|IHSAA||Hickory Husker||Max Preps||Harrell's|
Nearly every fall I’ve tried to take a couple of days to go watch college basketball practice. I like to see what the college teams are doing and hopefully pick up 1 or 2 things that might make our program better. Like last year I took my son with me and it was nice to spend some quality time with him. We also make a side trip to Siena Heights University to see my daughter Avery. I tried to get my wife (Dara) to go with us, but even the lure of seeing Avery was overshadowed by the amount of time we would be spending in the gym! She stayed home and probably enjoyed having the house to herself for a couple of days.
Cade and I left Monday morning for Dayton Ohio. In my opinion, Archie Miller, the coach of the Dayton Flyers is one of the top coaches in the country It took us a little over 3 hours of driving time to get to Dayton, but it was well worth the trip. The Flyers have high expectations for the upcoming season and after watching their first practice of the year, I can see why. They have a number of experienced and explosive perimeter players who are going to make life miserable for their opponents. Although they had a few players out for various reasons, the fact that they only had 10 available bodies for practice didn’t slow them down at all. Coach Miller put them through a demanding 2.5 hour practice that was an exceptional display of physical conditioning and toughness. He is a very thorough which was evidenced by the fact that they practiced what their team’s collective reaction would be to one of their players taking a charge in a game! I went to Dayton wanting to study their transition offense and we definitely got a good look at that. Hopefully we will be able to make a few adjustments to the way we do things and ramp up the speed with which we can play.
After practice we stopped for dinner and made the 3 hour trip to Adrian Michigan. Avery had late practice, so it was perfect timing. We rolled into town just as she had finished practice. Her SHU Saints are also heading into the year with high expectations. Last year they finished 19-12 in what most thought would be a rebuilding year. After only losing 3 players to graduation the Saints return quite a bit of experience as they start their quest to get back to the national tournament.
Tuesday morning started with a quick breakfast with Avery, then Cade and I headed to Oakland University. It took us about 1 hr and 40 minutes to make the trip. It was interesting that the Golden Grizzlies were practicing at 10am. Greg Kampe has quietly built one of the top mid major programs in the country. He’s been the head coach at the school since 1984 and currently has the 3rd longest tenure in D-1 only trailing Mike Krzyzewski at Duke and Jim Boeheim at Syracuse. It was clearly apparent that Oakland did not have nearly the amount of athleticism on the floor that Dayton did, but they had some very skilled players. Coach Kampe runs a great practice. There certainly was a lot of teaching going on in what was a practice mostly geared toward the defensive end of the floor. I saw the Grizzlies do several of the same drills that we do and I also picked up a couple things that can use to tweak our half court defense. Our time at Oakland was definitely well spent.
Our plan was to head to East Lansing that afternoon so that we could watch the Michigan State Spartans practice on Wednesday. Michigan State has been an almost annual stop for me each fall. I’ve been attending their practices since the late 90’s and I’m always amazed at what Coach Izzo accomplishes in a 2.5-3 hour practice. Unfortunately the Spartans ended up holding a closed 6 am practice instead of the originally scheduled 3pm practice. While it was disappointing to not be able to watch the Spartans, we ended up moving on to a pretty good Plan B.
I made a few calls Wednesday morning and we were granted permission to watch Ball State practice that afternoon. It turned out to be a fortunate set of circumstances. First of all we got to watch a 45 min skill development practice prior to their regular practice. It was reassuring to see the Cardinals doing many of the same shooting drills that we do at Loogootee. Secondly, I did not realize that Coach James Whitford comes from the same coaching tree as Archie Miller of Dayton. Coach Whitford worked for Archie’s brother Sean at Arizona for 4 years. His last 2 years at Arizona he was the associate head coach. From the very start of practice it was evident that the Ball State and Dayton programs run very similar systems. Quite frankly much of the terminology is exactly the same. Probably the thing that separates the programs is their personnel. Dayton is easily the more athletic team, but the ball State players are longer and more proficient perimeter shooters. Coach Whitford has them rolling at Ball State. Last year’s Cardinal team was the first BSU team to win 20+ games and play in the post season in 14 years! If Wednesday’s practice is any indication, the Cardinals can make plans for the post season for the foreseeable future. I picked up a couple of really good offensive sets that I think will fit our Loogootee team nicely.
