Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Basketball Season Grades: The Assistant Coaches

[Finally continuing the grades series]

The assistant coaches are probably the most under appreciated aspect of college basketball. Like their piers in college football they do much of the positional coaching, much of the instruction and a lot of the leg work in recruiting. However, because the head coach in hoops becomes so iconic, the assistants are taken for granted. On Skinner's staffs assistants' roles can get expanded even more into practice and media duties that Al delegates.

When it comes to grading though, it is hard to judge the assistants on a seasonal basis. First, we did not bring in one recruit this year. By design the staff decided to bank a scholarship rather than use one on a player they didn't like. It also allows them to bring in a decent sized class next year. So that portion of their duties is incomplete.

An area of strength this year was player development. Sanders, Roche, Dunn and Jackson all got better as the season played on. That development should be credited in part to the assistants.

Assistants also do much of the prep and scouting. This year I felt the guys were much better prepared on a game to game basis and our strategy also seemed to be appropriate given each opponent.

While this group of assistants might not be as accomplished or talented as some of Al's previous staffs, they deserve much credit for this year's turnaround. The team was better in multiple ways and much of that was done by the guys who sit and work around Al.

Season Grade: B


Erik said...

"piers" -- Is BJ Raji guest blogging today?

CT said...

Um, inbounding. Breaking the press.

Claver2010 said...

ATL, I assume Al will get the blame for the inability to draw up an inbounds play or a press breaker.

Erik said...

The responsibility falls on Al for inbounds plays and beating the press, but any assistant coach sitting there watching the failures would be even more baffled than us fans are - but they have a direct opportunity to influence it for the better.

I hope they see the same things we do, but that in real life its just harder to do than we give credit for.