Sunday, April 8, 2012

Into the Game

Every basketball fan enjoys watching elite players perform at the pinnacle of competition. However, I would speculate, not all of those fans would take as much interest in players still in their development stage.  Granted, the spectacular moves may occur a little less often, and the skills may require a little more work, but I still find the game awe-inspiring.

It takes special people to coach at the developmental level; the most remarkable of those can maintain their composure on the bench, to deliver their message clearly, while behaving impeccably towards officials regardless of the score line. After all, the coaches are developing more than just the players’ games, but perhaps shaping their attitudes too.

Few exemplify this more so than Australian U17 Women’s Head Coach Marissa Fillipou. She, along with her team of support staff are working with a fresh young group in preparation for the FIBA U17 World Championships in the Netherlands, in August this year.

It’s an exciting group under her tutelage. There are a number of guards for her selection, each capable of controlling the tempo on the court, and excellent on-ball defenders. She also has good options inside, with height and athleticism in the post, this looks to be a strong pool of candidates.

Beyond the natural talent of these young women, it’s also inspiring to see the way they take to coaching. Coach Fillipou has engineered a well-oiled machine.  The team is dynamic in attack, but still know when to pull out and run their offense. They are solid individual defenders, while their full court press is one of the most cohesive you’ll see.

This team is one illustration of why I find it inspiring to see coaches working with younger players, and helping them grow and develop into the superstars we all love to watch.

If you haven’t yet taken the opportunity to check out developing talent, I strongly suggest that you do, because it’s a game worth getting into.

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