Shallow Frontcout = More Zone?

By now everyone paying attention to the Lehigh basketball team is aware that Jesse Chuku is going to be sitting out his freshman season, leaving the good Dr. with 4 scholarship members in the frontcourt. With a full season ahead of Lehigh and 4 options down low in the paint, keeping all of the bigs healthy and out of foul trouble is critial to survive against big frontcourt teams such as American and Bucknell in the PL, as well as against most every BCS conference team Lehigh will face this season.

In Reed’s first 5 years at Lehigh, the defense of choice has been hard nosed man to man defense, and it has worked well as Lehigh has been a good defensive team under Reed.  However, given the aforementioned depth issues , it has me wondering whether we’re going to see a lot more 2-3 zone defense in ’12-’13. We saw it sporadically last year, very sporadically, but it did come out a few times. I think in order to compete down low on the blocks in big games that we’re going to see more zone this year, it seems almost common sense, right? The obvious downside is that it takes away some of the outstanding on the ball pressure that our guards can generate on defense in the half court game, but it seems imperative.

In fact, if you look closely, very closely(luckily for you I look very very closely) at the video posted below from the 1st day of practice, what do you notice between 3:17 and 3:30 mark on the video…..Lehigh practicing zone defense, could this be a sign of the times, it just might be.

We now know we’re going to be using an almost exclusive 3 guard line-up, and the 4 bigs we have are all fast and athletic, so I know Lehigh will continue to push the pace on offense and fast break as much as possible off both misses and makes. However, in addition to more zone defense this year, given the great backcourt depth mentioned in the season preview article could we see an old school Arkansas 40 minutes of hell type full court press? I’d love to see Lehigh bring the full court press, something akin to Shaka Smart’s “HAVOC” VCU defense and then potentially drop back into a zone. I think that would play to Lehigh’s strengths and be quite effective.

What do you think?


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