Twilight Z O N E !

  • “We’ve got in zone." ~ Bill Self

    Minimal communication on a big topic. He could have just said “zone!”

    I’m wondering… 30-second shot clock… refs calling games close… potential hole in the post… Could this be the year that we actually employ some zone?

    For that answer, I call on all you Jayhawk fans to lift your fingers off the keyboard and lightly touch your screen over the Ouija board. Relax the muscles in your fingers, hands and arms. Bring your index fingers together, touching at the tips and make a pointer. The entire time you need to repeat the word “ZONE” in your head. Close your eyes and let the magic occur. When you feel like you’ve frozen on a point, there is your answer.

    Post your results below and let’s see if the basketball Gods feel like informing us on what is coming.


  • My first attempt results… “G”

  • If I were ever to use one of those things, I think it would say " 12 ".

  • @drgnslayr

    It would be insane not to play 2-2-1 zone press EVERY TIME down the floor to shorten the 30 second clock to 24.

    It would be insane not to alternate between zone and man when falling back into half court defense after the 2-2-1 press, so that the opponent has to spend 5 seconds on recognizing what defense you are in and setting up his offense accordingly, thus leaving 19 seconds to score.

    It would be insane not to switch defenses once during the 19 seconds, so the opponent has take 5 seconds to reset his offense leaving him 14 seconds to score every time and leaving your team only 14 seconds of full tilt defensive effort.

    It would be insane not to do these things.

    But we live in a crazy world.

    It took John Wooden hiring a young Jerry Norman to adopt the 2-2-1. Wooden as much as said he would NEVER have adopted it himself.

    Self’s only hope at midlife is to find his own Jerry Norman, some precociously bright young guy willing to pioneer the kind of defensive scheme I have already outlined, so that Self’s hidebound tendencies are challenged, and his creative juices are squeezed into action.

    I don’t see that person on the staff.

    Aaron Miles has the precociousness and the respect of Self, but Aaron to my limited knowledge has not been pioneering anything on defense elsewhere before he got here. We can hope Aaron picked up some defensive scheme perfectly tailored to short-shotclock ball across the Atlantic, but I’m not hearing any rumors that that was the case yet.

  • I do love a good zone press. Not a press designed to turn the ball over, but a press designed to eat up clock. Make the team spend 5-7 seconds getting the ball across halfcourt. Most college teams aren’t really able to score in less than 20 seconds against a set defense, so they will be operating against the clock on nearly every possession.

    Just run a soft zone press that requires the ball to be reversed twice to get up the floor, then match up in the half court.

    This is where I think Texas could be on to something with Smart’s Havoc. That defense could really disrupt what teams are doing offensively, or it could result in a layup line if they are not sound.

    I would like to see Self employ something early in the season to see how it works. It doesn’t have to be a fixture, just something that will give teams another set to prepare for.

  • Let’s keep in mind that the NBA does not really allow zone defense, so, if you want to get top prospects with NBA aspiration, playing a lot of zone would not be a plus…

  • @JayHawkFanToo The NBA has allowed a zone defense for the past couple of years. The zone that is allowed is slightly more restrictive than that in college. There is a defensive 3 second call which is made if the defender spends more than 3 seconds in the lane without guarding anyone. Most teams use the zone every now and then but none use it a lot because of the ability of players to shoot it apart if played too much. Teaching a zone defense should not have any downside for those that want to play in the league.

    There might be a case to be made about a team like Syracuse which plays it exclusively.

  • @sfbahawk

    You are right …and that is why I qualified my post by saying “does not really allow zone defense” and “playing a lot of zone.” A very limited and restricted version of the zone is allowed as you mentioned but I just don’t see any team team using it consistently and when they do it is more of a novelty than a routine type of play. Playing zone extensively does not prepare you for the NBA like a good ol’ man-to-man does. Look at most of the KU players in the NBA, defense is what has kept them there and not necessarily offense.

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