Building Programs & Shot Selection
An interview with Kim English + Coaching shot selection.
Welcome back to Hoop Vision!
We are only about a month and a half away from the college basketball season, which is equally surprising and invigorating to realize, particularly as we look forward to a season that will be more predictable and far less chaotic (knock on wood) than what we experienced last year.
In today’s newsletter…
We recap the latest Solving Basketball episode featuring new George Mason head coach — and former Mizzou star — Kim English, which touches on his coaching philosophy and includes a fun Sam Hinkie story
How to coach for shot selection, and how coaches are building systems to incentivize players to take the right shots
A new tutorial on how to use Hudl Sportscode to chart defense
Some links you should check out from around the basketball community
Solving Basketball, Ep. 39
Featuring Kim English
We released the second episode of the new season of Solving Basketball on Wednesday, as we welcomed new George Mason head coach Kim English to the podcast.
English — a Baltimore native who starred at Missouri before being drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 2012 — is entering his first season at George Mason. He previously served as an assistant coach under Rick Barnes at Tennessee after working on staff at Tulsa and Colorado.
The 45-minute conversation hit on a variety of topics, including…
The player-coach relationship: Sports Illustrated’s Kevin Sweeney recently profiled the new head coach in article from earlier in September. The piece detailed how English (who is just 32 years old) is still active on the court in practice and workouts. I asked Kim if the nature of his relationships with players changes when switching from the assistant to head coach role.
Introductory press conferences: English tweeted at me back in April about trying to avoid certain words in his introductory press conference. I asked him about that and he explained why he tries to avoid the word “Culture” altogether.
What to expect from George Mason on the court this season: With under two months until the season gets underway, English explained his desired style of play on the offensive end. His focus is on on teaching players how to play — through concepts and reads — instead of rigid set plays where players are following a script.
Rejecting The Process: In the episode, you’ll hear a story about how English met Sam Hinkie and Daryl Morey during the pre-draft process. A few years later, Hinkie reached out to Kim about hiring him for some type of role with the 76ers. Obviously, that did not happen, but English discusses how he has maintained a relationship with Hinkie (who has been out of basketball since his time with the 76ers came to an end).
Coaching Shot Selection
Since the podcast launched in 2018, we have now had nearly a dozen head coaches join the show as guests.
One of the most commonly discussed topics in those episodes has been shot selection. More specifically, how to teach or communicate “shot selection” to players: what’s acceptable, and what’s not?
In each head coach interview, the response has been consistent:
It’s about telling players what’s good — not dwelling on what’s bad.
In episode #29, Baker Dunleavy explained his ideology very succinctly.
“We don’t tell our guys not to take mid-range shots, we just encourage the other options at a high level.”
In the most recent episode, Kim English shared a similar sentiment.
English doesn’t tell his team they can’t shoot long two-point jumpers, but he creates incentives within practice to encourage more efficient shots. George Mason’s scoring system in practice is as follows:
Corner three-pointers are worth four points
Other three-pointers are worth three points
Layups are worth two points
Long two-pointers are worth one point
Grading Film with Hudl Sportscode
Last summer, we released a series of tutorial for Hoop Vision PLUS subscribers on a variety of different topics — how to chart an offensive scheme, how to animate plays like you see in Hoop Vision videos, and more.
Now that we have teamed up with Hudl, we are unlocking one of those tutorial videos for everyone to view.
The tutorial video below shows the process I used for charting defense when working as a college basketball video coordinator.
In the video, I “code” the first half of a Virginia-Duke game using Hudl’s Sportscode software. The end result is a report that contains statistics that are linked to film.
Hudl is a valued partner of Hoop Vision. You can learn more about Sportscode and contact Hudl directly by clicking/tapping here.
Links from around the internet
Examples of Hot, Random and Next ball screen defense from Basketball Immersion
Eli Boettger with a quantitative look at the transfer portal for Athletic Director
The GOAT (but seemingly retired) NBA YouTube channel