Making the Right Hustle Plays

The games are really starting to get turned up now, tomorrow is going to be wild with UNC and Duke going at it again. Watched the early game this morning between Big East opponents UConn versus Pittsburgh. The atmosphere was great and both teams didn't disappoint bringing everything they had.

A couple of plays early in the second half I wanted to highlight. As I mentioned, with the games being that much more important now that we're in March, players put that extra hustle diving for loose balls. But one thing to keep in mind is to make sure players know when to save the ball and when not to save the ball. Take a look,

Most of y'all have probably heard the rule never save the ball under your own defensive basket. The only problem with that rule is that it discourages players to hustle for loose balls, because they'll just tell you "Oh, it was under our own basket so I didn't want to give the ball away." But if you know where your teammate is going to be, no matter if it is under your basket or not, you should save the ball to that teammate. Here Blair of Pitt knows where Fields is, has control of the ball, and so he throws it high up in the air where he knows Fields can get it,

In this play, the UConn player is diving at the ball and without knowing where his teammates are, he saves it along the ground where Fields of Pitt picks it up and passes it to a teammate for an and1,


It's difficult to criticize players for diving for loose balls and hustling. But I think a general rule you can use is, you should always dive for a loose ball, but only save it if you know where your teammate is. I know, its tough to make that split-second decision but it is something you can practice which therefore means players can get an idea of what to do. The safest is to say, never save the ball under your own basket, but the downside is that players lose the incentive for diving for loose balls.

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