17 October, 2023
05 May, 2024
33 David Mccormack (DSK)
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Closer Look: Message received from Darussafaka Lassa

ISTANBUL (Turkiye) - If you have noisy neighbors like Darussafaka Lassa do, it can sometimes be hard to get the attention you deserve.

When it comes to Basketball Champions League contenders from the Turkish league, Galatasaray Ekmas and Pinar Karsiyaka have often grabbed the headlines with eye-catching signings in the transfer market and rosters that appear built to win it all.

At times, Darussafaka Lassa have gone under the radar. After making a statement on the road at VEF Riga in their first BCL outing of the season, it appears that Dacka were sending a message that this season they are playing second fiddle to nobody.

Darussafaka Lassa head coach Fikret Yakup Sekizkok on the sidelines

Whilst Riga is never an easy place for any team to play, what made this Dacka performance stand out was the way they won. From the first offense of the game, the Turkish team looked in tune in a way we haven't seen from Dacka rosters in recent season. The playing personnel, the coach, and the playing systems were just clicking sweetly like a pendulum clock.

We start our dive into the film with one of coach Sekizkok's highest-volume offensive sets. The play starts with a staggered screen away from the ball for #16, Janis Timma, who curled over the first screen and looked to be cutting through the paint to the other side of the floor. 

This was all deception, however, as Timma quickly turned and exited the paint back from where he came, helped by another screen from #33, David McCormack. From the play design to get a wide-open three, to the decision to call it early for Timma on his return to Riga, everything just made sense. 

When you see a team scoring regularly and efficiently from different options of the same offensive set, that's usually a good sign that the offensive design and roster personnel are a good fit.

Later in the first quarter, Dacka went back to the staggered away screen entry but this time so they could get #15, Mason Jones and David McCormack into an "Angle" pick-and-roll.

Jones finished his European debut with 9 points and 11 assists (more on him later) and McCormack with an utterly dominant 19-point and 12-rebound double-double.

That wasn't the only set that Dacka got joy from on more than one occasion and from more than one player.

They scored 19 points from catch-and-shoot jumpers alone and most of them from collapsing the defense with pick-and-pops or dribble-drives. Todd Withers' 14 points on 80 percent shooting from deep were a huge part of that. His skill set looks perfectly suited to his role in this offense.

Watch how #7, Ridvan Oncel used a "Spanoulis" or "Gut" cut to come up to the top of the key from under the rim. McCormack sets a "Ram" screen for Withers to loosen his defender before the pick-and-pop.

Same set again in the next video but this time for #0, Kyle Allman to make the play. Watch how Withers' defender was reluctant to allow him any separation to pop and shoot.

This meant Allman's defender had no help on the ball screen and couldn't get under the screen in time to contest Allman's jumper. If an offense can force defenses into very difficult decisions with very simple actions, it's usually a very positive sign.


Yakup Sekizkok also got success from his Out Of Bounds (OOB) plays, both sideline and end line. This one for Kyle Allman with 1.4 seconds on the shot clock and 3 seconds to go in the quarter was a real doozy.

Watch the deception as Allman set his body shape to screen for Timma and then exited stage right to the corner for the three. 

VEF fans will know all about Allman after his breakout season with their team in 2020-21. Dacka fans are just getting to know him but with the 21 points he scored in this game and the 12 points and 6 assists he's averaged across his first four games in the Turkish BSL, there's a good chance he will be just as popular in Istanbul.

We saw another excellent play design for this Dacka roster, this time from the sideline, in the clip below. Watch for Timma cutting the baseline to empty the corner before Allman and McCormack played pick-and-roll.

This left Riga with the choice of helping off Withers on the weakside or trying to defend Dacka's two most dominant scorers in the game with a 2v2 coverage. McCormack catching the ball that deep in the paint, with half a lane to the rim is only ever going to end in one outcome.

To finish things off and also to end on possibly Dacka's most impressive statement, we need to end on their transition game and in particular Mason Jones. Coach Sekezkok's team scored 17 points from transition in this game, scoring at a 1.86 points per shot rate. If they keep that up they will be hard to hold for any defense.

Mason Jones was the biggest driver of that transition and secondary break offense. We saw several eye-catching rookie performances in the BCL last week but Jones might have been the most impressive.

The combination of size to be a match-up issue for guards, or speed and playmaking if you try to defend him with forwards, is going to be a headache for every defense he faces this season. Like in nature when you see extravagant colors you know to beware, take the hair dye as a warning. 


Up Next

Lenovo Tenerife on the 24th of October. You don't get a bigger test in the BCL than Txus Vidorreta's team. It certainly looks like Darussafaka are for real this year. On Tuesday they have another opportunity to show exactly how real they are.

Diccon Lloyd-Smeath

Diccon Lloyd-Smeath

Diccon is a basketball coach and analyst living in Madrid. Constantly digging in the crates of box scores and clicking through hours of game footage. Diccon is on the hunt for the stories within the stories. If you like to get a closer look at what’s going in the Basketball Champions League, you have found it.