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50 Little (Big) Tips (7th in a 10 Part Series)

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on November 5, 2015

1. When going left, dribble lefty. When going right, dribble righty. When you don’t know where you are going, don’t dribble at all.

2. You are playing a league game or a game where there’s a ref or somebody who is going to impose rules. It’s your team’s ball, side-out in the front court. Pass the ball to a teammate in the backcourt. (You can throw the ball into the backcourt from anywhere and it is not a backcourt violation. Just don’t touch it till you get both feet in the backcourt!) The pass to the backcourt eliminates the danger of a) catching in the front court near the half court line and stepping on the line and getting a totally demoralizing backcourt violation and b) getting trapped by a defender and the sideline/backcourt corner.

3. The first overnight basketball camp I ever went to was Friendship Farm run by Jack Donahue, the great Lew Alcindor’s (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) high school coach. The camp was heaven on earth; all basketball all-the-time. Great high school players and great high school and college coaches. (Bobby Knight came in on day and nearly killed us with defensive drills.) One day during a break, Warren Isaacs, all-time Iona College great and long-time big-time pro in Italy, pulled me aside to work on my hook shot. At one point, Coach Donahue walked by and muttered, “you’re only as good as your running hook”. Whatever Coach Donahue said, I took as gospel. You should too.

4. When you play a game of one-on-one, vary the rules. Don’t always start at the top of the key, don’t always leave the rules open ended. Some ideas: a) top of the key but one dribble maximum; b) start on one or the other low post areas, back to the basket, and go three dribbles maximum (anything more is grammar school ball); c) start in the corner or the wing; d) play one-on-one full court; e) ball handler starts at 1/2 court with a live dribble, defense starts at the top of the key. What game do you want to play?

5. Unless you are dunking the ball or dropping the ball down into the hoop, use the backboard to finish layups, especially breakaway layups. Angle out on the last step if you are coming down the middle (easy to do) and finish around the rim, not over the rim. Over the rim (meaning straight into the hoop) without using the backboard can result in the ball rolling off the rim and out. So depressing. I cannot tell you home many times I have seen heads hung after the ball rolls off the rim and out on “all alone layups – even in the pros! Take the rim out of the equation. Ball + backboard = 2 points.

Posted in beautiful basketball, defense, fast break, general improvement, notes: college & pro, passing, post play, rebounding, rules, shooting, team offense, without the ball | Leave a Comment »

To Stay Out of Court Get on the Court

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on October 9, 2007


JOSHUA R. KRATKA, in his Official Capacity as
Commissioner of Thursday Morning Hoops, JIM
and THOMAS “Flash” F.,

Plaintiffs, Civil No. 5-ON-5





a.k.a. “Johanna the Janitor ‘Cuz She Cleans the Glass,”
and NOEL R.,

Unindicted Co-Conspirators.


1. This is a suit to enforce certain family support obligations.*
2. The individual and collective failures of the above-captioned Defendants and Unindicted Co-Conspirators to live up to the obligations of camaraderie, fraternity, and weak-side help defense imposed upon them by full-court, five-on-five, pickup basketball has caused direct and proximate injury to the above-captioned Plaintiffs. They now sue for relief.

*In basketball, “team” equals “family.”


3. Thursday Morning Hoops** is a joint enterprise consisting of running and sweating while shooting, rebounding, chasing, and, in some cases, passing a basketball at the Central Square YMCA (hereafter, “the Y”). Certain members of the joint enterprise also engage in jumping. In addition, the Commissioner of Thursday Morning Hoops is authorized to employ various forms of “trash-talking.”
4. Plaintiffs are natural persons who dutifully, willingly, and joyously perform the duties of pickup basketball players each and every Wednesday morning as members of Thursday Morning Hoops. They perform these duties individually and, more importantly, collectively. They most recently performed these duties on May 16, 2007.
5. Defendants are natural persons who, through their more or less regular participation, are also members of Thursday Morning Hoops. One hesitates to characterize them as “active” members. Defendants did not participate in Thursday Morning Hoops on May 16, 2007.
6. Unindicted Co-Conspirators are natural persons who, either by “talking a good game” or appearing naturally athletic, have enticed Plaintiffs into believing that they, too, are members of Thursday Morning Hoops. The Unindicted Co-Conspirators did not participate in Thursday Morning Hoops on May 16, 2007.

