UConn's Baseline Trap

Coach Jim Calhoun and his UConn Huskies likes to stay pretty generic on their base offenses and defenses. But they will get creative in some of the half-court traps that they will use. Here is a good illustration of a baseline trap that they will use. It's very clever in it's design and it's ingenious is that it is an extremely safe trap to use and doesn't expose a large hole in your defense. UConn was in a real battle all night against a tough Northeastern team that used a very effective and deliberate flex offense and tried to contain the fast-break of UConn. Watch the video and read my thoughts below,

Force Baseline:

There is a long-standing debate within basketball coaching circles, is it better to force baseline or middle? Now, in this situation, we want to force baseline for the trap. But if you aren't trapping, I would generally agree with forcing middle where you will have more help. Anyways, I digress. In this instance, the defender, X2 is playing in a closed stance with the front foot basically on the 3-point line. X4 is the help defender and has to act quickly to cut off the penetration.

The trap by X4 and X2 has to be set hard, force the dribbler to pick up the dribble in the short corner. Now, the rest of the defenders rotate slightly. X1 follows O1 who has rotated for the reverse, X5 picks up O4, X3 splits O3 and O5 who are spread beyond the 3-point line.

Secondary Trap:

A really good trapping team always traps twice. As the defense gets used to the inital trap, it is imperative that your defenders set the secondary trap, because it is usually this trap that will force the turnover.

O2 is able to get the ball back to O1, this is why it is a safe trap because the defenders are still protecting the paint. We allow the pass back to O1 because O1 is the least threat being so far from the basket. Once the pass is made, X4 and X2 go to set that secondary trap. Again, important to emphasize to jump to the ball in the air and not on the catch. The other defenders rotate again to cover. X1 drops down to cover O2, X5 is setting up the top side help 'I' while X3 goes down to the bottom side help 'I'. Northeastern throws the ball away right after the secondary trap. Mission accomplished.

Just because you are mostly a M2M team doesn't mean you can't incorporate trapping and other aggressive techniques to force turnovers.

To learn how to run a M2M defense like UConn does, take a look at Coach Jim Calhoun's DVD on M2M defensive drills. It also includes his total zone offense, so it's really 2 DVDs in 1, you can't beat that. As always, don't forget to check out the the X's and O's of Basketball forum to get all your hoops fill.