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Huskyball---Coming Together

By Mitch Mullins

I know it's only two games and one is against a Big East bottom-feeder. It's not THAT they won, it's HOW they won. They pushed the ball, shot the three more (still not enough in my mind) and Kemba made quick, mostly sound decisions in the half court. It has become increasingly clear---as Kemba goes, so go the Huskies. Walker was five of nine from the field (three of four from behind the arc) with only one turnover. Throw in three for three from the line and the fact he only played 31 minutes and that is a solid effort. They still turn the ball over too much, but positive signs abound. Here is a perfect example of an easy fix: With 12:20 left in the game, Walker passes up an open three to throw a pass to Edwards in the left corner, 16 feet from the basket. I ask:" What good can Edwards do there?" You can't make that pass. Predictably, Edwards attracts a quick double and his kick out pass is a turnover. The turnover goes to Edwards in the box score, BUT THAT IS WALKER'S FAULT. A PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY OF A GOOD POINT GUARD IS TO PUT THE BALL IN THE HANDS OF PLAYERS IN A SPOT WHERE THEY CAN DO SOMETHING GOOD WITH IT!! On an ensuing possession just over a minute later, Kemba has a half step on his defender, blows by him and badly misses an open layup. However, Dyson grabs the rebound and turns it into a three point play. Good things can happen when you shoot the ball. I know I beat these points to death, but do you think Calhoun listens the first fifty times? This is another example of why there is no substitute for watching games to see what is really going on. Box scores don't tell the whole story and television "analysts" reading off their pre-game prep sheets offer close to zero in terms of salient discussion. Don't fret. That is why I exist. My e-mail and voicemail has been exploding lately with all sorts of folks wanting to link the recent good stretch for the Huskies with the release of the concepts in Huskyball to multiple national outlets. I am not here for credit, I'm here to help. I report, you decide.

Just one stat from Rutgers that may help in understanding a key element of Huskyball. When shooting a 2-point shot, the Huskies were 21 for 43, resulting in 42 points. That is an average of .977 points/shot attempt. On 3-point shots they went 6 for 13, resulting in 18 points, or 1.38 points/shot attempt. What more do you need? It's like the Shamwow, it sells itself! Don't get me wrong. I am not endorsing a late-80's Loyola-Marymount run-and-gun style. It's more like a controlled Blitzkrieg. Blitzkrieg, that's a German word, you know the Germans make good stuff.

So, what is the plan for West Virginia? Kemba, Kemba and more Kemba. I need to address the use of Donnell Beverly and Calhoun's substitution "patterns," but that will have to wait. Kemba drive, Kemba get to the free throw line, Kemba shoot, Kemba dish for something quick, Kemba pass to an open 3-point shooter. Whichever opportunity presents itself, go with it. Eliminate Kemba dump it into Majok for two bad drop steps and a strip and we are onto something!

Time will tell.

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