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Friday, February 15, 2008

Southwood gets mention in Sports Illustrated

Sometimes it's hard for us journalist types to admit we don't know everything.

But I'll freely admit this. When it comes to basketball strategy, I'm far from an expert. Don't get me wrong. I can tell the difference between a man-to-man and zone defense. But if you asked me to describe the intricacies of the motion offense, well ...

Even so, I read a fascinating story in this week's Sports Illustraed about the so-called Dribble-Drive Motion offense used by No. 1 ranked Memphis. It's an offense that uses four perimeter players and one post player who sets up on the opposite side of the ball. It puts emphasis on dribble penetration and gives the perimeter players a wide variety of options.

Apparently, the offense was invented by a former JUCO and high school coach named Van Walberg. According to SI, Calipari first heard about it from Walberg about five years ago while having dinner with him in Memphis.

Appaently, the offense is taking the nation by storm according to SI. Jersey City St. Anthony, the No. 1 ranked high school boys team in the nation, uses a form of it. And an SI survey found that 224 junior high, high school, college and pro teams in the U.S. use it.

The only two Louisiana teams in the survey are Lafayette St. Thomas More boys -- and Southwood boys.

Interestingly enough, Southwood has a new coach in Norm Picou. Also rans last year, the Cowboys have improved five games in the win column this season so far and can wrap up second place in District 1-5A with a victory over Captain Shreve tonight.

Of course, it helps when you have a player like Louis Ellis to run the offense. As Calipari said, "Whatever you're running, you'd better have guys who can play." That, of course, is true of any sport.

Nobody knows that better than Walberg. He is currently unemployed after resigning at Pepperdine on Jan. 18 in his second season. Wildy successful in the high school and JUCO ranks, Walberg was 14-35 at Pepperdine.


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