** Thursday Morning Hoops, also doing business as “MASSPIRG Basketball,” is, for historical reasons not relevant here, a trademark of Wednesday Morning Hoops.


7. The failure of Defendants and Unindicted Co-Conspirators to appear at the Y on May 16, 2007, caused Plaintiffs to play “2-on-3” basketball.

8. “2-on-3” is widely agreed to be the single worst form of basketball. While affording full opportunity for injury, it affords few, if any, of the benefits of “real” basketball, including but not limited to: fair competition between balanced teams, full-court exercise, and development of team concepts of offense and defense.***
9. Defendants’ and Unindicted Co-Conspirators’ “failure to show” on May 16 thus proximately caused both emotional and competitive harm to Plaintiffs.

***Plaintiff Kratka expressly reserves the right to file a cross-claim for defensive indifference against Plaintiff and fellow “shirt” Thomas “Flash” F. arising out of the transactions and occurrences of said May 16.


10. Plaintiffs incorporate paragraphs 1 through 9 as if set forth herein in full.
11. In general, Defendants’ and Unindicted Co-Conspirators’ sporadic attendance and unfulfilled promises to play, whether or not “well-intentioned,”**** have inflicted emotional distress on Plaintiffs.
12. “Occasional attendance” and “heartfelt promises” are considered aggravating factors under the Basketball Code, because they increase hope among the law-abiding and therefore magnify the inevitable disappointment, and must be taken into account when assessing individual penalties and fashioning injunctive relief.
13. Although “moved to the West Coast” and “I sprained my ankle” may be considered mitigating factors when assessing penalties and fashioning injunctive relief, they are precluded from being used as defenses to liability, under the common-law doctrine of “once in, always in.”

****See Hell, The Path To, 33 U.S. Bask. Code Ann. § 666(c).


Plaintiffs request that this honorable Basketball Court grant the following relief:

1. Declare Defendants and Unindicted Co-Conspirators to have abdicated, and to be in continuing dereliction of, the duties and obligations imposed upon them by Thursday Morning Hoops;
2. Issue an injunction ordering Defendants to fulfill such duties and obligations forthwith;
3. Order Unindicted Co-Conspirators to “shit or get off the pot”;
4. Order Defendants to pay civil penalties for each failure of support occurring on and after September 1, 2006, in an appropriate amount;
5. Order Defendants to pay reasonable court fees and costs (including remedial instruction fees);
6. Provide such other and further relief as may be just and proper.

Dated: May 16, 2007 Plaintiffs, by their Commissioner:

Joshua R. Kratka
National Basketball Law Center
44 Winter Street, 4th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02108

Posted in general improvement, rules | Leave a Comment »

The Call That Everyone in the Stands Gets Wrong

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on March 9, 2007

Yellow Garden Spider
Yellow Garden Spider, David Keith, Univerity of Nebraska-Lincoln Dept. of Entomology

You’re sitting there in the Robins Center, watching your beloved University of Richmond Spiders hustle, steal, trap and take apart another Atlantic-10 opponent. You’re a hoops nut, always have been. You’re wearing your Spiderman outfit, but that’s to fit in, not standout. You’re a fan! You’re there to watch and enjoy and love the game. When “the wave” comes around you’re up; when the cheerleaders spell R-I-C-H-M-O-N-D you shout it out and pump your fist. You love your hoops through and through. And when the point guard, say, #10, Tiki Mayben of the U-Mass Minutemen, dribbles up to halfcourt, jukes over the line with his left foot and then brings that same foot into the backcourt to retreat and elude the 1-3-1 halfcourt trap that’s staring him in the face, you and 9,121 SpiderPeople stand and scream, all turning into venomous black widows! “BACKCOURT!!!”, you and all the Spiderpeople scream! “That’s BACKCOURT!”

But . . . you and everyone else would be wrong. (And don’t do it again, okay?) Don’t get caught in the web of the mis-informed. Here’s the rule, disentangled, and here’s how to think about it: 2+1. (2 feet and 1 ball.) 3 points (2+1) have to make contact with the frontcourt otherwise the ball and ballhandler retains backcourt status. NCAA Basketball Rules Handbook.

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