Monarch Insider #15- Trian Iliadis
Dec. 20, 2010
Monarch Insider #15 - Trian Iliadis
Inside the mind of a shooter - Iliadis finds his three-point touch
Brendan O'Hallarn Monarch Basketball Insider
During Old Dominion's tense win over the University of Dayton earlier this month, there was a moment that illustrated how far Trian Iliadis has come with his shooting stroke this season, and how much his teammates believe in it.
Iliadis had hit two three pointers in the first half already. He would make three in ODU's 74-71 victory. Off a partial fast break late in the half, the junior guard set his feet and let fly, practically from Portsmouth.
The NBA-plus three-pointer looked good the whole way, but clanged off the back of the rim.
"At the timeout I said to Kent (Bazemore), `Sorry about that. Temperature check.' He told me not to apologize. He said they want me shooting that shot. It really gave me a lot of confidence," Iliadis said.
Here's why every shot is a green-light special for the hot-shooting Australian. Iliadis is 19 for 41 from long distance this season, a gaudy three-point shooting percentage of .463. Ben Finney is the only other player on the team who's made double digit three-point baskets, with 12.
And when Iliadis starts hitting outside shots, it gives every other player on the court a bit more space to operate, and makes the Monarchs that much tougher a matchup.
Last season, Iliadis had some success hitting from outside, but also had some stretches where he felt like the basket came with a lid. "It's hard, because you don't know when you're going to get another opportunity. There's nothing worse than putting a shot up and thinking that it's going to go in and it rims out or hits the back iron," he said.
Iliadis attributes part of his lack of success to a breakdown in his shooting technique.
"Honestly, back home I thought I was a really consistent shooter. I try to have the same setup, I want to be able to get my feet ready, have the same feel for the ball. The first couple of years, I felt like I kind of went away from that."
But this season, averaging almost two made three pointers per game, Iliadis feels very confident in his shot. "It's probably the most important thing. If you think you're going to make it, for a shooter, more often than not you're going to hit the shot. It's a lot of a mental thing."
I talked with Trian about the shooter's mindset after the Dayton game. A classic catch-and-shoot player, Iliadis loves it when ODU's big men kick the ball out to him from under the basket. "I feel more comfortable. I can see the ball coming to me and I just raise it up," he said.
And what does Iliadis think about in that second and a quarter between catch and release? Well, nothing. "Honestly, I try not to think about anything. I just try to visualize myself making the shot. I just try to make sure my feet are set. I like to have my fingers in the groove of the ball. I feels like it comes off my hand a little bit better."
My wife Reva O'Hallarn is a psychologist. I asked her about Iliadis' mental approach. "Visualization can be a powerful tool in preparing oneself for a task," she said. "He's going through all the steps in his mind. He knows what he has to do, and calmly, he does it. He's also mindful of his own sensations, and what his body is doing."
Though he was recruited by ODU out of Perth as a shooter, the deep shot hasn't always been his game. Iliadis said he used try to beat his man off the dribble and attack the basket.
"But then one year, I played with a guy who liked to take people off the dribble as well. I had to adjust to his game, and he had to adjust to mine, and I that year I started shooting the ball pretty well."
ODU fans are happy Iliadis changed the emphasis of his game. Every time he rises to fire a three-pointer at home, the crowd lets out a loud "Aaaahhhhhhh..." And this season, that sound has frequently been followed by an explosion of cheers, as Iliadis adds three points to ODU's score. Brendan O'Hallarn, an employee in public relations at Old Dominion University, writes Monarch Basketball Insider. To see other stories, please see the Monarch Insider website, at http://www.odusports.com/ot/monarch-insider.html. If you would like to share your thoughts about ODU basketball, or have a story you'd like to see Brendan write, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.