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The Press Box for January 1

By Staff | Dec 31, 2019

Tyler Consolidated Head Coach Steve Nutter got an early Christmas present on Monday, December 23, when his Silver Knights basketball team got their first win of the season and he was rewarded with his 100th career victory.

I believe the Knights have a great coaching staff with Nutter, coach Trey Meeks and coach Matt Wright. I saw them doing a few things that you don’t see much of anymore in high school hoops. One was great movement without the ball and another was team defense. As we all know and as I’ve said have many times a good foul shooting team will win ball games. It’s something you have to practice at and from watching the Knights I believe they have been in the gym working from the foul line. Most of the players who made it to the line the other night had good form and that is part of being a good free throw shooter.

It’s a skill you develope through repetition and form. I don’t understand how anyone who wants to be a basketball player cannot conquer free throws, why not make it part of your game and add points to you and the teams total, while also limiting opportunities for the opposition. A proven fact is teams who hits 80-85 percent from the line will win the close games.

Another skill, is creating for yourself. If you can create shots for yourself you will be a hard stop for your opponents. I think coach Nutter is teaching these things, the Knights haven’t perfected them yet but they’re working on it.

I watched a couple Silver Knight players make hard cuts to the basket, get fouled and sink the free throws. I watched them create space off the dribble and pull up for the jumper, it’s something most kids can’t do because they don’t work at it. It takes a lot of work to be able to shoot off the dribble, an offensive player who can do it is a threat to score everytime he touches the ball.

Spotting up for a shot is one thing, but getting the shot on your own off of screens, or pulling up in the defenses face is entirely different and very difficult to stop. Players who can do it are usually the ones who are double teamed, which creates opportunities for their teammates. I see to many teams today who stand around way to much and the kids really don’t know how to get a shot. They rely way to much on plays instead of instinct and individual ability. Don’t get me wrong, plays work but you have to know how to play the game first.

Especially if your coaching kids in the younger grades, it’s best to work with them on the fundamentals of the game and rely less on plays. All it does is confuse them and they don’t learn how to play. Teach them at a young age to shoot properly, teach them form, ball handling, passing, how to use both hands, how to play defense. boxing out, cutting the other team off at the baseline. Kids need to know how to jump, shoot, dribble, pass, cut and get open, set screens and shoot free throws.

These are things kids should be learning while going through grasshopper and middle school. By the time they are in high school they should know the proper form and release when shooting. They should be able to catch and shoot and stop on a dime and shoot. They should use the bank board more and know angles.

Some of you might get offended by this and say maybe he should be coaching, but really I am hoping this helps some of you out a little. Coach Nutter and his staff have been teaching this stuff, they aren’t the best team in the valley but they are disciplined, well coached and hard workers.

Gage Huffman is one of the better players I have seen so far this season. He can shoot the jumper, spot up and shoot, drive to the basket and plays tight defense. He is a scorer as well as a team player, and his foul shooting is good. He has definitely spent some time in the gym to get to where he’s at.

What I like about the Knights is they play as a team. They lack size but are a good rebounding team, because they position well and fight for the ball. Coach Nutter and his staff are doing a good job coaching and it’s easy to see why he has his 100th victory already.

Paden City under first year coach Dave Riggle and assistant Jeremy Joy are still searching for their first win. However, they have the young Wildcats on the right track. They are a hard working group and have some skill, but lack height and overall depth. Recently Walter Joy has found his shooting touch and if he can get some help they may surprise some people.

Back in the old days we used to do a drill called quick release. It involved a pass and catch shot and a running jumper off of a screen. It was a drill that taught us how to get a quick shot off at the top of our jump while being defended. I know it’s a different ball game today then it was back when I played, and I don’t know if I could handle the contact they allow today. One thing for sure is we learned to shoot at the top of our jump and if you couldn’t do it your chances of playing were next to none.

Keep working teams it’s what makes you better. Jerry West practiced in the rain, mud, and snow. He would forget to go home to eat dinner, and would practice shooting until his fingers bled. He was a small and shy boy, who did not make any of his junior high sports teams. He began a regimen to improve his basketball skills. Eventually, West’s hard work paid off. He made the varsity team at East Bank High School, and excelled in his senior year, becoming the first high school player in state history to score 900 points in a season. Ed Parsons can be reached at: eparsons@tylerstarnews.com