Passing: what do we currently do to improve this skill?

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    Never played basketball, but I keep hearing Huggins refer to bringing out the toss-backs (kind of like the infamous treadmill)…

    I don’t know this to be the case, but one could infer the “attitude problem” might have something to do with lack of buy-in with the drills – players might see the treadmill and toss-backs as punishment without benefit toward their development as a player.

    Anyone familiar with what passing drills our team is doing now… and what Beilein’s teams did that made them so successful at making the extra pass to an open man?

    The big difference I have seen between Huggins vs. Beilein coaches teams… Huggins team usually dominates boards and create turnovers; whereas Beilein teams almost never got “stuck with the ball” and were known for perimeter shooting.

    Hope the team chemistry will eventually come around with experience.


    I’m learning a lot:


    This coach needs to look in the mirror, reflect and make some

    changes to hisself and replace his buddy nice guy assistants.


    simple answer from a non-expert.  Two things would improve our passing:

    1.  Better outside shooting that would force the defense to spread out a bit, creating both wider passing lanes and wider driving lanes.

    2.  A guard who can consistently penetrate to the basket and either score himself, feed a teammate for a close to the hoop shot, or kick it out to a perimeter player who can make a high enough percent to make the effort effective.

    Haley, while he has good size, is just not a good enough ball handler to take it to the hoop thru traffic.  Hence the need to spread the defense.  Knapper and McCabe get in trouble in traffic, or in just beating a defender on a straight line drive, mostly because of their size, or lack of size (and strength).  A small guard can be effective in driving to the hoop if they are relatively strong and also quick and fast.  But I do not think either of them has those attributes yet, though they can improve those, at least to some degree, as they mature and get larger and stronger.  Harler has enough size to be effective but not the other skills.  McBride has the size and basic skills, imo, but, to my eye, his skill set is mostly developed in being able to get his own shot, not there yet on finding the open player either inside or on the perimeter.  That is not to say they don’t all make plays occasionally.  But I think we struggle against really good defensive teams.  and there are a lot of good defensive teams in the B12.  our collective shooting slump has not helped things.  If we can fix the shooting it will indirectly benefit our passing, driving, and turnover issues.


    I disagree with you Cinci,

    1) Better outside shooting does not improve passing, but rather better passing improves outside shooting.

    2) Playmaking at the guard position doesn’t have as much to do with physical attributes as it has to do with fundamentals, team chemistry, and a change in offensive philosophy.

    Watch this video (from 6:30 to 12:00):

    Huggins is emphasizing 1970s strategy of rebounding with Twin Towers (Culver & Tsheibwe) in the front court.  It’s good to have that option, but when defenses take that away, instead of putting all the pressure on the point guard… we need to use the strategy Beilein describes employing in the late 1980s.

    It’s not solely about rebounding or eliminating turnovers – it’s about being efficient with your possessions.  Huggins has been deadset on playing with a big lineup to create size mismatches; emphasizing rebounding and points in the paint.  This puts all the pressure on McCabe to make inlet passes and defenses are taking that away.  Huggins must demonstrate a willingness to play small (sometimes only playing 1 Big, Culver or Tsheibwe) in a zone offense to keep defenses honest.


    I agree with Cinci’s point that we need a guard who can drive to the basket, dish off, make a shot or get fouled.  We are not getting enough penetration from our guards.  If this team had someone like Staten, some of our problems on offense would improve immediately.  Of course, I realize that getting guys like Staten isn’t easy.  Kansas did a beautiful job of opening up lanes for drives to the basket, but we don’t, at least not this season.

    I like the comments in another thread which suggests Haley at PG and Taz at two.  Will it work?  I don’t know, I’m just a fan.  But we have to try something.  (And we should find an assistant coach who is known for being a top-notch guy for offense.  It’s never been clear to me what our assistants do, but I don’t they’re helping much.   Huggs is a great guy, a fellow alumnus, and I love him (except for his tendency to bash his players publicly), but great men and women usually are smart enough to surround themselves with the best and the brightest.  It’s time to look very closely at replacing an assistant coach with someone who can fix our offensive problems.


    It is a problem everywhere. AAU and high schools no longer emphasize passing… every thing is one on one. …. must admit our current status is a puzzlement. I thought we showed some flashes at end of last year and that McCabe could be a good passer who would bet our offense moving…. but has not happened. Some have pointed out that our offense is vintage 1970 …. good comment


    I know WVU started with passing at the basic level. Pivot foot, attacking to create a better angle, not slinging the ball with one hand off the dribble. We’re not seeing consistent results yet. But it is, according to the coaches, part of every practice.


    All of the above have points.

    Better passing results in better outside shooting if the pass gets the D moving and opening up holes and the pass is in the right place.  Better shooting opens up the lanes because it spreads the floor out and makes the D guard further away from the basket.

    IMO we need better PG play all around.  Each of our PG’s have their strong points, but none are elite or even above average in the B12.  Will they get there? Nobody thought JC would be drafted after his FR or SO or even JR year. But at this time we just don’t have THAT type of PG.  And our shooters are just now starting to come around.  But we still don’t have a Butler type of go to 2G that will score at will.


    Practice against 6 defenders (ala teams playing against the JC/Dax teams)

    Deflected pass = treadmill

    Turnover = double treadmill

    Well executed set resulting in a score = 1 deflection, TO without penalty


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