SMU F Cannen Cunningham Q&A
Quick, Quick, Quick
The forwards and guards split into groups to start practice. Both groups ran out to the wing, got a pass and then either 1) drove to the rim, 2) spun and made a layup, or 3) pulled up for a short jumper. Larry spent most of his time with the forwards, emphasizing quickness to the rim quickness on cuts. He was impressed with Tolbert, who flashed his quickness when displaying his moves to the basket.
"Jump to the ball" and defensive positioning
The rest of practice was spent in half-court and full-court 5-on-5, mainly focusing on defense. He focused on moving to the ball and moving feet when the ball is in the air, which he called “jumping to the ball.” He also wanted the players to position themselves to avoid screens. He wants defenders to see both their man and the ball. He focused on one-on-one defense practiced too, telling them to get up against the offensive player when he holds the ball high and sitting back when its lower. “Jump to ball, see man and ball, and talk,” was Larry’s theme. As practice went on, the ‘jumping’ improved, but not quite to Larry’s liking.
Pressure and full-court movement
The first full team drill was a full-court 3-on-3 where they handed the ball off on pick-and-roll-like fashion until they got until into the scoring area, where Larry pushed them to go for a layup and not force a bad shot. Next, they did a close-out drill, where two players cornered another on the sideline and forced the man with the ball to get a pass off without turning it over.
Practice Quick Hits
— Keith Frazier took some contested shots early on but he got them to fall.
— Yanick Moreira was working with a mid-range jumper. It’s a work in progress but he’s shown some improvement. He’s playing with much more confidence.
— Markus Kennedy and Nic Moore were the most vocal guys on the court.
— Larry was a bit edgy when some of the guys struggled with movement and “jumping to the ball.”
— Justin Martin frequently asked Larry questions about assignments and his explanations.
— Martin’s mid-range jumper was really smooth and consistent. He also hit an NBA three at the end of practice.
— Ben Emelogu was pesky on defense. He got a steal at the top of the key, and on the next possession disrupted Martin on a layup.
— Sterling Brown has a nice block on what would have been an easy Emelogu dunk.
— Larry was on Ben Moore about playing poor ball screen defense. He wasn’t satisfied on ball screen defense overall.