D’Antoni talks good game … and he coaches one too

Marshall University basketball coach and longtime Grand Strand hoops guru Dan D’Antoni made history on Saturday by leading the Thundering Herd to their first Conference USA Tournament championship and his alma mater’s first invitation to the NCAA Tournament since 1987.

The  Herd’s 67-66 victory over Western Kentucky was in part a result of his coaching abilities that honed during his 30-year coaching career at Socastee High. The win was sweet vindication for a coach who has had to defend his “3-first” philosophy. In tribute to the accomplishment, here’s an interchange D’Antoni had with a reporter in a post-game press conference questioning his wide-open style.

“You’re old school, aren’t you?” joked D’Antoni. “Do you watch the NBA ever? You see those top three teams? Do they work it in? My brother (Mike) in Houston, the biggest turnaround in the league. Do they work it in? You can get any computer and run what the best shots are and it will tell you the post-up is the worst shot in basketball.

“If you want to run down and try to get it in there to shoot over somebody, then you’re beating analytics. The best shot in basketball is that corner 3. The next-best shot is any other 3, other than free throws, which we try to do. When you get to the foul line, you score 1.5 points every time you go to the foul line in the pros. It just trickles down. It’s the same thing for college kids. …”

When the reporter attempted to cut D’Antoni off and change the subject, Double-D charged ahead, armed with statistics to support his case: “I haven’t finished my damn analytics story yet. … If you can get a layup and it’s clean, it’s not one that’s highly contested, it’s 1.8 (points per attempt). It’s 1.3 from that corner, 1.27. Do you know what a post-up is, with a guy standing over the top of you? It’s 0.78. So you can run your team down there and we’ll see how long you can stay with teams that play the other way.”

D’Antoni’s shoot-first, pass-to-the-post-later philosophy was formed during his tenure at Socastee, when he began to realize that Surfside Beach was only going to produce so many Courtland Freemans and Derrick Hiltons, Socastee’s current head coach. The introduction of the 3-point shot revolutionized basketball, and D’Antoni was way ahead of the curve.

It was Dan’s brother who helped bring the new brand of basketball to the U.S. After working in the Europeans leagues and international basketball, he was one of the first to see the sport in a new light. By spacing the floor and stretching the defense to the far perimeter, teams can hit open treys or feed it inside to the less crowded paint. Following Dan’s retirement from Socastee just over a decade ago, Mike D’Antoni hired his brother as an assistant for the Suns, Knicks and Lakers to help transform the game.

“I changed a long time ago. I coached for 15 years like a dummy, running down there real hard so I can get it in there for the worst shot in basketball,” D’Antoni recalled from his Socastee days. “I didn’t even know what I was doing. … The short version of my answer is no.”

That’s the vintage D’Antoni that those who knew him during his time on the Strand remember. His teams shoot from the hip and he shoots from the lip, which should make him a real media celebrity during the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Perhaps the only thing more entertaining for March Madness than D’Antoni’s Thundering Herd are his thunderously hilarious words.

Photo courtesy of Marshall Athletics

Comments

comments

Florence fallout again pulls plug on Friday night lights

Florence fallout again pulls plug on Friday night lightsHurricane Florence 2, Horry County Schools 0. That appears to be [more]

Strand golf courses race to re-open in wake of storm

Strand golf courses race to re-open in wake of stormMyrtle Beach area golf courses, spared the worst of Hurricane [more]

SCHSL extends season but plans for Strand still afloat

SCHSL extends season but plans for Strand still afloatThe SCHSL's executive committee voted unanimously Tuesday to extend the [more]

Pelicans Young, Swarmer claim Cubs' POY awards

Pelicans Young, Swarmer claim Cubs' POY awardsMyrtle Beach Pelicans infielder Jared Young was named the Chicago [more]

Chants blow out Camels in front of Hurricane Florence

Chants blow out Camels in front of Hurricane FlorenceJust four days removed and 142 miles away from its [more]

