The 2016 Cavaliers are my Upward Basketball team for the season. It’s been a rough stretch for my guys. We’ve struggled with rebounding problems, turnovers, and incredible defensive lapses. And then there’s the plain old bad luck. But over the past two weeks, the season has turned around.
Much of the turnaround can be attributed to the improved play of Micah McArthur. Micah is probably our most talented player, so when I talk about “improvement,” I’m really talking about his efficiency and his defense. Micah has really bought into the scheme of getting all of the players involved, and this has turned him into a devastatingly efficient player. He was always solid, but now, it’s stunningly efficient.
The play of Micah is the biggest factor in getting a second player going, and that player is Taysir Yalaoui. Now, everyone should realize that Taysir is my best friend’s son, and he’s the reason I’m coaching in Boys 1st/2nd. Taysir is a kindergartner, and this is his first step into actual organized basketball. Up until the past two weeks, Taysir had taken only one shot. Now, for those of you who know Taysir, you know that the one thing he can do in basketball is shoot. Well, thanks to Micah getting him going, Taysir scored four points on 6 shots last week. With him getting to shoot, he’s now more involved, and is playing much better defense, getting some steals and recoveries. Well, this week, Taysir scored four points again, this time on three shots. Two of those points came on a steal and breakaway lay-up in the final period; those two points tied the game.
It’s a big change coaching in Boys 1st/2nd from the older leagues. I tend to talk as if the guys all understand the language of basketball, which, of course, they don’t. Plus, we’re not good offensively at the things I most want to do – which is implement player and ball movement and a passing game. It has definitely been a stretch outside of my comfort zone. However, as we’ve gotten better at doing some of the things, our results have looked better and better on the court. The last two games have definitely been the high point of our season so far. And, as is typical of my teams, it was the back end of the bench that won us this last game.
The Upward leadership is starting to plan for next season, and there may be more news coming in that regard. I’ll probably talk more about that in my next entry.