Alaysia Styles

annarborbear
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I went back and took a look at Alaysia Styles high school tape, as well as her ESPN rating.

Had forgotten that she was a top 100 player nationally, and per ESPN, was referred to as:
"Explosive finesse 4 with next level impact; quick leaper; active on the glass; plays long and athletic; superb in up-tempo game, emerging perimeter threat."

And that is exactly what was on the tape- with a particularly outstanding impact in running the court and in taking it to the basket. However, what I didn't see was the bulk and positioning usually associated with our traditional three-big rotation.

Again, I am hoping that we will not simply try to put square pegs in round holes with this unusual mix of upcoming personnel. Time for our coaches to identify some innovative ways of best deploying this unusual roster for next year.

Note: Styles incoming interview on Calbears.com from last year was also quite impressive. Very mature, articulate and intelligent. Chose Cal as a final choice over Maryland, an offer from which again reflects her nationally-rated regard.






HoopDreams
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She seems active but undersized

Not a back to the basket type, so the espn description sounds right

Seems like coach always wants to play fast with pressure defense so styles fits that scheme

Unfortunately 2 years ago with injuries we had no guards so couldn't do it. We were deeper last year, for about 3/4ths of one game

The player I'm most excited to see is Cayton. Pure speed, and in that one game looked like an improved shooter.

This year we should have the best guards in the conference

Will we finally see a fast break, full court defense, on the court?
ClayK
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It's very difficult, if not impossible, to full court press for any significant amount of time at this level. There are simply too many players who can dribble through the press and create layups.

An occasional press might catch someone by surprise, but the problem is you have to invest a lot of practice time to have a good press, and if you can only use it twice a game, it's just not an effective use of limited time.

Uptempo is a different story, but if Anigwe is your best player, having her trail the play is not an effective use of available talent.
wvitbear
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Last year in the Pac 12, of the top 5 teams in steals, only one went to the NCAA's. Steals are over rated. Making people miss their shots and grabbing the rebound is better. Of course, if you can do both, it is even better.
willtalk
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wvitbear said:

Last year in the Pac 12, of the top 5 teams in steals, only one went to the NCAA's. Steals are over rated. Making people miss their shots and grabbing the rebound is better. Of course, if you can do both, it is even better.
You are exactly right. Steals often come through gambles which do not always pay off. Miss a steal and the player usually either has a free path to the basket or an open shot. Steals are often purely a lazy way to judge a players defensive ability. Some players get a lot of steals but are not effective one on one defenders. Really lock down defenders often play such good defense that they seldom get neither steals or blocks.
annarborbear
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I am really hoping for an Oregon State-type offensive system next year. They have often played successfully with only one true big on the floor along with a combination of wings and guards who can pass, handle and shoot. What I like most about their system is the constant screening, passing and motion - no one holds the ball for more tha one second, and no one passes without at least one quick ball fake (I.e, no telegraphing.) They make up for smaller size with great boxing out, and their second leading rebounder was a guard, Pivec, as a result. Their center position has not been a black hole, and a number of players have the green light to take the three point shot. With a more open floor that is created from this kind of system, Styles could use her skills more as a wing, drawing some defenders out of the paint and then going around them to the basket. However, we will also need to hit a lot of three point shots to draw people out of just playing a zone against us.
annarborbear
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Should mention that I also like one aspect of the OSU defense. They often zone press to slow down the other team in getting into their offense, but seldom go for steals. With a smaller line-up, but plenty of depth at the guard position, simply making the other team work harder and slowing down their usual offensive transition could be a useful strategy.
HoopDreams
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ClayK said:

It's very difficult, if not impossible, to full court press for any significant amount of time at this level. There are simply too many players who can dribble through the press and create layups.

An occasional press might catch someone by surprise, but the problem is you have to invest a lot of practice time to have a good press, and if you can only use it twice a game, it's just not an effective use of limited time.

Uptempo is a different story, but if Anigwe is your best player, having her trail the play is not an effective use of available talent.
I agree with both points

No one thinks 40 minutes of hell is a good strategy for this team (or most teams), but full and half court pressure used in the right way can speed up the game (assuming that's what we want to do), get some steals and start a fast break for some easy points, and just gets in the head of the offense.

My opinion is the best way to defend is to be aggressive and unpredictable, forcing the opponent out of their offense, and getting in their heads. I player that is sped up usually makes mistakes, and at a minimum is tentative (the kiss of death for a hoops player). Steals, turnovers are just gravy.

Regarding not fast breaking because it's a poor use of Anigwe is an interesting dilemma to ponder. I really hate the pass it to Anigwe in a stagnant offense, although two years ago it was a necessity with only 2 guards. Running at every opportunity won't maximize her talent. But I don't think we run and gun anyway. Just push tempo aggressively off of rebounds, steals and other opportunities, and not settle for a half court set as often. But if the defense is set, we don't force it, and instead run our offense through Angiwe as much as possible.

