Team Scores 118 Points, Then Has
Performance Attacked By Its Own Coach
By Cameron Smith, Prep Rally
March 5, 2013 — Mentor (Ohio) High basketball coach Bob Krizanic should have been ecstatic. His team had just set a new school single-game scoring record by notching 118 points. The team had done so in a sectional final, guaranteeing advancement in the playoffs in the process.
Yet Krizanic may have just set the new threshold for constructive criticism when he had only negative things to say about his Cardinals squad, attacking his team’s defense rather than laud their offensive abilities, following an astounding 118-98 victory against Lakeside (Ohio) High in a story that was first brought to Prep Rally's attention by USA Today.
"If you score 118 and have a great defensive effort, then it's worthy of the record," Krizancic told the News Herald, a newspaper that covers the Cleveland suburbs. "This wasn't. This means nothing. This one should go down as an asterisk with us giving up 98 points and how poor defensively we played."
If you thought that was the only negative thing Krizancic had to say about his charges, you’d be wrong. Just check out the following statement in which he put his entire squad -- and himself -- on blast.
"We played one of the poorest defensive games I have ever coached here," he said. "It starts with me. It's my fault. It was just a very, very, very poor defensive game all the way around, coaches, players, managers, whatever you want to call it. Just a poor defensive effort. Wasn't tough. Wasn't aggressive."
It’s one thing to criticize a team for giving up 98 points. But criticizing a team for giving up a lot of points when it scored far more itself? That seems a bit harsh, particularly when the Cardinals offense is humming so effectively; the Cardinals scored 114 points in their prior game, the third highest total in school history.
Prep Rally has no idea what Krizancic would say if his team lost a game when allowing an opponent to get anywhere near the century mark. Quite frankly, we don’t think we want to find out, either.
The coach is right in determining what his expectations of what a great defensive effort should be. However, just because the opposing team scored a lot of points doesn't necessarily mean your team gave a poor effort. The stat that is often overlooked or not understood in the game of basketball is points per possession. Obviously if a team scores over 100 points naturally they have created many more possessions which means many more shot opportunities at the basket. Therefore, the more possessions a team creates the more chances you are giving the opponent to score.
The next breathe you take will be that of smelling some clean air. This column should go on for a very long time. Why? Because the writers views have been challenged and its a long time coming. What we are discussing has been a long time tactic used for many years by coaches in all sports. Anybody who thinks giving up 98pts in a game is somehow ok when you score more points is either incredibly dumb, naive or is trying to achieve a place in the Political Correctness "Hall of Fame" The season is a journey and once a coach says they're satisfied then, that in my opinion is when the team's journey stops and all future player improvements stop too.
Our season is over and my team has improved dramatically from the previous two years, one under me. Anyway, we won a big game late in the year where my boys dropped 97, but gave up 84. The next day a colleague mentioned something about our defense. I replied, I wasn't worried about it because it was simply the nature of the game that was played. I have always believed in situational defense. The scoreboard may not reflect good defense, but specific places in the game may result in great defense being played.
I certainly agree with the above comments. It sounds to me that this coach expects a lot more from his team defensively. Having coached for many years I understand the need by coaches to continually look for ways to make improvements in the team. It is a process and a journey. With playoffs looming and better teams waiting in the wings and knowing what waits ahead I would be on my teams also if their defense was poor. D should be the constant in every game. You never know if the shot is going to fall each evening. It seems to me the writer has not investigated the story well nor been in the heart of a teams journey before.
Unfortunately, I think this sports writer has now filled all the requirements to become a high school athletic director, administrator or member of a board of education. Obviously, one who has not coached,possibly never played sports, yet thinks he has all the answers. People who are not in the arena, people sitting on the sidelines finding ways to criticize a coach, win or lose. This coach is with his team every day. He knows their potential better than anyone. Even better then all the above mentioned. Even better than the players themselves. This, I think, is the best time to point out a teams weakness, after a win. Would this writer rather the coach wait for them to get beat and then correct them? This team is moving on in the tournament, this coach is challenging his team to do better. This coach is doing his job, and doing his job well. But, of course we have found a way to criticize him. Please, let the coaches coach.
I will preface this by saying I don’t know this coach. Have never had a conversation with him, never sat in a practice, and do not know his coaching philosophy. Wasn’t in the locker room so have no idea if it was delivered as a rant or just matter of fact and let’s get better. Generally I believe you cannot have an opinion about another coach’s work until you have been there every day. My thoughts are more geared toward the sportswriter…I think this writer needs to do more work before making any sort of a commentary. This type of thinking is exactly why the world of sports is headed in the wrong direction. Any good coach and educator know you can win a game and not play well. You can score a lot of points and have glaring deficiencies in your game. Points and a win are not the whole of the game. Maybe the coach knows in the next round his team will need to play a whole lot better to come out on top. Maybe the coach wants to play a balanced game at both ends. Maybe his players were not following directions and he needs them to use the system for long term success. The type of reaction this sportswriter has is exactly what is failing our youth and our game. I wasn’t in the locker room, so I cannot say what tone the coach delivered this in, however I can say there are far too many kids trying to get the headlines without content. There are far too many coaches caught up in how the win looks for them rather than the opportunities to teach and impart the great things interscholastic sports provide for kids. The stats all arrive at the same place…sports is a great thing for kids. However adults like this sportswriter are turning it into a pursuit for glory rather than an opportunity to grow and learn. Winning is not everything. If you win because you have more talent and less game all you have accomplished is that…showing you have more talent. Basketball is a beautiful symphony of movement when it is done right and we need to have focus on playing well not simply winning. It is high school sports! Yeah, it is playoffs and it is important. But they are not the NBA. At the pro level I expect it to be all about the win for as much as they get paid. At the high school level, winning is great and the job of the coaches is to be educators and take that responsibility serious. Sounds like this coach understands the concept that educating doesn’t exist only for the losing team. Conceptually great job coach! I hope he walks the talk and I hope he uses the lesson to advance. If his players really value winning, they will listen to the instruction and learn from the criticism so they can keep doing it. That is the story that should really be told…are these young men true athletes who want to be good at their craft or are they headline chasers who are in it for what makes them look good?
A coach has a feel for his team. Did they lose focus? Were they messing around on the bench? Were they giddy because the scoring was so easy that they blew defensive assignments? He knows fool's gold when he sees it. He may want his team to recognize it too.