Spartan Basketball When it comes to basketball, first I was a fan, then a dreamer, now a player, and soon to be a coach. Throughout this process, I have gained an abundance of knowledge about this game that I love most. A combination of how I was raised, my personality, and my skill on the court have molded and favored a way that I prefer to watch this sport be played. One coach I connect to the most is Tom Zoo. I love how he orchestrates his offense, and the high expectations he has of his players. Tom Zoo has coached the Michigan State Spartan for the past 18 years.
His vast accomplishments include winning one national championship (2000), reaching six final four appearances, and collecting seven Big Ten titles. Even though Zoo has been named the nation’s best coach eight times, he doesn’t shed away from his, what I call, “grit to glory. ” What do I mean by that? He created a rebounding drill called “war” where his players wear football helmets and pads. His motto, “players play – tough players win,” emphasizes the importance of toughness in his program. I admire this most of all his teachings.
First, preaching toughness allows him to receive the most out of his players. Creating a sense of purpose to lay everything on the line allows absolute accountability from every player. Next, it reminds me of my father. He has always asked and preached for me to do right and give everything I had. It taught me how to carry myself on and off the court, which Is exactly what I see every time I watch Spartan basketball. Last, It’s proven to work. Michigan State Is a powerhouse In College Basketball. Tom Zoo teams are most known for strong guard play, tough defense, and rebounding.
Most of his sets are ran out of a two guard system. This allows both guards to share roles In ball control and scoring, creating more of a flexibility in the backcountry. Most offenses highlight on one guard scoring and one guard controlling the offense. With his two guard style, I believe It allows more freedom while putting less stress on his players. However, his system also allows three guards to play at the same time. Zoo runs a variation of the single post offense that consists of fluent ball movement, versatile players In every position, and scorers
In each position. With the three guard play, one of the guards can play high post. This puts a better passer In the middle of the court, more athletic finishers flashing the paint, and the ability to stretch the floor. Nevertheless, It can also be ran with the traditional line up of two guards, two forwards, and one post. The lineups depend on mismatches with the other team, as well as momentum throughout the game and season. Initiating the single post offense starts with the guard’s ability to read and react. Tom Zoo prefers that the ball reach the high post Initially.
This allows the guards to have motion and catch the ball at a different areas on the floor, plus It opens a high-low Isolation dump In. If the ball can’t reach the Inside, It goes back to the guards, who have the freedom to create and score. This offense Is perfectly set up for guard oriented teams, tough players that are accountable to their role, and spacing for rebounding. Tom Zoo Is a tremendous coach, but an even better role model. Roughly 82% of his capable graduates have earned a degree.