22 June 2012
UGANDA : KIU must show depth
In basketball, players are required to run from one end of the floor on every transition. For starters, the transition must not exceed 24 seconds. That implies that players are bound to get tired. So a coach is allowed to use 12 players, who can be rotated depending on the game plan and how their legs and lungs cope across the four quarters.
And the coach cannot have all players on court in a game. Most actually opt for a seven or eight-man rotation and at best, 10 get to play. Seeing Nimrod Kaboha, KIU Titans coach, overlook this basic player rotation over the years, is utterly disturbing. Last Sunday epitomised the rigidity that he faces in what could be a definitive season for the Kansanga-based side.
As they lost to 61-51 to Warriors in overtime, Kaboha’s lack of rotation was laid bare. Guard Salim Ali, the talisman, played the entire game until he fouled out during the five extra minutes. The teams were tied 52-up after four quarters. The Kenyan was visibly tired. Sooner, Brian Wati and Moses Olobo joined Ali. KIU lost the game because of the stinginess of Kaboha. This is not meant to take anything away from what Warriors did that day. Kaboha is arguably the best defensive coach here and credit to him for that. He managed to double up basketball and football so well. However, in his basketball days, there was no 24-second clock as it’s only been used here for the past few seasons. His fantastic job of coaching the university side has always involved only seven players with eight being a luxury before. The ambitions of KIU have shot up from the occasional playoff appearance to title contenders, at least with the roster they have built.
Sadly, they are not yet utilising their depth. Collins Omondi, Ali’s understudy, only gets to play when the starting point guard’s fingers feel sore. Forward Michael Makiadi went scoreless until overtime, the excuse being nine rebounds. Francis Kasekende, one of the best perimeter shooters, barely gets time on court. His 15 points against Warriors is his best return in 11 games.
Their main offensive weapon Abraham Juma, before Richard Omondi, Ali, Kasekende and Makiadi were signed, spends more games bench warming. When KIU do make the playoffs, champions DMark Power and Warriors will be smarter. The reasons will be resting, rhythm and executing plays. Playoffs normally bring two games in 48 hours and Kaboha has his work cut out.