Self's Multiple High-Low: Go, Bill, Go

  • On another thread I mentioned that Self had innovated the high-low offense again this season.

    Hell! Self has thrown away more offensive innovations than most other coaches develop.

    Recall the 45-degree chop and weave he worked on for a month in November and junked, saying it just wasn’t working enough better to use.

    Most coaches dream of coming up with something that insightful and Self just shrugs and says it was working quite good enough. Sheeesh!

    Still, who wants to bet that that crazy, brilliant, cock-eyed, 45 degree angular chop and weave innovation does not become a “hat rabbit” some time shortly offering the same level of surprise offensively that the “Purdue Lane-Jumping” bunny did for defense? Its not a sure thing that Self will pull out what I was all set to label the Colt 45 Chop’n’Weave, but it is possible.

    Oh, and recall he ran the Colt 45 weave out of the high low formations of 3-2 and 4-1.

    This is what is so amazing about Bill and his High Low.

    Bill has figured out a way to run EVERYTHING out of the High Low: 1-3-1, 3-2, 4-1, 5-0, its all flipping High Low. Its all flipping Dean and Larry Carolina Passing Offense.

    But here IS the difference this season. Self is no longer just rotating the 5 and the 4; THAT IS the unfair advantage he has given this team.

    Most of the other coaches haven’t even got a clue he is doing it, and those that do have a clue, haven’t figured out how to defend it when Self is rotating Josh.

    It is such a simple, elegant, BEAUTIFUL insight Self has had.

    If Henry was right and you could rotate the big men with each other and create “situations”, well than why not rotate one big man with a wing?

    The light bulb had to be blinding, when it went off!

    Like one of the 800 lumen Nitecore light sabres the special forces guys like to carry, blind, and crack the skull with, before they whip out their easy open Emerson and sever the crucial artery or vein, that’s nearest and handiest.

    Its easy to dream about having a guy like Josh pop up everywhere, to play all the positions. But how to actually do it within the confines of an offensive system that actually keeps optimizing the larger team work; aye, there’s the rub, Captain Kirk.

    To the amateurs and hard bound professionals the High Low was the problem.

    Gotta get outta the old, moribund high low, and let the kids play AAU ball in the Dribble Drive.

    Gotta get into a Princeton and time everything perfectly.

    Gotta go back to Wooden’s single high post.

    Gotta run isolations like the NBA.

    Gotta. Gotta. Gotta.

    But Self is that particular kind of genius that can find the solution in the supposed problem itself; thus no loss of baby with bathwater tossing.

    Henry invented the High Low to be easy and quick to learn, and protean in its possibilities; this Dean and Larry grasped almost instantly, and Dean pointed the way with his book Multiple Offenses, but even Dean didn’t quite get that there was something deeper to the high low that just glomming on this or that “action” from the Oklahoma Shuffle, or something Phog did.

    Henry’s high-low was Oklahoma Tumbleweed Buddhism. It was the Glass Bead game. It was just waiting for a Magister Ludi. I recognized Self was likely that guy even before he won the ring. But I mistook his incredible insight that you don’t try to set tempo for essence of the Glass Bead Game–the essence of Tumbleweed Buddhism’s both-ness.


    The high low is not IT either.

    But the High Low is a crucial piece of it just as not setting tempo unless they don’t want to set tempos is, and just as “both-ness” is.

    Iba Ball that Bill Ludi has brought to its greatest completeness so far is like a flipping mobile. It is a bunch of pieces suspended around an axis of countervailing forces. Iba ball is about holding and operating from the intangible, but ever so real center of the glass bead game of basketball.

    It is about everything in counterbalance.

    This team is like a mobile in some regards.

    Push on this piece, and the other pieces respond and reconcile and redistribute the forces among them.

    Some of the pieces are counter balanced in pairs. Some of the pieces are counterbalanced in threes. Certain pieces are parts of both of those 2 and 3 piece systems. No longer do just two bigs rotate with each other. Now bigs rotate with wings. And wings rotate with point guards, And bigs rotate in ball screens with point guards that end in point guards like Frank grabbing rebounds against footers.

    It has been an awesome thing to watch and only partially understand.

    Self’s brain has been working overtime in that creative place he goes from time to time and way more often than most.

    This season, Self is not even trying to explain what they are doing anymore.

    He’s way up there on the mountain top right now.

    The game is requiring all of his focus.

    At times, even his assistants don’t appear to fully grasp what’s going on in games.

    I suspect this is a little like seeing something black in the sky at night over Edwards AFB in 1964. We aren’t going to know what we saw was an SR-71 Black Bird for awhile afterwards.

    Go, Bill, go!!!

  • Love it.

    How many hours does Bill spend at the board?

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