Dec. 8, 2010
Crafton's December Entry | November's Entry
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Navy men's basketball associate head coach Jason Crafton writes a monthly diary for the National Coaches Diary Series brought to you by CollegeChalkTalk.com(.) Crafton is the only service-academy coach to write for the site.
Crafton's second entry was posted on the site last night (Dec. 7) and gives Navy fans a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the life of a collegiate basketball coach.
CRAFTON'S DECEMBER ENTRY
Can you believe that we've already played 10 games?! Not many teams in the country have done that at this point. What's been great about our hectic game schedule is that it has put our freshmen in the position to gain a ton of game experience in a short amount of time.
After a slow start, we've recently won three out of our last four games beating Towson, Mount Saint Mary's and George Washington. We believe that our kids are beginning to understand what Coach Lange has been emphasizing since day one - Toughness and Togetherness.
We still have a long way to go, but over the past few games, you can begin to see the signs of growth and development. To be honest - It's night and day. We are beginning to consistently play with more passion and it's fun to watch. For our seniors this is their last opportunity to play college basketball and they are ALL stepping up on the court in different ways.
Of our four seniors, Greg Brown is one that really sticks out in my mind. He has been a guy that we've pushed every year to come out of his shell and do more on the floor and he's starting to put it all together. Greg was always a natural at scoring the basketball, but it was his lack of defensive intensity that prohibited him from having a larger impact in previous years. This season he's emerged as a guy that we can count on for more then just instant offense. He's defending, pursuing defensive rebounds and has become a vocal leader in practice. That's what its all about - Development! Keep it up Greg!
Meanwhile, our freshmen have gotten more aggressive in their play and sometimes look beyond their years. Freshman forward J.J. Avila
achieved Patriot League Rookie of the Week recognition two weeks in a row, while Isaiah Roberts
, Brennan Wyatt
, James Loupos
and Thurgood Wynn
have all had major impacts in games. What's been great about this entire freshman class is that they are always asking questions and seeking out the coaches for ways to improve - That's Commitment!
In our most recent game against Atlantic 10 opponent George Washington, we didn't attack their aggressive defense the way that we talked about going in to the game. Consequently, we committed 20 turnovers, but through a strong defensive effort and a commitment to defensive rebounding we found a way to win the game. We held a very athletic and aggressive GW team to 13 offensive rebounds and that was a major key to the game. What was special about that game was that it was played on a big-time stage at the Verizon Center in front of a great crowd and our guys stayed together the entire way through all the adversity. It was great to watch our kids communicating with each other and talking through "in game" adjustments on their own in timeouts before the coaching staff got to the huddle. Although we won the game we didn't finish the game as aggressively as we would have liked and that's where we still have some maturing to do. We must to get to the point where we put teams away by playing intense Navy Basketball for 40 minutes with no let ups! I know we can get there.
I'm sure Navy Fans were happy to see junior guard Jordan Sugars back in the mix after missing 3 games from a hand injury suffered in practice. In his first game back against GW he dropped 20 points and grabbed 7 boards with a bandaged hand from his recent 12 stitches! What was more impressive though was Jordan's vocal leadership and effort in the practices preceding the GW game once he got medically cleared. Great practices always lead to great play on the court. It's that simple!
As we move forward it's important that we continue to build and keep our focus on the fundamentals. Every game is a "big game" and every practice is an "important practice." The journey continues....Stay tuned!
# GO NAVY #