Even while college basketball purists bemoan a decline in the caliber of play, there are still beacons: coaches who place fundamentals first and foremost. Here's a quintet of the best instructors of the basics.
Roy Williams, Kansas
If the Jayhawks run 10 drills in a practice, six or seven will relate to their vaunted transition game and its multiple options. Williams, a longtime assistant to Dean Smith at North Carolina, also brought a bit of behavioral conditioning from Chapel Hill: If any Jayhawk flubs that day's point of emphasis, the entire team runs.
Lute Olson, Arizona
The favorite drill of the professorial Olson (left): Four defenders have to stop four offensive players three times in a row, thereby developing a range of techniques, from denial to double-teaming to switching.
Gary Williams, Maryland
Williams signs players who weren't named McDonald's All-Americans, then takes that chip on their shoulder and paints it blue. With an offense that requires players to be interchangeable, says assistant Jimmy Patsos, "big men are taught guard moves, and guards learn post moves."
Billy Donovan, Florida
If the Gators are kings of the individual workout, it's because that's how Donovan went from pudgeball to player at Providence. Between classes he'll take three or four players and work on shooting and footwork.
John Chaney, Temple
The wise Owl produces sound guards by teaching them the footwork that will give them the most unobstructed view of the floor. ("Using your feet to see," is the way Nate Blackwell, the former Temple backcourtman turned assistant coach, puts it.) Chaney's most effective pedagogical tool—a sharp tongue—keeps his guards from turning the ball over.