HOW ANTWERP CAN DETHRONE OSTEND BY SEDUCING THEM TO PLAY LIKE GOLDEN STATE – D1 Belgium Finals Preview

As the final act of the 2017-2018 season in the Belgian EuroMillions League, the two best ranked teams of the regular season, BC Oostende and Antwerp Telenet Giants, will face each other in a best-of-five series.

In this overview, we will compare their regular season stats with their performances in their regular season match-ups.  It may not surprise that in general the ratings of both teams drop when facing their toughest opponent of the regular season.

You can download the complete PDF report right HERE.

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Belgian Basketball Clinic Event 2018 – Clinic notes

Below you can download the notes of the three clinics I conducted at the succesful and well-organized Belgian Basketball Clinic Event in Duffel (B)

                                                                                                                           (pic by Serch Carriere)
Clinic notes:

Advanced basketball stats (and how to use them as a coach)
My favourite defensive drills
Close-out situations

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HOW TO WIN MORE GAMES … BY PLAYING SLOWER. Analysis of 26240 possessions of Belgian 1st Div basketball.

10 teams.  36 rounds.  180 games.  7200 minutes of basketball.  26240 possession.  The curtain has fallen over the 2017-2018 regular season in the EuroMillions Basketball League in Belgium.  Before heading to the play-offs, time to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of all teams on both ends of the court.  Throughout this analysis we will go deeper into the advanced stats and ratings for every team during the regular season. Furthermore, we’ll link the playing style of each team to its efficiency, with a remarkable conclusion that goes against the newest trends in modern basketball.

You can download the complete PDF report right HERE.

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Offensive flow & efficiency in the Belgian Euromillions League ’17-’18

During this FIBA national team break, the Euromillions Basketball League 2017-2018 is more or less halfway. Time for a team analysis that focuses on offensive flow and efficiency from a coach’s point of view. By calculating more advanced and meaningful numbers, I want to make some conclusions about the playing styles, weaknesses and strengths of all teams in the league.  Throughout this analysis we will go deeper into these ratings for every team so far this season

You can download the complete PDF report right HERE.

 

 

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Visiting Lithuania, a BALL-in’ country

Since a couple of days, the spotlights of international basketball are aimed more then ever on the LKL League, the 1st Division basketball in Lithuania. For the wrong reason. Because LiAngelo (19 years old) and LaMelo (16 years old) Ball signed for the remainder of the season a contract with the Lithuanian club Vytautas Prienu. Whoever follows basketball in the USA knows for sure father Lavar Ball, which oldest son Lonzo plays his rookie season for the L.A. Lakers. On a daily basis father Lavar gets into the sports news with provoking quotes, mostly about the enormous talent of his sons.

About a year ago I decided to visit Lithuania, see picture gallery below. Ever since I wrote a couple of years ago about Lithuania as a talent hotbed for basketball, I got intrigued by this tiny basketball nation. With 3,3 million habitants, Lithuania was a contender almost every time the past decades on the Olympics, World Cup and Eurobasket. On top, they delivered several NBA players as Valanciunas, Motiejunas and Kuzminskas behind earlier legends as Sabonis and Ilgauskas.

The pioneer of Lithuanian basketball, Arvydas Sabonis, founded in ’94 his own basketball school in Kaunas and is since ’11 president of the Lithuanian basketball federation. Visiting his basketball academy was an absolute must for me. In Kaunas I attended also another basketball school of Aisciai. I went to the Euroleague game Zalgiris Kaunas – Darussafaka and a domestic LKL game at Vilnius Rytas. Where-ever I came, from the old-fashioned school gym next to my hotel to the big arenas of Zalgiris/Rytas, the Lithuanian basketball world pays respect to its former glories. The aspect of ignition to the kids is enormous in the rich basketball tradition and culture. Consequently, it is every kid’s dream and proud to play for their team as good as they possibly can. It translates into a huge respect on all levels of young players for their coaching, enhancing deep learning every single practice. This became even more clear when on a Thursday evening I went for a drink in the main street of Kaunas. Every bar had a couple of big screens showing a Euroleague game (between Milan and Bamberg, which as far as I know are not situated in Lithuania 😉 ).  Literally everybody in the bar, women included, where focusing and discussing the basketball game over a beer. Where I come from, as in every other soccer dominated country, this is a wet dream of everybody in the basketball community.