Overall it was a great 3 days of basketball. We saw some excellent programs that undoubtedly got me excited to get going with my team. When we get back from fall break it will be only 3 weeks until the start of official practice. I can’t wait to get started.
Jeff Neel from BSN sports will be at school during both A and B Lunch on Thursday, October 6 to fit basketball players for shoes. High school players are required to wear one of the team shoes, but middle school players are welcome to take advantage of a great deal. Players will have the option to purchase one of 3 styles of Nike shoes at a substantial discount from what you would pay in a store. The Hyperdunk is $100 (retails for $140),the Zoom Clear Out is $80 (retails for $110) and the Hypershift is $75, (retails for $100).
Players do not have to pay for the shoes when ordering, but payment must be made prior to receiving the shoes. Checks should be made payable to LHS Activities.
We held our annual Boys Basketball Golf Scramble on Saturday, September 3rd, at Country Oaks Golf Course. We were fortunate to have the weatherman cooperate as it was a wonderful day weather-wise. We had 20 teams play this year and by all accounts everyone had a great time.
I’d like to thank Bruce Wade and Mike Wininger for all the hard work they put in setting up the event. The Lion Backers, Helen Dearwester, Anita Wildman, and Terri Restler all went above and beyond the call of duty in making sure this event went off without a hitch.
We had many sponsors who made donations to our scramble that enabled us to raise quite a bit of money for our program. These sponsors include:
German American Bank
Gasoline Alley, Ed, Bob Harder
Thrivent Financial, Todd Baker
Knights of Columbus Lady Auxiliary
Crane Credit Union
Toy’s Auto Parts/ Napa
Martin County Co-op
Lett and Jones Attorneys at Law
Angela B. Smith DDS
Loughmiller Machine,Tool, and Design
Little Scholars Pre-School
Blakes Funeral Home
Bailey Brothers Used Cars
Loogootee Collision and Repair
Knights of Columbus
Studio 21, Chassidy Bridges
Elmer Flick/ Wayne Flick
1974 Sr. Lions
Old National Bank
Dave and Linda Lett
The Loogootee Boys Basketball Golf Scramble is going to be held at Country Oaks Golf Course on Saturday, September 3rd at 8 am. As usual, this will be an ABCD format. Cost is $50 per player/ $200 per team. Hole sponsorships are $50.
Team registrations or hole sponsorship money can be sent to:
Loogootee High School
201 Brooks Avenue
Loogootee, IN 47553
C/O Loogootee Basketball
If you have any questions please contact me by using the contact tab at the top of this page. You can also contact Mike Wininger ( 812)296-1961, Bruce Wade (812)709-2074, or Noah Callahan (812)709-1759.
I've had several people around town ask me recently, "Are you ready for basketball season to start?" My usual response is, "Basketball season never stops." I'm not trying be a "wise guy" by saying that. I'm actually just trying to remind people that our players have been working hard in the off season. In fact, most of our kids have made tremendous strides this summer.
As I've stated on this blog, June was a very busy month for us. We definitely made a lot of progress in June. But as a coach, I never know what kind of comittment I'm going to get from players after Moratorium. This year our attendance in July was pretty good. We averaged 11 high school players per day at Breakfast Club which meets 5 days a week at 7:15am. Those same guys stayed after and lifted weights on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. We also averaged about 15 kids in the weight room on MWF afternoons. So, in total we were around 25-26 kids per day on MWF. I would say that was a pretty solid July.
Basketball takes a year round committment to be good at it. I think it's impossible for a player to put the basketball away when the season is over in March, get it back out again in November, and expect to experience any kind of success. With that being said, I'm also not a supporter of players specializing in one sport, and playing only that sport for 365 days year. Research shows that kids who specialize in one sport when they are young have a much higher risk of injury and burnout.
So as summer winds down and fall sports begin, we move into the 3rd phase of the off season. Fall sport athletes will focus on their sport while hopefully finding some time to get in the weight room before school. Basketball players not in a fall sport will be working on strength and conditioning after school and finding time to play at open gym from time to time.
