A good friend of mine, a long time veteran high school coach that I won’t identify for
this story, often wonders about the excitement of the blocked shot in basketball.
That friend usually works local basketball games with me in the Fox Cities. I think he’s slowly coming around to my way of thinking.
It’s like the defensive version of a dunk. The really good ones, not only block multiple shots each game, but they change the thinking of the opposition. If a player dares venture into the lane against a shot blocker, they’re thinking about avoiding the block. Many times, they’re changing their shot, trying to avoid another block. That of course leads to more misses.
Jared Berggren has turned into one of those feared shot blockers at Wisconsin. He had four of them in the Badgers 77-46 win over Nebraska on Tuesday night, surpassing the previous franchise record held by Rashard Griffith. Berggren has 126 career blocks and with games left this season, he isn’t done.
From high school to the pro’s, every team that has one of those special shot blocking players, is better off. And don’t let anyone tell you that shot blockers aren’t a big part of a team’s defense.
Those players are defensive difference makers and well worth the price of admission.