Vale Kobe Bryant.

Simply a champion of the highest level in the sport of Basketball. It would be remiss of us not to acknowledge what a giant of the NBA and the US Basketball team Kobe was.

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From CNN, we reprint this acknowledgement of his status from Jill Martin’s article of Jan 27th 2020.

Kobe Bryant, NBA superstar and future Hall of Famer, is dead at 41

It’s hard to believe NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, whose prodigious talent and win-at-all-costs spirit made him one of the most famous and decorated athletes in history, is gone.

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He was the rare celebrity who didn’t need a last name. Oprah. LeBron. Beyonce. Kobe. Everyone knew who you were talking about.

Still youthful at 41, Bryant — who died in a helicopter crash Sunday in California — looked like he could suit up and drop 30 points on a rival NBA team. It doesn’t seem that long ago that he was scoring 60 points in his final NBA game, soaking up the cheers of Los Angeles Lakers fans who worshiped him for two decades as one of the city’s favorite sons.

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After his 20-year NBA career — all with the Lakers — Bryant is all but assured of being a first-ballot inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame later this year.

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“He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force,” said fellow NBA icon Michael Jordan.

An 18-time All-Star, Bryant was known for his remarkable scoring ability — his turnaround jumper was nearly unstoppable — and his championship pedigree. He teamed with fellow All-Star Shaquille O’Neal to win three consecutive NBA titles from 2000 to 2002 and later won two more rings, in 2009 and 2010.

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Known as the Black Mamba — a nickname he gave himself — Bryant twice led the NBA in scoring and won the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 2008.

Bryant’s daughter Gianna, 13, was with her father on the helicopter and was also killed in the crash, a source with knowledge of the situation told CNN.

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“Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common,” O’Neal wrote on Twitter Sunday. “We love our families. Whenever we got together I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his.”

“The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a statement.

“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary … But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability.”

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He entered the NBA at age 17

Bryant was born on August 23, 1978, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents, Joe and Pam Bryant, gave him the namesake after seeing a type of steak on a restaurant menu. Kobe beef is from a species of cattle, Wagyu, raised in the Kobe region of Japan.

He lived in Italy from the age of six to 13 while his father played professional basketball, and he spoke Italian fluently. In one of his final interviews before he died, Bryant told CNN how he developed a love of soccer in Italy but also witnessed racism before moving back to the United States.

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“When I was growing up in Italy, I’ve obviously witnessed it firsthand going to certain soccer matches and things of that nature,” Bryant told CNN’s Andy Scholes. “My parents have taught me and educated me on how to deal with those sorts of things.”

Bryant played high school basketball at Lower Merion in Pennsylvania.

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“This is a difficult day for everyone in our school community,” said Amy Buckman, a spokeswoman for Lower Merion School District.

“Mr. Bryant’s connection to Lower Merion High School, where he played basketball prior to joining the NBA, has raised the profile of our high school and our district throughout the world. Our school community will always be grateful for his ongoing generosity to his alma mater, including his dedication of our Kobe Bryant gymnasium and his support of our girls and boys basketball teams.”

Bryant went straight from high school to the NBA, drafted by the Charlotte Hornets with the 13th overall pick of the 1996 draft, making him the youngest NBA player in history at age 17. Bryant was then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for veteran center Vlade Divac.

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He soon became one of the most decorated players in NBA history and also won two Olympic gold medals for USA men’s basketball, in 2008 and 2012.

Off the court his dazzling smile sold everything from Nike shoes to McDonald’s hamburgers.

There was controversy, however, when Bryant was accused of sexual assaulting a 19-year-old Colorado hotel worker in 2003. Bryant insisted the encounter was consensual. The criminal sexual assault charge was dropped in 2004, and the accuser agreed to settle her civil lawsuit against Bryant in 2005.

LeBron James: ‘Kobe is a legend, that’s for damn sure’

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At 6 feet, 6 inches, Bryant could run the point or play shooting guard, even though his position was small forward.

One of the most memorable games in NBA history came on January 22, 2006, when Bryant scored 81 points in a Lakers’ 122-104 win over Toronto. Only Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in 1962 tops this performance.