Also, we might not be as deep at guard as I just said in the post above. Cayton tweeted it's 2 months till she back on the court. That means she is probably not going to be the speed demon at the start of the season. Hopefully she's close to full strength by conference.
ClayK
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I've always liked changing defenses to confuse the opposing guards, because no one is quick while they're thinking. (I once used our score as a trigger for defensive changes -- if our score was an even number, we were in man, if it was an odd number, we were in zone. That way there was no verbal indication from me or my players that we were changing defenses.)

I think almost every team looks to score quickly when the opportunity is there, but it's not like you're going to get layups against a good team. Generally your best shot in transition (aside from a layup after a particularly bad turnover) is going to be a jumper or a three, and if you don't have consistent outside shooters, you're better off waiting for Anigwe.

In so many ways, the ability to make perimeter shots is crucial for today's game. Defenses are much more help-oriented and much more sophisticated in terms of taking away inside options than in the past, and the only way to really open things up is to have two, or preferably three, shooters on the floor.
HoopDreams
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ClayK said:

I've always liked changing defenses to confuse the opposing guards, because no one is quick while they're thinking. (I once used our score as a trigger for defensive changes -- if our score was an even number, we were in man, if it was an odd number, we were in zone. That way there was no verbal indication from me or my players that we were changing defenses.)

I think almost every team looks to score quickly when the opportunity is there, but it's not like you're going to get layups against a good team. Generally your best shot in transition (aside from a layup after a particularly bad turnover) is going to be a jumper or a three, and if you don't have consistent outside shooters, you're better off waiting for Anigwe.

In so many ways, the ability to make perimeter shots is crucial for today's game. Defenses are much more help-oriented and much more sophisticated in terms of taking away inside options than in the past, and the only way to really open things up is to have two, or preferably three, shooters on the floor.

I agree with this too. one of my frustrations with the men's teams last year is we did not run fast breaks well. the ball handler too often took it all the way to the hoop when an easy drop off would have resulted in an easy layup, and I only remember one time where the ball handler passed out to a good shooter waiting on the wing outside the 3 point lane.

regarding changing up the defense ... I also like changing up, which is why I always think it's good to have a couple zone packages, but my point was whether you play a conservative defense (man or zone) like Martin, or if you played a more aggressive defense. However, it depends on opponent, matchups, time and score, etc, and shouldn't be tried all game long. If you can get in the opponents head, then you push it. If they break it then fall back into a more conservative defense. Another thing I didn't like about last year's men's defense is the attempt to press with the players or the depth, but also when we played an aggressive half court zone trap we stayed with it too long and allowed a hot shooter to get open looks.
ClayK
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Traps and presses seldom work for long against high-level opposition. Adjustments are made by both players and coaches, and what works two or three times usually doesn't work on times five and six.

That said, there are moments ... we used a half-court trap I thought would never work to come from 13 down in the fourth quarter in the NCS title game against a team with elite talent. I went to it out of desperation and we forced 11 straight turnovers.

Of course, that's high school, and in college, mental collapses of that magnitude are very unusual -- though Virginia's men proved that it does happen.
bearchamp
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Clay,
what is your analysis of UCLA men under Wooden then?
ClayK
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Different time, really ... that was 50 years ago, and the skill level was different, and so was the coaching.

I think ballhandling has vastly improved, and so has coaching ... patience beats presses if dribbling can't.

And note that Wooden stopped pressing when Kareem arrived, and never went back to it.

Of course, there could come a time when presses would work again as a full-game option, but it's hard to see given the state of the game right now.

It's like baseball reverting back to the style of the dead-ball era ... or even the way the game was played in the 1950s. And I don't think 1965 college football strategies would play that well in 2018 either ...

annarborbear
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I guess my point is that we are going to be smaller next year than a number of our opponents, but with great guard and wing depth. If we do not come up with a strategy that uses this depth and quickness to our advantage, then that size differential is going to become aa inevitable disadvantage.
ClayK
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annarborbear said:

I guess my point is that we are going to be smaller next year than a number of our opponents, but with great guard and wing depth. If we do not come up with a strategy that uses this depth and quickness to our advantage, then that size differential is going to become aa inevitable disadvantage.
To take advantage of guard and wing depth and all-around play, it's necessary to open up the floor so the quickness and speed can have room to operate. But if the quickness and speed can't shoot, then the defense can sag off.

It would be easy at this point to blame LG for not recruiting shooters, but very few girls come through the system with both speed/quickness and shooting ability. Parents want them to play on winning teams, so the quick ones go to the rim all the time. When parents are more concerned with their daughter's total game than winning meaningless tournaments, you'll see more complete players.

