Featured on the Tribe Spotlight this week is Wichita High School East (Wichita, KS), Joe Jackson.
Our first season running the Read & React was the 2013-2014. In two seasons since, we finished with a 3rd Place Finish 6A State Tournament (22-3) in 2014 and won the State Championship (24-1) in 2015.
2012-13: This was my first year as a head coach at Wichita East High School, after being an assistant for two outstanding coaches. That season, we ran a continuity ball screen offense and experienced a moderate amount of success; finishing with a record of 15-8 and qualified for the State Tournament in Kansas for the 1st time at our school in five years. While we had made some strides and beat our arch-rival in the Sub-State tournament to go on to State, I just felt like we could become more efficient on the offensive end. We also needed to become much better defensively.
2013-14: As mentioned earlier, this was our first season committing to the Read & React. Before the summer started, Coach Rod Briggs, the head coach at Lansing High School (Lansing, KS), and I had a long talk about basketball and the Read & React offense. He was very passionate about running the Read & React. He really stressed to me that the Read & React allows teams to have the same system in place, year after year, while giving you the versatility to adapt the offense (both the formation of the offense, as well as the actions in the offense), to utilize the strengths of your team. Coach Briggs drew up several layers for me that day and he also showed me the concepts of spots/spacing of the offense, as well. Ultimately, Coach Briggs convinced me that day to get the DVDs and check out the entire system in greater detail. After watching the first DVD, I was completely bought in to the fact that this was the offense for us. We installed the Read & React over the summer, and our players absolutely loved it. We didn’t get as deep as I would have liked to, but with the first six layers we had a very functional offense. The Pass/Cut and the Laker Cut were absolutely phenomenal for us. I knew the defense that we would see during the season was going to be a lot better than what we faced over the summer, but once the season arrived we drilled and drilled various layers (and reactions) of the Read & React and we continued to experience success. The Laker Cut, Circle Move, Dribble At, and even the Backscreen Out layers were all good to us that season. We also were fortunate to have a couple of kids that could create off of the dribble, so the Circle Move, Circle Reverse and even the Post Slides, were also good to us in our first year running the offense. We went with a 4-Out alignment the majority of the time, but each game we would also show a 5-Out formation from time to time. We finished with a 22-3 record and placed 3rd in the State in 6A (the largest classification in Kansas). Coach Briggs’ team at Lansing High School finished with a perfect 25-0 record that season, and won a State Title in 5A!
In 2014-15, running the Read & React, we had a phenomenal season. We had student-athletes that were 100% committed to the offense, and believed in it. Using the offense, we put in a few more layers than we had in the previous year, and we started getting more out of the Ball Screen layer, than we had in the previous year. On the season, running the Read & React, we shot 54% from the field and 33% as a team from behind the 3 point line. One of the other major benefits to the RR is that it promotes team play because the passer is the first option to score! Kids want to score, so they know if they swing the ball (create good ball reversal), and make a hard cut, then they will have an opportunity to score the basketball. When your team buys into that, you’ve now got more cutters, cutting hard, through the paint, and this also promotes offensive rebounding. This past season, we got 48% of our missed shots back on this offensive glass! I’m a firm believer that is an effect of our team buying into the Read & React!
At Wichita East, we are fortunate to have some outstanding kids who have bought in to the importance of hard work. We have also bought in to understanding that by becoming good at the reactions in the Read & React, our players are only going to increase their opportunities to play college basketball, because with the Read & React teaches HOW to play the game. It is my belief that it is our obligation as coaches to provide as many avenues as possible for our student-athletes to be successful on the basketball court and in life, and I truly believe that teaching the Read & React is the best way to do this!
Wichita East is an inner city school, and we don’t have a lot of money for purchases in our basketball program. We didn’t have enough money to purchase training spots for the Read & React, but we tape spots on the floor to teach our spacing. In Wichita, we have several feeder middle schools in the city, but the way the district boundaries are setup, there are likely kids on the same middle school team that end up at two or three different high schools. It’s unfortunate, but our district doesn’t allow us to work with our middle schools on the basketball court, because there are concerns about high schools recruiting kids that aren’t in their attendance area. As a result, we don’t have the option to teach the Read & React to our middle schools. We have still found that when our Freshmen come into our program, most of our kids pick up the offense quickly! Rick Torbett has done a phenomenal job of organizing and putting together the layers of the Read & React in an order that makes sense!
At Wichita East, we have compiled a 46-4 Record in two seasons since implementing the Read & React (92% Winning Percentage).
In closing, Coach Briggs has been a phenomenal resource for me, in implementing new ideas for the Read & React, talking about teaching the reaction drills in practice, and also has provided a lot of great ideas on new actions in the RR. He is a pioneer of the Read & React, as he has been running the offense virtually since Coach Torbett developed it! Last month (September), I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a PGC/Glazier Clinic in Dallas, TX, with Coach Briggs, and we got to sit in on all of Coach Torbett’s sessions. Rick is an outstanding basketball mind, and I am really looking forward to the future of the Read & React, with the new Zone looks, and looking forward to being a part of the Read & React Revolution for many years to come!
Thank you, Rick, and thank you Better Basketball for making me a better coach!