program that emphasizes character.  The coaching staff insist upon it.  The magic, though, is seeing the kids surrender...and in the end...embrace it.

I have gone on for many, many paragraphs now...but I think it is clear what I have been trying to say.  My passion for the game has not diminished...but my outlet has changed venues.

I won't delete this blog...I may occasionally post here.  In fact I have some comments on my last two posts...I was wrong that Clark wouldn't make the team...but right that she would be a valuable WNBA player.  On top of farewell to A-Rob sees vindication as she returns to the team this season.

It has been a brutal season for Storm fans.

No Bird, no Jackson, no Wauters.....NO LAST PLACE GUARANTEE FOR A HIGH DRAFT PICK.

The coach in me just nods his head and tips my hat to Brian Agler and the leaders he has put in charge of this team on the floor.  The fan in me gets really excited at wins in Key Arena and then bangs his head against the wall over the insanity.

I want to complain about so many things WNBA...and I will try to do so.  I don't expect many are still around to listen...and I won't make a commitment to keep up my posts.  Thank you to those whose still read...and apologies to those who always did but have moved on.

If you don't already know, Richard Cohen is doing incredible work tracking the WNBA over at .  Also, Swish Appeal has some of my favorite writers and people covering all things women's basketball.  Finally, while we all mourn the loss of Kevin Pelton to the giant of all things Sports at ESPN...your best source for Storm coverage remains with the Storm.