The problem now is that the few players who qualify on both are counts snapped up by the elite programs, and the rest of the schools are left hoping that the shooters get quicker (very unlikely) or that the quick ones become good shooters (almost equally unlikely, as Brittany Boyd's career, among others, demonstrates.
HoopDreams
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Agree (again) to your post above, and I think we are saying the same thing. However I might be a little more an advocate of a more aggressive defense (given matchups, etc as I said before)

I agree that good teams break presses, but I hate passive, conservative defenses because it allows the offense to run their stuff, dictate the play, and be comfortable

I prefer trying to get them out of their comfort zone, speed them up, and force your tempo. It's not about steals, but it is about turnovers, bad shots, and making players tentative




ClayK said:

annarborbear said:

I guess my point is that we are going to be smaller next year than a number of our opponents, but with great guard and wing depth. If we do not come up with a strategy that uses this depth and quickness to our advantage, then that size differential is going to become aa inevitable disadvantage.
To take advantage of guard and wing depth and all-around play, it's necessary to open up the floor so the quickness and speed can have room to operate. But if the quickness and speed can't shoot, then the defense can sag off.

It would be easy at this point to blame LG for not recruiting shooters, but very few girls come through the system with both speed/quickness and shooting ability. Parents want them to play on winning teams, so the quick ones go to the rim all the time. When parents are more concerned with their daughter's total game than winning meaningless tournaments, you'll see more complete players.

The problem now is that the few players who qualify on both are counts snapped up by the elite programs, and the rest of the schools are left hoping that the shooters get quicker (very unlikely) or that the quick ones become good shooters (almost equally unlikely, as Brittany Boyd's career, among others, demonstrates.
ClayK
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I absolutely agree there's a place for pressure defenses, and that should be part of the package -- but at the college level, halfcourt traps can only work for a while. The ballhandlers are just too good ...

But ball pressure is still key, but then it becomes team defense, as ball pressure inevitably leads to some breakdowns and attacks on the rim. Help has to be there, rotations have to occur and players have to understand not only their roles, but who's on the floor for the other team and what that means for particular rotations.





HoopDreams
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not sure how many times I can agree with you on the traps

however pressure defense is more than just trapping, and changing up the defense is also a good way to get the team uncomfortable, and possibly force them out of their offense

basically, I liked Martin's defense, but felt it could have been more aggressive. I also felt he didn't change his defense up enough.

interesting that Martin's defense was actually more conservative than Monty's given that Martin had more talent, length and athletes than Monty had

of course I'm talking about the men's team on the women's team forum. defensively I felt we were much better when we had cayton as she put a lot of ball pressure on the opponent's PG ... she didn't trap ... just made them uncomfortable, didn't let them get to their spots easily, and forced the ball out of their hands
ClayK
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When ballhandlers are out of their comfort zone, the offense doesn't run as smoothly -- and as you say, traps aren't really necessary.

But pressuring ballhandlers comes with risk, and the team defensive concepts must anticipate those risks.
HoopDreams
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ClayK said:

When ballhandlers are out of their comfort zone, the offense doesn't run as smoothly -- and as you say, traps aren't really necessary.

But pressuring ballhandlers comes with risk, and the team defensive concepts must anticipate those risks.
appreciate the discussion of ... believe it or not ... basketball

would love to watch a cal mens or women's game and hear your thoughts
ClayK
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Usually people who sit with me at games get very bored with my comments because I keep saying things like "Where's the rotation?" "That's a terrible shot," "See the tall girl being guarded by a wing? Throw her the damn ball."

So it would fun to talk basketball at a game -- my problem is that coaching at Miramonte really limits my options, and my focus has to be on the high school level. Maybe I'll get to a Cal game or two this year, but usually I wind up watching them on TV.

HoopDreams
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ClayK said:

Usually people who sit with me at games get very bored with my comments because I keep saying things like "Where's the rotation?" "That's a terrible shot," "See the tall girl being guarded by a wing? Throw her the damn ball."

So it would fun to talk basketball at a game -- my problem is that coaching at Miramonte really limits my options, and my focus has to be on the high school level. Maybe I'll get to a Cal game or two this year, but usually I wind up watching them on TV.


ha ha

my point is it's good to actually talk basketball on a basketball forum with someone who knows the game

much better than talking about the recruiting circus, who's the latest to blame, budget problems, or the downfall of society
BSH
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Yes. Thanks for sharing your smarts.
puget sound cal fan
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I'm not sure Styles is undersized, as she's listed as a 6'3" Forward in the Bear roster, which was Penina Davidson's height. Her prep description as "active on the glass", and a "quick leaper" suggest she'll be a contributor on the boards, which the Bears will need from her. Styles was a scorer as a prep, and I'm sure Lindsay will welcome that from her, too.
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