Ball handling fundamentals

Watch and listen to this move by Michigan State’s Keith Appling:

First, while a great move, he carried the ball. The ball appears to come to rest in his hand between the behind-the-back dribble and the in-and-out dribble.

That being said, listen to the commentary. The analyst is extra-impressed that a right-handed player can perform a fairly simple move (in-and-out) with his left hand.

When I coached with Hoop Masters in Los Angeles, Johnny West played in the program, so Jerry West was around every now and then. He told our directors that the most important move for a young player to learn is the in-and-out move. We practiced the move with eight-year-olds, and it was a staple of our ball-handling drills.

Not to take anything away from Appling, but should we be that surprised that a point guard can make a move with his weak hand? If so, what does that say about the collective skill development of our players? It’s a nice move, and he completely shook his defender. However, for the analyst to suggest that “you rarely ever see” a right-handed player make an in-and-out dribble with his left hand suggests to me that his excitement over the move says less about the move and more about overall skill deficiencies in today’s players (or possibly bad defense that allows players to play to their strong hands too much).

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