The combination of ignition, deep learning because of the highly motivated kids, and master coaching by that much talent over the past decades seem to be a perfect cocktail for all of their successes. Another proof for the excellent overall youth program is the fact that Lithuanian players are generally known to be good shooters with a proper shooting form. And that’s exactly why the arrival of the brothers Ball is ironic. Formed by their selfmade coach/dad, Lonzo is also known for his odd shooting technique, as you can see below:

In fact, his shooting technique is so odd, that he never can take a shot when coming off a ballscreen to his right. Being right handed, he brings his ball so far to the left that in this situation he brings the ball too close to his defender coming over the screen.

Let’s say that how his two brothers ended up in Lithuania is at least equally odd. The story is that LiAngelo with a couple of teammates in China for stealing and ended up in jail, just before UCLA’s season’s opener in Nov ’17. With the help of president Donald Trump, the got back to the USA after a couple of days. UCLA decided to suspend these athletes indefinitely, upon which father Lavar withdrew his son from College looking for a professional contract overseas, which they found in Lithuania.

So far, the whole operation seems to be a money gig for both the club and the family Ball. The club, that has been struggling financially, upgraded ticket prices, caught huge amount for company names on their jerseys, … while Lavar Ball sees his opportunity to introduce his own sports brand to Europe. Yesterday, the club announced to withdraw from the Baltic League (!!) and will be playing games in the “Big Baller Brand Challenge Games“. I kid you not.

Oh yes, talking basketball again… Will we be discussing a lot the extra value of the 19 and 16 year old Ball brother to the Lithuanian basketball history? Probably not. They haven’t shown at any point to come close to players as Ricky Rubio or Luka Doncic, who played at a very young age at the highest European level.

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A closer look to the defensive ratings in the EuroMillions Basketball League (Belgium) ’17-’18

Except for three delayed game because of the European club competitions, one quarter of the Euromillions Basketball League 2017-2018 is finished. Every team played each opponent one time, with three more meetings to come. Time for a first team analysis of the stats from a coach’s point of view. The source for this report of all traditional stats is the Euromillions Basketball League website.
By calculating more advanced and meaningful numbers, I want to make some conclusions about the playing styles, weaknesses and strengths of all teams in the league. Therefore, it is important to look beyond the traditional stats and to look at the numbers that are statistically more relevant.

You can download the complete PDF report right HERE.

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Why I choose NACsport / KlipDraw for my video analysis

Both individual as team tactics in basketball are very complex. That’s why I think the use video analysis is crucial for a coach in order to teach his basketball philosophy to his players.

For my current season with T71 Dudelange, I chose once again for NACSport software for my video editing. Integrating KlipDraw, it is now very easy to highlight players and actually move them on the court.

Here I show you a sample I made of Serbia (Eurobasket 2017) on how they can improve their spacing in a set play. Judge for yourself. Do you think the software tools help to bring over your message to your players? Have a look:

 

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How Estudiantes Madrid shook my idea upon basketball in 2010 (and embarrassed me)

2009 was the year that I started to take my coaching career more seriously.  I was completely fond of Spanish basketball and recognized the different skills sets of the players in the so-called ACB compared to Belgium. To improve as a coach, I really wanted to find out how the Spanish youth program worked. At that time, my basketball network was very close to unexisting. So I did not have a better solution than to write e-mails to some Spanish clubs with the question if I could come over to watch and learn.

