100 LEVEL:
The player has very little command of shooting or ballhandling form, and should focus on related drills. This player is not suited for advanced team play.

200 LEVEL:

The player requires more floor game work within a team and one-on-one atmosphere. The player lacks comfort handling ball with head up seeing floor, requires more controlled and relaxed, consistent shooting form, and the ability to anticipate or feint defenders. Passes are telegraphed. On defense, relies more on hands than footwork, uncommunicative, and susceptible to fakes.

300 LEVEL:

The player is developing a sense of creating space to shoot, and working on adjusting form to distance. Able to work without ball for uncontested shots against and among players on similar levels. Growing familiarity with positioning for defense on ball, and boxing out prospective rebounders. Well suited for pickup games, introductory level tournaments and charity games.

Possible shortcomings: scoring with off hand when contested; quickness and fluidity of shooting release, inconsistent ballhandling in transition; limited decision making ability as a contested passer.

400 LEVEL:

The player is fairly consistent shooting medium range contested shots, though not as comfortable adjusting shot angle, ball height, or changing hands on contested drives at basket, depth, pace or altering distance of shots. In strong two-on-two tournament field would be second option.

Possible shortcomings: change of pace dribble not yet “natural”; challenged guarding ambidextrous drivers; sometimes hesitant in scoring position under the goal.

500 LEVEL:

The player has increased comfort with long, medium, and inside shots, including hard drives with the off hand. Still not very smooth ball faking or jab stepping to create space for shots in five-on-five situations. Needs more confidence to coordinate footwork and head fakes into sync with wide variety of shots from range of distances and angles. More comfortable driving with dominant hand, and passing with both hands than off dribble. On defense, must master reading screens, switching, and anticipating angle of rebounds.

Possible shortcomings or strengths: Here is the level from which it may be determined the ultimate upside and ceiling of a ballplayer. 500 players seeking to develop further, must incorporate aspects of spacing, observation of tempo, and anticipating opponents’ moves into their games. This is where the cerebral acumen of the player begins to distinguish itself, or does not.

600 LEVEL:

The player has command of a wide range of outside, inside, and medium range shots from a set position, a catch, a contested catch, or off a dribble. The player understands the effect of backspin and rotation on their shots, and shots for potential rebounding.
The player forces turnovers via anticipation, baiting the offensive player, observation of tendencies, or playing passing lanes. May turn basketball over if double teamed or trapped, or if not anticipating same. Sets, and uses screens effectively.

Possible strengths: few mental errors; second shot opportunities, passes well in both transition and half-court.

700 LEVEL:

700 players has control of the ball with either hand in transition and against pressure, has strong footwork demonstrated in change of direction, stutter steps, and spin moves. Has also learned to exploit own strengths, and based on opposition, minimize impact of shortcomings. Open two footer from distance is dependable, and still reliable if contested. Does not have the touch or muscle memory to be consistent with shots when altering body position, or when jostled. Energetic defender, including switches.

Possible strengths: can affect game away from ball on offense or defense; cognizant of and able to cover own weaknesses; is an opponent for whom teams must plan.

800 LEVEL:

The player has commanding shooting touch on which their teammates can depend. Is also skilled dribbling and creating offense against pressure, traps, and zones. Player is able to score on reverses, off spins, jumpshoot out of a crossover, one hard dribble jumper, two hard dribble jumper when contested, and free self from defenders with head, ball feints, or feet.
Possible strengths: Strong offensive decision maker, adept team defender in individual or zone sets, skilled passer off dribble, on break, and with either hand. Judges passing angles well.

900 LEVEL:

The player demands defensive attention anywhere beyond half court, as a ballhandler or eventual shooter. Player recognizes teammates, opposition, and floor well enough to largely dictate outcomes during many possessions.

Possible strengths: can hit offensively at any time; can vary strategies and styles of play in competitive situations; first and second serves can be depended upon in stress situations.


A 1000 player generally has extensive experience at a level beyond secondary school play (e.g. higher education, military, semiprofessional, international or organized summer), or has obtained a national player ranking in their country. Many 1000’s, in their physical prime, are world class players.

