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Thoughts on team chemistry

NCAA Basketball Tournament - Saint Louis v Memphis

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 16: Chris Crawford #3 of the Memphis Tigers shoots a three point basket against Brian Conklin #14 of the Saint Louis Billikens in the second half during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Nationwide Arena on March 16, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

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Twice in the last week, the topic of chemistry has been raised in regards to disappointing seasons.

Seth Curry gave this quote to reporters at the NC Pro-Am: “The biggest thing is just trying to be more of a family. Get to know each other off the court. This summer we’ve been hanging out a lot more, getting to know each other. It seems like everybody likes each other this year, so it should be a fun year.”

The bolded section found its way onto to twitter, however, which resulted in the college hoops blogosphere coming down hard on Austin Rivers. Obviously, the thinking went, Curry was taking a subtle shot Rivers.

Down in Memphis, rising junior Chris Crawford had this to say to the Commercial Appeal’s beat-writer Jason Smith:

“We had a lot of like, you know ... it was some people that separated. Our chemistry wasn’t really there,” Crawford said. “This year, everybody is talking to each other. We want to be a better team. Everybody is hanging out more. Everybody is trying to be one instead of in our separate groups.

“Chemistry is important, and it’s not just with basketball. It’s outside of basketball, too. Campus life, being together, going to the movies or anything, you’ve got to have that kind of bond.”

Team chemistry is one of those vague terms that seem more like a press conference cliche than an actual issue. But rest assured, it is vital to a team’s success. Whether it is role players accepting the fact they are role players, team leaders picking up struggling teammates instead of putting them down, or simply liking each other off the court, “chemistry” can be a deciding factor for a season.


Or UConn. Or Pitt. Or Mississippi State.

Or, for that matter, Missouri. Frank Haith’s ability to unify that team and get them to buy into the system he wanted to run was a huge reason the Tigers were so successful.

As Myron Medcalf wrote yesterday, team chemistry is bigger than one or two players. That’s kind of the point.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.