The Exceptional Player
These are some of the things that make a player a standout above the rest. The exceptional player:
1. Always plays great defense, even when his/her offense is "off".
2. Always hustles, boxes-out and rebounds.
3. Sees the whole floor and is an excellent passer, able to find the open teammate.
4. Is a good ball-handler, avoids costly turnovers.
5. Can shoot from outside.
6. Can drive, "take it to the hoop".
You can't rely on just an outside shot, or just your ability to drive. You've got to be able to do both. If you can't score from outside, the defense will "sag" and not allow you to drive. If you can't drive, they will guard you close outside, and not allow your outside shot. You’ve got to be able to do both so that the defense cannot key on either aspect of your game.
7. Looks for the open shot all the time. Doesn't stop shooting just because of missing one or two shots early in the game. If a great player starts off "cold", he/she will usually get it going by hustling, playing good defense, getting a steal or two, and getting into the flow of the game, and getting an easy lay-up or free-throw. Then the shots will start falling.
8. Can make clutch free-throws.
9. Stays out of foul-trouble.
10. Has "mental toughness"... is able to sense the critical times in a game and elevate his/her game and teammates a notch (especially with defense, hustle and rebounding). Is able to make the "big plays" in crunch time. Is able to do the "little things" needed to win...like making the pass to an open teammate, setting a perfect screen, making a steal, etc. Keeps focused...does not get upset by a bad call. Is able to forget mistakes and keep playing hard. Understands the game situation, the clock.
11. Inspires and leads his/her teammates by example, hard work and hustle in practice and during games. The exceptional player works harder than anyone else. You can't ask your teammates to practice and play harder if you're not there yourself. Exceptional players are not born...they become exceptional by hard work and dedication.
12. Understands the concept of "team" and "family". It takes more than skill to have a championship team. You must have team "chemistry", respect for each other, a common goal, and help and encourage each other.
13. The exceptional player is "coachable". Listens and works closely with the coach. Is willing to try new things and is willing to "step up" when the coach needs some leadership on and off the court.