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

Week 4: Seahawks top CF; Sharks, Chiefs roll to wins

Week 4: Seahawks top CF; Sharks, Chiefs roll to winsA year ago, Darius Hough decided the only bright lights [more]

Thursday Roundup: NMB, CF volleyball roll in region

Thursday Roundup: NMB, CF volleyball roll in regionThe Carolina Forest and North Myrtle Beach volleyball teams remained [more]

Gilmore makes home run for hall of fame induction

Gilmore makes home run for hall of fame inductionCoastal Carolina baseball head coach Gary Gilmore will be inducted [more]

Monday Roundup: CF, SJ impress at Lady Patriot

Monday Roundup: CF, SJ impress at Lady PatriotThe Carolina Forest and St. James girls golf team made [more]

Strand sends record-tying four stars to Shrine Bowl

Strand sends record-tying four stars to Shrine Bowl Horry County has had an on-again, mostly off-again relationship with [more]

Chants do it with defense for second straight week

Chants do it with defense for second straight weekNot even a 44-minute lightning delay midway through the third [more]

Week 3: MB, CF roll to set up battle of undefeateds

Week 3: MB, CF roll to set up battle of undefeatedsJon "JJ" Jones returned to his old stomping grounds at [more]

Wednesday's Roundup: SJ girls go low to beat Braves

Wednesday's Roundup: SJ girls go low to beat BravesSt. James traveled to Prestwick Country Club on Wednesday to [more]

Tuesday Roundup: Wins for CF golf, NMB volleyball

Tuesday Roundup: Wins for CF golf, NMB volleyballThe reigning Class 4A state champion North Myrtle Beach High [more]

MB transfer cleared just in time to face former school

MB transfer cleared just in time to face former schoolMyrtle Beach football player J.J. Jones has been cleared to [more]

Games go on after Dorian throws schedules for loop

Games go on after Dorian throws schedules for loopDespite Hurricane Dorian costing Horry County Schools a week of [more]

Chants capture historic victory over Jayhawks

Chants capture historic victory over JayhawksCoastal Carolina football recorded its first-ever win over a Power [more]

Who's No. 1? Two teams atop latest football polls

Who's No. 1? Two teams atop latest football polls Like it did after last year’s state championship games, Horry [more]

Hurricane Dorian calls halt to Strand sports schedule

Hurricane Dorian calls halt to Strand sports scheduleHurricane Dorian is not expected to make landfall on the [more]

Coast U-19 girls pass early test, take Atlanta Cup title

Coast U-19 girls pass early test, take Atlanta Cup titleCoach R.J. Bass wanted a strong early test for his [more]

Eastern Michigan spoils Coastal's season opener

Eastern Michigan spoils Coastal's season opener The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers opened their season the same way [more]

Week 1: Historic win for SJ; MB, CF roll in openers

Week 1: Historic win for SJ; MB, CF roll in openersTommy Norwood tried to nix the Gatorade bath. He raised [more]

Welch wins World Am in East/West Coast shootout

Welch wins World Am in East/West Coast shootoutWilliam Welch (West Islip, N.Y.) shot a net 69 (gross [more]

Golf: CF packs 1-2 punch; St. James claims tri-match

Golf: CF packs 1-2 punch; St. James claims tri-matchThe Carolina Forest girls golf team made a strong showing [more]

Chiefs reach Border Battle finale, swept by Warriors

Chiefs reach Border Battle finale, swept by WarriorsThe Palmetto State made a strong showing in the Border [more]

Perfect conditions greet thousands for World Am

Perfect conditions greet thousands for World AmBeautiful weather greeted the 3,215 golfers participating in the 36th [more]

Two Coast FA boys teams crowned Triangle champs

Two Coast FA boys teams crowned Triangle champsTwo Coast FA boys teams returned home as champions from [more]

Week 0: Chiefs top Tigers; Sharks beat Lions at horn

Week 0: Chiefs top Tigers; Sharks beat Lions at hornMatt Reel sighed more than once when talking about his [more]

Six former Pelicans make big-league leap to Cubs

Six former Pelicans make big-league leap to Cubs The distance from Myrtle Beach’s TicketReturn.com Stadium to Chicago’s Wrigley [more]

Chiefs try to stay hungry, humble in title repeat bid

Chiefs try to stay hungry, humble in title repeat bidThe only thing harder than winning a state championship is [more]

Week 4: Seahawks top CF; Sharks, Chiefs roll to wins

Week 4: Seahawks top CF; Sharks, Chiefs roll to winsA year ago, Darius Hough decided the only bright lights [more]

Thursday Roundup: NMB, CF volleyball roll in region

Thursday Roundup: NMB, CF volleyball roll in regionThe Carolina Forest and North Myrtle Beach volleyball teams remained [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2019 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach