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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.
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