Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Want to Be A Heroic Coach? Now is Your Chance.

Imagine you are the coach of a high school team. Your team has reached the state championship game, and it is the dream scenario (you know what I am talking about). There are 7 seconds left in the fourth quarter, your team is down by 1 point, and you have one time-out left. My question is two-fold: to which local high school player do you give the ball? And what type of play do you draw up?

I will answer to get us started. I would have Frank Booker get the ball out on the left wing. I would tell the biggest guy on my team to set a pick and roll towards the basket. Hopefully this would create a match-up that is in our favor, taking the opposing team's best defender out of the picture.

My reasoning behind choosing Booker is that I feel he is possibly the best in the area at creating space for himself in case he does not make it to the rim. Secondly, he is the most capable of knocking down any shot on the court. Booker has a great feel for the game and knows how to position himself to get the most effective shot, if not the prettiest one.

I know there are plenty of other players that could make the last shot, but at the high school level I believe I would be most comfortable with Booker.

Who would you choose? What play would you draw up? Let me know in a comment.


  1. Note: You want the big man rolling to the basket incase both go with the ball. Further, you always want a second chance basket. But on to the topic at hand...who should take the last shot...

    You said Booker because of his ability to create space. I'll present a different option and tell you I believe it is correct.

    I feel you have to go with a guard who is stronger, faster, and bigger. This guard is Ahmed Hill. He may not hit the crazy triple pump fake shot, but is that because he can't? No, Ahmed Hill does not have to resort to that type of shot because of his superior athleticism. At all times, he is as athletic or more athletic than any player on the floor. A rare combination of speed and height makes him a mismatch. Coming off a screen, he is able to beat his man to the goal and finish (even dunk) over a larger defender with contact. He can also shoot the long ball with efficiency. Lastly, assuming the defender takes away everything, which is unlikely, he can elevate over the defender and shoot a high percentage 15foot jumper. This is a shot that Frank definitely does not have.

    Granted Frank is a great player and hits extremely difficult shots, but Ahmed simply does not have to shoot these difficult shots. He is a superior athlete with a much higher ceiling. There is a reason almost every major D1 school is chasing Ahmed Hill. I believe high major D1 schools are simply not after Frank because of the reasons state previously.

    In conclusion, I would give the ball to Ahmed every single time!

    This is not a knock on Frank. It is simply my opinion which was formulated while observing both players these last few years.


  2. Great point about having the big man roll to the rim. I had just helped Zach by editing his story to say that right before you replied.

    Now I'll throw in my two cents. Call me crazy for picking neither Ahmed nor Frank. And call me biased for choosing my own player. But if I don't believe in my own guys, there is something wrong with me as a coach.

    Instead of typing a long explanation for why I would choose Austin Crown to take the last shot, I provide this link to a video (http://youtu.be/XwEF7BImdWg) of an actual last possession situation where Austin proved he is up to the task.

    With 11 seconds remaining versus First Presbyterian, everyone in the gym knew Crown would go the length of the court and take the last shot. After all, our other leading scorer, Matt Miller, had fouled out. I even paused and slowed down the video to show the two players who guarded him the entire 94 feet. After beating these two guys, Austin scored over First Pres's 6'7" center.

    Austin has the shooting ability to make guys guard him as soon as he crosses half court. And he has the speed and ball handling to blow by the defender(s) when crowded and the shot making ability to finish in a number of ways.

    It is probable that Frank and Ahmed will be more heavily pursued by many Division 1 programs. But on a high school court, a coach with the option of handing Austin the ball on the game's last play would have to think long and hard before deciding against it. Ask Frank and Ahmed themselves. They know the deal.

    But don't get me wrong, Frank and Ahmed are competitors. And although they would give Austin plenty of credit, they would still want the ball in this situation. That is why they are special players, too!

  3. When I said "roll away from the basket" I did not mean to the top of the key. I would have him roll at an angle to shield off the defender. Sorry for the confusion. All of these guys would be great options to have shoot the last shot. There are many others who I would feel confident with the ball in that situation. Thanks for your opinions. Hopefully there we will hear from others on this point.