Thursday, March 15, 2012

EWU Eagles Phases of Development

Cliff Ederaine (#42)
photo from
Good Morning Eagle Fans, the other day I had the opportunity to talk to Coach Hayford about his first season as Eagles Head Coach and one of the subjects he covered in some detail was his view of how the team progressed through out the season.  I want to take what Coach said and try to expand upon his thoughts and analyze what that may mean for Eagles Basketball next year and beyond.

Coach essentially described three main phases in the Eagles offensive and we’ll take a look at each in some detail after the break:

The first phase for the Eagles was their ability to hit shots along the perimeter.

If a team can shoot well especially from beyond the arc, this creates some problems for the Defense as they must cover players farther out from the basket and therefore each player must cover a large area of the court.

For the Eagles early on this was their primary offensive threat and it eventually allowed to teams to load up on the outside and take the perimeter shots away, feeling safe that the Eagles would not or could not attack closer in.

The next phase of the Eagles offense came with Dribble penetration, primarily from Cliff Colimon (#11) who developed an ability to attack the lanes to either side of the basket forcing defenses to protect those lanes as well as the perimeter.

You can see in my crude diagrams how this creates much bigger areas of the court for defenders to protect and now you’ve forced the base line defenders to make a decision.  Do they defend against the dribble penetration of Colimon, or do they stop the penetration and create an open look on the outside.

Once Colimon drives toward the basket the defenders are forced to collapse to block the lane and prevent the easy bucket.  This creates separation for the outside shooters:

The final Phase of the offense occurs with an inside post presence, in the Eagles offense that means Big Cliff Ederaine (#42) and Laron Griffin (#15).

Once a credible post presence / threat has been established Defense are then forced to prepare to stop dribble penetration by crashing the lanes, but the also have to be aware of the inside out pass back to open perimeter shooters and finally they also have to defend against back side passes to post players.

It will be interesting to go back through some of the games this year to watch where these phases were really implemented, but as Coach Hayford said the final 20 or 25% of the season saw an Eagles offense that could excel in all three phases of the game.

I hope this post was interesting and helpful in explaining some of what Coach was talking about, but please let me know in the comments, or by email: or on twitter @ewueagleeye

*I’ve cut out just that portion of the audio below, for the full interview click here