Some Complaints about Fall Basketball

So after watching 9 weeks of fall league basketball, I realized that I longed for summer ball which was far more watchable.  Some venting about what I saw.
  • The number of bad games was astronomical.  In the Minnehaha league, unless DeLaSalle was playing Duluth East or the random St. Paul Central game, bad hoops.  Eastview and Lakeville South were all there was to watch at Concordia and when they played each other, even that was a blowout (granted a surprise Lakeville South blowout win without Alex Richter).  The other MYAS session at Forest Lake, yuck.  But there was some talent there with Conner Miller and Zach Romashko just to name a couple.  The second session Breakdown league was much better than what I mentioned but overall, not the high quality of teams I expected.  It was not an uncommon theme among college coaches I saw on the road that they really didn't get much of the games.
  • I was disappointed at the amount of whining to officials .  And now I'm starting to see players stay behind the play to complain, even after weeks of playing in the same league where they should already be used to the officiating.  Its fall so the officiating isn't that good, but it really wasn't that awful this year either.
  • Along the same lines, the language.  My goodness.  I was very disappointed at the amount of swearing by players and the fact that it was tolerated by the officials and the few coaches that were there.  Seeing a player miss a layup and then yell an obscenity at the top of his lungs is something that doesn't belong in the high school game and needs to cracked down on in a big time way.  That said, I'm not saying that emotion is not allowed.  I won't turn it into the No Fun League. 
  • Do we really need more three point shots?.  I even saw kids spotting up outside the arc at open gym when the 3 point line wasn't even in play (3s were eliminated).  When a player shoots 5 threes, misses them all badly and then banks in a 6th one, all you can do is shake your head because you KNOW the 7th and 8th ones are going up.  When will we teach our players that a cold shooting day means you can put the ball on the floor and drive, defend, rebound etc and do the little things to still help your team.
  • Along those lines, why do most players still think they're shot blockers.  It amazes me the number of HUGE swings players take at shots on drives inside.  I swear they were trying to play volleyball.  Not to mention the number of times players either give up position or measure a kid for a block instead of getting into position to take a charge.
  • I said this on my twitter page (and if you're not following me, why not) a while back but I'll mention it again.  I hated seeing JV teams in varsity divisions.  I understand why the JV team's coach does it and if you can get away it with, fine.  But it does a serious disservice to the league you're playing in and to the opponent.  Imagine if I'm some team like Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (an elite 2A team this year) and I sign up to play in a league like the Minnetonka league.  Then I arrive only to find out, I'm playing the Osseo JVs (for the record their varsity was there, this is just an example).  If I'm WEM, I'm calling the tourney director and asking what in the world is going on, I didn't sign up to play a JV team.  I'll also include teams in the early period who had none of their main roster due to football.
So all of this leads me to this basic question, what's the point of fall ball? Did the kids learn anything besides bad habits?  Does anybody really think that teams like Minnetonka, BSM, Tartan etc are going to play the same way during the season as they did in the fall?  Of course not.  The last thing the kids need to be doing is playing games.  They play all winter for their high school team in a state that allows more high school games than any state in the region (and its not close, Wisconsin's 22 games is next vs our 26).  Then they spend most of the spring and summer running around the state/country playing for a AAU team.  That team is lucky to get all of their guys together for practice 2 or maybe 3 times a week.  Neither group has the time to do skill work.  The AAU guys are lucky to get all of their necessary stuff in and high school coaches are always worried about the next game (maybe too much so).  So here are my proposals.

#1) Outlaw fall leagues, open gyms etc but allow the high school coaches a given number of hours a week (officially optional to the players, but de facto they'd still be mandatory, just like fall ball is) for skill work in small groups.  Something like the D2 coaches have where they can work with groups of no more than 4 at a time.
#2) Move the 3 point line back to the NBA line or further.  With any luck, this will improve spacing, allow more drives and have only the true shooters shooting it from deep.
#3) Another possible thought, fall is really the only time the kids get off these days, do we black out that period entirely?  This would keep the kids from burning out and possibly be the time to "sharpen the saw" and be refreshed for the regular season.

    9 comments:

    1. Would you know the typical price of admission at these fall games?

      Also, my guess is that those playing football don't play...or do they find the time somehow?

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    2. General admission pride is anywhere from $3 to $5 here in the metro. Worth noting that the Minnetonka league was free admission. Most football players don't play while football is going on (FB coaches won't let them). New London-Spicer's Jayme Moten was a noteworthy exception to this. Some of the kids won't play fall league but will still do open gyms (e.g. Nick Latzke at Minnetonka). That's why the top fall leagues don't start until the football regular season is over. But it helps make my point about the early leagues. With top kids off playing football and no real coaching, yes it's nice for the lower kids to play, but are they really getting anything useful out of it.

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    3. In breakdown, We signed up for lower level because we had to use non varsity players to round out our team. Too our surorise they put us in the top league. No wonder there was mismatches.

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    4. Hey Czar for your poll you should put Remember the name by Fort Minor on there... Its in a lot of basketball commercials and some movies

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    5. Czar,

      Couldn't disagree with this post more. Do I think fall basketball is worth anyone covering it? No, but your post is way off. These kids need more coaching? Pull out the three point line? Seriously? When I go to fall league it is to watch how these kids perform without the watchful eye of their coach telling them what to do. I enjoy seeing these kids actually think for themselves. Everything these kids do these days is organized. Fall league and open gym is the only spot you'll see these kids play for fun. Your proposal sucks all the fun out of the sport. There's enough pressure with AAU, recruiting etc. Outlawing fall league?

      Seriously, don't watch it if you don't like it.

      Dude.

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    6. Pimp, do you really think this isn't under the watchful eye of coaches? All the top coaches know exactly who's there and how much they play and how they do. I'm all for kids playing on their own, but the purpose of fall league and the reason the high school coaches pay to put their teams in, is to improve. It doesn't serve that purpose. We don't need more coaching, we need more teaching as I completely agree with the saying that the game is over coached and under taught.

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    7. Thanks for the response. Sure the coaches are watching but they are not coaching the kids and telling them what to do etc. While I certainly don't disagree with the need for training, teaching etc as part of their basketball experience, they also need just game play time. Sometimes I feel these kids are so robotic in their approach to games. Just nice to see the kids playing/enjoying.

      That being said, it's not worth covering. Jamborees are certainly more indicative of the quality of style you'll see throughout the year.

      In any event, time for the season to start!

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    8. I agree, just playing without coaches pressure has some value. I just think the kids play enough games already and don't put in nearly enough skill time and that's a coaching problem. Is fall ball really worth covering, I would agree that its sketchy. Though I must say the Columbia Heights Jamboree wasn't much different in quality, just far more formal.

      Amen to the season starting. 1 game in the books, can't wait for Thursday.

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    Have a different take than mine? You can provide your take here.