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And in his final game of his career in 2016, the Black Mamba did it his way, dropping 60 points — on 50 shots — in a Lakers win against the Utah Jazz at a frenzied Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Bryant finished his NBA career with 33,643 points. A day before he died, he was passed by another Laker and superstar, LeBron James, on the league’s all-time scoring list. James accomplished the feat in — of all places — Philadelphia, against the 76ers.

Bryant took to Twitter after James passed him, writing, “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother.”

James, who had “Mamba 4 Life” and “8/24 KB” in gold marker on his sneakers before Saturday’s game, talked after the game about Bryant’s influence on him.

“The story is just too much,” James said Saturday night. “It doesn’t make sense. … Now I’m here in a Lakers uniform, in Philadelphia, where he’s from… it’s surreal.”

James — who, like Bryant entered the NBA straight out of high school — said Bryant was someone he looked up to when he was in grade school and high school.

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“Seeing him come straight out of high school, he is someone that I used as inspiration,” James said. “It was like, wow. Seeing a kid, 17 years old, come into the NBA and trying to make an impact on a franchise, I used it as motivation.

“He helped me before he even knew of me because of what he was able to do. So, just to be able to, at this point of my career, to share the same jersey that he wore, be with this historical franchise and just represent the purple and gold, it’s very humbling and it’s dope.

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“Kobe’s a legend, that’s for damn sure.”

Another Lakers legend, Magic Johnson, posted a series of tweets on the loss of Bryant, including one showing a picture of Bryant with his two different jersey numbers — 8 and 24 — being retired.

“Kobe and I shared so many special conversations about life and basketball,” Johnson wrote in one tweet. “We had so much in common off the court. I used to love talking to him about Lakers basketball, being fathers and husbands and how much we loved Italy. I will miss those conversations and him so much.”

He coached his daughter, Gianna

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Bryant married wife Vanessa in 2001. They had four daughters: Natalia (born in 2003), Gianna (2006), Bianka (2016) and Capri (2019).

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He and his daughter Gianna were expected at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball game scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Bryant was to coach his daughter’s team in the game.

Bryant said that he had watched little basketball after retiring — in 2018, he won an Oscar for best animated short for “Dear Basketball,” which was based on a poem he wrote — but Gianna’s love of the game sparked his interest in coaching her team.

The two were seen together at numerous NBA games recently, and videos of Gianna’s basketball skills went viral despite her just being 13.

Bryant described Gianna — who had WNBA aspirations — as “hellbent” on going to the University of Connecticut, the alma mater of Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore, two players Bryant recently told CNN “could play in the NBA right now.”

“The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans will come up to me — and she’ll be standing next to me — and be like, ‘Hey you’ve got to have a boy. You and V gotta have a boy and then have somebody carry on the tradition, the legacy,'” Bryant once said in an interview with ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel.

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But, Bryant added, Gianna would then pipe up, saying, “I got this.”

Source: edition.cnn.com

A true champion, an icon of the game. Nellakir note with great sadness his passing.

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Nellakir helps young athletes reach their goals by providing the highest quality Sprung Timber Sports Floor playing surfaces.

Nellakir – The Players Professional Choice – Timber Sports Flooring.

With many people back to work this Monday, we thought it may be a good time to show the highlights (2nd half) of the LA Lakers vs Oklahoma City Thunder.

With so many young Australians qualifying for and being drafted to the NBA, it is obvious that Australia provides the right type of sporting environment for young basketballers – male and female.

It’s no small part of this that over the last 20 years, the competitive playing surfaces for local competition basketball, netball, volleyball and other indoor sports has improved immensely.

The Sprung Timber Sports Flooring supplied by ASF/Horner and installed by Nellakir here in Victoria and Tasmania is world standard and FIBA approved.

From local schools doubling as Community sports facilities, to State and Regional stadiums such as the VBA Stadium in Wantirna, the Bendigo Stadium, Eagle Stadium in Werribee and the Victorian Netball Stadium in Royal Park – Nellakir have supplied and installed the very best in premium sports flooring.

Now stadium and facility managers can call upon the Nellakir team to provide absolutely premium service in annual maintenance, scheduled court cleaning and full refurbishment of all Timber Sports Flooring.

Call now on 03 9467 6126 and book a free consultation with our expert staff and technicians for your facility, or leave your details here. It’s quite possible that Australia’s next NBA rookie of the year may well be ‘padding the boards’ at your stadium.

