The Times West Virginian

Mickey Furfari

January 22, 2014

FURFARI COLUMN: Jerry West: ‘Coaches really emphasize defense’

MORGANTOWN — Hall of Famer Jerry West had some interesting observations about college basketball in a recent telephone interview.

“It’s a different type of game today,” he said when asked why most shooters today do not have the consistency percentage-wise as when he played back in 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.

“Coaches really emphasize defense today. They also put more emphasis on athleticism. It’s not only different but a more difficult game.”

West, the greatest player in West Virginia University basketball history, said players are scouted so differently and more thoroughly today.

“When you get somebody who can really shoot the ball, it’s a tremendous weapon,” he added.

While the 3-point shot was added many years after the superstar retired as a player in 1974, he noted that it changed the game notably. And some kids just don’t shoot the ball well from back there.

Of course, this lowers shooting percentages, too, from West’s years.

“And then you have a lot of driving from kids who have trouble holding onto the ball,” West said. “So it’s a different kind of game than it used to be.”

West, who’s now in his third year with NBA’s title-contending Golden State Warriors, also pointed out that coaches find new ways to eliminate an opposing team’s offensive opportunities.

“You can shoot the ball better,” he continued. “But you’ve got to do a really good job of offensive and defensive rebounding for other reasons.

“I don’t understand this, but there seems to be a lot of really poor free-throw shooting, even at the NBA level. And that tells me the competition isn’t very good.”

West, who as only a three-year Mountaineer varsity player, still is the WVU program’s No.1 all-time leading scorer and rebounder at 6-foot-3, recalled that he felt he could run faster and jump higher than any opponent he faced.

No doubt about that to anyone who saw him perform here or from 1960-74 as an NBA superstar.

“There’s so much more pressure on players when their team isn’t shooting very well,” he stated. “But it’s so much easier to play defense when you take the ball off the basket.”

West thinks you’ve got to give coaches a lot of credit because they teach a lot of effective defenses today. It was a different kind of defense when he played basketball.

“Today we see a lot of athletes like that defensively,” West noted. “But those athletes don’t have the offensive game to complement it.

“Coaches win games on defense. Coaches win games that are kept close. Keeping a game close, you obviously have a chance to win, particularly on the road.”

West, in his role with the vastly improved Golden State Warriors, sees most of the nation’s better college players. And he said some of them don’t really shoot the ball well at times.

Asked whether he had any suggestions, West replied:

“My suggestion would be to find people who know a little bit about shooting and try to get kids to work with the coaches, and just keep trying to make them better.

“Obviously, all coaches want teams that really can shoot the ball.”

He emphasized also that players should work on their weaknesses as well as their strengths.

1
Text Only
Mickey Furfari
  • FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
    He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.

    April 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.

    April 17, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in last Saturday’s West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage.

    April 15, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Blaney wins 100th Sprint Car race

    Stringing together some odds and ends that may be of interest to you:
    • Dale Blaney, the all-time great West Virginia University basketball star, has achieved another historic notch in his athletic career as a Sprint Car racer. He posted his 100th career riding in the All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series at Attica Raceway Park in Ohio last weekend.

    April 12, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- What a wonderful evening with Dr. Stanley ‘Coach’ Kandzari

    This column really is not about sports, per se. But, more importantly, it is about a widely known medical doctor whose nickname happens to be “Coach.”

    April 8, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Turnbull endured many tragedies growing up

    Coach Craig Turnbull, the latest head-coach victim of Oliver Luck’s shocking series of firings at West Virginia University, had generally enjoyed what many rate as an outstanding career not only in athletics but in life.
    Like the present, there also were some very difficult times for him as a youngster.

    April 6, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: All-time WVU great QB Bernie Galiffa dies at 63

    It was very sad to learn that Bernie Galiffa, one of the most outstanding quarterbacks in West Virginia University football history, had passed away.
    The three-year letterman for famed coach Bobby Bowden died last Thursday in Wilmington, N.C., at the age of 63.

    April 4, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Is $106 million in facilities updates really key to WVU sports success?

    You may have heard or read that West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is planning to spend $106 million for major projects.
    According to published reports, that is to improve athletic facilities, including Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium and the WVU Coliseum (yet to be named for a rich donor).

    April 2, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Who’s next on Oliver Luck’s hatchet list?

    Who’s going to be next on Oliver Luck’s sad house-cleaning list as West Virginia University’s athletic director?
    Craig Turnbull, the outstanding head coach and builder of the Mountaineers’ wrestling program for 36 years, was notified on Friday afternoon that Luck shockingly announced that his contract will not be renewed on June 30 for next year.

    March 30, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Herbie Brooks one of Catlett’s early standouts at WVU

    Herbie Brooks, a native of Beckley, was an All-Stater at Mullens High School and demonstrated his talents at West Virginia University from 1984-89 in men’s basketball.
    The 6-foot-2, 185-pound guard performed admirably under coach Gale Catlett’s direction.

    March 29, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads