Why aren't the Cougs making Klay's defender work harder before Thompson catches the ball?
It seems as though we run Klay off one screen at most before looking to get him the ball. I would love to see the Cougs put in a set that designates multiple screeners along the baseline and lane lines to set some head hunting screens. Put Reggie Moore and Marcus Caper in a two-guard front, and they reverse the ball following Klay's movements. If Klay's disciplined to wait for a great shot or a breakdown, he's going to get much better looks down the stretch of the game. Nothing is more exhausting for a player than have to negotiate 4, 5, even up to 8 screens in one possession. Back in the day, we used this (even though we stole it from Stanford) as a way to wear out Derrick Low's defenders, and it was huge for us.
TRACKING THE COUGS THIS WEEK
Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday at 5 p.m.
We don't do it nearly enough, but when we do, it almost always works.
More reasons I like this team …
Some teams (UW for sure) will try to deny the ball reversal between the two guards. If you deny this reversal, it makes the pass to Thompson virtually impossible. So the type of guard you want going backdoor -- down the middle of the lane -- is an athlete that can finish above the rim.
Enter Capers and Moore. They are perfect for this. The worst-case scenario with this look is that Klay catches the ball 20-feet out with 8 seconds left on the shot clock, and you roll up either Casto for a screen-and-roll or one of our stretch-4s with the pick-and-pop. I can live with either of those options at the end of the shot clock.
But mainly I like this look because it's my idea, and my 6th grade team can't quite grasp it yet.
And you guys know I can't go an article without my mind circling back to defense. The Cougars' most pressing defensive issue is their lack of consistency with ball screen defense. That's what Butler exploited when they rolled us up in the second half. Every game, every screen, it appears that we do something a little different each time. What we haven't done? Make the ball handler retreat to half court-even if it's just for one dribble so the guard can recover and not allow his man to turn the corner. When you let that happen, you get beat. Period. We need to show "hard" on every screen, not allow them to turn the corner, and recover with vision. The only time this shouldn't happen is with a PG that really doesn't want to/can't shoot the three. In this case, it's okay for the defender to go underneath the screen while his teammate ushers him through.
OK sports fans, that's the chalk talk for today. I have several pieces coming to you soon, however. One is about what the Cougs can be doing differently on the interior. Another will catch you up on what some of my old Cougar teammates are doing these days.
I'll be making the trip to Pullman next week for the Arizona games, so I should be coming into some great stories ideas and insights. And hopefully I'll be able to execute a prank or two while back on the Palouse.