The NBA is both bad and good for young basketball players

As a timer for dozens of high school basketball games in Milwaukee every year I see both high quality play along with the kind that makes your grimace. Most of the time I’m wincing.

I work games in the highly charged City Conference where play can be extremely exciting. More often than not, sorry, it resembles a three-on-three central city  playground contest in July.

Hogging the ball. Quick shots. Refusal to make the next pass. Selfish decisions. A total  lack of teamwork. All of these are killers when it comes to regional and sectional play going on right now.

Part of the blame is on coaches who for whatever reason neglect to pull on the reins. Then there are players who simply don’t listen and go off on their own.

Let’s not forget TV and professional basketball. The players, whether they like to admit or not, are role models. They are idolized by kids who, and many an adult can relate, dream in their backyards or playgrounds of making the dazzling play or shot that wins a big time championship.

How many times after a game I’ve worked has a player, sometimes from the losing team, approached the scorer’s table to inquire how many points he scored.

I don’t answer, in part because the scorer has not yet added up the totals, but mostly because the player is out of line. Instead, I instruct the player to return to his teammates where he belongs. If possible, I kindly inform the player’s coach what happened so that it doesn’t happen again.

This might not be the perfect example of the above headline and the point of my blog but I’m sure it is a factor. High school players watch the NBA and fantasize of being in the NBA someday. Undoubtedly their sets were tuned to the recent NBA All-Star Game.

Granted, the NBA All-Star Game is a no defense offensive explosion. All the more reason it has an impact, especially when Steph Curry made that bounce pass alley-oop to Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Are you telling me there aren’t millions of kids across America salivating at the very thought of pulling off the exact same amazing feat at a game in front of a gym filled with screaming fans?

Now here’s an idea. How about coaches show their players, whether it be via video, e-mail, smartphone, etc., this particular play from a game that actually meant something unlike the All-Star Game. This game was very important because it was the first regular season game for the Bucks after the All-Star Game. The opponent: the tough Boston Celtics.

High school coaches could impart a valuable lesson if they stress, how on a court loaded with stars, the NBA team with the best record (the Bucks), unselfishly executed three passes to set up what would be the eventual game winning basket. Watch. It happens quickly, but is pretty.

“Talent Wins Games, Teamwork Wins Championships.”
Grant Freeland, managing director at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG)




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