Ensure truly professional playing surfaces and facilities. Always choose Nellakir – the sports flooring for champions.

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Nellakir helps young athletes reach their goals by providing the highest quality Sprung Timber Sports Floor playing surfaces.

Nellakir – Getting the job done – Building new Competition Courts Victoria-wide

With the year in full swing now, Nellakir are embarking on a range of new projects.

At Traralgon Sports Stadium, Nellakir will be constructing 4 new Competition Basketball/Netball Courts to full FIFA standards as the centre expands to cater to the Latrobe Valley’s growing sporting needs for indoor stadiums. The venue with its current facilities and indoor stadium also refurbished and upgraded will be set up to host regional, national and international championships. Nellakir are scheduled to commence construction this August 2019 with the works scheduled for completion in mid 2020.

Myrtleford is located in the picturesque foothills of the Victorian Alps. The Myrtleford Indoor Sports Stadium is being expanded with a new full Competition Court for Basketball, Netball, Badminton and Volleyball scheduled for commencement of construction in May-June of this year.

A different type of project is the complete replacement and refurbishment of the sprung timber flooring for the stage of the Camperdown Theatre Royal in South West Victoria. The project commences in May.

In Werribee the replacement of the Melbourne University campus Squash Court is scheduled for completion in June. The new court will also host Badminton competitions.

Carrum Downs Secondary College hosts the area’s Sports Centre. A single Competition Court is being constructed there by Nellakir with works already underway.

And the final project we are about to move on is the Bacchus Marsh Grammar School where we are constructing a single Competition Court.

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Nellakir are the leading experts in both Timber Sports Flooring construction and maintenance in Victoria and Tasmania. Chances are if you play competition Basketball, Netball, Volleyball or Badminton, you’ll play on an ASF/Horner Sprung Timber Sports Floor, installed by Nellakir, during your regular competition series.

For the best advice, and a complete fully faceted maintenance program, call Nellakir now on 03 9467 6126 or leave your details here for a prompt response.

Nellakir – Champion floors for future champions.

Ben Simmons – he wanted to play Cricket for Australia

“Every time I step on the floor or whatever I’m doing, I’m always representing Australia and especially Philadelphia,” he said post-game. “I have two homes now, it’s an amazing feeling I’m representing something much bigger than myself and my family.”

In 11 minutes, Simmons threw down 18 points, two rebounds and two assists. – Philly 76’s 114 vs Orlando Magic 106, 5/3/19

Ben Simmons athleticism is clear when you watch an NBA game and like many stars, he excelled at many sports as a youngster.

The 22-year-old Aussie said he showed plenty of promise in rugby league and Aussie rules but the Philadelphia 76ers star said he couldn’t go down the route of becoming a star cricketers with one major roadblock holding back his potential.

“I’m six foot 10 (208cm tall),” Simmons told reporters. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a six foot 10 cricket player.”

He’s pretty right about that, the two tallest Australian cricketers were Peter George and Bruce Reid, both six foot eight.

But the tallest first-class and international cricketer is Mohammed Irfan who is seven foot one.

Still, the Aussie star found his sport, making Australian basketball history as the first Aussie to be selected in the NBA All-Star game, which will be played Monday at midday AEDT and will be live on ESPN and Kayo Sports.

But first Simmons will play for the World Team against the best young US stars in the Rising Stars game, the traditional match between the NBAs best first and second-year players.

While Simmons was at the centre of an All-Star first with a trade for Russell Westbrook, Simmons said he was looking forward to working with Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic, who he predicts to follow in his footsteps and be named the NBA Rookie of the Year.

Despite his cricket career not panning out, Simmons is still eager to represent Australia however, potentially as early as two exhibition games against Team USA in Melbourne in August and even the Boomers’ World Cup campaign in China.

“I’m not really focused on it right now, but I know when I have the right opportunity to go play and represent Australia I’ll do that,” Simmons said.

Simmons was embroiled in controversy the past week when news broke he was interested in working out with Magic Johnson, the Los Angeles Lakers legend and president of the team’s basketball operations.

Simmons explained his desire to learn from the game’s greats.

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“I mean, whenever you have an opportunity to talk to a Hall of Famer regardless of who it is you want to get some information and learn from them,” Simmons said.

