FBCB:GCBA Coaching Tips

RECRUITING TIPS:


RECRUITING (FROM RPI-FAN)

Recruiting really varies depending on the type of school you’re using. I felt like I got the best value when I was using an average team in a good conference.

I think one key thing is to remember that your scout’s ability and your own scouting rating are key factors in recruiting. When you’re with a low level school and/or coach, you’ll realize that your scouting resources are really damaging to your recruiting efforts. That SG with A potential in Jumpers, 3’s, and PerD? He turns out to be a total bum. Likewise, you won’t find any players that are “steals”. You’ll be relying almost exclusively on the generic rankings, meaning other teams will also have a bead on your players.

Now, in general, I’m finding it’s good to recruit either really close to home (home state or bordering states), or really far from home (Foreign, Hawaii, and Alaska). I haven’t really studied whether or not this affects how likely a recruit is to come to your school, but just from a resources standpoint it makes sense. Playing as West Virginia, you can evaluate TWICE as many players in the first month if you stay within your region than if you go to one of the “hotbeds” (New York, Texas, California). Evaluating players is important. There are some 3-star guys ranked in the top-200 who are god awful; likewise, I’ve found guys ranked in the 400’s and 500’s who were big-time players.

One example that comes to mind was a big man from Australia, Fred Anderson. He had fabulous inside and rebounding potential, but for some reason was ranked outside the top 200 (he was a 3-star guy). He had great high school stats (17 PPG/9 RPG IIRC), so that wasn’t a problem. For some reason he had just slipped through the cracks of the generic rankings, and my scouts were able to identify him as a good player. I got him without spending much recruiting money, and he was a 4-year starter on an ACC team.

Generally, the way I start out recruiting, is just go through my home state (or nearby states if you’re in a small one) and find guys with Average interest and 3-or-better stars. This only really works for lower level schools, and is generally more effective if you scout selectively based on stats. There’s very little reason to waste money and time on a 7/3/2 guy with no steals or blocks – he simply isn’t going to be very good, no matter what the rankings say.

Usually, after targeting home-state guys, you’ll have some money left-over. Then I like to hit up the foreign countries. You can usually evaluate at least one or two guys, and if you don’t shoot TOO high can find some pretty effective players here. Again, it’s really important here to choose which guys you’ll pursue; only take guys with good stats and academically qualified. The AI is pretty smart re: academics; if someone has a 1.8 with a 680 score, the AI will avoid him like the plague. It’s good to keep an eye on these guys for later months, because on the freak chance that they do qualify, you can get pretty good value from them. Remember that they won’t develop as well as your other players though.

So now you’ve probably got a list of mostly locals, with a couple long-distance players, and you can see all their ratings. Obviously, it’s time to do some more trimming down. This is where you’ll have to find your own strategies – you need to figure out where your team does and doesn’t need help.

One thing to make sure you look at are the athletic ratings (Quickness, Jumping, and Strength). If there is an otherwise-mediocre player with great athletic ability, he can be productive for your team. I think these guys are underrated; the AI goes after them pretty heavily (and the majority of the top-100 guys are great athletes), indicating they have a good deal of redeeming value.

My personal strategy for getting guys to sign is to go after 4-or-5 HARD in the first two months, and if the interest isn’t progressing, dump them and move on to the next guy on your list (who doesn’t have high prestige teams courting him). With a larger recruiting budget, you’ll be able to go after closer to a dozen guys with a lot of effort – just pick a nice range of “reaches”, “definite possibilities”, and “safeties”. Sometimes you’ll be pleasantly surprised to steal someone you thought was out of your range; likewise sometimes you’ll get snubbed by guys you should have easily. Like real life, it’s not at all cut-and-dry. You can do things to turn the odds in your favor, but can’t guarantee anything will happen.

I know this isn’t very in-depth, but recruiting varies SO much depending on your circumstances that it’s impossible to put together a truly comprehensive guide that covers every scenario. These tips are things that I have done and have had moderate success with; I’m sure there are better ways to go about recruiting, but there are also worse ways

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A couple more thoughts on recruiting:

C: INS/DRB/PSD Strength

PF: Same

SF: Kind of an all-around player who can play both inside or outside. You can play either a good interior or good outside playere here too as long as you adjust the game plan.

SG: INS/JPS/PRD Jumping and Quickness

PG: Handling and Quickness. Then Passing/PRD.

  1. Only go after high school players, with one exception: if a guy decides to leave school early and you don’t have someone waiting in the wings to be a solid starter the next season, them recruit a JUCO player.
  1. When assessing recruiting position needs, look at players who are Juniors and lower. Because more players in the position the less the recruit will sign with you.
  1. There are useful players to be found amongst the one-star crowd.
  2. Stats are at least somewhat meaningful. Check them! They can be especially helpful in finding guys who might be able to play out of their listed position. Looking for a point guard, sort first on steals, then start looking down the page at guys who average more assists than turnovers–even if they are listed at 2 or 3. Some of these guys end up having good ball handling skills and quickness, and can be converted into point guards. A few other ones…

Tall PG’s with solid scoring numbers could be 2G’s.

