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World University Games Blog #3

World University Games Blog #3

Matt Ryan (Wisconsin Men's Basketball)

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

Hi. 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 Serbia.

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.  

The players 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.

As 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 success.

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.

After 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 Network.

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.

We went 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:
1.)  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 do.

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 bed frame.  

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.

Appears in Men's Basketball Blog

Tagged with Men's Basketball Blog, World University Games

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