Hey Doc, be creative

Forum Forum Lehigh Sports Lehigh Men’s Basketball Hey Doc, be creative

This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by StablerBum StablerBum 7 years, 11 months ago.

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    I realize that our Head Coach is committed to playing man to man defense.  For some reason, a lot of coaches absolutely refuse to run anything other than man.  However, I think the best coaches are creative, and let their personnel dictate how they play.  With that theory as a background, I think we are forced to run something other than straight man for 40 minutes, with an occasional zone for an under the board inbounds play.

    News flash, we are tiny and quicker than average.  News flash number 2, we have to protect the few big men we have, by controlling foul trouble.  If CB get a couple of quickies, we are down to an inexperienced JG.  Same true with GK, although he has the experience to stay out of foul trouble.  So, we must play some zone.  Against, bigger teams, or teams with athletes who struggle from the outside, pack in a 2-3.  That way you are limiting their big men, and protecting ours.  Also, why not take advantage of your smaller, quicker lineup, by pressing full court, or by running some type of 1-3-1 zone trap.  We have a lot of smaller players we could rotate in and out to play uptempo.

    Bottom line, for me, is to play straight man all the time, you need the personnel.  Let’s look at what we have:

    MM – quick, but below average to average defender.  Can steal the ball, but not the best fundamentals out on the perimeter, quick points kill him.

    BB – our best on the ball defender.  athletic, quick feet, good leaping ability, good recovery defender, good rebounder.

    CJ – solid on the ball defender, but difficult for him to commit to being a lockdown defender as he burns so much energy on the offensive end.

    HG – below average defender to average.

    GK – solid defender in the post.  not a shot blocker, not the quickest feet, good positional defender

    AD – below average, little foot speed, little strength

    SC- see AD

    CS – below average to average, again foot speed and quickness a problem vs. quick guards

    CB – incomplete, but struggles at this point to defend the pick and roll

    JG -see CB

    DC- unknown

    KM- no foot speed, stay at home defender, made for zone

    TS, CG – non factors

    So, we have 1 top notch defensive player in BB, and CJM as a guy with shutdown ability but can’t commit to it on every trip.  Outside of those 2, everybody average at best.  We should hide some of those weaknesses and play some zone.  At least try it, to see what kind of success you can have.  If a team throws in 3-4 threes against you, you can also switch back to man.  But, teams are going to have nights where they struggle from the perimeter.  And, against big teams, you have no shot going man every trip, with our lack of size. 

    Zone also allows you to control the tempo much better than man to man.  That way you can eliminate games where you give up 99 points, 68 in the paint, and allow 40/62 from the field.



    Lehigh played several possessions of zone against Baylor, but it is something they should have done throughout the entire game. For as good of a coach as I think Doc Reed is, I can’t understand why he doesn’t teach/coach zone. It was suicide to play straight man against that Baylor team, especially without Knutson on the inside.

    The zone was somewhat effective, and it’s not like Baylor shot the ball exceptionally well from three, so I don’t know why Lehigh didn’t go to the zone more in the second half. Brady Heslip, who is one of the best shooters in the nation (you wouldn’t know it based on his 1-7 shooting from three against Lehigh), and Pierre Jackson are pretty much the only threats from the outside.

    Baylor shot 40-62 from the field…could playing zone exclusively done worse?

    • This reply was modified 7 years, 11 months ago by  SoV.


    Good post, by the way, 90.



    One other thought on this, and it goes to Reed’s philosophy.  Do you play the OOC games to really try to win them, or do you play them to prepare your team for the PL schedule?  If you told me that Reed is playing the OOC schedule the exact same as he plans to play in the league, same sets offense and defense, whittling down to finalize your rotation, then I guess I can’t complain too much.  But, if you are really trying to win the Baylor game, you have to know that you only win it by slowing down the tempo, and trying to grind out a low scoring win.  You are not going to push it up the floor and try to win a high scoring game.  Yet, that is how we played.  We are going to play that way in the league, but you can’t play a super athletic team that way. 

    Goes back to my prior point several threads ago that Baylor was a throwaway game, which LU65 didn’t like me saying.  But, Reed treated it like a throwaway game, because you can’t expect to win with his thought process in that game, especially shorthanded.  Anybody would know you are not going to out athlete or out tempo Baylor on their home floor.  If I asked anybody on the board, can Lehigh win a game against Baylor in the 90’s, you would have said no way.  If I said can Lehigh win a game against Baylor in the 50’s, you would say maybe.  Of note, Bucknell beat a big team with a game that capped at 70.  Certainly not a slowdown game, but not a helter skelter pace that Lehigh played at vs. Baylor.

    My thought is, this season, when you have potentially your best team ever, you try to win every game no matter the competition.  An at-large is unlikely, but you still need to have the best RPI in case of ties in the league.  And, you know Bucknell has the much tougher schedule.  So, if you are playing to win a game against Baylor, you slow it down, limit possessions, and the best way to do that on defense is by playing zone.  The only argument I can see for not playing zone is Duke last season, when you played man, and won.  But, Duke was not huge outside of the one Plumlee, not nearly as athletic, and Lehigh had 2 additional big bodies in Adams and Manieri.

    So, I think if you really want to win these OOC games, you have to mix up the formula a bit.  Tempo, defenses, etc.  If you don’t really care about the games, and are simply fine tuning for the league, maybe you play it differently.  But, again I think personnel and matchups have to dictate how you coach.  You can’t just throw out the ball and say play no matter the game, no matter the competition.



    Agreed, 100%, IT IS A NO BRAINER…more zone and more pressing…one thing to add 90 though, we’ll need zone in league play as well…american killed us on glass that one game last year and added lumpkins and BU will be tough on our small frontcourt..so to me, we need zone more often then just BCS….I really think we should start mixing it in asap…yes, we play every game to win, that is how it is done and how you improve..



    Creative?  That’s his style of coaching for the 5 years I have watched him:). Good luck in the NIT!


    Just to play a little devil’s advocate, with BJB out and DC not ready to play at this level, our backcourt is not that deep or athletic.  MM and CJ are plus athletes, but CS,SC, and AD are certainly not, and I’m not sure how effective an aggressive trapping or pressing defense would be.  And we have only been playing 8/9 guys with real minutes, which I don’t think is enough to “wear out” other teams with pressure.

    I totally support being creative and playing to your team’s strength, but right now, speed and depth are not this team’s strength.  I don’t think a 2-3 will help in the rebounding department, as it is usually harder to rebound out of a zone than man because you don’t always have someone next to you to box out.  However, I do think a 2-3 that didn’t allow Baylor to have 90% of their shots in the paint would have been worth a try.

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