It's the eve of the NCAA tournament 2013 edition, and I realize I haven't posted in a long while. Seeing that is Spring Break for me, I thought I should post who I am rooting for this March Madness. My heart is still with Bill Self and the Jayhawks, but this year I find myself rooting for Jim Larranaga and the Miami Hurricanes. Coach Larranaga is a basketball coach through and through, he's a big practice guy and still comes from the "defense wins championships" mentality that I see lacking in a lot of basketball play over the past decade or so.

I'm a big fan of Larranaga's scramble concepts and the teams that I've helped coached used all or part of them quite a bit. But it looks like this year, they are not so much forcing turnovers, but limiting opponent possessions (through great defensive rebounding) and keeping opponent FG% low. I haven't had a chance to watch a lot of Miami games, but I would bet that his camouflage defense is more prominent this season with the longer athletic types he has this season.

But the best part of Larranaga's coaching method is his attention to detail. To plan all the practice details and to prepare the way he does is really the secret to his success. He writes everything down, and keeps detailed notes of goals and what needs to be done.

Anyways, I hope everyone enjoys the tournament. I look forward to see which teams get to last to the Final Four.

The importance of a good warmup before games cannot be overemphasized in my opinion. Often times when we go to tournaments, there is such little time in between games, but it is still important to get that stretch in before game time. Here is a nice concise 1 minute video of Alan Stein running the DeMatha through a quick warmup in a hallway before game time:

I've broken it down from the video:
- single leg swings against the wall
- can openers against the wall
- sprint to chop feet to sprint to chop feet...
- partner cross arm to sit pulls
- defensive slides
- single leg twist hops
- static backward lunge
- single leg box hops
- static squats
- static split squat
- static backward side turn lunge
- static forward lunge body turn
- two foot side hops

For more great ideas, check out Alan Stein's DeMatha All-Access DVD Set.

I came across Mike Dunlap's new 1-1-3 Zone DVD and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how much I got from it despite the poor user reviews on the Championship website. If you haven't heard Coach speak before, you definitely want to pick it up for a listen. He has a lot to offer not just in the X's and O's department but also in teaching and motivating. He has a very hard-ass approach, but very refreshing in an old-school kind of way.

Anyways, he was talking about rebounding out of the zone, and of course most of us teach weakside rebounding when shots go up from the wing or corner. 70% of shots that go up from the one side, end up on the other side. In the zone, Dunlap coaches it as the "weakside wedge". The idea is for 2 defenders to wedge any potential offensive rebounder, the bottom player will box out, and a top player will squeeze the ball down. So if the offensive player gets that rebound, you can either trap the rebounder or rip the ball out,

But what happens when the ball is shot from the top?  Well the obvious answer is that it comes back straight. Which is true. But more precisely, the ball comes through the elbows. He teaches his players to play it as "boxes and elbows". You need 2 guys on the block (boxes) and 2 guys on the elbows,

Well, as always each year, wishing every a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I just came back from Maui (which explains my lack of posting in the last 2 weeks) where our Varsity team played in the Lahainaluna Invitational. We played well at times and not so well at other times, the Curtis Vikings of Tacoma will do very well this March. Very well run tournament and definitely looking forward to going back in 2 years.

As I start my first ever season coaching freshmen, I am starting to have a better understanding of all the fundamental skills that need to be taught in order for these young minnows to progress into full-fledged varsity players.

One area that has been taking up a lot of my time has been teaching transition concepts. It's been frustrating because I am used to coaching JV or Varsity and there are just things that as a coach you take for granted such as spacing and passing ahead.

Anyways, here is a great short clip from the folks at Duke Blue Planet and their continuing Blue Print series, this one on transition offense.

Having a pg that can push, that big guy who can rebound and outlet to the pg ASAP is so important, then having that big guy rim run is next. Spacing obviously, finish, and the trailer, all important concepts.

Lots more you can find from the 2010-2011 All-Access Duke Practice DVD set.

R.I.P. Rick Majerus

As many of you probably know, former Saint Louis head coach Rick Majerus died yesterday at the age of 64. I followed Majerus very closely since the late 90s as a local basketball star played for him at Utah, Jordie McTavish. That relationship didn't end well, but like all people, he was a complicated man. Things are never always so black or white, but different shades of gray. I think his legacy as one of the great college basketball coaches of our time is fairly certain, especially when you think about the finals run at Utah, his early success at Ball State and Marquette, and finally a Sweet 16 run with the Billikens this past March.

Personally, I've enjoyed watching and listening to anything Majerus had to say, whether it was on ESPN or through coaching videos. His attention to detail was incredible, precision was extremely important to him. It wasn't enough that you won, but that you did it a certain way, the right way. He had his convictions and he stuck to them no matter what.

I read a great article that was written several years ago by Sports Illustrated as Majerus was just getting back into coaching at Saint Louis, click here to read "The Life and Times of Rick Majerus". It talks at length about what made Majerus such a brilliant student and teacher of the game, but also what drove players crazy about him, it's an interesting look at his complicated legacy as one of the great basketball coaches of our time.

Finally, Majerus' health problems were well documented and I don't think anyone wants to die early. And I've written about this before, but as a profession coaching is one of the worst health-wise because coaches often times do not take care of their bodies. Please make sure you eat right, get plenty of exercise, and get regular checkups with your doctor. As much as it pains me to see fellow coaches in really bad shape, there really is no excuse for not taking care of yourself, you owe it to yourself, your family, and your friends.

R.I.P. Coach Majerus...

Some nice behind the scenes video of Michigan State on their trip to Germany to face UConn a couple of weeks ago. Too bad for MSU, they lost, but good to see the players visiting the hospital there in Ramstein and talking with the troops there. Some nice clips of the game action at the end of the video too, anyways enjoy...

Michigan State Basketball - Armed Forces Classic from Micah Brown on Vimeo.

It's hard to think that even 10 years ago, producing good quality video content was still very costly and time consuming. Nowadays, the stuff that you can produce with a simple HD camera and iMovie are amazing. With the college basketball season in full swing, I went and found some of the best 2012-2013 trailer videos produced by college athletics programs to promote the upcoming season. My favorite one is probably this one from Marquette. I like it because they didn't just flash some stock images and put music in the background, they went out with a film crew and put the players in a few different situations (the bowling one was really good). Enjoy...

If I were to pick a number 2, it would definitely be this one from USC. This one is more generic, but the bass in the background really gets you in the mood and for some reason I really get motivated when watching and listening to it.

And finally an honorable mention goes to the Memphis Tigers for putting out this quality video: