‘Tis the second half of July

Great blog entry by Oklahoma Coach Sherri Coale on July recruiting:

And this is what we see: a lot of fouling. I’ll just start with that. If a player is shooting, odds are she’s gonna get smacked. And it doesn’t matter if she’s in the lane or 30 feet from the rim. The goal does not seem to be: make the offense shoot a bad shot, get the rebound, and go to the other end to score a basket. The goal seems to be: maul the shooter. Maul her now. Maul her to the ground if possible. Maul her with authority, then walk away and be proud that she did not escape unscathed on your watch.

We also see an inordinate amount of falling down, which may or may not be directly related to the fouling. Despite the fact that hitting the floor while in the act of shooting is a given (see above), there is also a whole bunch of just general falling, too. It’s almost cartoonish sometimes. I want to run out to the middle of the court and yell “Slow Down!!” July basketball makes me think of what the Daytona 500 would look like if every 16 year old I know were allowed to drive in it. It’s just a mess of players going way faster than their skill set — and oftentimes their legs — will allow. Warp speed basketball means turnovers. It means collisions. And it means a lot of falling down, which, really, won’t sell many tickets or win many games. It makes me wince, it makes me tired, and it makes me want to go home (by way of Wendy’s, please, if that’s humanly possible).

Shot selection is a problem, too. I’m pretty sure the rule is: if you can get it off, it’s a good one. I’ve seen kids shoot one versus three. I’ve seen kids shoot while falling down with their back toward the basket. I’ve seen 5-foot-4 point guards try to shoot through the forearm of six-foot-five centers. (Centers who aren’t running in from the shadows either — they’re parked, rooted in front of the rim, waiting and salivating.) And I’ve seen lots of guys who think anything across half court is money.

But the ol’ look-away layup is the shot of the summer. Apparently gazing toward your target is outdated. Maybe I’m just old school, but I have always found looking at the goal to be helpful. I saw at least one look away layup per game. And I saw a lot of games in 10 days. I wish that were hyperbole.

I’ll be covering MTW Showtime Nationals tomorrow and Wednesday.

In the meantime, class of 2013 super 60 pick Makayla Epps has reopened her recruitment after initially choosing Louisville.

Olympic bonus:

Candace Parker has learned to appreciate things more since her last Olympics. And her three-year-old daughter has traveled way more than I have.

The Australian team has settled into the Olympic Village.

Remembering the 1996 Olympics, and Coach Tara VanDerveer.