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Tribe Spotlight

Reprinted with permission from Carson-Newman Men's Basketball. Carson Newman, under Head Coach, Chuck Benson is another of the Tribe's Read & React College Basketball teams. JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – For the first time since the 2001-02 season, Carson Newman (15-4, 8-3 South Atlantic Conference) has swept a season series with Tusculum (5-11, 3-8).  Carson-Newman held Tusculum to one field goal over an eight minute span in the first half while going on a 13-2 run and never looked back in a 73-43 win Wednesday night at Holt Fieldhouse. The win was the most lopsided in the series since the Eagles last swept TC more than a decade ago.  Carson-Newman knocked the Pioneers out of the SAC semifinals with an 88-51 win. Carson-Newman has locked down defensively in February.  Following Wingate's 52-point performance last Saturday against C-N, the Pioneers' 43 points are the fewest scored on the Eagles this season. "We knew they were more inside oriented than outside," Carson-Newman head coach Chuck Benson said. "We wanted to take away that.  Some of that was our guys taking it away, some of that was just not being their night.  But the numbers we gave up, those are impressive." The Eagles defense set new season lows for points (43), field goals (14), field goal attempts (45), field goal percentage (31 percent), three pointers (two), three point field goal attempts (12), three point field goal percentage (16.7 percent) and assists (six) allowed. Carson-Newman produced three double figure scorers, with Ish Sanders (Cleveland, Tenn.) scoring 18, Jared Johnson 14 (Springfield, Mass.) and Antoine Davis (Rustburg, Va.) adding 11. 

Written By JOE STEVENSON (as appeared in the Northwest Herald on Sunday, January 13th, 2013) Every year, Rich Czeslawski heads to the NCAA Final Four to watch basketball, network and, perhaps most importantly, learn. Czeslawski had just finished his first season as Crystal Lake Central’s boys basketball coach in 2007 when he headed to Atlanta for the Final Four. While there, he attended a coaching clinic and caught a glimpse of the future. The clinician, Rick Torbett, is considered one of the foremost basketball teaching authorities in the world and distributes teaching videos on betterbasketball.com, many of which involve his Read and React offense. At that clinic, Czeslawski saw the future of his program with Read and React, an offense that can be taught in layers, offers flexibility against man or zone defenses and can be difficult to scout. In the ever-evolving world of offensive basketball, Read and React is the latest system to offer coaches ways to attack by utilizing spacing, providing flexibility based on personnel and allowing teams to create offense through coordinated effort. Dribble-Drive Motion, motion and Princeton are other popular ways that use some similar concepts. “We went to Read and React three years ago. It’s a very intelligent way of teaching a free-flowing offense,” Czeslawski said. “(Cary-Grove girls coach) Rod Saffert is running it. (Prairie Ridge boys coach) Corky (Card) is running it. I don’t really feel it’s a fad offense; it’s a way of teaching offense. You’re teaching offense and empowering players.” While Czeslawski has had good talent with which to work in those three seasons, he thinks Read and React has helped the Tigers go 60-12 over that stretch. When Czeslawski invited Torbett to Crystal Lake last summer, there were 40 coaches who attended a roundtable discussion to learn more about Read and React. Johnsburg boys coach Mike Toussaint was one of them, and while he had not fully implemented it with his varsity, the Skyhawks’ feeder program and lower levels are running it.

What can happen in a year? Well, if you're Uie Garcia and the South Windsor Girls, a lot. See, Coach Garcia has sold out on the Read & React Offense. He integrates it in just about everything he does in practice. He uses it against man-to-man, all types of zone defense, and as a press breaker. And, now, he's created an AAU organization dedicated to running the Read & React at every level. The Connecticut Attack are proof that it can be done on a large scale successfully. We were sent this article and thought you should know about it. For inspiration. For encouragement. And, well, because we like to brag on Read & React teams. Heading into his final year with the South Windsor Girls Travel Basketball Program, Ulysses Garcia decided to raise the bar through implementation of the Read & React Offense. The program dramatically evolved under his leadership; migrating from non-competitive teams at every grade level to teams that were consistently competing for league championships. Yet it was his final year that Garcia saw the greatest growth. Through implementing the Read & React Offense, his athletes began to really understand the game and develop a true 'Basketball IQ'. They moved well without the ball, and made smart decisions with it. Instead of running plays, they were reading defenders as well as ball movement.