Tall SG’s with good scoring and rebouding? Perhaps he can fill that need at SF.

Post players with decent steals and Ast/Tur ratios sometimes end up being quick enough and good enough ball handlers to play SF.

Similarly, taller SF’s with high rebounds, shot blocking and who are on the heavy side for their heights might just have the skills to get it done in the paint.

 

LINEUP SETTING:


My experience has been that this is a very solid, very realistic game engine. The result is that I don’t find myself “playing against the game,” but merely using what I consider to be sound basketball strategy. Therefore, lineup setting for me is pretty simple and logical. Here’s what I look for in each position, in the order of importance for me:

PF & C–I look at these positions together. I want to have the most important bases covered in the post, so I want two starters who complement each other’s  skills, so that between the two of them I can count on these bases being covered: inside scoring, defensive rebounding, post defense, shot blocking. Strength and offensive rebounding are nice to have as well, but I look at these secondarily. Once I pick the two, the one who is better defensively starts at Center.

SF–Definitely the “swing-man” for me. Oftentimes my decision as to a starter here is based more upon what skills I am weak in elsewhere, rather than who my best overall option is. In other words, if my post players are suspect defensively, I will value post defense more highly here. If I think I need help rebounding, then I look for that. If neither my PG nor SG can shoot well from the outside, I look for an outside scorer. I have found that a variety of types of players will work here, if you set your strategies accordingly. I do value quickness at this position.

SG–If, as is usually the case, I have a good ball handler but weak scorer at the point, I want my 2-guard to be a good outside shooter, 3-point guy. When I have the high-skill ball handler at PG, I don’t worry as much about this guy’s ball handling. I just want it to be decent.

PG–Ball handling, ball handling, ball handling. We can’t score if we don’t have the ball, and we won’t have the ball if we give it to the other team. I’d rather have a guy like my current point guard: 92 ball handling, 39 passing, than 39/92 guy any day of the week. As when I coach church ball, I *hate* turnovers.  After ball handling, and then quickness, pretty much everything else is gravy to me at this position.

 

GAME PLAY:


MOTION–This one’s pretty cut and dried, as is stated in the manual: “A higher motion setting will make the team play a more structured game. It would take away some from the individual freedom to score but it will create more opportunities for less talented scorers. A team with many players who lack the ability to create shots would benefit from using more motion.” Pretty straightforward. In case you didn’t know it, guys with low INS scoring are the ones who “lack the ability to create shots.” I have come to value INS in my recruiting and training camp settings pretty highly, so if things are going according to plan, I use a low motion setting. However, I’ve been stuck with some starting squads that have caused me to have to increase my motion settings. As one would expect, high-motion offenses seem to work best with guys who take care of the basketball well.

Motion:

Basically regardless of scoring ability (JS and IS ratings) if you have better dribblers than passers and high quickness go less motion. If you have low motion and bad dribblers you will have high turnovers. If you have better passers then more motion you should have. If it is about equal then about 4-6.

High motion if:

  1. a) Passing ratings are good, ball handling ratings are good
  2. b) Team is poor defensively
  3. c) Low stamina; little depth
  4. d) High jumpshooting and 3-point rating than Inside and Quickness

 

OFFENSE FOCUS–Pretty obvious. I go with my strengths. Even in the early going, though, it isn’t that hard to field a relatively balanced team. I use “balanced” more than any other, but this for me this is 100% dependent on my personnel.

 

DEFENSES–I use two: M2M and 2-3. I don’t press and trap much, so these two seem to work just fine. I haven’t used it much in FBCB, but if, as with the rest of the game, these things work realistically, I’d use 1-3-1 if I liked to trap.

 

PRESS/TRAP–I don’t use these a lot right now. I know someone posted about LOVING to use these in a “40-minutes-of-hell” style team. Because I like to focus more on offensive skills than defensive skills in recruiting, I usually don’t have the kind of personnel to make these work for me.

 

DOUBLE INSIDE/DOUBLE OUTSIDE–I only bump these up if I have a defensive liability in the post or at one of the guards who I think might benefit from some help.

PACE & PLAYING TIME–I mentioned this earlier in this thread, but this depends entirely on my personnel. The two main things I assess when determining how fast a pace I should use are:

 

  1. How many quality players do I have on the bench?
  2. How much endurance do my starters have?

 

I have just adhered to these general rules:

 

  1. Solid reserves + low endurance starters = low playing time for starters and faster pace.
  2. Bad reserves + high endurance starters = high playing time for starters and slower pace.

