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Basketball: The Center

The Big Man The tallest player on the team is almost always the center. Height is important in basketball. It helps you get off shots, block shots, and get rebounds. Of course other skills and attributes are very important as well, but, as many coaches are fond of saying, "you can't teach height". The center will play the closest to the basket and be playing against the other team's tallest player.

Skills needed Shot blocking: The center is generally the team's best shot blocker. Strong shot blocking from the center is important to keep smaller players from coming into the lane to take easy shots. If the center keeps blocking their shots, they will stay away and try more difficult shots from the perimeter. Rebounding: Although the power forward is often the main rebounder on a team, the center is generally near the top of this statistic. The center plays right under the basket and has many opportunities to rebound the ball. The center should be a strong rebounder. Posting Up: On offense, centers play with their backs to the basket. They post up. This means they establish position near the basket, receive a pass, and then make a move (like a hook shot) to score. Many of the great scorers in basketball have been centers including the all-time career scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the player with the most points ever in a game Wilt Chamberlain. Passing: Centers can help their team a lot by learning how to pass. Once a center has proven she can score by posting up, they will often be double teamed. A center that can find the open player when double teamed can help their team score.

Important Statistics

Blocked shots, rebounds, and scoring are all important for a center. A good center should excel in at least one of these stats. You may want to focus on scoring, but consider that Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics is considered to be one of the best shot blockers as well as rebounders in the history of the NBA. He also led his team to 11 NBA championships.

Top Centers of all time • Shaquille O'Neal (LA Lakers, Orlando Magic)

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