Handling End of Game Basketball Situations – Should Cav’s Take Three?

By Don Kelbick

Sometimes you can learn by watching how end of game situations pan out in the NBA.  Here’s my opinion on what happened the other day…

Yesterday, with 14 seconds to go and the Cavs down 5, TV anouncers said, “of course they have to raise up for an early 3.”   Why? It is a 2 posession game and at some point they have to get a 2. Why not get it first?. The two most important things in that situation are: the ball has to go in the basket (it makes no difference where you shoot from if it doesn’t go in) and score as many points as you can with the clock stopped. Both of those situations (including getting fouled) scream “layup” to me. Score, get fouled, make the foul shot. Now you’re down 2 with 10 seconds to go – different game.

What do you think?

The Easy Way to Teach Basketball Offense

By Don Kelbick

Coaches constantly complain that they can’t get their players to remember their plays. They want an easy basketball offense.

Over and over again I hear, “My guys are thick. I can’t get them to remember anything.” Once in a while I might hear, “How can I teach my offense better?”, but I don’t hear it often enough.

I don’t have all the answers, but I do have an opinion. Since this is my space, here is my opinion.

Lack of Background

First and foremost, if you continuously have trouble getting your team to remember their offense, the first thing you should think is that it is too complex or you have TOO MANY PLAYS. I know that it is difficult for a coach to look at himself that way, but he has to.

You have to remember two things…

First, your players don’t have the background that you do. Your past experience will allow you to be much more adaptable than your players.

The second thing is that you came up with the basketball plays. They have to be second nature to you before you bring it to the court. You will know all the positions and all the adjustments long before your players are comfortable with even one aspect.

To draw an analogy, I teach players that a “good pass” is a pass that your teammate can catch. It doesn’t matter where or how you throw a pass if your teammate can’t catch it. Passes that one player can catch, another one can’t. You have to make allowances for that when you pass the ball. When you teach a basketball offense, it doesn’t matter how simple you think it is. If your players don’t get it, it is too complex. It is not important what you think, it is important if they get it.

Drills, Progressions, Dummy

These are the three magic words of teaching offenses…


When you decide on the drill you are going to use in practice, what criteria do you use?  Do you run drills that you think are expected of you (such as three-man weave) that really have no purpose — or do you select drills that have relevance to your team?

TIP:  I believe that the best way to construct basketball drills for your team is to take pieces of your offense and turn those one or two passes and one or two cuts and make them drills. If you are running the “Flex,” the back screen is one drill, the lane duck-in is another drill, and the weakside down screen is another drill. You can work these every day. It will not only make your players’ skills better but it will help them recognize situations.


Before you run, you have to know how to walk. Before you walk, you have to know how to crawl. Those are progressions. As you construct your drills as pieces of your offense you drill first cut, second cut, third cut. Once you are comfortable with how your team runs the drills, start putting the drills together. Your first drill is now first cut, second cut. The next drill is third cut, fourth cut. When you are comfortable with that. Your first drill becomes first cut, second cut, and third cut. Before you know it, you’ve practiced your offense.

That doesn’t mean you can’t run single cut drills as well, but players learn better in pieces.


No, I don’t mean your players. Dummy refers to running your offense without defense. Again I ask you, “what do you do to get your players warmed up?” Do you just run up and down in a useless drill or do you do something relevant?

TIP:  Might I suggest that you run “dummy offense” as a warm-up drill instead of 3-man weave and lay-up drills? And I don’t mean just the half court stuff either. Dummy your fastbreak and your press breakers as well. You will work up a sweat, get in some relevant shooting, some ball handling, conditioning and most importantly, you will be running your offense and reinforcing its principles and philosophy over and over again.

I am a firm believer that you have to remove competition from teaching. When in competition, players’ thoughts are to perform and survive, not learn. Remove the competition, people learn better. Once you are comfortable that your players know what is expected of them, you can introduce competition. They can then go back to their drills, progressions and dummy for reinforcement.

In order to learn more about teaching the motion offense, Don Kelbick also authored Basketball Motion Offense – How to Develop a High Scoring Motion Offense.

