Our 9th and 10th grade basketball teams were good. We went like 7-4 in 9th grade, then returned all those players in 10th grade to go undefeated and win the tournament. What I remember most from those years was having two good big men: Tom and Matt. Tom was taller than most, but more importantly he was wide and quick with a good bank shot. Matt was much taller than everyone else and had a low shooting percentage but often would get his own rebound until he could put the ball into the hoop. We weren’t taught to do this, but I learned (I think from watching so much basketball) to feed them; I’d sit at the top of the key and wait for them to jostle enough to get open then throw it in. WIth Tom, I’d throw the ball to his open arm, just off his shoulder, so he could catch and swivel away from the defender for a bank shot. For Matt, I’d throw it straight in but high. I remember getting a lot of assists that way.
I was a really good outside shot but used that shot selectively (rarely), since there was no three point line and we were always taught to take close shots. The times I shot from beyond 17′ feet I was called a gunner or told to pass inside. Except one time, we had a substitute coach and he called time part way into the game and called us together – “you need to take advantage of Robert’s outside shot” he told the team. I still remember and appreciate that, the only time in youth basketball where I was encouraged to shoot from outside. A few kids made comments that I was a much bettter 1 on 1 player than a league player, but that was because I could shoot when and whre I wanted without getting pulled from the game or hollered at. :). It is why I always did so much better on the playgrounds all the way thorugh college.