“Defending the Post”
Posted by Steve Bzomowski on February 12, 2007
My first year as an assistant at Harvard, we, of course, had pre-season staff meetings to discuss and outline how we would play and, therefore, how we would teach, all the aspects of individual and team offense and defense. Basically, we were laying the foundation for the season. When the topic of post defense came up, we talked about when and where and how we would defend the post. Pete Roby, then the top assistant and later the head coach at Harvard, told a story that answered our question and is instructive to all players who are defending down low. Pete said when he had been an assistant at Stanford, Bill Walton, who was enrolled as a student at Stanford Law, was serving as a “volunteer” on the hoops’ staff. There they engaged in a similar discussion. Should they primarily play behind? Should they 3/4 front and two-step across, get to the low side when the ball went below the dotted line? How about full fronting? Back and forth they went. Finally, someone noted that one of the greatest post players of all time was sitting in the room and, given that he played for John Wooden, the greatest technician, the master motivator, the most brilliant mind, the greatest college coach in history, that Walton just might be able to offer some insight. Well, Bill, how did Coach Wooden teach it? Bill: “he told us not to let our man catch the ball. Don’t let him get it.”.