W.W.W.D., What Would Wooden Do?

There's an old episode of Seinfeld where George decides his love life is in shambles, so he tries a new strategy. Throughout the episode George does just the opposite of what his instinct tells him and actually succeeds with the ladies. It appears that Steve Lavin is taking the same approach with coaching, doing the opposite of what common sense says. Unlike Costanza, Lavin is not having the same results.

Any coach worth his salt, especially a coach at UCLA, should hold John Wooden in high esteem. When Coach Wooden speaks, a coach should listen. If you coach in Westwood, you should get a wristband to remind you of what to do. You should get one of those embroidered wrist bands that say: W.W.W.D?

What Would Wooden Do?

If it was me, and I was roaming the bench at Pauley, I wouldn't go anywhere without a constant reminder of Coach Wooden's philosophies. I'd have a W.W.W.D wristband, keychain, lanyard, headband, T-shirt and ball cap. You name it, I'd own it.

If coach Wooden ate a tuna fish sandwich for lunch, you could bet I'd have a case of Starkist on hand. If he said to breathe through my eyelids, you can be assured that I'd do my damndest to figure out how.

It appears as if Lavin has taken Coach Wooden's words to heart, but like George Costanza, he's doing the opposite. How else do you explain some of his decisions? Unfortunately for Coach Lavin, he hasn't met with George's success.

Here are some examples of how the "opposite" philosophy has failed.

Situation: You have TJ Cummings, who is obviously your strongest post player. You also have Arizona, a team with a huge rebounding edge. Where do you play him?
W.W.W.D?: The obvious strategy would be to play Cummings inside to try to push the Wildcats around and fight for rebounds.
The opposite: Cummings was frequently on the perimeter. In fact, the big man took as many outside shots as he grabbed rebounds.

Situation: You have Jason Kapono, one of the best outside shooters in college basketball.
W.W.W.D?: Draw up a number of plays to get the senior looks on the outside.
The opposite: Last season Kapono was 13-22 from behind the arc against the Cats. In the last game against the Wildcats, the hot shooting forward took just two three-pointers, making one.

Situation: You just snapped a losing streak by beating Georgetown using a short bench.
W.W.W.D?: You just won your first game in a month, you should keep doing what works.
The opposite: Lavin used just eight players in the Georgetown game. Against Arizona he used 13, 11 who played before the game got out of hand.

Situation: You are hanging tough with the No. 1 team in the land. Your athletic forwards are getting good looks due to solid ball movement.
W.W.W.D?: Continue the same strategy, making small adjustments to counteract Lute Olson's changes.
The opposite: Let your team freelance and play sloppy. Stop the ball movement and have each player try to go one-on-one against superior defenders.

Situation: Two years ago you brought in the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation.
W.W.W.D?: Develop the players. Bring them along slowly. Stress fundamentals. Win a series of national championships.
The opposite: Throw the players to the wolves. Don't work on fundamentals. Fail to improve their skills. Win just five games their sophomore season.

Situation: You have to conduct a practice.
W.W.W.D?: Bring out the players without any basketballs. Make sure every player can tie his shoes before you even address the sport.
The opposite: Roll out some basketballs and let the team play pick-up if it wants.

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