Tribe Spotlight: Gwynedd Mercy University

Tribe Spotlight: Gwynedd Mercy University

This week on the Tribe Spotlight we are featuring Keith Mondillo, Head Women’s Basketball coach and Athletic Director at Gwynedd Mercy University.

Gwynedd Mercy University is a small private University located 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia. We are an NCAA Division III school which has 19 Intercollegiate programs that compete in the Colonial States Athletic Conference.  Our University students matriculate into majors in the health care industry, nursing being the most popular. It’s safe to say that our student-athletes are focused on their academic success, while balancing playing at the college level.

This will be my 21st year as the Head Basketball Coach and for the first 19 seasons my team ran a traditional high low offense, which was made popular from Bill Self at Kansas.  We had a lot of success with the high low but like most offenses, it limited you as a coach to three guards and two forwards on the floor.

Two things began to happen that forced me to look for something else for my team to run. First, the traditional forward in college basketball become harder and harder to recruit.  Any player with a little height and a hint of ability, was offered a scholarship at the Division I and II level.  Second, the NCAA was beginning to institute new playing rules that made it harder for players to guard the dribbler and the cutter.  It was titled as “Freedom of Movement”.

As I began to look for options I came across Rick Torbett’s Read and React offense.  I purchased the original box set of DVD’s and went through them during one off season.  I did nothing with them for a few years.  It was about 2010 that I went to the Better Basketball website and began researching the offense even further.  I studied it for almost three years before I pulled the trigger in 2014-15 and installed the Read and React offense.  This is my second year running it at the Division III level and as long as I coach, I will never run anything else.  I am also coaching my son’s 4th grade travel basketball team this year and we are installing the Read and React for them.

My 2015-16 Women’s Basketball team consists of 7 upperclassmen and 7 new players.

teamphotoMy upperclassmen bought into the system last year and now I find them teaching the new players the offense throughout practice.  It is refreshing to see as a coach how my players embraced the offense and now are taking leadership roles in teaching it to our freshmen.

The recruiting process has changed for me entirely.  Now I can focus on getting the great athlete and not worry about filling a specific position.  The R&R is truly “Positionless Basketball“.

I don’t have a great story about my team running the Read and React reaching the Final Four and finishing 30-0 in our first season.  We did increase our win total but more importantly I felt that my players learned how to play and were not looking to me for a play.  By the end of the season our team was attacking of offense and playing without hesitation.  We do have several entries that play to the strength of our team, which I stole from the Variations and the Quick Hitters DVDs.

Since committing to the Read and React, I found myself studying other programs that run the R&R like University of Iowa Women (Lisa Bluder), Coe College Women (Randi Peterson-Henderson), Emmanuel College (TJ Rosene), and Adelphi University (Heather Jacobs).  It’s like my own Read and React little family.  I find myself watching their games online and studying any little nuance they may have that is unique or different.  The learning process for me and this offense never ends.

I am an “All-Access” member and have been for the last year.  The resources on the Better Basketball site are informative and are presented in a professional manner.  Rick Torbett has just published a new version of the Read and React.  He is constantly finding a better way to teach the offense and a better way to share it with my players.  Two weeks into my season and I find myself watching the Rick’s new on demand videos everyday.  Practice has always been fun for me but teaching the R&R to my team gets better everyday!

When I began researching the Read and React I thought that Rick Torbett was the best kept secret in basketball.  I can’t say that now because if you don’t know who he is or what the Read and React is, you are not evolving as a basketball coach.

Thank you Rick for everything you do for basketball……at every level.

Leave a Reply