Michigan guard Laval Lucas-Perry is learning at The Point
Before games this fall, don’t be surprised if Laval Lucas-Perry is sneaking a peek at a notebook, trying to receive a quick brush up on his chosen course of study.
No, we’re not talking an advanced marketing class.
Instead, try a 16-page bunch of reminders from Point Guard 101.
Lucas-Perry, a sophomore and one of Michigan’s point guards, finished up his week at Point Guard College at the St. James Private School in St. James, Md., an instructional session devoted to the development of point guards and perimeter players.
“We teach the game and we teach point guards, in particular, how to be special players on a championship team,” said Dena Evans, a former point guard at Virginia and the owner of Point Guard College. “So what I’ve seen from Laval, first of all, is a real willingness to learn, eagerness to learn.
“He’s been a great student.”
While Evans and her staff work on physical skills, much of what they do is mental. There are three classroom sessions a day and then more tape study on top of that. And they also focus on vocal leadership, riding players when they aren’t talking a ton on the court.
Communication for point guards is key. Evans tries to enhance that and it is one area Lucas-Perry said he’s seen improvements.
“If I’m going to be out there playing significant minutes, I have to be another John Beilein on the floor,” Lucas-Perry said. “I have to help my players and have to know what coach Beilein is thinking and letting everyone know the defense we’re in and tell them reminders of what the offense is playing or if they don’t know the time or something.
“Just improving a lot of vocal skills, too.”
Lucas-Perry is sort of a pioneer for Point Guard College. Usually, the PGC has been more of a camp focused on high school players. Then, because of Evans’ name around the women’s game, she attracted All-American women’s basketball point guards Ivory Latta (North Carolina) and Kristi Toliver (Maryland) to train at her camp.
Male point guards haven’t really come, at least until this year when Lucas-Perry showed up. Fellow Michigan guard Stu Douglass was supposed to join him, but had to bail due to classes.
So what, physically did Lucas-Perry learn? Try some hints on defense, which could be critical for Michigan this year if it wants to improve on its second-round NCAA tournament showing.
“When the rebounder gets the ball, you can sneak around, get your hand on his chest and get that little flick out, just a tap-out to get a quick steal when a defender gets a defensive rebound,” Lucas-Perry said. “You can just poke it out and get a quick steal and a quick opportunity.
“Just different techniques staying close to your defender. Just limiting his dribble and limiting him to where you want him to go and, again, vocal leadership. They are on us a lot about being vocal.”
OLD LAVAL LUCAS-PERRY HIGHLIGHTS:
Lucas-Perry also dropped 10 to 15 pounds - he wasn’t sure exactly how much - in the off-season. He’s seen change there, too.
He’s faster, stronger and finds himself able to make quicker cuts into the lane and have better reaction time on both offense and defense. And he thinks Beilein will be much happier, especially with his defense.
“Definitely, most definitely,” Lucas-Perry said. “I’m looking to be a lock-down defender this year.”