Sunday, February 28, 2010

BCS caught in a trap

The 1-3-1 half-court trap that turned the tide and stymied Bradenton Christian in its Class A-Region 2 championship game Saturday night, is something Orlando Christian Prep head coach Reggie Kohn was a part of when he played at the University of South Florida from 2000 to ‘03.

He played for the Bulls under Seth Greenberg and it was a weapon the coach, now head guy at Virginia Tech, loves to utilize. It involves putting three of your biggest players just below the mid-court line and trapping the opposing guard after he crosses it.

When Greenberg used the 1-3-1 he had Sarasota Riverview High graduate Altron Jackson in the middle at the top near midcourt. Jackson was in the 6-6, 6-7 range with long arms and adept at either causing havoc or getting steals at the top of the press that he would convert into easy layups.

Using that defense, Jackson set the school single game record for steals with 10 against Florida State in January of 2002, which still stands today. It was during Greenberg’s rein that USF set the single season team record in steals with 321 in the 1999-2000 campaign.

Kohn, one of the smaller players on that USF squad at about 6-1, was usually underneath the three big guys when he played it at USF. He learned the defense well from Greenberg, who he still keeps in contact with, and refined it a bit to fit his team.

The basic concept is to wait until the guard crosses mid court and then jump him with two of your bigger players. It turned the tide of the game against Bradenton Christian putting the Panthers in a hole they could never recover from. The Warriors scored 17 straight points when they went to the scheme and never looked back in their 83-59 victory.

“It’s been one of our better defenses throughout the season,” Kohn said. “We started in our man to man because that is what we usually do and from there we try a little bit of everything. Whatever works that game we try to stick with.

“In that defense, you try to take away the angles and the easy baskets and direct passes and make them lob the ball, which is what we were able to do. That was the key obviously because we didn’t shoot the ball very well.”

Frey made huge sacrifice for Panthers

Among the graduating seniors on the Bradenton Christian boys’ basketball team, it’s safe to say no one sacrificed more to the program than Michael Frey.

Barely standing 6-4 on a good day, he played out of position the past two seasons so the Panthers could have good inside presence.

Frey wants to play in college, which means he will have to play out on the wing, most likely at the two-guard. He hasn’t had much of an opportunity to play facing the basket and being able to show college coaches what he can do from there.

Frey is athletic and has a nice mid-range jumper, but admittedly needs to work on his shot from beyond the arc and improve his ball handling to play at the lower Division I level, which he aspires to do.

Regardless, he has no complaints about manning the paint for the Panthers the last two years. He is the epitome of hard work and unselfishness.

After the Panthers season ended in a disappointing 83-59 loss to Orlando Christian Prep in the Class A-Region 2 title game Saturday night, Frey was his usual upbeat self. You can never tell from his demeanor whether BC won or loss, which is an invaluable asset.

“They are a good team and fun to play against. They are fast and tough,” Frey said after the game. “Their 1-3-1 zone killed us in the second quarter. We finally figured it out in the second half, but it really put a big gap between us.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better career. It was a lot of fun playing with kids who I played with this since sixth grade. I was in three Final Fours. I am thinking about playing in college and looking at Belmont University (Nashville, Tenn.). They are Division I, but I am focused mainly on academics at that school.

“I am looking for more of a walk-on thing. I will have to play the two in college and I’ve been working on that the last couple of months, especially on my ball handling. I’ve talked to the coach up there, but he has never seen me play.

“I’ve played pretty much in the paint the last two years and it’s not that hard for me, but for college I am going to be at a guard spot and it’s going to take some extra work.”

Friday, February 19, 2010

Russell happy with Dotel

It's only the second day of camp, but Pittsbugh Pirates manager John Russell was happy with what he saw from Octavio Dotel, who he hopes will be his closer this year. It's been more than a few years since the new acquisition has closed for an entire season, but the manager likes what he saw in his first day.
"It's a tough inning to pitch, and to have someone who wants to thrive in that situation is good, and it shows he has the makeup and mentality to do it," Russell said. "He is very professional on how he goes about things and did everything right today. It was good to see him out there and he is ready to go."
The right-handed Dotel was signed to take over the closer's role for the Pirates, which hopefully will give some of the younger pitchers a chance to get their careers going without a lot of pressure.
He has more strikeouts than any other reliever since 2000 but hasn't closed for an entire season since 2004.