I really enjoyed “The art of the steal” by Sports Illustrated‘s Brian Hamilton on Thursday, which broke down many of the nation’s best at producing steals.
The piece takes an in-depth look into the thought process and methodology of players such as Jordan Adams at UCLA, Briante Weber at VCU, Fuquan Edwin at Seton Hall and Shannon Scott at Ohio State — to name a few of the players profiled — as they attempt to swipe the ball from an opposing player.
I particularly liked the Fuquan Edwin passages and the introduction of The Fu Effect, in which Seton Hall picks up their defensive energy, as a team, after Edwin makes a great defensive play, even though Fuquan needs to cut his fingernails.
The Fu Effect also may prompt medical assistance. Edwin notes that his fingernails tend to grow long, so when he swipes at the ball, he often leaves a mark for opponents or even teammates to remember him by. One Seton Hall player received a red slash on the face from one of Edwin’s forays. Edwin understands his teammates get frustrated, and he laughs about how they complain about him playing dirty. He believes he’s a Pirate in every sense, taking what’s yours and making it his in practice in order to ensure he can do so in a game. The best in the nation at boosting the ball are wired for it. They never emerge from stealth mode.
Players that play — and swipe — with long fingernails are the worst to deal with and knowing that information makes it easier to see why Edwin is one of the best in the Big East defending on the perimeter. Not only does Edwin have great hand-eye coordination, but his nails could potentially cut you open at any time. Nobody wants to deal with that.
And fingernails don’t just “tend to grow long”, Fuquan, they require cutting or biting. CBT is on to your Pirate tactics…
There are plenty of other great parts in this article about other players’ approach to the defensive end, and you can find the full Hamilton piece for Sports Illustrated here.