Ray Meyer, the 46-year-old athletic director and basketball coach at Chicago's DePaul University, is known through the coaching fraternity for easy good humor. He is also respected among his colleagues for his habit of beating them regularly with material many of them would scorn. Meyer does this without recourse to fancy gimmicks but simply by concentrating on precise execution of certain basic moves, many of which are described on the following pages. In Meyer's 19 years at DePaul, his teams have been invited eight times to the NCAA or NIT tournaments; for 10 years he has been invited to coach the College All-Stars on their cross-country tours; four times the Chicago Basketball Writers have named him Coach of the Year; and in 1959 he was basketball chairman of the Pan American Games. During his playing days, Meyer was captain of the Notre Dame teams that won 40 of 46 games during the 1937 and 1938 seasons. He received the Byron Kenneally Award "for proficiency in scholastics and athletics." On the next six pages, Artist Shelley Fink and William Leggett describe the practice drills and game formations that Ray Meyer teaches and uses so successfully at DePaul.
All DePaul practice sessions start with this drill, in which one offensive man tries to outmaneuver one defensive man. The one-on-one is particularly valuable at the beginning of a season because it allows the coach to spot several important things about the offensive player—his ability to keep the ball away from the opponent, his strong or weak points in head and body fakes. If there are weaknesses they can be corrected so that later—under game conditions—he will be able to free himself from the enemy defender to drive for the basket or to feed a pass to a teammate. In the demonstration here and on subsequent pages the offensive men are in black uniforms and the defensive men are in red uniforms.
1 Player protects ball while he decides which maneuver will best deceive the defender and open the way toward the basket.
2 Head-and-shoulder fake to left causes defensive man to slide to his own right. Ball is held low in order to begin the dribble.
3 Offensive player starts to drive off his right foot as the defender, fooled by the fake, is off balance, cannot recover in time.
4 Driving player has his left hand and shoulder protecting the ball and is already a half step beyond the recovering defender.
One-on-one with pivot
This teaches players how to run the defender into a block (also called a pick) that renders him helpless. At right, on offense, are a forward and a pivot man. Their aim is to take the forward's defender out of the play. Note that the pivot man does not move once he has the ball. This opportunity arises many times during a game, and two smart offensive players can execute the maneuver quickly and work a man loose for a basket before the defender knows what is happening to him.
1 To begin this maneuver, the forward loops a pass in to the pivot man, who comes out to meet the ball and stands fast.