In an insightful and entertaining article, Ben Cohen of The Wall Street Journal got the back story behind a play the Golden State Warriors call Cyclone.
Depending on your point of view, you can blame or credit BYU and Utah State for the defending NBA champions having this seemingly unstoppable play in their arsenal.
In the play, guards pass by each other under the basket, with one continuing to the wing as his defender is screened and the other curling up and setting a second screen for a big man. A logjam is created at the free-throw line and — after a roll and a swift pass — Kevin Durant, Draymond Green or whoever gets an easy bucket, just like Stew Morrill intended when he scribbled it out for Montana in 1986.
A blogger from Golden State of Mind wrote about this tricky-to-defend set earlier this season and claimed it was given the Cyclone name because “players end up going in a whirling pattern.” However, as Cohen pointed out, Warriors coach Steve Kerr admitted he'd copied it from Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg, who lifted it from BYU coach Dave Rose, who'd swiped it from Morrill, who'd scribbled it out on a chalkboard in the Montana coach's office more than 30 years ago.
Cohen nicely summed up in the lede of his story — and this is where BYU and Utah State get involved — where the name actually came from:
“The Golden State Warriors call the play Cyclone because they stole it from the Iowa State Cyclones, who called it Cougar because they stole it from the BYU Cougars, who called it Dribble High because they stole it from Utah State. It was called Dribble at Utah State because that’s what it was called at Colorado State and Montana, and the guy who called it Dribble would know its name better than anyone.”
That guy: Stew Morrill.
The play worked so well for the Grizzlies and then for the Rams — where the now-retired Morrill coached before landing in Logan — that other coaches gave him the sincerest form of flattery.
“We’re all thieves in this business,” Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg told The Wall Street Journal.
While at Iowa State, Hoiberg heisted the play from BYU after scouting the Cougars before games in 2012 and ’13. Rose had used the play since hiring assistant coach Dave Rice away from USU and Morrill in 2005.
And then Golden State coach Steve Kerr borrowed the play from Hoiberg after Kerr had seen his teams execute it to perfection.
At least each swindling coach had the decency to change the name of the play.
Love for Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell didn't get much attention in All-Star voting, finishing with the 13th-most votes among Western Conference guards with 139,468 fan votes. Ridiculously, that left him nearly 500,000 votes behind Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball (607,961 votes).
Mitchell continues to get plenty of love from around the league, though. Here's a sampling of highlights, dazzling stats and features that include the Jazz's rising star.
NBA.com Rookie Ladder: No. 1 ranking
Some impressive company after another 30-point outing (34 in Wednesday's 120-105 win at Sacramento).
And recognition for an impressive shooting performance
And finally, the weekend planner:
Friday, Jan. 19
NBA: Jazz vs. New York, 8:30 p.m.
G-League: Stars at Agua Caliente, 8 p.m.
ECHL: Grizzlies at Rapid City, 7 p.m.
Women’s basketball: Utah at Arizona State
Gymnastics: BYU vs. SUU, 11 a.m.; Utah vs. Oregon State, 7 p.m.;
Utah State vs. San Jose State, 7 p.m.
Men’s volleyball: BYU vs. Barton, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 20
NBA: Jazz vs. Clippers, 7 p.m.
G-League: Stars at Northern Arizona, 7 p.m.
ECHL: Grizzlies at Rapid City, 7 p.m.
Men’s basketball: BYU vs. San Diego; Utah State vs. Wyoming; Utah Valley at New Mexico State; Weber State vs. Portland State; SUU vs. EWU; Dixie State at Academy of Art; Westminster at South Dakota Mines; Snow at Colorado Northwestern; USU Eastern at CSI
Women’s basketball: BYU at San Diego; Utah State at Wyoming; UVU vs. New Mexico State; Weber State at Portland State; SUU at EWU; Dixie State at Academy of Art; Westminster at South Dakota Mines; Snow at Colorado Northwestern; USU Eastern at CSI
Men’s volleyball: BYU vs. Barton, 8 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 21
ECHL: Grizzlies at Rapid City, 3 p.m.
Men’s basketball: Utah vs. Washington State, 6 p.m.
Women’s basketball: Utah at Arizona, noon