ForeWord Reviews

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Winning Basketball Fundamentals

Foreword Review

Few basketball coaches can fill a resume with both the amount and the variety of experience Lee Rose has compiled in the past four decades. After working as an assistant coach at the college level, Rose led both UNC-Charlotte and Purdue to NCAA Final Four appearances, then shifted to the pro ranks to serve as an assistant coach for five National Basketball Association teams: the Spurs, Nets, Bucks, Hornets, and Bobcats.

With his new book, Winning Basketball Fundamentals, Rose shares that experience by creating a thorough, detailed coaching manual. This isn’t a book for a casual reader, but coaches will likely find this highly technical guide a valuable tool.

Rose makes use of detailed diagrams that clearly and effectively demonstrate individual plays, along with step-by-step explanations for how to run them. For example, Rose breaks down some of the game’s most complicated offenses—from the triple-post “triangle offense” made dominant by former Bulls and Lakers coach Phil Jackson to the guard-driven dribble-drive offense to the motion offense deployed by Bob Knight at Indiana. For each of these team offenses, Rose provides drawn-up plays, explains the system’s strengths and weaknesses, and includes practice drills that emphasize developing the specific player skills each offense requires. He provides similar breakdowns for team defensive alignments, diagramming strategies to defend against anything from the pick-and-roll to baseline screens.

Along with the technical chalk talk, Rose devotes sections to discussing different philosophies about when to foul, when to switch defenses, and how to select the system that best fits the roster’s abilities. He uses anecdotes from his NCAA and NBA coaching stints to illustrate the importance of specific coaching lessons. While some of his anecdotes are interesting, Rose’s decades of coaching experience prove most useful in the way he breaks down the dozens of diagramed plays, simplifying strategies in a way any aspiring coach will be able to understand.

Another of the book’s strengths is that Rose gives roughly equal time to individual and team skills. He provides a number of offensive and defensive practice drills that vary in complexity. He includes his own Performance Rating System, a chart that gives coaches a statistical way to objectively evaluate players with different skills sets. And he explains his philosophies on setting team rules, incorporating player feedback, and selecting an effective assistant coaching staff. Winning Basketball Fundamentals is practical and thorough, a useful book for coaches at any level.

Jeff Fleischer