I’m sure a lot of you guys around the world are following the NCAA tournament. If not may I just remind you that all the games are available right here:
With my interest in the Dribble Drive I’ve been following coach Calipari’s teams for years, but mostly in the post season, as very few NCAA games are shown in Europe during the regular season.
One thing which surprised me watching this season’s Kentucky matches is that they have pretty much gone away from the Dribble Drive as an offense, and I think they look stagnant because of it. There is a lot of pass, stand around. Pass, stand around waiting for a pick-n-roll. Pick-n-roll, hesitate.
I’ve gone back to have a look at the old Memphis games, and the Kentucky games of a few years ago, and what strikes me the most is how few close-outs Kentucky are generating now compared to back then.
Right now the only close-out situations Kentucky are generating are in pick-n-roll situations. I can’t help but think that the more dynamic style of the old Memphis teams would help Kentucky now.
As for the reasons Calipari is going with this; I think with being at Kentucky Calipari has the ability to recruit quality big men, and he does go to Harrellson a lot. In fact the big fella is involved in most plays, and for a good reason, as he’s playing really well. In my oppinion going to the big man and running a lot of pick-n-rolls doesn’t mean you can’t run the Dribble Drive. There are plenty of pick-n-rollopportunities in the Dribble Drive, in the normal flow of the offense.
Secondly Calipari may think he doesn’t have the guards to run the Dribble Drive, but here I tend to disagree. Definitely having a guard like D. Rose or J. Wall is a huge advantage, but even without them on the floor the teams of the past looked very good running the Dribble Drive. I think the explanation may be a different one. Maybe it has to do with how smart he thinks his team is – as you have to be pretty smart as a team to run the offense. That may come down to recruitment too.
I think this one may be a big one, the Dribble Drive is an offense that’s easily learned, but mastering it takes time. Calipari changes players a lot, as he recruits so well that he constantly loses his players to the NBA. It’s easier to teach the five new stud freshmen who come in every year some sets than to teach them the reads of a motion-type offense.
I may be wrong about all this, I just think running your plays then defaulting into the Dribble Drive would really help Kentucky at the moment. But of course you can’t argue with the results so far, even if it hasn’t been pretty!