Glenbrook North adjusting to running the motion offense

After being led by two players now on Division I basketball teams, the Glenbrook North boys squad had to make changes offensively to fit the returning roster.

In 2012-13, the Spartans’ offense ran through point guard Kurt Karis (Chicago State) and center Andrew McAuliffe (Davidson).

The two all-conference players ran a highly effective inside-outside two-man game, averaging a combined 31 points per game, or roughly 59 percent of Glenbrook North’s total offense.

With no returning player who averaged more than six points a game in 2012-13, the Spartans offense could no longer rely on star players making plays. So coach David Weber installed an offense to fit the more balanced roster.

“We run more of a motion offense this season,” said senior Ethan Lutz, who starts at shooting guard. “We’re trying to get the ball moving side-to-side.”

The offense involves quick passes and plenty of player movement to get opposing defenses out of position while the Spartans look for open looks, regardless of who shoots the ball.

“We share the ball more and our offense is a lot more spread out,” senior center Cameron Liss said. “There is a lot more movement without Andrew and Kurt.”

Another reason for the change to the motion offense is that, while Glenbrook North lacks a dominant point guard to run its offense, the team has a number of players with the versatility to play multiple positions.

Take Lutz, who spends time at both wing positions but also will bring the ball up the court against full-court pressure to, as he put it, “help us get into our offense, to give our point guards a break.”

“[Lutz] does a great job playing multiple positions,” Liss said. “He’s a great shooter, but he also handles the ball very well.”

Then there’s Jan Siegien who moved from power forward last season as a sophomore to small forward this year. He still has the skill to score inside, but his improved perimeter play fits in with the new offense.

“[Siegien’s] dribbling has been better moving from the four to the three,” Liss said. “He’s more agile, and he’s better at shooting from distance.”

And while Glenbrook North lacks a true back-to-the-basket scorer, Liss has moved into the starting lineup this season as an excellent fit in an offense where players are asked to have a variety of skills.

He played on the wing growing up before growing to 6-foot-4, and still played on the perimeter during AAU ball in the offseason

“Until a few years ago he was a guard,” Lutz said. “He’s definitely strong down low, but he’s also got a very good mid-range shot.”

The change to the new offense has not been without growing pains, as Glenbrook North has five early season losses by 10 points or less. But a 60-27 victory over Maine East on Dec. 12 has given the players confidence that things are really starting to click.

“[Despite the losses] we still have a lot of confidence,” Liss said. “We will continue to get better throughout the season.”

Originally posted on 12/20/13

By Jakub Rudnik

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Published by Jakub Rudnik

Chicago-area sportswriter. DePaul journalism professor. VP of content and SEO at Shortlister. Founder of