(Developed by Bijan C. Bayne)

Bayne In The N.Y. Times: Should Pete Rose, Barry Bonds & Roger Clemens Be Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame

Here my latest for the N.Y. Times- whether Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens should be admitted into the Baseball Hall of Fame:


“Chi-Raq” Verses The World

Violence dominates our headlines, from the theaters and cafes of Paris, to the attacks on Planned Parenthood clinics in the U.S. Once more we approach a holiday which commemorates The Prince of Peace, struggling for solutions to reduce all levels of mayhem. This search for answers concerns not only pundits and politicians, but artists. Here the boundaries of life and art converge. Director Spike Lee and screenwriter Kevin Wilmott commit the theme Aristophanes’ 5th century Greek play Lysistrata, to a contemporary treatment in Chi-Raq. In the film, which opens in U.S. theatres this week, the setting is current Chicago, primarily the South Side. In the original story Lysistrata is a woman who strives to end the Peloponnesian War by organizing women to withhold sexual relations from their husbands and lovers in a strike for peace. In Chi-Raq, which largely employs verse to tell its tale, Teyonah Parris portrays Lysistrata, the girlfriend of Chicago hip hop artist and gang leader Chi-Raq (played by Nick Cannon). Her efforts to forge a sex strike movement, are aimed at quelling gang warfare, including the murders and wounding of the non-members and bystanders. Also cast, are Angela Bassett as a respected neighbor, Wesley Snipes as a ganglord, John Cusack as an activist priest, and serving as an oracle, Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson’s character is named “Dolmedes”, an homage to 1970’s comic signifier Rudy Ray Moore’s recording and film character Dolomite. The ensemble also includes Jennifer Hudson and Harry Lennix. Their roles all vary in levels of gravity and farce. The issues tackled, some seldom addressed in feature film, are morbidly serious. Undertaking the matter in verse is all the more ambitious, and perhaps given its currency, necessary for the daylight of emotional distance. Unfortunately for too many, gun violence has become immediate.

Chi-Raq introduces the uninformed to, and reminds all other moviegoers of, the degree of homicide plaguing some of Chicago’s communities. Verse is recited in 21st century parlance, and as the plot evolves, musical numbers and choreography arm a battle of the sexes. Expository information about the principal players emerges throughout. Just as significantly, we learn what social factors helped plunge some sections of the city into zones of high risk and high reward. Parris (Mad Men, Dear White People, tv’s Survivor’s Remorse) , and to lesser extents, Hudson and Cusack, form the moral core of the drama. As Lysistrata, Parris exhibits a range that encompasses coy, strategic, devoted, conflicted, and empowered. Her sometimes ethereal command of the modernized mythical activist buoys the picture. Hudson, Cusack and Bassett deliver compelling turns, searing ethical messages along the way. Sam Jackson injects street philosophy into his sporty troubador.

This is a movie about agency, accountability, and human cost. Current events, controversy, and the resulting publicity thrust the film into limelight dominated by debate. Some may find the topic, treatment style, or locale not to their liking. In terms of creativity and lesson, Chi-Raq edutains. In spaces, it amuses (think School Daze‘s dance sequences. That said, one’s takeaways will depend on through what prism one views the societal challenges displayed, and one’s stance on the role of art to engage. Chi-Raq hits hard enough to start some discussions, and to demand others not be avoided.


Teyonah, what were some of your thoughts on self-inflicted genocide before you were attached to the movie?

PARRIS: What we’re currently talking about, and what is on our minds and hearts with police brutality, these conversations can be had simultaneously. It’s tragic. There’s a lot more at play, there are no jobs, people are trying to feed their families, and they feel there’s no way out, that they can’t change. That’s been on my mind, and when I learned I could use my art to have something to say, I certainly consider it an honor and a privilege.

Thank you. Spike, was the homage to “Dolomite”, written by you, or your co-screenwriter Kevin Wilmott, or both? And what part of the audience do you feel will recognize the reference?

LEE: Dolomite was Kevin. Sam’s character was supposed to be “Dolomite”, but we couldn’t get the clearance. The older audience will get it, but just because people don’t get it, doesn’t mean you don’t out it in.

Teyonah, men collaborated on this screenplay. Because of that, did you ask for any dialogue changes anywhere for gender reasons, even given the restrictions of the format, being in verse?

PARRIS: We had many conversations. There were times when we read, and I asked about dialogue, people asked during each reading. In the culmination scene where Nick (Cannon) and I come together, we watch this woman, and I asked if there was a way to make her less weak. I know it’s been three months, but I wanted her to show strength, even though she still loved him, instead of just being, “Ohhh, I’m a woman.” (waves hand and head backward in exaggerated romantic submission). I wanted her to put up more of a fight. We talked about some ideas to try, instead of the usual.

Lee also said the screenplay circulated for years. When Amazon considered the film, it took a few readings to pitch the project to them, because of the novelty of relating the story in verse.