First, let me get the RIP out of the way. Manute Bol was fun to watch, was a great person/humanitarian and all the people who he touched in his life will miss him.
That said, I have to wonder why he was so terrible at rebounding. I have to assume that it is because he was built like two straws attached together, because when you are 9 feet tall (hyperbole) there needs to be a higher number than 4.2
4.2 if you didn't know, is the number of rebounds he averaged per game. That is atrocious. The guy averaged 3.3 blocks per game, so if his height allowed him to get balls on the way up... why couldn't he get them on the way down?
I play in a rec league and our team actually pays a guy to keep our stats for us (it's a pretty intense men's league, full of washed up high school and college couldn't make its). I am only 5'8" and full aware that I am one of the shortest guys in the entire league. I average 3.4 boards a game as a point guard. I AM A MIDGET IN TERMS OF BASKETBALL HEIGHT.
I credit two things to being able to rebound well.
1. Build/strength: Tall sticks like Bol, Rik Smits, Shawn Bradley and George Muresan did almost nothing on the glass. The latter three averaged only around 6 boards per game.
2. Basketball IQ: Knowing how to box out properly, knowing the shot tendencies of the players, etc... helps guys get into position for easy boards. I can tell by looking at the shot (most often) where it is going to hit on the rim and adjust myself accordingly.
Take a look at Rodman working the glass and he was only 6'7" which is average height compared to the giants I mentioned before. Who is the best rebounder you ever saw in the NBA, other than the obvious ones (Rodman, Wilt, Kareem).
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