Johnson and the Lakers, keen to add All-Stars to their roster, have been fined for breaching the NBA’s tampering rules the past year.

The NBA cleared Johnson and the Lakers on Tuesday after finding it was the 76ers who initiated the contact “with the Los Angeles Lakers by requesting a meeting between Johnson and Simmons”.
Simmons was asked to name his basketball role models growing up and he chose James and Johnson.

“Somebody I looked up to as a player was LeBron, for sure,” Simmons said. “I watched a lot of Magic highlights.

“So I think those are the two guys I have really looked at.”

— with Peter Mitchell, AAP

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The NBA is hotting up. Ben Simmons is the current MVP on his latest performances. Judging by the comments on some of the videos, the US fans are somewhat miffed that an Aussie can stroll in and take centre stage. Now it appears 13 year NBA veteran, Andrew Bogart, currently a free agent after a year with the Sydney Kings, is being courted by a number of clubs as well.

The standards required to achieve NBA professionalism start with the playing surface young players are trained on. It’s vitally important that the Timber Sports Flooring is FIFA approved and fully maintained to the highest standard. Ben Simmons started playing Basketball as a child in Knox – Melbourne’s Eastern Suburbs.

Nellakir are the leading installers of genuine Sprung Timber Sports Flooring utilising the ASF/Horner range of products to achieve the highest standards of professional playing surfaces, whether at major stadiums like the State Basketball Centre in Wantirna, the Bendigo Stadium or many more first class locations, or maybe just your local State Primary School.

Nellakir – the experts in Construction and Maintenance of all Timber Sports Flooring.

Nellakir – Champion floors for future champions.

Australia takes lead in Netball Quad series with win over arch rival England

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At Nellakir, Victoria and Tasmania’s leading provider of Sprung Timber Sports Floors, we take more than a passing interest in how our National teams fare in both Netball and Basketball. Nellakir built the two major show courts at the Victorian Netball Centre in Royal Park, so it was with some satisfaction that we note Australia’s victory over England in that sport (Netball) at the Netball Quad series being played in Newcastle yesterday, exacting revenge on the team that beat them in the Commonwealth Games in April.

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Victorian State Netball Centre

Championship level Netball requires a championship level surface. Nellakir use and recommend ASF Horner Sports Flooring systems for truly professional Sports Flooring of the highest quality. In NSW these same ASF Horner systems are installed by Shoreline Sports Floors and the surface of the venue for the Netball Quad series is one of our sister company’s (Shoreline) completed and maintained projects. Read all about the game here…

Australia grind out victory over England to take Quad Series lead

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Almost five months to the day since England sensationally beat Australia to claim netball gold at the Commonwealth Games, a less-than-sparkling Diamonds team exacted their revenge, seeing off the Roses 52-47 in Newcastle to take the lead in the Quad Series.

Lisa Alexander’s charges may have won the first encounter between the nations since that watershed moment on the Gold Coast in April, but it was a grind. The win in front of 4,544 fans at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre also came with a big asterisk.

England were without Jo Harten, who was sidelined with a knee complaint, after getting a knock late in the Roses’ 52-39 victory against New Zealand on Saturday. England, with the NSW Swift recruit Natalie Haythornthwaite starting at goal attack in Harten’s absence and their Games hero Helen Housby back at shooter, settled quicker than the Diamonds and led 14-11 at quarter-time. An upset looked on the cards.

But once the Diamonds attack end hit their stride, thanks to the injection of Liz Watson for Kim Ravaillion at centre at quarter-time and a more settled Caitlin Bassett, who shot 37 from 40 at 93% accuracy thanks to beautiful feeding from Kelsey Browne, by half-time Australia had taken the ascendency 26-24.

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Alexander admitted the Diamonds were disappointed Harten was missing. “I must admit, yes we would have really loved that challenge,” she said. But, in the lead-up to the World Cup in Liverpool next July, Alexander said the side would work hard to simulate the Harten/Housby partnership in training.

Alexander played down talk of revenge and said Australia were thinking about the future, not the past. “It’s about establishing our way of playing, we’ve got a new group. For bits of tonight I thought we did that. But we’ve got work to do. It was a grind really tonight.”

