The NCAA March Madness tournament is a pressure cooker. With every move on the court observed under a microscope, sometimes having a player who can get the ball in his hands and create something out of nothing can be the difference between winning and losing. And sometimes having a coach who has a knack for winning at every level he’s been at can give any team that slight edge. For the #15 seeded Iona Gaels, they just so happen to have both.
The Iona Gaels have a go-to guard in Lamont “Momo” Jones. Jones , a 6’0” senior guard out of Harlem, NY has shown his propensity for creating for Iona all season. He heads into the tournament averaging 23.0 points per game, good for 3rd overall in the nation. He also is averaging 3.5 assists per game, and has put pressure on the opposing team’s defense as he averages 7.5 free throw attempts per game.
If you want to be successful at anything in life, it is important that you have a certain level of confidence. You must have confidence in yourself, in your ability, and in your preparation. The best performers across the world have a confident swagger.
The most confident players on the basketball court are the ones with the best handle. Some of the most flashy, confident players the game has ever seen have been the ones who have the “ball on a string”. Allen Iverson (Click link, it’s our favorite crossover of all time) , CP3, Derrick Rose, just to name a couple, could get anywhere on the court due there amazing dribbling skills. In a prime example of how electrifying a great ball handler can be, we look no further than this past All-Star weekend where Kyrie Irving crossed Brandon Knight to the floor, just hours after proclaiming he gained his ball handling confidence from dribbling a basketball with a plastic bag covering it.
If ball handling is the foundation of a player’s individual basketball game and the better you handle the basketball the more you will excel in game situations, then you must work dribbling everyday. There are numerous drills and games we can use to develop you ball handling ability but today we here at The Locker Room want to highlight some unorthodox ways of practicing your dribbling skills.
Below are four different ways to spice up your ball handling workouts and challenge your ball control in ways you never imagined. A word of warning; do not get discouraged when it doesn’t go smoothly at first. These are all advanced methods and you may never master any of them. But if you add in some dribbling under these overloaded conditions as a change of pace during your workouts, it will make dribbling through a double team seem like nothing.
Dribbling with Plastic Bags over the Ball
This crazy method, now made famous by Kyrie Irving, is the ultimate in creating an unpredictable feel for the ball during dribbling. What are the exact benefits of putting a plastic bag on the outside of the ball? The bag on the outside of the ball takes the bounce out of the ball and makes you dribble harder. The smooth, plastic surface also reduces the feel you have for the ball, so that you have to focus more on the controlling the ball using your fingertips and finger pads. Once the bag comes off, the ball now feels more sticky in your hands and you can trust in the new sense of touch you have developed with your basketball.
In our first “Eat It!” entry we won’t be telling you what to eat, but rather what to drink. Yes, we are talking about drinking water. Water is the most essential aspect of any athlete’s diet and pre-game routine.
Whether you’re a serious athlete or a recreational exerciser, it’s important to make sure you get the right amount of water before, during and after exercising. Water regulates your body temperature, lubricates joints and helps transport nutrients for energy and health. We have all seen that player whose cramping in the second half and has to watch from the bench as the game comes to a close. It even happens to the best athletes in the world, we all remember Lebron James sitting out the final minutes of Game 4 of the NBA Finals due to leg cramps. Cramps are a sign of dehydrating, and are a re-occuring problem on basketball courts everywhere.
There always comes a time when you can’t get to the gym for a full workout, it happens to all of us. We are all busy and life gets in the way at times. The difference between achieving your basketball and fitness goals comes down to making the most of your time. So whatever the reason may be that you can’t go to the gym, you can still get an intense, effective and total body workout right in your own home.
Today, we here at The Locker Room present the No Excuses Bodyweight Basketball Workout:
Total body strength
Emphasizes stability and strength in your core
No weights needed (but you can add weight as you progress and master these bodyweight versions of the exercises)
Only takes 20 minutes (if executed properly with good intensity)
In this edition of ‘Who Ya Got” we have a battle between the two best 6th men in the League. JR Smithand Jamal Crawfordat the midway point of the season are the front runners for the 6th man of the year award. These two players are far from “bench players” as they both average 30 minutes a game and when on the floor they are two of the hardest players to defend. Besides making breath taking dunksand ankle breaking crossovers, these two players are essential parts of two NBA title contenders.
The question we ask you today, is who do you want coming off the bench for your team? Which player brings more to the table and a better spark when your team gets off to a slow start?
Tale of The Tape
Born: Sep 9, 1985
Weight: 220 lbs.
EFF + 11.80
Born: Mar 20, 1980
Weight: 200 lbs.
These two are an even match, but If I need a spark off the bench I’m taking JR Smith because of his defense, rebounding and clutch play this season. But it doesn’t matter who I got, all that matter is Who Ya Got?
We are back! It has been a very long layoff, but we can assure you we haven’t been in our basements watching Lifetime specials. We have been out there on the grind, watching, coaching, playing, and teaching basketball.
Right off the bat, in our triumphant return to The Locker Room, we would like to introduce a weekly series called Quick Hitters. These weekly posts will give you an inside look into what is going on in our heads as we watch and experience countless hours of basketball. For this very personal access into our thoughts on a wide variety of basketball topics we ask one thing from you, the reader. Let these posts stimulate your own thinking and motivate you to get out there and experiment, invent, and innovate. That is the only way we can continue to develop our understanding, execution and appreciation for the game of basketball.
1. “Catch and Shoot” shots reign supreme in offensive basketball.
Besides what we all want to believe, and despite how un-sexy it is, “Catch and Shoot” spot-up jump shots are the most frequently attempted and most prevalent way to score in basketball. According to Synergy Sports, The New York Knicks have had 4408 offensive possessions and off those possessions 1039 of those ended with spot-up jumpshots. All other teams in the NBA follow suit as well.
This weekend and throughout the lead up to the NFL Draft, ESPN has been showing a show called Jon Gruden’s Quarterback Camp. For those who have never seen the show (YouTube clips attached below), Former NFL Head Coach and current broadcaster Jon Gruden basically interviews, critiques, works out, and tests upcoming NFL Draft QB prospects in person. If you are a regular follower of The Locker Room, you will know that we are very fond of finding tidbits that transfer from sports like football to basketball. And after watching Jon Gruden’s QB Camp, we are left wondering a few things.First off, why isn’t there a show like this leading up to the NBA Draft with a person like Jeff Van Gundy, just passing years of basketball wisdom onto upcoming rookies? Secondly, what can we all learn from watching Gruden and the QB prospects that can help develop basketball players and coaches?
March Madness has truly begun. 38 teams (44 if you want to count the First Four round) have lost and 16 have moved on to the next round. It was an exciting weekend for basketball fans as we saw the big upsets of Duke and Missouri and the rise to super stardom for schools like Lehigh and Norfolk State. This weekend brought with it several thoughts that we will try to bring to light in this blog post.
The gap between the elite and mid major teams is closing.
We saw two 15 seeds beat the number 2 seed this weekend. Something that hasnt happened ever in the history of the NCAA Tournament. Several other lower seeds that were given no chance to win took the higher seed down to the wire. The gap is closing. There now are skilled players at all levels of Division 1 Basketball. And with the “one and done” factored in, there are some experience Mid-Major teams that are primed to pull off the upset over the more talented but young High-Major squads. In the next few years, there will be a 16 seed beating the 1 seed and we will all be shocked but we shouldn’t be. Any team can beat any other team on any given night in the NCAA tournament. It is what we love about the tournament, the underdog, even though they mess up our brackets.