Chalk talk: An in-depth look at Gonzaga's motion offense

Website of interest: Men's Basketball Hoop Scoop
PDF File: Mark Few's Motion Offense

I think we've all had those moments as sports fans where you become so frustrated with your team that you utter the classic phrase "I could coach better than this idiot!".  I'm pretty sure I've written that in some of our live game threads from time to time about Coach Few and I know we've had our fair share of deep talks about coaching around TSSF.  My desire to be a coach ends after I throw my hissy fit and sit back and realize what comes with the territory when you are directing 13 college kids.  One of the most fascinating aspects of coaching is obviously offensive sets.  I think most of us are familiar with the elementary school offensive sets whether it was a flex, motion, iso, or anything else, I'm assuming we all know a bit about offensive plays.  The tough thing about being a college coach, and something that I think is often overlooked, is how hard it must be to adapt play calling to fit each players strength and try to avoid their weaknesses. 

If you've been a Gonzaga fan for more than a week, you probably know that Mark Few is a pretty innovative guy when it comes to the motion offense.  From the PDF file linked above, you can tell that the motion offense is based on quick ball movement and strong backpicks.  We heard Mark Few talk today with Doug Gottlieb that if there is one thing this team needs to work on it is ball movement.  As you take a look at Coach Few's version of the motion offense, you get a sense of just how small  a window this type of set gives a team.  At the top of the key when the 3 (Bouldin) comes off the staggered screens to get a shot attempt, it's pretty clear that timing is a huge factor for Gonzaga.

One of the things I have really tried to watch this year is how the offense utilizes Demetri Goodson.  When I saw this PDF file of Gonzaga's set motion offense, you can really tell that Meech's overall presence is not felt until three or four passes into the play.  Like we've seen all year, Meech makes the initial pass in the offense and then basically clears out and only gets the ball if Matt, Steven, or Elias can't get a clean look.  The other thing that stood out to me about this was how smart of a player Elias Harris must be.  In case you forgot, Elias did not have a summer to learn the offense.  Unlike Andy Poling, who's had over a year to get comfortable at Gonzaga, Elias got to Spokane as school started and had to learn everything on the fly.

Anyways, it was something that caught my eye and I hope you gave it a look as I'm sure some of the things will definitely stick out come Saturday.

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