Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer ditches triangle, gets lessons from Mike D'Antoni
SAN FRANCISCO – The Stanford Cardinal enters 2014-15 without an Ogwumike sister for the first time in six years. The graduation of the younger Ogwumike, Chiney, and teammate Mikaela Ruef meant coach Tara VanDerveer would be working with a young group of bigs. A self-evaluation made it clear: the Cardinal would have to ditch the triangle offense that's led it to so much success over the past decade-plus.
"We did not feel running the triangle would help them," VanDerveer said Wednesday at 2014-15 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Media Day. "We didn't know what we were going to do. We made contact with coaches that ran more guard-friendly offenses."
The most well known was former NBA coach Mike D'Antoni, who with the Phoenix Suns won with what was dubbed the Seven Seconds or Less offense. For Stanford's purposes, his ideas are more about spacing than running – though that doesn't mean the Cardinal won't run more. Senior guard Amber Orrange, the squad's returning scoring and assist leader, will be initiating a perimeter-oriented team that will help its bigs score by setting screens rather than running the offense out of the post as the Ogwumikes once did.
Stanford graduate and former NBA player Mark Madsen connected VanDerveer with D'Antoni, who dropped in to teach his philosophies at Cardinal practices.
"He was diagraming like crazy," VanDerveer said. "Mike was awesome. He said, 'You guys just caught on with this in two hours what our team would take a week to do.'"
The Cardinal won't look anything like it did last season, and VanDerveer is still trying to find comfort in tossing out the offense she's coached for years.
"Sometimes I go to (Stanford) men's practice – because they run triangle – just to get my triangle fix," she said.