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Growing up in Portland , Oregon and listening to the Blazer games made quite a impression. I started playing basketball in the fourth grade for Albina Sports AAU Program. Probably the top AAU basketball program in the state of Oregon during the 70's and 80's. My Coach name was Greg Williams. The program turned out several A-1 division basketball prospects, and taught how to play the game correctly. We must have won 99% of our games , and only lost twice in three years. Most of that can be contributed to teaching basic basketball skills.
First, playing defense is a skill learned. To play fundamental defense basketball you've to have a lot of heart and the ability to move your feet. Knowing the correct one on one defense, defensive foot work, defensive stance, and just being hungry to win is a must. You've to commit to hustle and to play hard. My coach Greg use to say "Stop the penetration and don't let them cross off court". Always know who you're guarding and take pride in stopping them from scoring or advancing the ball.
Secondly, playing offense consist of several plays that make a unit. Offense can be played several ways. Such as, offense1-3-1, offense 1-4, offense 3 on 3, offense box, and many other ways. Our offense was generally design to create open looks and sometime isolate the defender. By using the correct ball handling, shooting, rebounding, passing, and metal toughness....A team can be very successful at winning.
Thirdly, playing with passion and heart. I feel a coach can't teach toughness but can definitely motivate. Mental toughness is 90% of baskeball and 10% is talent. If you want to be a competitor and clutch performer you've to step up to the plate and be a leader.That is what separate the great players from the average ones. The players with a big heart usually end up playing at a higher level .
Last but not least, Coach Williams was a great person and willing to challenge his players. He consistently wanted us to improve as good citizens and good students academically. Since most of the players were from different schools and districts, coach Williams use to call our Principales and find out if we were passing. So basketball teaches life skills and the ability to compete. I guess playing in the parks of Portland , Oregon , Local Gyms, and Tournaments have some benefits. Basketball is a skill game and teaches way beyond the lines on the court.
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Dewayne N Penney
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