When the sides meet again, on English soil, physicality will be a talking point. Alexander was not impressed with the “hit and bang style” employed in Newcastle. “It’s a very interesting style … closing off space really,” she said.“We’re not playing like that. We play with skill. We try to get our defenders going around the body, to the line of the ball, not hitting the bodies … I thought that was a little bit untidy tonight.”

Source: theguardian.com

Nellakir offer expert construction and maintenance of all timber sports flooring. Call now on 03 9467 6126 for an obligation free quotation on regular maintenance, renovation or refurbishment, or complete new construction of all sprung timber sports flooring surfaces. Or leave your details here and one of our technicians will contact you to assist you with your enquiry.

Nellakir – The Sports Flooring of Champions

Is this Basketball? The Phillipines – Basketbrawl

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The Boomers vs The Phillipines turned into a farce, albeit a very dangerous farce in the game between Australia and the Phillipines in Manila on Monday. The game was abandoned and it is expected that FIBA, the world Basketball Organisation, will come down hard on the protagonists. Chairs were thrown and one Australian player – the smallest – Nathan Sobey had over 12 players and officials punching and kicking him. Boomers Assistant Coach Luc Longley rescued both he and Chris Goulding from the assault – which he lays squarely at the feet of the Phillipines Coach – Chot Reyes.

“I do believe Chot Reyes incited them to do that” said Longley

Back here in Australia, Nellakir are preparing our competition playing surfaces for the next generation of Australian champions. (There is some doubt as to whether the Australian team might venture back to the Phillipines any time soon)

Currently the Nellakir team are doing a strong round of annual maintenance projects in the school holiday period.

At Beaconsfield, St Francis Xavier’s Secondary College, where Nellakir recently finished construction of a flood damaged full size court, ensuring the school has virtually two brand new courts at the start of the new term.

It is also carrying out another re-sanding job at Berrindale School in Hampton. A small multi-purpose Gymnasium style area is being fully refreshed and refurbished.

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Annual cyclical maintenance and recoating is also being carried out at:

  • Vermont Primary School
  • Preston North Primary School
  • Cambridge Primary School
  • Westmont Secondary School (Hastings)
  • Parklands Secondary School (Mill Park)
  • St Albans Secondary School (St Albans)
  • Albert Park College (Albert Park)
  • Ararat College (Ararat)
  • Wallan Secondary College (Wallan)
  • Sunbury College (Sunbury)
  • Kolbe Catholic College (Greenvale)
  • Penleigh College (Essendon)
  • Highton Christian College (Highton)

Nellakir specialise in authentic programmed maintenance programs. For your convenience it is often appropriate to time such maintenance during School Holiday breaks. Nellakir are taking bookings now for both the September and Christmas Holiday periods.

Call now on 9467 6126 and book in your facility for a full programmed maintenance package

Nellakir for Expert Construction and Programmed Maintenance on all Sports Flooring.

Nellakir – The sports Flooring for Champions.

Nellakir complete several large projects – and the latest Defence Tips

Nellakir have now completed the new replacement Sports Flooring for Rowville Community Centre’s Basketball Courts, and it’s agreed by all it’s come up a real treat. This week the South Melbourne Multi Storey Primary School Basketball Court in Ferrars St South Melbourne also reaches completion. And if you love Basketball, here’s the final excerpt on Tips for Defence. Play Ball!

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Understand Your Opponent

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26. Are They a Great Outside Shooter?

The number one factor that determines how you should play against your opponent on defense is whether they can shoot the basketball from the outside at a high percentage.

If you’re guarding a poor shooter, then you can assist your teammates with more help off the basketball and you know that when playing on-ball defense you can take an extra step back to defend the drive without fear that they’ll make the shot.

If you’re guarding a great shooter, you won’t be able to help as much and you must be more mindful of your rotations on defense.

Instead, you should close the space between you and the defender and force them to dribble inside and take a lower percentage shot.

This is why smart basketball coaches put great off-ball defenders on poor shooters.

27. Where/How Do They Score Most of Their Points?

Whether they’re a great outside shooter or not, most players will have certain areas of the floor or certain ways that they score the majority of their points.

To be a great basketball defender, you must work out where and how your opponent does most of their scoring.

Do they get most of their points running off screens and getting midrange shots?

Do they score most of their points driving to the rim and finishing with their right hand?

Do they have a deadly midrange pull-up game?