Basketball Tips: How to Get a Basketball Scholarship

By Jeff Haefner

Every year, thousands of high school and junior college basketball players compete to get one of the few basketball scholarships that are awarded each year. Here are some basketball tips on how to increase your chances of being selected to receive one of those coveted positions.

Talent and Ability

First and foremost, you have to maximize your basketball skill. Every day you are not getting better, someone else is getting better than you. You have to work and work to become the best player you can be. Work on your skills, be in condition and get stronger.

The jump from high school to college is a big jump. Players are bigger, stronger and more experienced. The game is longer, faster and more physical than anything you have experienced so far in your career. Don’t fall into the trap that you are doing enough to get yourself ready. Without exception, when new college players report for their first workouts they are surprised at how different it is compared to high school. Work to be ready.

The Value of Summer Basketball

Basketball recruiting has changed drastically over the last 15 years. Rules that colleges have to abide by have become more restrictive. The pressure to get commitments from players has resulted in players deciding earlier and earlier on what schools they are going to attend. It is no longer sufficient to be a good player with your high school team. Your senior year in high school has almost become irrelevant! Colleges need to identify prospects earlier and earlier in their career. Coaches now go to places where they can identify and evaluate multiple prospects at one time. The places for that have become AAU tournaments and high profile “recruiting summer camps.”

AAU (or Amateur Athletic Union) is an organization that sponsors amateur sporting events. In basketball, they sponsor spring, summer and fall tournaments in multiple age groups. The age brackets are usually 19 & under, 17 & under, 15 & under, etc. The advantage of that system is that you can play up a bracket to get in better competition (a 15 year old can play in a 17 & U tournament but a 17 year cannot play in a 15 & U tournament). The tournaments are usually played during “live” college recruiting periods so college recruiters heavily attend them. If you can find an AAU basketball team in your area and it is an appropriate age bracket it would be well worth your effort to join the program.

High profile “recruiting camps” are basketball camps that are held during the summer that attract high-level players, which in turn, attract college recruiters. Most of these are private camps, not camps owned by universities, colleges or high schools. They usually offer excellent instruction and very competitive games. Call a couple of colleges and find out what camps they attend to evaluate prospects and make plans to attend.

Summer basketball has become the most significant aspect of recruiting. At no other time can a college coach go to one spot and evaluate 300-400 players at one time. If you want to get one of those scholarships, you have to be where the coaches are.

Be Pro-Active

Don’t wait for a college to find you, go find them. If there are schools that you are interested in, contact them early, and let them know of your interest. Visit the campus, invite the coach to come and see you play. Have your high school coach contact the schools you are interested in. Be sure they have the information they need to evaluate you. Things like game schedules, summer schedules, etc. should be sent to all schools you are interested in. Return all questionnaires and comply with all the requirements that they have for acceptance to school.

Take Care of Your Schoolwork

Believe it or not, college coaches want athletes with good grades! Players in college are “student-athletes.” They attend class, write papers, and do research. Coaches really don’t like to take chances on academic risks. Get good grades; take your standardized tests (SATs, ACTs) as early and as often as possible. Unless you are truly a great player, coaches will not wait for you.

To get a scholarship, you have to register for the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse. This is the organization that will evaluate your grades to determine whether or not you are eligible to play. Even if you are in junior college, they will go back to your high school grades to determine your eligibility (there are different rules for “qualifiers” and “non-qualifiers” coming out of high school and junior college). Take care of your registration as early as possible.

There used to be a saying, “if you can play, they will find you.” That is NOT true any more!! Being able to play is not enough, now. You have to be out where the coaches can find you.

For more basketball players tips, check out our free ebooks and resources on this site…


Basketball Weak Side Defense and Help Positioning is Important!

By Jeff Haefner

We posted a NEW article about basketball defensive positioning and weak side help.  Everybody knows that guarding the ball is important, but GREAT defense happens AWAY from the ball…

Weak side help positioning is critically important for your defense.  In this new article we review key elements to proper positioning and provide you with some simple rules that make teaching defense to players SO MUCH easier!

Check it out and let us know what you think…