I think the challenge for our players is to take their work ethic to the next level in this third phase of the offseason- especially in the weight room. There are 14 weeks until the first basketball practice. That means 42 different days to be in the weight room. A guy could certainly make some significant strides before basketball season starts….. (as if it ever ended.)
7th, 8th, and 9th grade strength and conditioning will be on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays at
3pm in the weight room. This will run through July 29.
Without question, June is my busiest month as a basketball coach. With camps, practices, touraments, etc…. finding room for everything on the schedule can be a challenge. I often hear colleagues of mine complain about all the summer hours they spend in the gym, but you won't ever hear that from me. I really enjoy my time working with all our kids in summer, and I think it goes a long way toward making us better. As I look back at the past month and compare it to where our basketball program was a year ago, I definitely see quite a bit of progress. Last year I was impressed with the overall work ethic of our kids, but realized that we had a long way to go in terms of skill development and understanding the system. As I watched our players/teams perform this summer I witnessed improvement in all areas. I'm definitely excited about the direction in which we are heading.
Probably the biggest factor in our improvement this summer is our assistant coaches. In terms of knowledge of the game, work ethic, and relating to kids, I would put our guys up against any staff in the state. First, we were lucky to get Conner Wittmer back this summer. He was instrumental in helping with camp, taking teams to tournaments, and supervising the weight room. I know Conner wants to get into coaching some day and it wouldn't be going out on a limb to say that I think he is going to be a great one. Secondly, Mike Wininger, Bruce Wade, and Noah Callahan were back again to help out in all areas. These guys deserve a lot of credit for any improvements that we've made, and they should be commended for all the extra hours they spend making our program better. They come straight from work each day to work with our players both on the floor and in the weight room. They have graciously given up their weekends to take our kids all over the midwest to play in tournaments and team camp. I'm lucky to have them on staff, and our players are lucky to have such great role models to work with.
We ended June with a hectic 5 day stretch that started with D-1 Team Camp in Fort Wayne on June 25th and and ended with a trip to the Hoosiers Gym in Knightstown, IN on June 29th. It was a tough 5 days for our kids but a fun and productive time for them as well.
D-1 Team Camp
There are many "team camps" held around the state, but D-1 is the original team camp. It started at St. Joseph's College in Rensellaer, IN nearly 30 years ago and is currently held at St. Francis University in Fort Wayne today.
I like this camp because it is the only team camp where we can take our entire program the same week. This year we took five different teams. We took the 7th grade, 8th grade, 9th grade, JV, and varsity teams. Overall it was a great experience for our kids.
The varsity finished camp with a record of 7-4. More important than our record was the level of improvement that I saw in our team. As the only 1A school in camp, we played a really tough schedule. Every team we beat was from a 2A or 3A school. Two of our losses came at the hands of 4A defending state champion New Albany and 4A Columbus East. We played very well in stretches of both games and the experience we gained was invaluable. We did lose a heart breaker in the championship game of the tournament to Western. They are a 3A school from the Kokomo area who beat us on a last second shot in 2 OT. It was disappointing because we had beat them the day before, but they have a solid team.
We had 3 players perform well in the contests. Out of 23 total varsity teams Tye Collins finished second in the 1 on 1 contest and Bailey Dearwester and Cade Chezem finished in a tie for second in the 3 point shooting contest.
The JV and 9th grade teams both finished under .5oo on the week, but they played some pretty stiff competition. Some minor injuries also kept them from playing at full strength in several games. I think both teams gained some valuable experience that should serve them well once our season starts in Novemvber.
The 7th and 8th grade competed in a 15 team junior high division. Most teams in this division were made up of 8th grade players and several teams came from big schools. The 8th grade had a phenomenal week going undefeated in league play and by also winning the tournament. In the championship game they defeated a strong Forest Park team by 20 points! Not only did they have success as a team but Levi Pendley won the dribbling competition and Jordan Wildman was the free throw champion.
The 7th grade finished under .500 but was "playing up" vs older competition most of the week. Their claim to fame came in the Crunch Time Tournament. This is a single elimination tournament where the games are only 3 minutes long. The 7th grade pulled off the upset of the week as they bear our 8th grade team in the semi finals.
Overall it was a great week at D-1. I'm hoping to make this a annual trip for our program.
