So much in basketball is about balance.
Being a good defender requires staying low in a wide stance for stability to easily shift with offensive players. On offense, players attempt to get defenders off balance through a combination of jab steps, pump fakes or crossovers.
Shooters need a good stance to maximize the accuracy of their shots. Coaches need to balance the strengths and weakness of players when building rotations.
Teams struggle in basketball when balance is lost, especially offensively. The importance was evident at the beginning of the Cardinals’ first game when they played an exhibition game against Bishop University.
Head coach Tom Curle said the Cards made ballmovement such a focus that they passed up some shots early on. Missed opportunities and turnovers led to a rough 0-8 set, which the Cards would eventually erase.
Curle said he is stressing that the team needs to learn to achieve a good balance between knowing when to run the offense and when to selectively pick spots to attack the defense off the dribble. He said he doesn’t want players losing themselves offensively.
“We want to make sure that we utilize our players to their full potential,” Curle said. “We don’t want to make them robotic or feel as if they have to stay inside the confines of the offense all the time to the point where we become easily guardable.”
Junior forward Edward Correa, who led the Cards in three-pointers last season, said the team is searching for their identity.
“That starts in practice,” Correa said. “We learn each player’s best ability, and we take that to the game, and we put them in situations where they are going to do well.”
Against Bishop University, Curle said the Cards’ depth and athleticism off the bench was on display. He said he knows the Cards are not yet where they need to be, but that is expected.
“There is always a little raggedness at the start of the season,” Curle said. “But with as many upperclassmen as we have, I’d like to think we’re ahead of teams that don’t have the same of level of experience that we do.”
PSUC begins a five-game road trip this weekend, facing Elizabethtown College Saturday and Lycoming College Sunday. The Cards’ first conference game is Dec. 5 against New Paltz.
Junior guard/forward Xavier Thomas said it is important that the team starts the season strong.
“It’s very important because it helps us understand where we are as a team on the court and also off the court,” Thomas said. “It also gives our freshmen and underclassmen more of a confidence boost.”
Elizabethtown College, who has struggled with three straight losing seasons, is opening their season against the Cards.
The Blue Jays are a veteran team with no freshmen and several key returning players, including last season’s leading scorer, Lee Eckert.
Curle said the Cards will be working on their press defense, zone defense and offense, reviewing plays and going through scouting reports.
He said he wants players to focus on what they need to execute.
“We want to make sure our players know it’s really more about us and our preparation and making sure we’re dictating the tempo of games and not our opponents,” Curle said.
Although the Cards have yet to get where they need to be, Curle said it’s never too early to have high expectations for the team. He said he expects the seniors to lead by example.
“Let’s come out of the gates establishing that we want to be very good and play that way right away,” he said.
Email Willie Santana at firstname.lastname@example.org.