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

Renfrow comes full circle before making run at NFL

Renfrow comes full circle before making run at NFLThe past six months have been hectic ones for Hunter [more]

Six MBTFC athletes make National Junior Olympics

Six MBTFC athletes make National Junior OlympicsThe Myrtle Beach Track & Field Club was represented by [more]

Beach volleyball growing on Grand Strand sand

Beach volleyball growing on Grand Strand sandWhat was once a leisurely pick-up game on the beach [more]

NMB boys hoops hopeful Walker in it for long haul

NMB boys hoops hopeful Walker in it for long haulNorth Myrtle Beach believes Ryan Walker is the person to [more]

Injury halts former Chant La Stella's All-Star debut

Injury halts former Chant La Stella's All-Star debut Former Coastal Carolina standout and Los Angeles Angels second baseman [more]

Pelicans well represented at All-Star Futures Game

Pelicans well represented at All-Star Futures GameMyrtle Beach Pelicans’ catcher Miguel Amaya has been selected to [more]

Baseball bonds all ages at Legends for Youth Clinic

Baseball bonds all ages at Legends for Youth ClinicEight former big leaguers - and about 60 aspiring ones [more]

Jordans lead MBTFC to wins at Junior Olympics

Jordans lead MBTFC to wins at Junior OlympicsThe Myrtle Beach Track & Field Club was represented by [more]

Hunter brings new energy to MB volleyball program

Hunter brings new energy to MB volleyball program New Myrtle Beach High volleyball coach Alyssa Hunter knows she [more]

Soccer Locker ready for final horn after 25 years

Soccer Locker ready for final horn after 25 yearsA child steps up to the counter to purchase his [more]

MB Track and Field Club flies high at Florence meet

MB Track and Field Club flies high at Florence meetThe Myrtle Beach Track & Field Club combined boys and [more]

Rivers named honorable mention All-American

Rivers named honorable mention All-AmericanCoastal Carolina senior outfielder Kieton Rivers was recognized as a [more]

Trio of Pelicans pitchers are midseason All-Stars

Trio of Pelicans pitchers are midseason All-StarsMyrtle Beach right-handed pitchers Javier Assad, Jesus Camargo and Paul [more]

Grand Strand rec athletes find passion for pickleball

Grand Strand rec athletes find passion for pickleballNearly 100 local recreational athletes put themselves in a real [more]

CCU football loses legend with retirement of Glenn

CCU football loses legend with retirement of GlennCoastal Carolina football chief of staff and director of football [more]

Chants' season ends with stinging defeat to Jackets

Chants' season ends with stinging defeat to JacketsCoastal Carolina baseball had its season come to an end [more]

Coastal wrangles Rattlers to stay alive in Regional

Coastal wrangles Rattlers to stay alive in RegionalThe Chanticleers took an early 3-0 lead and did not [more]

MB Track & Field Club shines at Club Challenge

MB Track & Field Club shines at Club ChallengeThe Myrtle Beach Track and Field Club welcomed 22 clubs [more]

Chants battered by Tigers, drop into losers bracket

Chants battered by Tigers,  drop into losers bracketCoastal Carolina baseball saw a 2-2 tie disappear in the [more]

Chiefs seeking sixth boys hoops coach in nine years

Chiefs seeking sixth boys hoops coach in nine yearsNorth Myrtle Beach is looking for a new boys basketball [more]

Grand Strand dominates state golf course rankings

Grand Strand dominates state golf course rankings Golfweek has unveiled its annual list of the “Best Courses [more]

Hemingway narrows his college wish list to five

Hemingway narrows his college wish list to fiveTonka Hemingway has played enough games with opposing offensive linemen. He’s [more]

Chants headed to Atlanta, face Auburn in first round

Chants headed to Atlanta, face Auburn in first roundCoastal Carolina baseball received the No. 3 seed in the [more]

Chants dig deep, defend Sun Belt championship

Chants dig deep, defend Sun Belt championshipCoastal Carolina outscored the Georgia Southern Eagles 9-1 over the [more]

Chants take doubleheader, reach Sun Belt title game

Chants take doubleheader, reach Sun Belt title gameThe Chanticleers scored nine runs over the first three innings [more]

Renfrow comes full circle before making run at NFL

Renfrow comes full circle before making run at NFLThe past six months have been hectic ones for Hunter [more]

Six MBTFC athletes make National Junior Olympics

Six MBTFC athletes make National Junior OlympicsThe Myrtle Beach Track & Field Club was represented by [more]

Comments are closed.

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