MBB : Point system: Taylor develops into prototypical Badgers lead guard under Bo Ryan

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 20, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Nick: [email protected] | @nicktoneytweetscenter_img Bo Ryan’s whistle froze Saul Phillips in horror. Point guards coached by Ryan are ‘almost brainwashed’ to avoid turnovers.Fear set in for Phillips as his errant pass sailed out of bounds during a practice and he heard the whistle – signaling he committed the cardinal sin of Wisconsin-Platteville point guard play.‘I remember he asked me if I was trying to be that bad,’ said Phillips, the head coach at North Dakota State and a two-time assistant coach under Ryan. ‘He didn’t yell or scream, but he expected his point guards to deliver for him.’From Platteville to Madison, Wis., strong point guard play has been a determining factor in Ryan’s coaching success. Using his motion offense led by steady floor generals, Ryan’s teams haven’t missed the NCAA Tournament during his 11-year tenure as the Badgers head coach. This season is no different, as Ryan’s best player is point guard Jordan Taylor, who flawlessly runs Wisconsin’s methodical half-court style of play. Taylor and Ryan form a special player-coach tandem matched by few in the nation this season. The head coach preaches low-possession, defensive basketball that creates low-scoring games that typically go down to the wire. Those types of games give Taylor the chance to showcase his clutch shooting, as he most recently did with a game-winning 3-pointer in the Badgers’ victory over Vanderbilt in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWith Taylor directing the team’s offense, Wisconsin has advanced to the Sweet 16 to take on top-seeded Syracuse on Thursday.If turnovers draw Ryan’s ire, Taylor’s play is a stress relief. The senior is on pace to end his career as the NCAA’s all-time assist-to-turnover ratio leader.‘That’s what separates Jordan Taylor,’ said Phillips of that low turnover ratio. ‘He can distribute and he can score, but above all, he holds on to the ball.’But as Phillips knows, playing point guard for Ryan isn’t as easy as Taylor makes it look. Ryan’s angry moments that Phillips remembers come early and often for a point guard who doesn’t play by Ryan’s rules.Sharif Chambliss, Ryan’s first Wisconsin point guard recruit, said Ryan’s ball handlers need to have thick skin and must play with confidence.‘You have to take constructive criticism well,’ said Chambliss, now a video coordinator for the Badgers after playing point guard for Ryan from 2004-05. ‘He’ll get on you if you don’t take what he says and learn from it.’Like Phillips, Chambliss said there were times that he was ‘chewed out’ by Ryan. But both former point guards said Ryan’s tough love approach stems from his own playing days as a point guard for Wilkes (Pa.) University. And Phillips and Chambliss think that tough love helped improve their play at the position.Phillips said that behind the tough exterior, Ryan is a ‘master communicator’ who knows how to motivate point guards.‘It’s hard to shrink down your message as a coach into a sound byte, and as a coach, you have to have the attention of your players,’ Phillips said. ‘But look at Bo’s teams. They never deviate from a style. You know what you’re getting from them night in and night out.‘And the point guard is just an extension of that. Demanding consistency makes Bo’s point guards an extension of him.’Dick Bennett, Wisconsin’s head coach before Ryan, said that message is increasingly difficult to get across to today’s players.‘If they’re smart, point guards will listen,’ Bennett said. ‘And you can tell Bo makes sure they listen – just look at the talent he’s had there.’The point guards that deliver for Ryan flourish in his point-guard-friendly system. Devin Harris, the point guard he inherited during his first season at Wisconsin, is now a star for the NBA’s Utah Jazz.Phillips said Ryan helped mold Harris into the player he is today.‘Against Kentucky in the Elite Eight (sic), they were trapping (Harris) every time down the court,’ Phillips said. ‘During a timeout, Bo suggested a reverse pivot move to break the first defender. The next thing you know, we made a run and almost upset them, and they were a one-seed.’More recently, Taylor’s point guard predecessor, Trvon Hughes, was a 2010 All-Big Ten second team selection. And Hughes’ predecessor, Kammron Taylor, was also named to the second team as a senior. Both are playing professionally in Europe.‘I just try to do a job of steering these guys in the right direction,’ Ryan said at his Monday press conference before the Badgers’ game against Syracuse on Thursday. ‘(We focus on) giving them the fundamentals, giving them the teaching, giving them, with the rest of our staff, the things we think need to be done.’Taylor is the latest Badgers player to thrive under Ryan’s tutelage. The point guard scored a team-high 19 points in Wisconsin’s three-point win over Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, on Feb. 26.Bennett, the former Badgers head coach, said it’s easy to see that Taylor is the best point guard in Ryan’s long line of talented players directing his system.And because of that, Phillips said Wisconsin could pull the upset against the Orange. ‘If the point guard plays the way he knows he can, they have a chance,’ Phillips said. ‘Bo’s teams always do.’[email protected]last_img

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