Saturday, October 25, 2008

SAM: Spacing, Angles, Movement

Good interview on Jay Zuckerman's "Interview Basketball" site with Samford head coach Jimmy Tillette [pictured here], who is "the only head coach running the base Princeton Offense who was not a former assistant or player for [Pete] Carril."

On how he researched the Princeton Offense:  “I needed something to do in the spring, so when I was an assistant coach [at Samford in the mid 1990's], I decided I was going to investigate the Princeton system. I spent four or five hours a day looking at tapes. I initially took 99 pages of notes trying to figure out the Princeton Offense.”

On seeking advice from Coach Carril on the Princeton Offense:  “Years ago, you’d call him saying ‘I want to talk about your offense’. He’d say ‘figure it out yourself’ and hang up the phone.  You had to fight. He’s a crusty old guy.  They got calls all the time from people saying ‘listen, I’ve been playing golf all summer, would you mind giving me all your hard earned ideas?' They don’t have a lot of tolerance for that.”

On convincing one of Caril's assistant to give him some hints:  “I put together 20 to 30 concepts on some transparencies. I really went up there like a geek bearing gifts. I showed them my work.”

On the beauty of the Princeton Offense:  "It’s constantly in flux and constantly changing. One of its strengths is its malleability. You can change it, but still retain the essence of it.” [He called his offense 'SAM,' an acronym for spacing, angles, and movement, the three cornerstones of the Princeton Offense.]