The Write Space and Time: Nov. 23

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

Nov. 23, 2009  The Write Space and Time

 The Write Space and Time

Adrian Taylor  
Spacing and timing. Sonny and Cher. Batman and Robin. Some things just go together. By themselves they work, kind of. But when paired? Look out. That's when the magic happens. Beautiful basketball pivots on offensive spacing and timing. And it seems to me that life swings back and forth on the same two hinges. So every week or so we'll be examining both, or maybe just pondering about one or the other. And who knows what might happen with the right amount of space and enough time...

Oct. 16, 2009: The Write Space and Time
Oct. 26, 2009: The Vision Part
Nov. 13, 2009: Hot and Cold
Nov. 26, 2009: Basketball is Cumulative
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Nov. 23, 2009 -- Basketball is cumulative. And good basketball is dependent upon the soul being sticky enough to keep collecting . Players have to want to keep adding to the whole and they have to be able to. Accumulating is a layered skill. Until players can do certain things well enough to see what happens next, what happens next doesn't exist. Once it does exist, a whole new set of possibilities present themselves. The mental extrapolation can be mind boggling. And yet, that's the very simple recipe for how you, slowly but surely, get good.

As a player, it's incredibly easy to swim out too far too fast and drown on all you know but cannot see. We `re in that deep, swirling water now....a little bit past the "I know just enough to be dangerous" stage, squirming through the muck of all that comes next. Occasionally, we look panicked. We flail and flop and make things we could do in our sleep look hard. Unfortunately, that's part of the process. It takes a tough mind to stay the course and swim. Especially when our schedule gives us very little shallow water in which to learn.

We dropped our first road game, in Athens, for a hundred reasons within our control. We walked. We missed layups. We missed open threes. We fouled. We often played offense without purpose. We got rattled. We repeatedly shot ourselves in the foot. And the harder we tried, the worse we played. Typical dive into deep water panic. When we couldn't touch bottom, we freaked and fought all that we had learned.

So it was nice to get back to practice for a week. It was nice to break it all apart and put it back together again. And it is so much fun to watch them learn. I never cease to be amazed at how teams grow in spurts and how their individual cumulative understanding compounds collectively, though it never happens as fast as anybody wants it to. Especially those guys who are playing.

- SC