Jr. Eagles Basketball – 2021-22 Emphasis Areas

Welcome to the 2021-22 Jr. Eagles Basketball Season.  If you are a coach preparing for the 2021-22 season, thank you for volunteering your time and for your commitment to the Eagles Basketball program.

In an effort to communicate the vision of the Jr. Eagles Basketball Program we have prepared an outline to help coaches, players and parents understand a few key emphasis areas, absolutes and general philosophy of the program as we enter the 2021-22 season.

Over the past several years we’ve made great strides with the Jr. Eagles basketball program. Our players are developing their basketball skills at a pace that will provide them every opportunity to compete for a position on a Liberty High School basketball team.

Playing Time – Players should get equal playing time over the first 30 minutes of a 40 minute CNR game. Over the last 10 minutes of a game the coaches can play to more favorable matchups to aid in teaching situational basketball. This doesn’t mean a player should sit the entire last 10 minutes of any game, but coaches can modify assignments or the length of a player’s shift to give the team their best chance to close the gap or finish off the game.

The Jr. Eagles Basketball program emphasizes long term development of the athlete. The objective of the program is to provide players access to the resources / knowledge they need to develop their basketball skills. We have worked closely with the coaching staff at Liberty High School to outline age appropriate skill expectations to help players and coaches prioritize the curriculum for each grade level.

How we play

Generally speaking we promote a “position-less” offensive system. Especially at our younger grade levels (2nd – 6th), it’s vital we focus on developing the complete player and focus less on the size and / or current skill level of the athlete.

At all grade levels we will begin the season teaching a 5-out Motion offense based on Read and React principles. (Read and React Layer 1 – 3 Breakdown Drills) Our offensive system will be built using multiple layers. As layers are adopted, the offense will quickly transform into 4-out and / or 3-out Motion.

As part of our 5-out motion we will incorporate different actions such as Circle motion.

While we will often continue running our 5-out Motion against Zone Defenses, we modify the 5-out slightly to promote exposing inherent weaknesses of zone. Our zone version of 5-out is called (Nail-Flank).

In addition to Nail-Flank, teams will be provided a variety of Zone Quick Hitters to be adopted at the Coach’s discretion.

Each team will be introduced to a base set of Baseline Out of Bounds and Sideline Out of Bounds plays. Because our focus is on the development of the athlete, we will not spend an inordinate amount of time perfecting our BLOB and SLOB sets. As players age in the program, execution of our special situation sets will improve.

Box Set

Stack Sets

Defensively each team will play man-to-man defense with an emphasis on the pack-line method. Quite simply, zone defenses are not to be used with the exception of a baseline out of bounds defensive set. We will standardize our baseline out of bounds defense which will include options to play a 2-3, trapping 2-3, or 1-3-1 when an opponent is inbounding the ball under our basket. While our high school program will feature a variety of different zone defensive looks, zone defenses at the youth level do nothing to develop the athleticism of our players. At the 7th grade level we will begin to teach the match-up zone our Varsity Boys will use. (Our most competitive teams at each grade level will be introduced to one hybrid defensive option that is only to be used in certain circumstances.)

Similar to teaching our offense in layers, we will also teach our defensive press and offensive press breakers in layers. Each team will be introduced to a basic press and press breaker from which they can build on as they get more proficient.

Offensive Absolutes

  1. Great offense is shooting EASY & OPEN shots
  2. In order to get easy and open shots we have to create an advantage and then keep the advantage until the shot is taken.
  3. If you draw 2 defenders to the ball = pass
  4. Types of Advantages
    1. Space (If defender gives you space and you are in range for an easy / open shot = shoot
    2. Numbers (If offense has the defense out numbered, move the ball quickly to keep the defense in the blender to get an easy & open shot)
    3. OBD = Off Balanced Defender.  Fast ball movement leads to slow defensive player rotations.  We drive the ball against off balanced defenders.
  5. Catch and See.  Be a threat to score.  Catch the ball and see the basket or see cutters.
  6. Finish all cuts (empty cuts are fine, but all cuts are cuts to score or help a teammate cut to score)
  7. Play with pace

Defensive Absolutes

  1. No straight line drive – dribbles into the lane (highway)
  2. No baseline drives
  3. Be in help, don’t get to help……Be in gaps, don’t get to gaps
  4. Talk
  5. First three steps back on defense are your fastest three steps
  6. Defense ends with a defensive rebound

We’ve been very fortunate over the years to have volunteer coaches invested in creating dynamic environments for our young athletes to enjoy and learn the game of basketball. Many of our volunteer coaches are current or former high school / college basketball coaches and we appreciate the experience they bring to our program.

The behavior of our coaches, parents and players is a direct reflection on the Liberty Basketball program.

While we’ve spent considerable time developing the “how we play” as Liberty basketball, we are constantly evolving as a program and teachers of the game. Thank you for sharing your passion for the game of basketball.

***Coach Chip Sodemann, Varsity Boys Basketball Coach, will be coordinating with our Jr. Eagles program to pair up a Varsity Basketball player with a Jr. Eagles team. We are always looking to align as one entire program (Varsity –> Youth) and we look forward to showcasing the fine young men representing Liberty High School.