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Taking a Closer Look: Tyler Kolek

Big East fans were in for a treat Sunday afternoon as Xavier hosted Marquette in a matchup of the two best offenses in the conference. Both teams lived up to the billing, combining for 156 points on 46.2% shooting. On Marquette's side, Tyler Kolek dominated the game, finishing with 25 points on 61% shooting plus 7 assists. Let's take a closer look at the Big East's top assist-man and how he attacked this Xavier defense.


I have previously written on Xavier's offensive playbook, you can find that article here https://www.house-enterprise.com/post/taking-a-closer-look-xavier-s-playbook



We start ten minutes into the 1st Half as Tyler Kolek begins to become the dominant playmaker in the game. After probing Nunge on a post-up, Ighodaro throws back to Kolek and screens for him. Xavier #24 steps out to stop Kolek and Kolek delivers the perfect bounce-pass to Ighodaro for the baby-hook. This is basic two-man game between Kolek and Ighodaro and has been some of Marquette's best action all season.



A few minutes later here and this is a designed play from Coach Smart to get Kolek into the Pick n Roll and allow him to make a decision. Xavier #32 sags off Joplin to stop Kolek and Kolek reverses the ball for a wide-open shot.



Next Marquette possession and Coach Smart goes back to the same play. This time Xavier #2 stays close to Joplin allowing Kolek to drive to the basket. Xavier #32 now helps off Prosper to prevent a layup and Kolek delivers a dime to Prosper. Impressive court-vision here.



Two minutes later now and again it's the same play from Coach Smart. This time nobody helps off their man and Kolek takes the ball straight to the basket. Xavier gets beat off this play 3 times in 3 different ways because of Tyler Kolek's ability to read the defense and adjust.



Now in the 2nd Half and Coach Smart calls for a side Pick n Roll for Kolek and Ighodaro. Kolek pulls both defenders all the way to the opposite side of the basket before twisting in mid-air to deliver the ball to Ighodaro for an easy lay-up.



Few minutes later and Smart calls for a curl-screen for Kolek. Xavier #32 steps out to stop the ball and Kolek does his best impersonation of Magic Johnson. Elite stuff.



Tyler Kolek ranks #3 in assists nationally, in part, because he is the best Pick n Roll operator in the Big East. Kolek combines great court vision and shotmaking with a un-selfishness that allows him to read the defense and attack the weak point repeatedly.


When Kolek arrived in Milwaukee last year he was highly praised for his passing ability, one former coach saying, "He’s a great facilitator. He’s an excellent pick-and-roll player, super unselfish, super willing passer." Early in the season Darryl Morsell went one step further declaring, "Tyler is a magician in the pick and roll." Looks like Morsell knew what he was talking about.

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