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What Makes European Basketball Players Different

The Growing Interest in European Basketball Players

If you watched the NBA draft this year, you know that the story outside of Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram being drafted one and two was that a record 15 European players were taken in the first round. That’s an impressive number and continues a trend of the NBA’s growing interest in overseas players. Why the sudden interest? Last week while training one of my players who plays professionally in Europe, I asked him during one of breaks, “What is different about the way the European players train and play versus the way American players do?” He initially responded by talking about how fundamentally sound they were and then expanded that thought to include how hard they worked and their ability to correctly read defenses in a split second. Imagine that…fundamentals and basketball IQ make European players different. That being said, those two components need to be the basis of your basketball skill development.

Why Fundamentals are Important to Your Training

Fundamental basketball is crucial to your basketball training. Just like you cannot build a house without a foundation, your cannot build your basketball game without solid fundamentals. Primarily, you need to be able to pass, dribble and shoot the basketball well and none of it has to be stylish. The aforementioned player at one point said, not many players in Europe have a crazy handle, but they can all handle the ball. He elaborated by explaining that European players aren’t about having a swaggy handle to break you down off the dribble and get to the rim. It is more about the team game, getting into the teeth of the defense, making the correct read and passing to the open man for the jump shot. This brings me to his next point is that the European players can all shoot the ball really well. So when they run the spread pick and roll that you often see and passes are made to the perimeter for the open jumper, you know it is going in the basket.

Basketball IQ Will Get You Paid

Beyond their fundamental skills, European players have a tremendous understanding of the game of basketball. Their basketball IQ is off the charts so much so, that often times, players with a higher basketball IQ often get paid more money overseas. These are the basketball players that can read the defense in a split second and determine whether or not it is a catch and shoot situation or a drive and finish situation. And, when I say drive, I don’t mean with an excessive amount of dribble moves. I am referring to the ability of the offensive  basketball player to see how the defender is closing out and go by him out of the triple threat using his footwork.

Adjust your Basketball Training to Include Fundamentals and Reading Defenses

Basketball IQ is vital to your success as a basketball player along with having solid fundamentals. In fact, you can really make the case that understanding the game and reading defenses is a fundamental skill in and or itself. Either way, players need to take note of this and adjust their basketball training accordingly to including developing fundamental basketball skills (passing, dribbling and shooting) in a way that teaches them to read the defense and develop an understanding of the game of basketball.

If you are interested in taking your basketball game to the next level come train with us this fall. Elite Basketball Training’s fall basketball training programs are available now on our training page and conveniently located in two locations, Edison and Red Bank, New Jersey.


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