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Cry Havoc And Let Slip The Dogs Of Hoops
Luke Winn
February 04, 2013
NOT SINCE NOLAN RICHARDSON'S ARKANSAS TEAMS OF THE 1990'S HATH A PROGRAM UNLEASHED 40 MINUTES OF HELL QUITE LIKE THAT OF VCU'S MEN OF STEAL
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February 04, 2013

Cry Havoc And Let Slip The Dogs Of Hoops

NOT SINCE NOLAN RICHARDSON'S ARKANSAS TEAMS OF THE 1990'S HATH A PROGRAM UNLEASHED 40 MINUTES OF HELL QUITE LIKE THAT OF VCU'S MEN OF STEAL

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As for who has the best defensive stance, it might just be the guy in the suit, who is no passive observer of Havoc. Smart calls out the presses, yells, "Go! Go! Go!" when it's time to trap and even sets an example for his players. "Coach definitely gets the lowest of any of us," Weber says. "He has good hips." When Brandenberg sees Smart in the stance, he's reminded of a favorite photo from last season where he's pressing in front of the bench, "and it looks like Coach is part of the trap."

When Bavery watches VCU games on TV and sees Smart in the stance, the high school coach flashes back to a mental image: He hears a ball bouncing in the gym early one morning in 1994 and peeks in to find Smart working out alone. "He's tossing the ball out to the side, getting in a defensive stance, sliding so he can deflect it, then picking it up and driving to the basket for a lay-in," Bavery recalls. "Nobody does stuff like that." That's how Havoc began, with a teenage guard in an otherwise empty gym, plundering imaginary foes.

Bavery continues to coach—now for the Cardinals of Middleton, a high school outside of Madison—and he continues to press. No more Pitino schemes, though. Bavery has spent enough time at VCU camps that he's been won over by his protégé's system. MTIXE is being phased out after 23 years in favor of something new. This season Bavery put up a banner in the team room that said CARDINAL CHAOS. Had he been coaching an "H" team—Hawks, maybe—he says he might have gone with a similarly alliterative descriptor. But Chaos is still, as Smart might say, a most sincere form of flattery.

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