Doubling The Point

Once in a while, you'll play a team that has that all-state point guard. The one that averages 30 ppg, can break defenders down with the dribble, has a deadly shot. Sometimes, the whole team is just this one player. The best way to defend is to play man-to-man using your best defender, but sometimes the opposing player is just too good, or maybe you want to give a different look sometimes.

Often times, the team will use a 3-2 high set and the ball-side wing will simply clear out to the opposite corner. Allowing for a 1-on-1 matchup with the low block empty of defenders. This will allow their player to either break the defense 1-on-1, or if sagging, shoot over top. In this case, doubling the point on the wing may be a good option.


Most teams with a dominant point guard, will start with a high set, so that they bring the defense up and keep the the lane clear. They will also have the right side wing clear out (this is typically the worst player as well so that is the player we want to leave open).

So what you want to do is have X3 show follow with P3, then v-cut hard to cut off P1. X1 will play off P1 knowing that P3 will be coming hard to double. Your other defenders want to be in regular defense, not necessarily deny, because we want the ball out of their best players hands.

The Double:

So X1 and X3 are doubling hard. You want to force P1 to pick up the dribble. If P1 tries to dribble through or around, X1 and X3 need to work together to trap, this needs to be drilled to be effective. Force P1 to the sideline and trap never allow middle penetration.

Once the trap is set, everyone else, X2, X5 and X4 should be in deny. We want to either force a turnover or a rushed shot. If P1 is able to get the ball to P3 somehow, then X4 and X5 need to show help. X4 and X5 need to watch underneath the basket.

Remember, at the high school level, you want the double-team defender to be from the worst offensive option on the other team. Many times, this player is not comfortable scoring, even when undefended. Use this to your advantage, this will allow your defense to recover should their worst offensive player get the ball.


The whole key here is to force the opposing player's best player, the point guard, into passing the ball to a less capable offensive threat, or forcing a tough shot, or turnover. Point guards that score 20-plus points a game are used to taking advantage of 1-on-1 matchups, so take that away. Force the other players to be an offensive threat.

For a great video on specific defensive breakdowns, I recommend Tom Izzo's Defensive Drills DVD. Coach Izzo does a great job breaking down the fundamentals of man-to-man with progressions from 1x1 to 5x5. Plus coach Izzo goes through rebounding fundamentals. Check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum for more defensive notes to download.