As I was anxiously watching LMU’s last free throw bounce off the rim, I was shocked to see the horrible job of boxing out by Rob and Sam. If you recorded the game, go back and watch this play a few times, as I did. We had four rebounders vs their two, so it should have been an easy grab. However, Rob and Sam both stood straight up while their men muscled their way in front of them and nearly got to the ball. Rob’s effort (or lack there of) was especially noteworthy. Not only did Rob fail to box out, but once he was beat he threw his man to the floor and was lucky not to get called for a foul. The only Zag to box out on that play was our 5th player – Pangos. He started from the top of the key, hustled into the paint, stuck his but into an LMU player, created a little space and then grabbed the rebound as his four teammates stood and watched.
As I observed this I had flash-backs to my high school days as our coach ran endless rebounding drills – accompanied by his colorful verbal “encouragement” as we struggled to live up to his standards. His philosophy was that it was not my job to get the rebound. He said that it was my job to make %@$!* sure that my man did not get it. I can still hear him : “FIND YOUR MAN, PUT YOUR BUTT ON HIM, SEAL HIM, THEN GET THE BALL!!” He said that if each person does this, then our team will get almost every rebound. This guy was just an average high school coach, but he hammered these fundamental skills into us because he believed that games were won and lost by how well each player performed these simple tasks. I think guys like Rob and Sam (and probably others) could benefit greatly with this kind of instruction because it seems to me that they lack some basic fundamental skills that keep them (and the team) from reaching their fullest potential.