Grand (Valley) offensive scheme |

Grand (Valley) offensive scheme

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kara K. Pearson Post Independent

PARACHUTE ” Scott Kiburis will be the first to tell you he’s an offensive-minded coach.

Take in a Grand Valley boys basketball game and you’ll quickly come to the same conclusion. That’s why it’s no surprise the style of offense he employs is one that’s more or less predicated on outscoring the other team.

That would be the dribble-drive motion offense ” as it’s widely known in basketball coaching circles ” and the Cardinals run it to near perfection. So well, in fact, Grand Valley earned a brief mention in a recent Sports Illustrated article (Fast and Furious, Feb. 18 edition) on the dribble-drive motion offense.

It’s a high points-yielding offensive attack that features four perimeter players, centers on dribble penetration and relegates the post player to the weak side of the lane, creating space for said penetration. As he barrels toward the basket, the penetrator decides what comes next.

Kick out to a perimeter player for an open 3? Dish to the post for an easy bucket? Kiss a layup off the glass?

The end result: layups and 3-pointers en masse.

It’s an attack that’s catching fire, at all levels of the game, nationwide and one that Kiburis and his coaching staff began implementing last season.

“Last year we put it in, and that’s what eventually used throughout the state tournament as our primary offense,” the veteran coach explained. “It’s something we had been working on all year. We just used more and more of it.”

And where did that lead the Cardinals? To the Class 2A state title.

In three state tournament victories, Grand Valley averaged nearly 79 points a game, outgunning teams with a smallish lineup ” its tallest player was 6-foot-5 Luke Braby ” and a bevy of hot-shooting guards, most under or right around 6 feet.

Smallish teams everywhere are flocking to the en-vogue offense, which lends itself nicely to teams packed with quick personnel.

And, sure enough, its innovator is personally linked to Kiburis.

As a freshman at Los Altos High School (Calif.) some 25 years ago, Kiburis likely never imagined his coach, Vance Walberg, would one day be a household name. Well, if that household is a house full of coaches, anyway.

Walberg’s trajectory to the status of coaching genius hasn’t exactly taken place in the limelight. The longtime California high school coach developed the quirks of his offense at places like Clovis West High School and Fresno City College. He coached men’s basketball at Pepperdine University for a year and a half before resigning in the middle of the 2007-08 season.

Kiburis always kept tabs on Walberg, if only indirectly, over the years.

“My friends kept sending me articles as he moved on to Fresno City College,” he said. “I kept getting these e-mails, so I kind of always knew about what he was doing. So, he was speaking at a clinic in Denver [a few years ago] and I went to talk to him. I talked to him on the phone a few times.”

Knowing that a number of high school and college teams were having success with Walberg’s system ” most notably John Calipari and his team at the University of Memphis ” Kiburis decided to weave elements of the dribble-drive motion offense into his team’s attack.

“How often they won was the thing for me,” Kiburis said with a laugh. “It just fits my philosophy of offense, not worrying about taking a bad shot.”

And, for a second straight season, it’s working.

The Cardinals are 18-2 entering the Paonia-hosted Class 2A District 5 semifinals and show no signs of slowing as they prepare to face Meeker tonight.

“[It works] especially at small schools,” said Kiburis. “You usually have two guys that can score, who do the majority of the shooting. We’re trying to get the shots to the whole team. Ideally, each position on the court gets at least 10 shots a game. If they get a shot, they can take it and feel comfortable doing that. I like that. A lot of the drills we’re doing are game-oriented against each other.”

While Walberg’s offense is most often dubbed dribble-drive motion, it’s also been called the Memphis Attack or the, well, Walberg Offense. Walberg’s original name for it was “attack, attack, skip, attack, attack.”

Around Parachute, it’s known simply as Fresno. And the idea is to outscore the opponent, something Grand Valley typically does. With a swarming press to complement the high-scoring offensive attack, Cardinal games are always a fast-paced affair.

“We’ve got four guys on the perimeter, all comfortable shooting the 3,” Kiburis said. “We’ve got good court vision. When we play defense, you want to press yourself.”

That press is all about getting the ball back as quickly as possible to, well, create more shots.

And, just like his old coach, offense has always been Kiburis’ specialty.

“The defensive part of it is just, you know …,” he said. “It’s not like we don’t work on defense at all. It’s just how do we get the ball back as quick as possible?”

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