How to play and attack junk defenses

High school players like Garet Beal of Jonesport-Beals, Mitch Worcester of Washburn and last year’s Big East Class B Boys Player of the Year, Garrett Libby of Old Town, have had some big individual scoring nights.
I am sure they have seen some junk defenses and will see them again sometime before the season ends.
I have always felt when coaching high school basketball that we as a team did not want to have one face-the-basket player beat us.
So, if an opponent had a player who was outstanding on offense compared to his/her teammates, then a junk defense was in order.
A junk defense is a combination defense of man-to-man defense and zone defense.
It could be a box-and-one or a diamond-and-one. One defender is put on an offensive player, and he/she guards that player man-to-man and the remaining four defensive players play a zone.
It could be a triangle and two where two offensive players are guarded man-to-man, and the remaining three defensive players play a three-person zone triangle.
It also could be a line and three, where three players play man- to-man, and two players play a two-person zone.
We usually started in a diamond-and-one. Sometimes when the player we were guarding man-to-man had the ball, we would bring out the top of the diamond and double-team the player with the ball. This was done to force the player we were guarding man-to-man to give up the ball.
As soon as the player with the ball gave it up, we would immediately go back into the diamond-and-one.
Then we overplayed and tried to deny a pass to the player being guarded man-to-man.
In 1977, we had a player named Bruce Withington who was an outstanding player and a great shooter. He was 6-foot-3 and a real team player.
I used to have to get after him to shoot more because he was too team-oriented for the type of offensively skilled player he was on that particular team.
He was a first-team selection on the BDN All-Maine team.
We continually faced box-and-one defenses in attempts to slow Withington down. We had to develop some special offensive sets to help free up Withington for shots. Remember, there was no 3-point line back then.
He still averaged 23 points per game facing these junk defenses.
First, we sometimes would have him bring the ball up as a point guard and then we would screen his man and the screener would roll. He would look for the shot off the screen and if he was covered then he would look for the roll man in the middle of the box.
However, the most effective offensive maneuver we used was called “Sandwich.” We put another offensive player who could set good screens on the player guarding Withington in the box-and-one defense.
As Withington was making offensive moves without the ball to get free, you would see three players in a row in a very small space. This looked like a basketball sandwich with the defensive player guarding Withington “sandwiched” between Withington and the other offensive player.
Whenever, Withington stopped on the court without the ball, the offensive teammate behind the defender guarding Withington man-to-man was in a great position to be rear screened or side screened by the other offensive player in the “sandwich” behind the defender.
He would then cut off the screen set by his teammate and cut through the middle of the box zone looking for the pass.
If he was not open, then he would move to the opposite side wing, and the offensive player who set the rear or side screen would roll back to the middle and usually was open for a pass from either the point or from Withington.
Also, Withington would fake going off the screen, pop back out where he originally started ,and then the other teammate would slide over and screen the defender. This would be a good maneuver for today, because the player would be open for a three-pointer.
One of the biggest mistakes coaches make against a box- or diamond-and-one is to have the offensive player being played man-to-man just running back and forth trying to free him or herself. This has a tendency to become frustrating for such players and also wears them down physically and psychologically.
To prepare for these junk defenses, we always brought in a good college or ex-college player who was a good shooter to face the diamond-and-one. This made it more like a game situation and was a lot more of a challenge than having a second-team player play the man we wanted to defend with our diamond and one.
When screens were set on the defensive player guarding the player man-to-man, we would switch with the nearest defender in the diamond, and the zone player would pick up the offensive player on the switch.
Teams never rolled against us and this is a good move. The defender who was screened swapped places in the diamond with the player who picked up the offensive player. This put a fresh defender on the player being played man-to-man.
If the player being defended man-to-man brought the ball up or if he received a pass, then sometimes we would bring over the nearest defensive player in the diamond.
When we double-teamed the player with the ball, it usually forced him/her to give up the ball. As soon as he/she gave up the ball, we would have the defender who joined the double-team go right back to his/her spot in the zone.
When we were in the double-team,we actually were playing a triangle-and-two temporarily.
So now when you see these junk defenses in a high school game, you maybe able to recognize them and their objectives and also see if the offense uses any of these suggestions to solve the junk defenses.

Recommend this article