The Springfield Armor are leading the NBA D-League in rebounding and they credit that to the team's philosophy of relentlessly crashing boards like a Karate Kid tribute video.
"That's something we actually take a lot of pride in," Armor head coach Bob MacKinnon said. "Our goal this year is to lead the league in overall rebounding, especially on the offensive side."
And the Armor are doing just that, averaging a commanding 55.7 rebounds per game. The next best team in the league is averaging 50.3.
MacKinnon said dominating in rebounds will translate to wins, as it did over the weekend when the Armor beat the Los Angeles D-Fenders 98-89. Springfield attacked the glass like a marathon of Jewish weddings, outrebounding Los Angeles 63-43. James Mays, Cliff Tucker and Carleton Scott each brought down boards in the double digits for the Armor that game.
Aggressive rebounding, MacKinnon said, is a philosophy that trickles down to them by the Brooklyn Nets, the Armor's NBA single-affiliate.
"It's definitely an organizational thing," MacKinnon said. "That's why the Nets brought in a guy like Reggie Evans and signed Kris Humphries (both players are averaging 8.4 rebounds a game for Brooklyn). It's an organizational emphasis and it's something we're trying to follow through with on our end too."
He added that he's drilling the importance of rebounding into his players' mindsets so that they can emerge on the Nets' radar come GATORADE Call-Up time.
"We just really emphasize it," MacKinnon said. "We talk about it a lot in our practices. We chart how many times our guys go to the offensive glass, we do a lot with box-out drills. It's an emphasis, and it's always something we want to be aware of."
James Mays has not only been leading the Armor in rebounding, he's number two in the league, averaging 13 boards per game. He's also lethal on the scoring end, averaging 19 points per game making him third in the league for double-doubles (three in three games of action).
MacKinnon compared Mays to Reggie Evans, who has built a repuation for Brooklyn this season as a reliable rebounder off the bench who's just as capable of dropping in some easy buckets when needed.
"James has a great motor," MacKinnon said. "He's someone who will definitely be able to find a niche playing in the NBA."
The 2-1 Armor will next be in action on Friday at home when they take on the 2-3 Fort Wayne Mad Ants, who are averaging 43.4 rebounds a game as a team.