Are they a low-post specialist?

These are questions you must figure out the answer to for every offensive player that you play against.

28. Do They Prefer Dribbling With Their Right or Left Hand?

Figuring out whether to influence your opponent’s dribbling to the right or left is one of the most important and easiest things you can do to improve your defense.

How you’ll implement this knowledge during the game might vary due to team defensive rules, but understanding their preference is crucial.

More often than not, the player you’re competing against will prefer to drive to their right hand.

To force them to their opposite hand, position yourself so that you’re slightly overplaying their preferred side and then establish a higher lead foot on this side too.

From this stance, the only way they can drive on their preferred side is to dribble through your chest and receive an offensive foul or to retreat dribble around you which will provide enough time to establish position again.

If they were to drive on their opposite hand, you’re still in position so that you can contain them and cut off the driving lane.

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29. What Are Their Weaknesses?

As well as figuring out their strengths, it’s important to know what an opponent’s weaknesses are.

This knowledge will assist you to put them in uncomfortable situations by forcing them into performing what they’re not good at.

This will require watching tape of your opponent, watching them play live, or simply working it out as the game progresses.

Every single player on the planet has weaknesses. It’s your job to find out what they are and exploit them.

30. How Do They Respond to Pressure?

One of the most surprising differences between great offensive players is their ability to handle pressure being put on them.

I’ve seen many players who regularly average 25 points per game but when you put a high amount of pressure on them, their point totals automatically take a significant drop.

These are often the player who can’t mentally handle pressure from great defense. They get frustrated, start yelling at their teammates, and throw up shots from all over the court trying to reach their regular scoring numbers.

Conversely, there are many great offensive players who stay calm and will have the same impact as usual regardless of the defensive pressure.

For that reason, it’s important to know which category your opponent falls under and then use that knowledge to improve your defense against them.

31. Do They Crash the Offensive Glass?

There are many players who do a fantastic job of sprinting in for offensive rebounds and then either scoring or passing out to a teammate for an open shot.

Shots after offensive rebounds always seem to be great shots.

As a defender, you must be aware whether the player that you’re guarding has a tendency to sprint in for offensive rebounds or to run back on defense after each shot.

If they are a great offensive rebounder, you must ensure to make contact with them after every shot and put a high importance on keeping them off the glass.

Understand the Opposition’s Offense

32. What Offense Are They Running?

One of the first questions that smart defenders will ask themselves when determining how to defend their opponent is “What offense does the opposition run?”

Once you figure this out, the next step is to determine the best way to defend against it.

Here are a few of the question you should think about…

How do they initiate the offense?

What’s the regular passing sequence of their offense?

Where do they take most of their shots from?

For example: If an opponent’s offense always starts with a pass from the top to one of the players on the wing, you then know that if you completely deny this pass then you’ve effectively taken them out of their offense.

33. What Are Their Most Common Set Plays

Often you’ll come across teams that don’t have an offense at all and will rely solely on set plays to score the basketball.

Since most youth and high school teams only have 2 – 3 set plays that they run a majority of the time, it can be relatively simple to figure out the name of the set play and what their actions are.

Just like the previous tip, your goal is to figure out what the opposition are trying to do and then take those options away from them.

The best time to do this is before the game. Watch video of the opposition’s offense or to watch them in-person and focus on figuring out what they do offensively.

If you don’t have that opportunity, with focus you can figure it out throughout the game as you’re competing against them.

On-Ball Basketball Defense Tips

34. Put Constant Pressure on the Basketball

While the main goal is containment, we don’t want players to do this by standing 2 meters off their opponent and giving them wide open shots.

Players must learn how to contain their player while also putting constant pressure on them when they have the basketball.

The purpose of putting pressure on the basketball is to make the offensive player uncomfortable which will often lead to deflections and turnovers.

When a player is uncomfortable from on-ball pressure, they don’t want to dribble the basketball, they’re scared that one of their passes will get deflected, and they don’t even think about shooting.

As long as your teammates are playing great help defense, you shouldn’t hesitate to apply on-ball pressure because if the offensive player does happen to beat you off the dribble, your teammates are ready to rotate and stop the basketball.

“My philosophy of defense is to keep the pressure on an opponent until you get to his emotions” – John Wooden

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35. Stay Lower Than Your Opponent at All Times

When you’re playing on-ball defense, you should always be lower than your opponent.