 

Depending on how good my reserves are, and how high endurance my starters have, I adjust playing time and pace accordingly. I’ve literally had success everywhere from 0 to 10 on the pace scale.

Pace:

Pace will tire your players out more quickly but also the opponents. It will cause more transition points but more turnovers, based on overall passing and dribbling skills and quickness. If you have good passers and but mainly dribblers and good depth or stamina but they are not good scorers this is your best option. Other wise it is good to lower it. The manual says you spend more time looking for a shot if it is low so they’re would be more passing and dribbling (depending on motions which one they’ll be more of) so then there would be more chance of turnover right? But if you search more for a good shot wouldn’t your FG% go up. So what’s the better option here. Should depth in athleticism be the only factor.

View on when to use high pace:

  1. a) Team is generally solid offensively at every position
  2. b) team has good rebounding ability
  3. c) no one standout offensive player you want to focus on
  4. d) Lots of depth
  5. e) High stamina, generally
  6. f) Passing ratings aren’t very good, ball handling is decent

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Balance strategy:

(1) Hire good to excellent assistant coaches

(2) Recruit mediocre players that are excellent in steals and their defense (interior for PF/C and perimeter for PG/SG)

(3) Recruit players with high inside scoring ability

(4) Man Defensive at 10 the entire game every game

(5) Only use 3 or 4 defenses per season, trying to get them to 100 proficiencies as soon as possible.

(6) Pace, motion, and 3 point shooting set depending on teams talent

(7) Red-shirt as much as possible

( Play as many games as early in the season as possible (this gets your teams proficiency in playing their defenses higher before the teams you are playing. Watch out for injuries though, because if you bunch too many games together, one minor injury may take out a key player for a lot of games)

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RUN and GUN STRATEGY

  • 10 Pace
  • 10 pressing
  • 10 trapping
  • usually high 3-pointers
  • Just go out and recruit some solid perimeter players with high stealing
  • add one or two guys who can rebound
  • Almost too effective with lesser teams (although that could be due to almost always out-recruiting the AI teams in the lower levels.)

 

How this works: By recruiting for a very specific style of play I avoid competing head to head with teams for players I can not win. A lot of times a very good defensive player (3+ steals with B+ or better in their key defensive rating) will go unrecruited because they can’t shoot, rebound, pass or all three. However, because this strategy leads to a lot of steals and fastbreaks, the players shooting rating means very little (a lot of dunks on the fast break). I prefer inside shooting because I want my guys taking the ball to the hoop as much as possible, drawing fouls and taking higher percentage shots because my team is often times only mediocre (or worse) in the half-court sets. With this strategy, I can beat some very good teams, but sometimes I get beat by a team with a very good point guard, who just refuses to turn the ball over (even if his team isn’t that good). As my team improves, I’ll keep an eye out for those games where I don’t think the pressing and trapping will do any good, and drop back into a more conventional setting.

 

SCHEDULING:


There are three important bits of information to consider with regard to scheduling:

  1. One factor in player development is the level of competition they faced last season.
  2. There is no tiredness carry-over from game to game.
  3. Your team gets better defensively as they play more games.

 

Taking these factors into consideration,

  1. Get as many games in as early as possible. When I was an Indy, I’d sometimes play all of my games every other day until I had all 28 in.
  2. Even when I completely suck, schedule at least 3 games on the road against schools with Prestige of 90 or better.

NOTE: Some may consider #1 a “cheat” of sorts, but it is definitely risky. If a key player gets hurt or is academically ineligible, he’ll miss *FAR* more games this way. If you do consider this a cheat, then an easy house rule would go something like this: “No more than 3 games scheduled in any one week, and no more than 10 games scheduled in any month.” It isn’t nearly as big of a deal once you get into a conference.

 

In a conference, here’s how to schedule the 10 games (12 if not invited to play in a preseason tourney) at your disposal:

 

Day 1: Away, school with Prestige <10

Day 3: Away, school with Prestige <10 (These first two are “tune-ups” to get the defense improving just a little.)

Day 5: Away, school with Prestige >95

Day 7: Away, school with Prestige >95 (The next two are to help with level of competition. If you are good, when you steal one of them it is almost always a quality win. If you are  not in a preseason tourney, schedule a third away game with a school >95 Prestige.)

 

Then, start the home games. Sort teams by last year’s record. Schedule teams that had good records–in hopes for quality wins at home. Increase the prestige of the teams you’re playing as you go along, as follows:

 

Day 9: Home, highest-record school with prestige 30ish points below mine.

Day 11: Home, highest-record school with prestige 20ish points below mine.

Day 13: Home, highest-record school with prestige 10ish points below mine.

Day 15: Home, highest-record school with prestige near mine.

Day 17: Home, highest-record school with prestige 5-10 points above mine.

Day 19: Home, highest-record school with prestige 10-20 points above mine. (If not in a tourney, schedule another home game against a school with Prestige 10-20 points above mine.)