Welcome to the third installment of
the World University Games blog on UWBadgers.com. Follow along as
Wisconsin video coordinator Matt Ryan takes us along on Team USA’s trip
to Colorado Springs and Serbia. Matt, who is the Director of Basketball
Operations for Team USA, will bring the inside perspective as only the
son of Team USA head coach Bo Ryan can. Check back regularly for more
updates from the World University Games.
BLOG #3: Monday, June 22, 2009
I’m back. The World University Games team (WUG, so I call the players
my wuggies now) has been learning a lot about the game of basketball
the past couple of days.
The players and coaches realized
quickly that if we aren’t on the same page at all times on the court,
we can be exposed. Since Blog #2, my wuggies scrimmaged the U19 squad
and they gave us all we could handle. We faced them in five 10-minute
quarters and we were defeated in three of them. Defensively, everybody
seems to have different rules and strategies, and rightly so, since we
all come from different programs.
Coach Ryan and his staff have
been stressing fundamentals with an emphasis on not relying on athletic
ability to get stops. The U19 team scored around 1.2 points per
possession vs. our 1.1 points per possession, overall. A lot of the
breakdowns were to be expected considering this is the first time both
teams played together against an opponent.
We had three
officials at all times, and they had many breakdowns as well, but it
was probably a good thing since we will be facing the same adversity in
The U19 team shot the ball extremely well, while the
wuggies missed some bunnies and struggled mightily from the free throw
line: 19 of 39. The day following the scrimmage, our coaching staff
had an early morning film session with the players. I showed a DVD
which Coach Ryan put together with some former Badger players and
managers back in Madison. The DVD showed all of our sets and plays,
including our zone defense and last-second plays.
followed intently, knowing full well if they didn’t learn what was
expected of them, we will not get the results we are striving to
achieve. Many great teaching points were made and the players were
given binders and packets with what the DVD visually illustrated.
Coach Ryan pointed out, people learn differently, some better visually,
some better verbally and some learn the best on the court. So the
coaches are giving them every opportunity to grasp what is needed for
A couple of our guys even admitted they usually do not
watch much film during their season, but I personally think film
breakdown is one of the best teaching tools in coaching.
film session #1, the guys had the remaining part of the day off to rest
and go over their packets. And since they have been cooped up at the
Olympic Training Facility, we decided to take them to the mall. The
guys went shopping and had the choice of seeing The Hangover or The
Taking of Pelham 123.
Also, a Big Ten Network crew followed our guys
around at the mall and did some interviews with the players. The
presence of a camera drew attention from mall-goers and caused quite a
scene. Be sure to watch out for some Team USA coverage on the Big Ten
I, on the other hand, had more film to break down with
the coaches. Coach Ryan, Coach Jeter, Coach Haith and I stayed a couple
of more hours in the video room breaking down the scrimmage from the
night before. I loved the experience because you can always learn more
about the game of basketball being around this staff.
through the first three quarters, pulling out 62 teaching clips which
we showed to the players this morning. I truly believe, since film
never lies, that the wuggies learned a great deal of what we need to
improve on. Today’s practice was the best practice yet. The intensity
level went way up and our defense was much improved.
We have the
athletic ability, now our coaching staff just needs to find a way to
instill our philosophies. Our biggest disadvantage compared to the
countries we will be facing in Serbia is that we only have about a week
to practice with one another, whereas some of these other teams have
been playing together for months, even years. It is a lot to process,
but our staff fully believes these guys are capable of accomplishing
great things, together.
Tonight we face off against the U19’s
again, and our players are hungry. Should be an interesting and
exciting rematch and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
Thoughts and Random Events:
Yesterday morning’s practice was in a new gym and, as I was filming, I
noticed famous quotes all over the walls. John Wooden, Michael Jordan,
Joe Naismith, former presidents, Ghandi, famous Olympians, all had very
inspirational and motivating quotes. Then I came to, and I’m not
making this up, a quote front and center on the main wall that
read…Look, If you had one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything
you ever wanted - one moment, would you capture it or just let it
slip. That’s right folks, Eminem.
2.) Some of our support
staff scrimmaged the lady wuggies….lost by 20. They at least got a free
pair of shoes out of it. The women should feel lucky I had film work to
3.) Nate, another support staff member named Craig, who
works with the Denver Nuggets, and myself moved into a new room in the
dormitories. I noticed my new bed had a slight slant at the foot of the
bed. I just figured it was the mattress.
I was telling Nate
and Craigers (I nicknamed him that; he hates it) a story, laying on the
slanted part of the bed, when I disappeared. The bed collapsed (I weigh
about 150 pounds) and my bottle of water spilled all over me. They
laughed and laughed while I was stuck wondering what the heck had just
happened. Finally, Craigers grabbed the water and pulled me out of the
I had a rough day and, by that point, I felt like
Martin Short in the movie Pure Luck picking the only broken chair to
sit on in a conference room full of 100 chairs. I slept last night with
my body from the waist up parallel to the ground, and everything from
the waist down at a 45 degree angle. Three different times I woke up in
a panic thinking I was hanging onto the edge of a cliff. I’m headed to
go fix the situation now.
Take care, I’ll update my peeps one last time before we head to Serbia.