If you’re roughly the same height, your eye level should be at approximately their shoulder level.

Being lower gives you better balance and allows you to react quickly once the offensive player makes their move.

As always, the quicker you can react, the better.

36. Don’t Lunge for the Basketball

This tip goes back to the importance of balance that I talked about in the first section of this article on basketball defense.

When you lunge for the basketball, you’re often putting yourself off-balance and out of correct defensive position.

If the basketball comes within your reach, by all means, attempt to tip it and secure the steal, but never lunge out of position unless you’re over 75% sure you’re going to steal the basketball.

Always remember that containing your opponent is your number one priority when playing on-ball defense.

37. Stay an Arm’s Length Distance From Your Opponent

One of the most common questions I get asked by players is how close they should be to their opponent when playing defense.

On average, a player should be approximately one arm’s length away from their opponent. This means that if you stick your hand out straight, you should just be able to touch the offensive player with your fingertips.

As players improve to higher and more skilled levels of basketball, the distance will start to vary depending on the tendencies and abilities of the player they’re guarding against. But for the youth and high school level, this is often the most appropriate distance.

Being an arm’s length apart is the perfect length because it’s close enough that the defender can get a hand on the basketball for a steal and also prevent the shot, but far enough away that if the player attempts to drive there’s enough to react and adjust defensive position.

38. Watch Your Opponent’s Chest or Waist

This tactic will make an immediate impact on your defensive ability.

When players are still learning the game, the natural tendency is to look at the basketball or the eyes when playing on-ball defense.

The problem with doing this, however, is that it’s easy for the offensive player to fake with their eyes or the basketball and get the defense off-balance.

So, what should players be looking at while playing on-ball defense?

The mid-section of their opponent. This being anywhere from their chest to their waist.

Unlike the other parts of their body, it’s incredibly difficult for the offensive player to fake with their mid-section which is why that’s where I recommend players focus on.

39. Always Keep Your Hands Active

While you’re playing on-ball defense, you should be tracing the basketball with one of your hands at all times.

Doing so will allow you to deflect the basketball if the offensive player makes a quick pass inside and also simply discourages passes as your opponent knows you may get a hand to it.

Your other hand should be below the basketball looking to tap the basketball out of their hands or to poke it loose if the decide to dribble.

By leaving your hands down at your sides (which a lot of players do), you’re not achieving anything defensively.

Keep your hands active.

40. Swipe Up at the Basketball

Most players have formed a bad habit of swatting down on the basketball when attempting to reach in for a steal.

The problem with doing this is that the referee will often call the defender for a foul. It looks aggressive and there will often be contact made with the arm.

The better way to steal while playing on-ball defense is to swipe up at the basketball. This means keeping one of your hand’s lower than the basketball with your palm facing up.

Since the defender should be playing lower than the offensive player, this is a far more successful method and will result in fewer foul calls.

41. Contest Shots by Blocking the Shooter’s Vision

A cardinal on-ball defensive sin is jumping up and swatting at the basketball attempting to block an opposition player’s shot.

Although this can sometimes work, there are two main reasons why this isn’t always a terrific idea…

1. You might foul the shooter

It’s incredibly difficult to block an outside shot without fouling. The shooting motion of most players will often bring their arms directly into yours on the shot resulting in a foul.

2. They might fake the shot

If you jump on a shot fake, it’s game over. They’re going to have an open drive to the rim and if they don’t score themselves, they’ll often be able to pass to an open player for the shot or layup.

Instead, the best option you have when defending an outside shooter is to get your hand up to their face and take away their vision of the rim.

A missed shot is just as good as a blocked shot. Often better since most blocks are out of bounds or straight back to the opposition team.

This tactic allows you to stay on the ground and react quickly to whatever happens next.

basketball shot defense

42. Always Jump to the Basketball After a Pass

One of the primary rules of defense is to never allow your opponent to cut ball-side of you after making a pass.

This most commonly occurs on a pass-and-cut when the opposition is swinging the basketball around the perimeter.

After making the pass, they will immediately look to cut ball-side for the for the give-and-go pass leading to an open layup.

Great defenders never allow this to happen.

