The good folks at Stronger Team (headed by strength and conditioning coach Alan Stein) have posted a new video worth watching. The team play is dazzling.
We all seem to know that “team” matters in sports. But too often, in crunch-time, team members look to the stars to take over. While this often creates opportunities for extraordinary individual efforts, team effort and efficiency can decline. Sometimes, a star’s teammates will begin to watch the game, rather than be fully engaged.
The Duke men’s basketball team has fallen prey to this over the past few years, I believe. The “one-and-done” rule — basketball players who wish to perform in the NBA must be at least nineteen-years-old and one year removed from high school — has influenced the type of player that is getting recruited to Duke (and other top basketball colleges). So, Duke has had some recent superstars (Kyrie Irving, Austin Rivers, and this year, Jabari Parker). But in each of their respective years as leading freshmen, Duke has been knocked out of the NCAA tournament earlier than predicted.
Contrast that with this year’s NCAA men’s tournament winner, UConn, whose long journey to the championship has been profiled in several places, including Sports Illustrated.
UConn won in Arlington, TX. If the Spurs keep playing their style of unselfish, team-centered ball, the NBA championship might well be won on a Texas floor, too.