I’ve had the privilege of coaching so many great players. One of those players in question was Moncton Magic assistant Coach Matt Robertson.
Matt always had a ton of potential and an impressive internal drive. In one game we were playing in Montreal, Matt was playing “soft” (that’s not exactly what I called it but we’ll go with that). Matt was tired and being the soul screener in our Wheel offense is gruelling. I needed to see some fight out of Matt. I wanted him to stand strong and hold his ground against the goon that kept smacking him around. I had enough and called a time out. I challenged Matt to hold his ground for his team mates, to be held accountable for the next bucket. Matt needed to know that his screen was just as important as the man hitting the shot. That one second gets us an open look. It was a rather animated moment if my memory serves correctly.
After that time out, you could feel a change in the air. I wasn’t sure if it was good or bad. As our point guard called wheel for what must have been the 72nd straight time, here came the cutter. Perfectly off Matt’s shoulder, it’s screen two that’s the money though and Matt knows it. Their big man came charging at Matt but he never budged. No instead he took the hit chest to chest never even slipping a little. A huge gasp of air and a crack were heard simultaneously. The whole team was proud of Matt for holding his own. It was a big moment in Matt’s development.
You could see the lightbulb that went off and he grasped what team concepts meant right then. As for the goon who was roughing Matt the whole game, well Matt put an end to his weekend. The crack and huge gasp was the other guy breaking his sternum but that’s a story for someone else to tell. Atta stay strong Matt! I’ve never been so excited about a screen in my whole life!