With Totem 62 only days away, the Armada senior boys basketball team already has a new look, compared to the team of last year.
The boys have been employing a brand new style of play, according to head coach Craig Brooks, that results in high-scoring games. The style is based on the Grinnell System, named after Grinnell College: a private liberal arts college in Iowa. It’s a unique offensive style that uses a fast pace and an emphasis on offensive rebounding, three-point shots and frequent player substitutions.
Simply put, it’s a lot of running and shooting.
Under the new system, Grinnell College holds a number of NCAA records, including the record for the most points scored by a single player in one game. Brooks hopes to emulate some of this success.
“Our main philosophy is do whatever it takes to get the ball in 10 seconds,” explained Brooks. “Even if it means giving up a couple of points.”
He described the style as “organized chaos.”
“There’s lots of free ball shooting,” he said. “The younger kids took to it quick.” The older students, he explained, were accustomed to a more defensive style of play and took a little while to adjust.
The Armada’s points per game average is already up 12 points from last year.
“It’s a work in progress,” Brooks said. “But the kids are committed.”
Brooks is just as firm in encouraging his players’ academic success as their abilities on the court. He described his coaching style with the “three D’s for the three C’s.”
The D’s, in this case, are dedication, drive and determination, and they apply to the court, the classroom and the community.
“They’re all interlinked,” said Brooks.
He says players have to apply themselves to all areas of their lives in order to excel in his system. The team has recently implemented a study session before practices, for example.
This is Brooks’ second season as head coach. He hails from southern Ontario, which also hosted a yearly high school basketball tournament, but he says the noise of Totem is incomparable.
“The energy level here is second to none,” he said.
Their first game of the tournament takes place against Ballenas at ADSS on Jan. 5 at 5:15 p.m.