Where’s the Leadership at UD Flyers Basketball?
Tuesday, January 09th, 2018 | Author:

I don’t claim to be a basketball coaching expert.  My insights are based on five years of coaching middle school and 9th grade AAU basketball. In addition, I don’t know much about the new UD Flyers head coach Anthony Grant other than he is a former UD player that possesses a decent record as a head coach in the D-1 college ranks.

I would say that I started pondering Mr. Grant’s coaching decisions during the 2nd game of the season.  With more than 9 minutes to go in a close game, coach Grant elected to not insert his team captain and leading scorer, Josh Cunningham, back into the game.  A game that the Flyers eventually lost 72-69.

It’s also fairly evident that the coaching staff does not stress strong man-up defense.  Even against a slower-footed team such as Penn, coach Grant had the Flyers playing a 2-3 zone while the Ivy league basketball team shot 57% from beyond the 3-point line.  A game the Flyers lost 78-70.   My understanding of basketball fundamentals is that you often have to man-up when a team is hot from beyond the arc.

Meanwhile the offensive schemes often do not make sense.  For example, Josh Cunningham is a superb scorer with his back to the basket and he puts the ball in the hoop more than 65% of the time.  For some reason, the Flyers’ offensive schemes have Cuningham coming outside the 3-point line to take possession of the ball.  It appears that the coaching staff is not aware of the power in using Cunningham in a basic pick & roll as a way of getting the rock into his hands.

I used to tell my sons that a coach (grade school, college, or professional) has three primary roles in managing a team:

1) Recruiting, selecting, or drafting the best players that fit your planned approach for being successful in the sport

2) Managing the game tactics so you can exploit the opposing team’s weaknesses and defend against their strengths

3) Motivating the players to constantly improve and overcome adversity when the season or games aren’t going as desired

When I recently read an article that quoted coach Grant as saying the team needs a psychiatrist, this told me that he was already shirking some of his coaching responsibilities.  In some ways, this is akin to throwing the players under the bus.

It’s still a wide-open season in the A-10 conference.  Perhaps coach Grant will spend sufficient time with Bucky Bockhorn to help turn the season around.

 

Category: Sports