There are two types of Read & React coaches. Those that run it like a traditional offense and those that get it. So, this is a bit of an introduction to a coach and a program that you'll see more of right here in the future. Well, actually, you've seen Coach Garcia (Uie) and his team demonstrate some zone tweaks, but we're just getting started. See, Uie gets it. And, by "it", I mean a lot - the meaning of the word coach, the spirit of the R&R, and how to impact the lives of youth basketball players. So, we were sent this article about him and his program and thought it would be good to share it. It's about more than the fact that his travel teams have gone 126-6 over the past three years. It's about how the change that he and his coaches are making to the game at the youth level (with the Read & React) is achievable... and transferrable. That's what we are trying to do with Uie - take his insight and give him a megaphone. By the way, right now, Uie is transitioning to the AAU season with the Connecticut Spirit so you'll also get to see some stuff from the AAU circuit. We're excited because we know it will be helpful. Thanks to South Windsor for the article:

This is our second Tribe Spotlight where we feature the successes, struggles, insights, and hopefully game footage from Read & React coaches. This spotlight comes from Ed Hammersmith in Overland Park, Kansas. Here’s what Coach Hammersmith (coachEd in the forum) has to say. If you want your team spotlighted or you just want to show off some of your game footage, send me an email at scott@betterbasketball.com and we'll try to set it up. I started teaching the R&R to my 6th grade AAU (11U) girls team November of 2009. I had concerns that there wouldn’t be enough practice time to drill the “Layers” to the degree they needed to be drilled in order for the girls to learn them, but I ultimately decided to give it a shot and keep it simple.

Read & React v. Zone

Read & React v. Press

Read & React 5 OUT Scrimmage This is what I learned from that first year: First, I needed to down size everything! I figured if I was going to commit a good majority of practice time to the R&R, then some things had to go. I kept one press offense, one offense (R&R) vs. man to man, two zone sets (more on that later), and I cut our inbounds sets to 4. I have to be honest, this was going to be a big change for me. I was venturing out of my 20-year coaching comfort zone. Why change now?

We’re trying something new. This is the first Tribe Spotlight where we feature the successes, struggles, insights, and hopefully game footage of Read & React coaches. Our first spotlight comes from Stephen Ring in Melbourne, Australia. I know, the R&R is so international. Here’s what Coach Ring (Ringy in the forum) has to say. And, if you want your team spotlighted, send me an email at scott@betterbasketball.com and we’ll set it up. The following clips have been taken from our first pre-season games through the fifth game of the regular season. We are far from perfect, but what I’ve tried to highlight with these clips is the players making the reads and reactions. We don’t score on every occasion and sometimes we don’t make the correct reactions, but I think the footage shows that the coordinated movement (even with mistakes) is very difficult to defend, post passing can open up the outside for kick-outs, and cutters are generally in good rebounding position if a shot is taken. Pay particular attention to the progression from the pre-season (Videos 1 & 2) into the regular season (Videos 3 & 4)- we made a lot of progress!

Pre-Season Clips: Learning the Basics

The above clips are from a couple of our pre-season games and we are pretty much sticking to our basic Layers highlighting:

  • Pass & Cut with Circle Movement
  • Good Front Cuts and Post Feeds
  • Post Passing with Laker Cuts
  • Baseline Drives filling windows
  • Drive and Pitch

Pre-Season Clips: Becoming More Comfortable

Here’s another set of pre-season games highlighting:

  • Corner Back Cuts
  • Speed Dribble and an attempted Power Dribble
  • Penetrate and Pitch
  • Penetrate and Dish
  • Back Screen, hit the cutter, dish to Post (pity it was a traveling call)
  • Strong Basket Cuts
  • Baseline Drives
  • Post Passing and Laker Cuts
  • Filling windows