On Wednesday, June 29th we took the varsity and JV to Knightstown to play in the Hoosiers Gym. What a great experience for our players. They all have seen the movie Hoosiers and it was a thrill to be able to play on the same court. I think the day proved to be the perfect way to end a very productive month of June.
I have had several questions about D-1 team camp. Hopefully the info below will answer your questions. If not, please use the contact tab at the top of the page and I will do my best to answer any questions.
Departure: We will leave at 7am sharp on Saturday morning. We will be taking a school bus and a mid-bus.
Check-In: Check-in is 11am- 12:30 pm. All players must fill out the form at this link prior to check-in: http://goo.gl/forms/Wh5CEyXY9SC2r6zE3
Payment: Cost of the camp for Loogootee players is $180. Most players have turned in a $25 deposit, or paid the entire amount. The balance is due at check-in. Make checks payable to D-1 Camps
Physical: We will make copies of physicals of players who turned one in last year to participate in school sports. If your son did not turn one on to the school last year, you will need to get physical prior to camp. Physical forms can be picked up at the HS office.
What to Bring: Bring enough shorts, socks, t-shirts, etc to play basketball for 3 days. We will be playing as many as 5 games per day. Fresh socks will help fight blisters. Bring your own pillow, sheets, blanket, towel, toiletries, and phone charger. Extra money for snacks, gatorade, etc… The first meal included with camp will be Saturday evening. The last camp meal will be Monday breakfast.
Return: Monday is “tournament day.” Every team will play at least one game. We are taking 5 different teams. We will stay until the last team is eliminated. Players are welcome to ride home with their parents.
Schedule: Schedules will be issued to the coaches on Saturday afternoon. I will try to add those to the website Saturday evening. Players should be ready to play their first game early Saturday afternoon.
This past week was a busy week for the basketball program. In total the high school basketball teams played 22 games at 3 different locations. If my calculations are correct, it was also a pretty successful week in terms of wins and losses. As a program we finished the week 17-5.
The week started last Tuesday as the varsity and JV traveled to North Daviess to play Clay City and the host Cougars. I did not get a chance to see the JV play as they played in the auxillary gym, but they finished the evening 1-1. The varsity jumped out to an early lead in the first game vs Clay City and were never really challenged. In game 2 we played North Daviess and again jumped out to an early lead. ND did pick up their play in what ended up being a pretty physical summer basketball game. I don't recall the final margin of victory, but it was in double figures. I don't want to make too much over winning a couple of summer games, as these games aren't played using the same rules in regards to length of game, free throws, fouls, etc… Also most coaches don't use the same substitution pattern as they do during the regular season, and often times teams are missing players for one reason or another. While we did have our full roster, Clay City and North Daviess were both missing key contributors. With all that being said, I still was pleased with our overall performance and thought we showed some improvement over our play at Indiana Wesleyan last week.
On Wednesday and Thursday we sent a two different groups of JV and freshman players to Olney Central to play in the their shootout. Coach Wittmer gave postitive reports on our teams' performances. The group we sent Wednesday finished 4-0 and the group that traveled to Olney on Thursday finished 2-1. The only loss being to an Illinois team who was playing with several varsity players.
Friday morning we packed up the mini busses and headed to my almer mater, Olivet Nazarene University. ONU is located in Bourbonais, IL which is just about an hour south of Chicago. I have taken teams to this shootout in the past and have always found it to be a quality tournament with top-notch facilities. I believe that we were the only Indiana team at the tournament, so it was nice to play some teams that we have not seen before. The tournament is also not divided by enrollment size, so we played a mixture of small schools, large schools, and private schools. The JV finished the weekend 3-2 against some pretty talented JV teams. The varsity played some of its best basketball of the summer and finished 5-1 with our only loss coming by 6 points in the championship game.
All in all it was a great week for us. Our teams got better and we we were able to spend some time together and bond. It has been a pretty good summer so far. This week will be another big week for the entire program. Tuesday we head to Hancock County Kentucky to play 5 games. We will be taking our 7th, 8th, 9th, JV, and Varsity teams to play across the river. On Saturday we take those same teams to Fort Wayne to play in a 3-day team camp at St. Francis University.