A Serious Analysis of Bob Huggins’ Comments on Playground Basketball

Posted by Nate Kotisso on December 14th, 2016

For as long as there has been college basketball, we have heard coaches across the country complain about youth sports. The correlation between those complaints and a head coach’s advancing age appears to be scientifically sound, but that doesn’t mean they don’t sometimes have a point. Last week Louisville women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz took time out of his postgame press conference to lament that “everybody gets a damn trophy” in today’s youth sports.

Bob Huggins believes playground basketball produced players who knew how to win. (Ben Queen/USA Today Sports)

Bob Huggins believes playground basketball produced players who knew how to win. (Ben Queen/USA Today Sports)

CBSSports.com’s Matt Norlander then did us a service by highlighting a series of quotes made by West Virginia coach Bob Huggins last weekend. The irascible head coach’s commentary centers on how playground and AAU basketball are different animals, but he prefers the former on how it teaches young players to learn the game. A few of his most illustrative lines:

  • “I don’t think they know how to play.”
  • “I think they play all of the time but they don’t. It’s kind of long and complicated and I’m not trying to kill AAU because I think it has some good. But I think when you used to have to go to the playground to play, you had to win, or you sat for four or five games.”
  • “You learn how to win.”
  • “You drive by courts now, you don’t see anyone out there playing. It’s just a different culture, I think. And in fairness, the athletes now are bigger, stronger, faster. They’re better. It’s just their idea of how to play sometimes baffles me.”

It goes without saying that Huggins and his peers typically try their best to avoid undermining the AAU programs because they know they will need those players to keep their programs nationally relevant. But some of Huggins’ comments ring true. AAU tournaments can take up the majority of a given day and teams often play for consecutive days at a time. Indeed, participating teams receive shoes and other apparel regardless of how they finish. And criss-crossing the country to play basketball can take a toll on these kids’ developing bodies. But these weren’t Huggins’ main points. Rather, he believes that the drying up of playground basketball around the country has produced a wave of prospects who don’t know how to play the game.

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Villanova’s Fisher Price Toys With Some Fools

Posted by rtmsf on August 10th, 2010

Villanova rising senior Corey Fisher put on a summer league shooting exhibition in the Bronx over the weekend that will result in a bright red bullseye on his back among Big East scouting reports this coming season.  The 6’1 guard from the Boogie Down must have eaten his Wheaties on Saturday, because reports from the Watson Gleason playground league are that Fisher blew up for a ridiculous 105 points on that warm summer evening.  Read that again.  One hundred and five points.  His team scored 138 total, and Fisher responded to double- and triple-teams in the second stanza by simply dropping a 72-point bomb on his summer league opponents.  A player who knocked down a grand total of 38 three-pointers last season nailed 23 (of 28) in this game, begging the question of whether RTC’s very own John Stevens got loose from the chains in his crypt and found himself standing opposite Fisher in NYC last weekend.  (ed. note: his primary defender was actually someone named Jose Calderon Not the NBA player, undoubtedly someone who can no longer show his face above 155th Street)

Corey Fisher Briefly in the Act of Not Scoring (Hoop Doctors)

When we first heard of this story, we immediately thought back to some of the other legendary summer playground tales that we’d heard over the years.  A 160-lb soaking wet Allen Iverson dunking over the entire front line at the ABCD camp back in 1993…  a 15- year old Skip 2 My Lou dancing his way through defenders at Harlem’s Rucker Park…  a random dude in jeans named Stuart Tanner clowning Devin Harris through the legs…  an unknown Indiana transfer named Jordan Crawford dunking over near LeBron and the subsequent cover-up…  hey, we love this stuff.

Someone else who is probably loving this story is VU’s head coach Jay Wright.  Needing someone to fill in for the enormous void that the graduation of team leader Scottie Reynolds presents, Fisher and backcourt mate Corey Stokes will be expected to pick up the slack on the perimeter.  Fisher has the chops to become a big-time scorer at the guard position (he averaged 13.3 PPG last year), and it’s clear that performances such as these — even in the relatively small-time of NYC streetball summer league — will only help his confidence when winter arrives.  Now, if we could just figure out where Calderon is playing next week… we might just call “next” if he’s still in.

(h/t VBTN)

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Devin Harris: PWND!!!

Posted by rtmsf on October 14th, 2008

Ok, this is going to be all over the place soon enough, if it isn’t already, but you know us – we eat this up.  It’s not college hoops related, but it is effin’ hilarious.  If we were Devin Harris and it was us who just got completely embarrassed by a kid in a v-neck and jeans, we might want to reconsider, like, coming back home.  Ever.  Again. 

(h/t a good buddy via Yahoo!Sports via TrueHoop)

Update (10/15): DH says that he was told that the kid was a Special Olympian of some kind, but he was still surprised by what he termed “all these dribbling moves.”  At least DH knows there’s not much he can do at this point other than to deflect and have fun with it – some other guys (ahem, Kobe) wouldn’t have been so modest. 

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