In 7th grade, I was the worst player on the worst team in a league full of very bad basketball teams. I doubt than even a D-III player eventually emerged from an of those Catholic school junior high teams that were happy to hit the rim with a lay up or the back board with a free throw. Most of the time, due to the shear ineptitude of everyone on the basketball court, the games were competitive. Unfortunately, our coach decided to schedule a game against Hopkins or Minnetonka, one of those suburban powers fond of wearing blue and having 6 foot tall seventh graders with a mid-range jumper. Needless to say, we didn’t stand a chance.
While many 7th grade teams (and coaches) would be content to run up the score and give everyone a chance to play, this extremely talented 7th grade team decided to run up the score while working on their weaknesses. Their coach mandated that there would be no shots unless it was a layup or if their team had completed at least five passes. This didn’t keep the score close, but it was probably a lot more beneficial than running past slow and out of shape short kids.
Which brings us to today’s game… UC-Riverside looks a lot my seventh grade basketball team. They are 2-4 but their wins, strangely enough, show more than their losses. Their first win of the season came against Idaho, 65-64. Their other win came against Hope International, which I think we played in 7th grade. Their losses came against, Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, Texas-Arlington, and Texas Tech. The Gophers won’t find a better opportunity to work out their kinks. While it might be a bit demeaning to not let the Gophers shoot until they have made five passes, it might be worthwhile for Tubby Smith might want to consider instituting a few rules for today’s game.
Dan Coleman: Not allowed to shoot a jumpshot until he makes a layup or dunk, and no more than three consecutive jump shots. Blocking a shot or taking a charge may substitute for a layup.
Jamal Abu-Shamala: No shots until he forces a turnover.
Spencer Tollackson- Nothing but dunks, unless he gets an offensive rebound. When he pulls in an offensive rebound, his feet must touch the ground before shooting again.
Damian Johnson- 10 pushups every time he misses a layup. We all know he needs to bulk up for the Big 10 season.
Jonathan Williams- No shots inside 10 feet.
Lawrence McKenzie- Please refer to Dan Coleman
Kevin Payton- Must shoot every time he is within 25 feet of the basket. Errant jumpshots may actually be more beneficial than his errant passing and dribbling.
Ryan Saunders- No suits that are more expensive than tuition at the U until he actually plays a game.
If the Gophers follow all of my suggestions, they might lose. But, they might actually learn something.
Instead, they’ll probably play how they usally do, and win 85-60, though they have a lot to work on.