How to Play Like the Stars at UConn, Ohio State & KU Basketball

January 16, 2012
by Justin

Welcome back to Hardwood High School, your top-tier source for tips, techniques, drills about everything in high school basketball with a NCAA basketball perspective. Volume one was about the importance of great defense, and the second volume was all about you, the high school basketball player. Week three was all about Duke and UNC basketball’s coaches and their high-level tips. Week four was all about AAU basketball and how to infiltrate the complex world of AAU sports. Week five and six were filled with drills, just like week seven was. This week will explore the stars at three of the most elite programs, UConn, Ohio State and KU basketball.


UConn Basketball Star: Jeremy Lamb

Jeremy Lamb is a slashing, perimeter guard for UConn basketball. This Georgia native led his Norcross team to the Regional Championship, and averaged 20 points per game before committing to Jim Calhoun and the UConn Huskies. This UConn guard has an incredibly quick release, and shoots the majority of his shots coming off screens. He also can devastate the defense off the dribble with quick jump shots and slippery finishes at the rim. The aspect of his game that makes him a tough defensive assignment is his jump shot. To improve your jumpshot you must work on mechanics; squaring your body to the basket, your release point, and your form. Lamb, who before coming to UConn was not considered a top NBA prospect, squares up well even when he catches the ball with his back to the basket. Lamb’s release point is consistently at the top of his jump, which is an effective tactic when your defender is face-guarding you. The UConn star also has a great form, with his elbow tight and a high release, that Lamb holds the entire duration of his shot. Here is a highlight film of Jeremy Lamb going to work on the opposition.


Ohio State Basketball Star: Jared Sullinger

When most people hear Ohio State, they think of the Horse Shoe and their legendary football program. Ohio State star Jared Sullinger has the nation paying attention to the basketball team, and Ohio State has benefited from his presence. His presence is most felt in the paint of Ohio State’s frontcourt, where he has dominated the last two seasons. Before Sullinger became a Buckeye All-American for Ohio State, he was in Columbus racking up wins for Northland High School. He was also a High School All-American before he enrolled at Ohio State, and was the most sought after big man in the country. Sullinger is known for his quickness in the post and most notably his post moves in and around the basket. Developing quickness in the post is as simple as you understanding the position of your defender. When you catch the ball on the block, be sure to establish you pivot only after you determine your defender’s position. Use their momentum to roll off them towards the basket. A great drill to work on your finishing ability around the basket is the Mikan Drill. Here is Ohio State’s own Jared Sullinger owning the post.


KU Basketball Star: Tyshawn Taylor

KU basketball is one of the most important staples in the game’s history. KU basketball’s history began in 1898, shortly after the game’s creator Dr. James Naismith arrived on campus. With all the history, combo guard Tyshawn Taylor and KU basketball were a natural fit. Before Taylor pushed the tempo for KU basketball, he played for one of the nations’ best high school basketball programs, St. Anthony High School. Taylor led his team to a 32-0 record and the USA Today’s mythical national championship in 2008, before coming to play for KU basketball. He was also coached by legend Bob Hurley, and averaged 10 points before he committed to the KU basketball team. Taylor’s greatest asset is his stamina and his ability to push the tempo of the KU basketball offense. In order to consistently put pressure on the defense like Taylor, you will have to increase your distance running workouts. Instead of running wind sprints, add a 5-mile run into your fitness regimen. Here is Tyshawn Taylor ripping up the floor for KU basketball.


Be sure to focus on playing harder and not about the day-to-day politics of your basketball program. There are just as much if not more politics at the college basketball level of athletics; your job is to never allow these issues in high school basketball to suppress with your future prospects in your sport. Ultimately, you should continue to work on your game, so when it comes time to show and prove, your skill on the basketball court speaks for itself. Check back next week for another installment of Hardwood High. Until then, this is Yorick Hempstead signing off.


Yorick Hempstead is an ex-college athlete who is a sports blogger for ScoutMe. He is always talking sports on twitter @HempsteadHuddle.


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