Coastal baseball signs first BA Top 25 recruiting class

Coastal baseball signs first BA Top 25 recruiting classFor the first time in Coastal Carolina baseball program history, [more]

Hurricane Florence throws local sports scene a curve

Hurricane Florence throws local sports scene a curveIn response to the impending arrival of Hurricane Florence and [more]

Coast FA brings home five titles from Rock Hill Classic

Coast FA brings home five titles from Rock Hill ClassicCoast FA returned to the beach with five championship and [more]

CF boys finish second, MB girls net third at CCU meet

CF boys finish second, MB girls net third at CCU meetThe Carolina Forest boys finished second and the Myrtle Beach [more]

Chants explode in second half to cruise past Blazers

Chants explode in second half to cruise past BlazersCoastal Carolina football used a number of big offensive plays [more]

No. 4 Seahawks light up scoreboard, beat Braves

No. 4 Seahawks light up scoreboard, beat BravesThe No. 4-ranked Myrtle Beach football team celebrated Neon Night [more]

No. 6 Chiefs struggle their way past revitalized Sharks

No. 6 Chiefs struggle their way past revitalized SharksWithout raising his voice, without screaming his face red or [more]

Panthers take big win over Hoggard to stay unbeaten

Panthers take big win over Hoggard to stay unbeatenJackson Weatherwax knew he had the ball. Late in the fourth [more]

Football Roundup: Tigers, Saints fall, remain winless

Football Roundup: Tigers, Saints fall, remain winless* Hartsville 35, Conway 0: The Tigers (0-4) remained winless [more]

Golf: Sharks top Seahawks; Panthers knock off Braves

Golf: Sharks top Seahawks; Panthers knock off BravesThe three-time reigning state champion St. James girls golf team [more]

Chants hungry for first win in home opener vs. Blazers

Chants hungry for first win in home opener vs. BlazersThe Coastal Carolina football team will open up its 2018 [more]

Volleyball: Tigers improve to 6-0 with win over Bruins

Volleyball: Tigers improve to 6-0 with win over BruinsThe Conway High volleyball team improved to 6-0 Thursday by [more]

Week 3 Previews & Picks: MB has old score to settle

Week 3 Previews & Picks: MB has old score to settleMyrtle Beach junior quarterback Luke Doty has had this week's [more]

Tennis: Lady Panthers open season with win over Aynor

Tennis: Lady Panthers open season with win over AynorThe Carolina Forest girls tennis team served up a victory [more]

Chants move up in polls after acing UAB tourney

Chants move up in polls after acing UAB tourneyAfter posting back-to-back shutouts, Coastal Carolina's Chris Datallo has been [more]

Golf: Sharks claim second place at Palmetto Preview

Golf: Sharks claim second place at Palmetto PreviewThe three-time defending state champion St. James girls golf team [more]

Braves, Lady Chiefs finish runners-up in XC openers

Braves, Lady Chiefs finish runners-up in XC openersMetrolina Christian Academy of Indian Trail (N.C.) swept the Chief [more]

Saints' season put on hold due to low numbers, youth

Saints' season put on hold due to low numbers, youthOne year after a breakthrough season, the Christian Academy of [more]

Close loss closes curtain on long season for Pelicans

Close loss closes curtain on long season for PelicansIn the final game of the 2018 season, the Myrtle [more]

A Day at Darlington: Rain doesn't halt racing, revelry

A Day at Darlington: Rain doesn't halt racing, revelrySunday's Bojangle's Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway started with a [more]

Florence fallout again pulls plug on Friday night lights

Florence fallout again pulls plug on Friday night lightsHurricane Florence 2, Horry County Schools 0. That appears to be [more]

Strand golf courses race to re-open in wake of storm

Strand golf courses race to re-open in wake of stormMyrtle Beach area golf courses, spared the worst of Hurricane [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2018 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach