Behind the scenes preparation
Editor's note: This is the fifth installment of the periodical blog post from Scott Kreiger, who is the Indiana All-Star girls basketball coach.
Now that the team is settled and the minicamp date established, the surface work is essentially complete. However, like a duck tooling along slowly on a pond, we've been churning like mad under the surface.
I just mailed in my own personal ticket order today to Pacers Entertainment, the organization that handles such things for Banker's Life Fieldhouse. In addition to the two complementary tickets each coach and player receives, I needed to purchase several more for family who will be attending the game in Indianapolis.
Game Director Charlie Hall has been collecting and verifying sizes for our All-Star attire, which includes polo shirts, t-shirts, shoes, and other various items of apparel.
I have been filling the calendar with the dates and events surrounding the All-Star week, trying to stay ahead of my family and school responsibilities in the process. At the same time, I'm trying to think of every conceivable angle as far as how we can provide the very best experience for the team and coaches.
One thing I did was to request from each player two game tapes from their regular season. I wanted to watch them in action and look for things that coaches look for, the intangibles that give me a better feel for what to expect once we get into "training camp."
All of the girls have their own set of skills that they bring to the team. The selection process was largely an effort to find a group of players whose talents could be blended into the most effective team we could produce.
As I sit and watch the tapes they have provided, I am able to develop a sense of perspective for what each player will do in certain situations. How well does she defend the ball, but also what does her help-side defense look like? Does she like to attack with the dribble or is she more apt to pass and cut to the basket? Does she crash the boards at both ends of the floor? How well does she get back in defensive transition? How well does she screen and use screens? Does she possess any special skills that would create matchup problems for Kentucky?
The list goes on and on and I have watched hours of tape trying to mentally prepare myself for the challenges that lie ahead. Ultimately, a gameplan will be developed that plays to our strengths and attempts to minimize those of our opponents.
Of course, that's an issue that's been on my mind since Kentucky named its team. It's apparent that they are going with a group that is quick, long, and athletic. All 12 players are listed in the 5-foot-8" to 5-11 range.
Four of the players came from the same state championship high school team. The Kentucky head coach hails from that school as well.
They made no secret that they were going to use that familiarity to their advantage as they put their All-Star team together. So, while we wrestle with getting ourselves organized into a cohesive unit, we are aware that Kentucky already has a head start in that regard, and we need to pay attention to how that will affect the playing of the game.
It presents additional challenges to a situation (crafting an All-Star team) that already comes with its own set of difficulties. Nevertheless, as we move toward May 27 and our team camp, the excitement continues to grow as we consider the possibilities. In my next entry, I will share more of the process as we attempt to put our plan together.