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  • Writer's pictureCoach Hueser

Are you a selfish scorer?

Tough question: Would you rather A) win and score 5 points; or B) lose and score 30 points? We all know the "right" answer, but is that your honest answer? Brett Ledbetter, the author of What Drives Winning (who posed this "tough question"), is quick to admit he often chose B back in his day. "The outside forces were too seductive for me. I enjoyed the recognition and social status that came with the individual performances that I was stringing together. I was a conditional winner. I wanted our team to win, but that was my second priority."

I think it's safe to say we've all battled these "seductive forces" to some extent. It's everywhere. For example, when a child comes home from a basketball game, the first thing he is likely to hear from a parent is "Did you win?," followed by "How many points did you score?" Our emphasis on scoring points and creating stars certainly adds fuel to the fire. And today's athlete has an even greater challenge: social media! A frenzy of rants and raves promoting self-glorification at the expense of team chemistry often fills the minds of players before and after taking the court.

So the question becomes: Is it possible to be an unselfish scorer? Of course it is, just not easy. We must be intentional about building teamwork and putting the team first in all of our decision making. Coaching legend Dean Smith said, "Basketball is a beautiful game when the five players on the court play with one heartbeat." Casting this vision is the first step in the process. Smith goes on to say, "Passing, screening, cutting, and movement away from the ball: The game can almost be balletic in its grace and simplicity. A team can accomplish great things when the individual members don't worry about who gets credit."

There you go. When the heart posture of the entire team buys into this, suddenly "my shot" becomes "our shot"! We constantly preach finding "our shot", and to avoid a "my shot" mentality. Coach Rick Majerus often said, "Shooters must look for shots, but not hunt shots. Know the difference." That's good stuff! How do you know the difference? Hopefully your heart does. Your basketball IQ does. Sometimes it's making one more pass; giving up a good shot for a great shot. Other times you maybe the one to step up and do what you do best if that's your strength. Or, it might not even have anything to do with you touching the ball; rather, you setting a great screen to free up your best shooter. It was charted in game 6 (GS vs. OKC, 2016) Klay Thompson took a total of two dribbles on his eleven made 3's (I almost don't believe that stat it's so insane). What's this tell us? Klay had several teammates screening for him, and others making great passes to him.

I will end by saying the South Titan Basketball coaching staff is most satisfied when we see teammates rejoicing in the successes of their buddies. This is an outward sign of inward transformation. A singleness of purpose. Individuals losing themselves in the team. The perfect closer for this blog is a video made when the Spurs captured the 2014 NBA Championship. It's worth watching again and again and again. Enjoy!

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