It's All About The "Little" Guys

There may be a Christmas song about it being the "most wonderful time of the year" but I beg to differ. As a basketball junkie, March is the most wonderful time of the year. It means March Madness is here. There is nothing more exciting than the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament and to this point, it's been dominated by the "little" guys...aka the perimeter players.

In tournament play the outcomes of games are usually determined by guard play. The teams with the best guards tend to come out on top. Last year, Duke won not on the back of big man Jahlil Okafor but on the timely plays of guard Tyus Jones. UConn's historic jaunts through the Big Dance have been led by guards such as Khalid El-Amin and Shabazz Napier. I even remember Chris Webber had his historic timeout blunder against North Carolina. Everyone remembers the unfortunate timeout call but people forget that UNC's Donald Williams owned the game.

The first full night of basketball action in the 2016 tournament has shown that the guards are still dominating and leading their teams to victory. Yale won their first tournament game in the school's history by sailing along on the waves of guard Makai (my name means "toward the sea" according to Clark Kellogg) Mason and his 31 points. Wichita State pulled a "mild" upset by knocking off Arizona behind the strong play of veteran guards Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker. Angel Rodriguez of Miami dominated Buffalo and Little Rock knocked out Purdue on the heels of Josh Hagins clutch play.

In essence, it makes sense that guards would dominate the tournament. They're the ones with the ball in their hands. They dictate the tempo and flow of the game. Post players are at the mercy of the guards if they want the ball. This is why it makes much more sense for young players today to train as if they are going to be guards.

My 11-year old son is the tallest and biggest player on his AAU team. Everyone wants and expects him to be a post player. I know that even if he makes it to 6'3" then that means he'll still be a guard. Even several of the guys I know that work in the NBA have told my son to make sure he keeps a ball in his hands all the time even as he continues to grow. They understand the importance of all players being able to handle the ball.

I have trouble with people trying to pigeon-hole players into positions. A good basketball player will be able to do everything...dribble, pass, shoot, play defense. That's what young players need to grasp. Don't be a number, be a player.

I see players like Duke's Brandon Ingram. At his height, he would be labeled as a post player. However, he has all the necessary skills to play on the perimeter AND he can play out of the post. He's a basketball player. He is able to do it all and will be paid handsomely for his skill.

So, as you continue to watch the rest of the NCAA tournament, pay close attention to those players that are skilled with the ball. They will dominate the action and will determine who holds up the trophy in April. Young players, strive to develop your skills like those "little" guys you see on TV. If we can help you in any way, contact us and let us help you develop your overall game.

#NCAATournament #Guardplay #BrandonIngram #FredVanVleet #RonBaker #TyusJones #ShabazzNapier #KhalidElAmin #basketballskills #MakaiMason

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