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Thursday, May 19, 2011


Marking the 10th anniversary of the passing of Coach Dick DeVenzio I am reminded about accepting an assistant coaching position at Marshall University under Judy Southard.  On my first day of work she walked in my office and handed me a copy of Dick's book "Stuff Good Players Should Know." 

She simply told me, "Read it and know it."

Years later when I joined Dale Brown's staff he did the same thing (it certainly put me in good standing with Coach Brown that I had already read the book).

So here are just a few of some of the great STUFF from Dick's book:

Five guys working together doing the "wrong" thing have a better chance of winning than five guys all doing their own thing because each thinks he knows best.

Good players get their hands on the ball on defense. They deflect some passes going inside, they hit a dribble in the lane, and they touch one or two of their man's passes.

Against a zone, you want to receive the ball each time in a position where two defenders feel they need to take you.

Faking, almost all fakes, work great in games, and there is a very good reason why. Most players, even a lot of good ones, don't fake, or at least not very often. As a result, very few defenders have had the opportunity to react to fakes, so when they meet one in a game they fall for it and get faked out. The most important rule on faking is, "Use fakes."

Good players often think about the possibility of losing. In fact, many of them think more about the possibility of losing than they think about the joy of winning, and there is a very good reason for this. Good players are usually accustomed to winning, so for them winning carries with it no great joy. A certain measure of satisfaction, yes. But not jumping-up-and-down joy. What motivates a good player is not so much any thrill involved with winning, but instead the wrenching disappointment -- the agony -- of losing.

No team ever lost by playing the wrong defense. They lost by playing that defense poorly.

Bad shots, probably more than anything else, lose basketball games, yet bad shots are ridiculously common. Go to any playground and you will see more bad shots taken than good shots. Players seem to love taking bad shots. Winning teams are most often the teams who pass up shots and wait for better ones. What is the difference between a 45% shot and a 60% shot? Not much. A bit more time. A step closer in. A bit more confidence and certainty about the one. Yet again, the 60% shot wins and the 45% shot loses.

Good players beg for the ball, not so much with their tongues (though they do sometimes shout) as much as with their body movements and facial expressions. Good players want the ball, and that want is obvious to whoever has it. The average fan would likely say that all players want the ball, and they do, but not like good players want it. Good players want it in a way that they are always close by, always popping out, always looking at the guys with the ball with a sort of desperation.

Dena Evans and Point Guard College sell Dick's books including his classic "Stuff." If you are interested click on this link: