DALLAS — While in Dallas for a conference last week, I flipped through what was now just two sports stations after ESPN failed to establish a foothold in the area.
The topic of the day was how disappointed the hosts were with the Dallas Mavericks summer league side, describing the group as virtually unassailable. Perhaps the most interesting part of the segment was a rant about recent draft pick Jaden Hardy not knowing the basics needed to play NBA basketball and how a member of the Mavs organization apparently agreed.
The frustration started when the hosts realized Hardy continued to dribble past each other in double teams. He wasn’t actually double-teamed, but because he didn’t understand the game and how to read defenses, he kept turning reasonably easy situations into double-teams, making the game difficult for himself.
Once it clicked, they said they noticed Hardy also didn’t seem to understand how to execute a basic pick and roll, or how to defend it. Single fundamental after fundamental that every NBA player should know, he was consistently deficient.
So the hosts said they spoke to a Mavs official who said the team had seen the same issues, but indicated it was not something unexpected at that time.
“We have to beat him against AAU,” the hosts said, the manager told them.
They then described a lack of quality leadership at the AAU level. Apparently kids are so naturally talented that coaches refrain from properly addressing the mental aspect of the game which requires hard teaching, opting instead for player value which simply shows scouts how they play against other players. quality.
This supposedly turns into a lot of individual action as opposed to team fundamentals, leaving development holes in elite players. When these players come to college, the impression at the NBA level seems to be that once most college coaches determine that a player is going to be unique, they deliberately choose not to invest a lot of time in the player on more difficult tasks. to teach lifelong skills.
After all, the young man will leave in a few months. The ultimate goal is to get him to develop chemistry with the team and maybe someone who isn’t used to playing defense at least adopts a basic defensive stance and sticks with his guy clear.
It’s a radio segment that Eric Musselman should tape and play for every rookie who visits and twice on Sundays for every player who thinks Musselman might be pushing him too hard to learn the details of the games.
That’s because the one college basketball coach who is most often praised for what his players know when it comes to NBA readiness and mindset is Musselman.
It happens the same way every year. A player goes to the combine or joins a team and the broken record is put back into play.
[Insert former Razorback name here] said today that he was shocked at how well he knew the terminology and thought process when he came to [insert NBA combine or NBA practice here].
“We were delighted to see how [insert Musselman coached Razorback player here] already knew and understood how we do things here with the [insert NBA organization]”, [Insert NBA team coach or owner name here] said. “He was able to figure out the things that we need all of our players to know much faster than most.”
It didn’t take long for NBA scouts, coaches, owners and general managers to realize that the knowledge of how to analyze what is thrown at them on the floor is much higher with Razorback players than those who come out of most programs.
Arkansas fans have seen the video packages that once talked about how much players sweat in practice, replaced with a video of Musselman grinding his players on what each player they face will do and how to avoid sweating. getting into bad situations when opponents commit specific offenses. and tusks.
It is not general education that happens in all schools. It is teaching at a level that makes the difference between knowing that Hitler was the leader of Germany in World War II and, instead, knowing every step he took to come to power legally, why the people saw this happen, why he made all the decisions he made, and why other world leaders acted, or in some cases didn’t act at all, the way they did.
It’s the depth with which Musselman asks his players to understand that’s the difference.
There are many places where athletes can go and play ball, but Fayetteville is not one of them. It is no longer the brand.
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Arkansas is where athletes come to get their basketball education. The Tuesday and Saturday games are simply where they try to demonstrate their mastery of the material.
That’s why Razorback fans have seen Musselman teams with less talent weeding out team after team loaded with supposed lottery picks, especially after January 15th when it seems the knowledge spread is over and it’s about improving how they are applied at a high level.
This is why some former Razorbacks, if they had been on other teams, would have been immediately sent to a random foreign country that they cannot find on a map to play professional basketball after college. Instead, because they graduated from college with this depth of knowledge, they are able to stick around and become NBA journeymen.
As long as Musselman is in Arkansas, he will be considered Ivy League college basketball by NBA scouts. They know, without a doubt, that the players who come from there are at the top of their training in basketball.
No need to beat the AAU on players.
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