Any time you’re guarding a player and they pass to a teammate, you must immediately jump towards the basketball on the flight of the pass.

This removes your opponent’s opportunity to cut ball-side and forces them to cut behind which is a much more difficult pass to make and puts you in prime position to intercept the pass if it’s attempted.

Even if they choose not to cut, you’re immediately denying the return pass to the player you’re guarding.

Off-Ball Basketball Defense Tips

43. One-Pass Away – Deny or Help?

One of the most important principles of your team’s defensive system you must understand is whether to deny when one-pass away or whether to be in help position.

This is the main difference between the two most popular defensive systems: The man-to-man defense (deny) and the Pack Line defense (help).

If you’re denying the pass, you should always have one arm and one foot in the passing lane, your chest should be facing your opponent, and you should see the basketball by looking over your ball-side shoulder.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the defensive system may not have a universal rule on this. The rule may change depending on where the basketball is on the court.

For example, some coaches prefer to allow the initial pass to the wing and then deny after that pass has been made.

Others might allow passes to the corner by playing in help position but deny any reversal pass back to the top of the key.

Make sure you understand your team’s defensive strategy when defending one-pass away from the basketball.

44. Learn How to Close Out Correctly

Close outs are one of the most difficult skills to master on defense.

In fact, there any many offenses and set plays designed specifically to create defensive closeouts as that’s often where a lot of defenses break down.

There’s no avoiding them. If your team is in help position (which they should be), then there will be close outs no matter what.

So how do you perform them effectively?

The key to closing out is to sprint approximately two-thirds of the way to the defender and then use short, choppy steps to finish the close out.

As a player gets close, they should be low with their weight back to absorb the drive and also have one hand up to deter or contest the shot.

45. Never Help Off Ball-Side Corner

The corner three-point shot is arguably the most efficient shot in the game of basketball. You should never leave this shot open.

A player will most commonly make this mistake when an opponent drives to the rim from the wing and they’re defending a player in the corner one-pass away.

Instead of staying on their opponent, this corner defender will drop down to help stop the drive to the rim leaving their player open for the simple pass and wide open jump shot.

Every player must understand that help comes from the middle. That’s why you must always have a defender on the split-line.

Help never comes from ball-side corner.

They can quickly plug and recover to their player, but they should never completely commit to helping on the baseline wing drive and leave open their opponent in the corner.

46. Always See Your Opponent and the Basketball

Whenever you’re on defense and you’re not defending the basketball or one-pass away, you should be in a ‘defensive triangle’.

The defensive triangle (or ball-you-man) refers to positioning yourself between the basketball and your opponent so that you can see both with your peripheral vision.

You should have one hand pointing towards the basketball, one hand pointing towards your opponent, and your vision should be in-between the two.

If a direct chest pass was made between the player with the basketball and your opponent, the help defender should be able to intercept it.

A defender should be as close to the basketball as possible but still close enough to their player that if a skip pass to them was made, the defender would have time to close out and establish defensive position without allowing an open shot.

The reason for this is that the closer a help defender is to the basketball, the quicker they can be to play help defense.

47. Constantly Adjust Your Positioning

A great basketball defender never stands still while they’re on defense. They’re constantly adjusting their positioning the entire possession.

Whenever the basketball or your opponent moves, you should be moving as well to make sure you’re always in the best defensive position.

This requires players to understand the defense to know where they should be, stay in a defensive stance to react quickly, and use the defensive triangle to keep vision of the player they’re guarding and the basketball.

If you’re not constantly adjusting your position, it won’t be long before you get caught out and your opponent gets a quick backdoor layup or a wide open jump shot.

Even if being caught out of position doesn’t lead to a direct score by your opponent, it will lead to a breakdown in the defense and the need for your teammates to rotate and help. This puts them out of position and usually leads to an high-quality shot from one of the opponents.

Your teammates need to trust that you’ll be in the correct position to help them just as they need to be in the correct position to help you.

Don’t let each other down with lazy defense.

Conclusion

Becoming a great basketball defender is one of the most important areas a player can focus on.

Since few players put a focus on defense, doing so is one of the best opportunities a player has of separating themselves from the crowd and advancing from a mediocre player to a great player.

If you implement the above tips into your game, very quickly you’ll see the impact that they can have on your game.

Source: basketballforcoaches.com

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