Okafor Has a TNT Block Party

Following on the TNT Fundamentals series, let's take a look at Emeka Okafor of the Charlotte Bobcats. When Okafor was in college, he was one of the most dominating defensive centers of all time and won games simply through his presence down low, much like Greg Oden did last year. In fact, UConn would routinely feed the ball-penetration along the baseline where Okafor would come in for the weak-side block. Watch the video and then you can read my thoughts below.

Our Varsity team has a dominant low post defensive player. He single-handily won games last year by getting some monster blocks early in games. Nobody would drive to the net after the first quarter, settling for perimeter shots. Though I don't usually promote the use of the block as a defensive fundamental (as most players simply don't have the athleticism to block shots properly and end up fouling or jumping at shot fakes), if you have a dominant defensive center, you definitely want to use it to your advantage.

Here are the key points from the video:

1. Timing, blocking shots is all about timing. Blocks need to be timed so that you don't catch the ball on the way down or bite on shot fakes.

2. Body control, you must keep your body under control so that you don't foul the opponent. The foul is the worst case here, because they could end up scoring, get a free-throw, and adds to the foul total.

As Okafor points out, you don't necessarily need block every shot, but as long as you alter the opponents shot and force them to miss, you've done your job. The altered shot is just as good as the blocked one.

Also, I think keeping the ball inbounds is more important than Okafor states in the clip. By keeping the ball in play, you can start the fast break and get easy baskets, much better than giving you opponent possession of the ball again.

If you're looking for a video to help in developing your big men, check out Steve Alford's DVD on Post Development. I have plenty of notes on post development, so be sure to check out the X's and O's Basketball forum.