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FIBA update: Robert Sacre

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As promised, I took a look at Robert Sacre at the FIBA championships in Turkey. He has played 15 minutes in 2 games so it is a bit of a small sample size but something I can work with.


Going up against the professionals has proven to be a challenge for Sacre. Although he is not playing against big time centers, the big men from Lebanon and Lithuania have proven to be formidable competition. They are a long way from the centers he sees in the West Coast Conference so let’s see how he handles this new level of competition.

This first clip shows he is just being outmuscled by the professional big men. He is being bumped off the spot he wants to be in and hindered from where he wants to go. His current strength is sufficient for the WCC but he will have to bulk up (or learn to use his current strength to his advantage).

The second clip shows you he just does not quite know how to fend off big defenders in the post. He is easily knocked off balance, and misses the entry pass. He needs to use his frame and be more assertive in posting up so he is not knocked off his spot as easy. I think some of this will come with practice against more experienced players.

Unable to pick up offense

Sacre is adopting a new role in Canada’s offense which is a small role player. He is used to being the main post threat for Gonzaga and one of their top offensive threats. However, he is now thrust into a new team and looks unable to pick up the offense or be useful on most offensive possessions.

Watch in the following clip as he is looking to set screens the entire possession. This is not a negative but the way he sets them is poor. He is not wide enough to get a piece of the defender and he does not set it up well enough for his teammate to use the screen. What results is a plethora of wasted screen followed by a token post up. Even if the play is not designed to go to him, he should be posting up hard in case he can catch the defender off guard. At worst, he draws some attention and attracts some help defense.

There is nothing wrong with being a role player but Sacre needs to learn to embrace the role and learn how to do the little things. Posting up hard every time is one of those actions that does not seem significant but can be vital to the overall success of an offense.

Watch here at the poorly set screens by Sacre. He runs right up to the defender to set the screen, which does not allow the offensive player to use it properly. He seems more focused on the next screen then setting the current one properly.

Sacre definitely looks nervous playing out there and it shows in the above two clips. Hopefully he will be able to settle down and learn a few things to take back to Gonzaga.

Trouble defending the pick and roll

If Sacre wants to play at the next level, it is imperative he can show how to defend the pick and roll. He is not doing a great job of it so far at the FIBAs.

Here, Sacre seems unsure of what he should do, hedge on the screen or switch the screen. He does not hedge hard enough and gives the offense player too much space to operate.

Sacre is then not quick enough to deal with the ballhandler and gets beat for the layup. He compounds his error by committing a foul.

Here again, Sacre does not know what to do when defending the pick and roll. The offensive player actually uses the screen to soon and Sacre’s teammate has plenty of space to recover but Sacre picks up a silly foul as he pushes the screener. Not a smart play by Sacre.

Ability to work in the post

Now on to something positive Sacre showed me (and believe me, it was tough to find something). Sacre has showed positive skills when he has got the ball in the post, something he can use to his advantage at Gonzaga.

Here, he backs the defender and scores over him. He shows a nice touch here as well to score from just outside the paint.

Here, he dumps off a nice pass to a cutting teammate. He shows nice vision and precision passing to dump it off to the cutter. Nice decision by Sacre here.

All in all, Sacre has struggled a bit through his first two games. I would not put too much stock into his performance here, as he is playing against seasoned veterans who know all the tricks of the trade. Sacre is young and still learning compared to his competition. He can only grow from this experience and what he gains here will be invaluable at Gonzaga.

As long as he stays healthy, I think the action he sees here will be positive for him. He is playing against stronger competition than in the WCC, is learning some new ways to contribute on offense and is getting some high quality games in during the summer.

Here is Canada’s remaining schedule in group play:

August 31: France

Sept 1: New Zealand

Sept 2: Spain

Make sure to check out his remaining games to see if he settles down and adapts to the international game.


Written by Joshua Riddell

August 31, 2010 at 12:45 am

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