Without any connections, I started writing mails to the adresses I found on the internet. I seriously doubt if my e-mails in English to info@realmadrid.es or media@fcbbaloncesto.es ever reached an English-speaking member close to the staff. After several months (!) I got a short reply by a certain Pablo Borras, youth director of Estudiantes Madrid (next opponent of Donar Groningen to qualify for the Champions League)I did not hesitate for a second, and the very first break during the season, I took a flight to Madrid. I spent four complete days in the gym of Estudiantes, watching practices from the U8 till the professional men’s and women’s team in first division. For days and days, I looked away from the beautiful city of Madrid to take notes while my ass was freezing off in the hard stances in a gym with broken windows.

I must also admit that my very limited basketball philosophy at that point shook on its foundations… I saw U10 players:
– taking three-pointers
– making the craziest hop lay-ups
– learning to make one handed passes off the dribble
– continu their practice after 90′ on an outside court while it was almost freezing
– …
Discussions with the local coaches and youth director made me understand all the “WHY’s” behind every drill and I must say that I still use some of concepts and drills today.

In the stances over there, I also got to know a young Brittish coach named Joe Riley. Basically, he gave up his life in the UK for two consecutive seasons to invest in himself as a coach.  He absolutely wanted to discover all secrets of the Spanish youth program to take one day to his home country.  He spent every day in the gym, taking notes.  Since a couple months, Joe and I got in touch via Twitter.  Joe is organizing all his notes into practice plans for youth programs. This is extremely valuable resource for every young coach! It shows the secrets behind the youth program that produced players like Sergio Rodriguez, Juancho Hernangomez or Felipe Reyes. Please have a look at his Twitter account or website and show some love for his unpaid efforts back in the days. Tremendous respect, Joe!

My trip to Estudiantes was also an eye-opener to the important step from a talent to a basketball team at the highest level.  I saw a 16 year old Jaime Fernandez which grew later to a franchise player for the club (now playing for the first time for another club in the Liga Endesa).  In 2013, I saw him again as one of the key players of the European Championship U20 in Estonia.  I remember him (21 pts, 6 ast, 5 reb)  killing Antetokounmpo (5 pts) and Greece for a spot in the semi-finals.

My love for Spanish basketball only grew during that trip in 2010 and it was for sure not my last trip over there, which you will read about in one of the next stories.

Well, after all, I can’t finish this blogpost without telling this embarassing story… I was sitting in the stance with youth director Pablo and asking why they would teach U10 players to throw one-handed passes off the dribble, even when some players were definitely not ready to do so. I explained Pablo that in those days you could almost get fired in Belgium by doing so.  I will never forget the look on his face at that moment. He started laughing out loud and told me: “Watch a high-level game and count the number of two-handed passes… The only one you will see is the pass from the referee to a player on the free throw line”.  I quickly realized he was right and how stupid it must look to practice two-handed chest and bounce passes then… Quite embarassing… Common sense, right?

When it comes down to teaching the skills set for a modern basketball player, 20 year old textbooks aren’t the best resources… Watch some Eurobasket & Euroleague games and its best players! Basketball is a quickly evolving sports, one of the reasons I love the game so much!

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“The Four Factors behind a good offensive rating” applied on the Euromillions Basketball League

This report handles another look on the Belgian League from a coach’s point of view. More specifically, I want to use advanced basketball stats to find the crucial factors behind the best and worst offensive teams in the League.

In this analysis, I will focus on the secrets behind the offensive ratings. Having a better “offensive system”, what does it mean? How can you recognize it? Too often, verbals like a “solid offensive system” are very trendy to use, but where should you focus on as a coach? I will discuss the four crucial parameters behind a solid offense and compare the performances of all teams in those aspects to the general standings.

You can download the complete PDF report right HERE.

 

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VBL Blog: “Basketbalstats: van hightech snufjes tot nuttige tools voor jeugdcoaches” (dutch)

http://www.vlaamsebasketballiga.be/blog-meer/detail/basketbalstats-van-hightech-snufjes-tot-nuttige-tools-voor-jeugdcoaches-2

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