#55 Ta’lon Cooper: 6’4” 190 lbs, Sophomore Point Guard
7.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.1 apg
Will be their primary ball handler. Really solid all-around player. SHOOTER! NO 3’s!!! Must be there to take away the catch-and-shoot 3’s. Over half of his shots last season were 3’s. Tighten up to him as the ball is driven towards you. No easy shots for him. Must contest everything. Prefers to drive it right. No right hand drives. Play with your hands up as he drives it. Likes to try and finish with a floater. Get your hands up to contest it. Chase him off of down screens and over flares. Don’t let him reject ballscreens. Get over the ballscreens. They will run him off a lot of actions without the ball. Must be ready to chase him and take away the catch-and-shoot. More shots than points for him. No 3’s!
#2 K.J. Hunt, Jr.: 6’3” 170 lbs, Redshirt Junior Guard
6.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.8 apg (2018-2019 McNeese State)
Lefty. Good shooter. No 3’s!!! Have to be there to take away the catch-and-shoot 3’s. Tighten up as the ball is driven towards you. Need to go over the ballscreens. Likes to shoot behind the ball screen when you go under. Will look to pass the deeper he drives it. Left hand driver after you take away the catch-and-shoot. No left hand drives! Quick first step and will attack a closeout hard. Very quick with the ball in his hands. Don’t get smoked. Likes to use the hesitation dribble to lift you and blow past you. Really good with the ball. Once he puts it on the floor give him space and play with your hands up. Get your hands up and make him finish over you when he does drive it. Not a great finisher. Get back in transition. Will push it fast. NO layups! More shots than points for him.
#1 Devon Cooper: 6’4” 201 lbs, Redshirt Junior Guard
8.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.7 apg (2018-2019)
Medical Redshirt last season. SHOOTER! NO 3’S!!! 49/135 from 3-point range. Over half of his shots are 3’s. Have to be there to take away the catch-and-shoot 3’s. Tighten up to him as the ball is driven towards you. Chase him off of down screens and get over flares. Once you take away the catch-and-shoot he will want to drive it right. Strong, physical driver. Don’t let him get to his right. No right hand drives! Make him finish when he drives it. Not a super high percentage finisher. Just be big and play with your hands up. Don’t let him bully you. Be physical. More shots than points for him.
#3 James Baker, Jr.: 6’6” 205, Senior Forward
9.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.0 apg
More of a driver than a shooter. Has made 3’s at a good percentage in the past, but was just 13/70 last season. Obviously is a willing shooter since he put up more than 2 a game. Make him make one or two before we really tighten up. Close out a step or two short and just throw a hand up to deter/contest the catch-and-shoot. Right hand driver. NO RIGHT HAND DRIVES. Must stay between him and the basket at all times. Bounce back an extra step after you closeout a step short. Excellent slasher and cutter. DO NOT GET BACK CUT! Excellent offensive rebounder. Averaged over 1.5 offensive rebounds per game last season. BOX OUT!!! Will score over his left shoulder with his right hand if he catches it in the post. No layups! Foul him if you get beat, bad free throw shooter. Will try and block your shot defensively. Use pump fakes to get him in the air.
#22 L.J. Bryan: 6’9” 235 lbs, Junior Forward
4.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 0.4 apg
Strong and physical post. RIGHT HAND, LEFT SHOULDER. Really wants to score by taking a hard pound dribble into your chest and drop stepping to his left shoulder to finish with a rand hand hook. No left shoulder baskets. No drop steps. You have to be ready for him to be physical. Ducks in hard and tries to carve out space for a deep catch. Make him finish with you between him and the basket. Plays very hard. BOX OUT! Goes outside of his area to rebound the ball.
#5 Skyelar Potter: 6’3” 198 lbs, Junior Guard
6.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.9 apg (Wright State)
Shooter. No 3’s!!! Have to be there to take away the catch-and-shoot 3’s. Tighten up to him as the ball is driven towards you. Chase him off of down screens and get over flares. Once you take away the catch-and-shoot he is going to want to drive it right. No right hand drives. Not a great finisher around the basket. Just play with your hands up and be between him and the basket. Make him finish. Very athletic. Will crash the offensive glass. Box him out.
#10 Marcus Garrett: 6’1” 201 lbs, Redshirt Junior Guard
15.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 4.0 apg (Wabash Valley)
Talented all-around guard. SHOOTER! No 3’s! Get over the ball screens. He will shoot them behind the ball screen if you go under. Chase him off down screens and get over the flares. Have to closeout to him to take away the 3’s. Once you take away the catch-and-shoot he is going to try and drive it right. No right hand drives. Really aggressive off the dribble. Physical driver. Stay between him and the basket. Be ready for him to shoot the floater or try to get into your body to finish at the basket. Be physical and play with your hands up. More likely to shoot the pull-up when he is driving left and will look to get deeper when going right. Get back in transition when he has it. He will push it hard. Excellent rebounder for a guard. Box him out. Talented scorer. No easy baskets!
#23 Jaylen Sebree: 6’7” 200 lbs, Junior Forward
3.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.4 apg (Florida Atlantic)
Long and athletic wing. Error on the side of giving him a step when closing out to him to begin the game. We can adjust to him if he makes a couple. Just get your hands up to contest the obvious catch-and-shoot but closeout a step short and then bounce back. NO RIGHT HAND DRIVES! He is pretty good with the ball in his hands but not a high percentage finisher. Once he puts it on the floor try and take up the space and be physical with him. No straight line drives. Make him finish with you between him and basket.
#13 Jaden Stanley-Williams: 6’7” 215 lbs, Junior Forward
3.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 0.1 apg
Strong backup forward. Closeout short to stay between him and the basket. No right hand drives. Looks to slash to the basket when he is off the ball. Do not get back cut! Right hand, left shoulder in the post. Will face up and shoot the J too, just throw a hand up to contest. Have to find him and make contact when a shot goes up. Very good offensive rebounder.
With no exhibition games or anything to go off of it is hard to say exactly what their plan will be this season. However, you can expect to see some Ball Screen Continuity and 4-around-1 Motion as the primary offenses in this one. They will be much improved off the dribble from a year ago so you can probably expect to see less set plays in favor of the Motion based stuff this season. When guarding in their Motion you need be disciplined on CHASING #55 Cooper, #5 Potter, #1 Cooper, #2 Hunt Jr., and #10 Garrett. You can go up through the other down screens and under the flares. The absence of Tyzhaun Claude will make them much more perimeter oriented. Just be ready to sit down and guard them 1-on-1. Use your length and don’t give up easy baskets.
Last season they played pretty fast in transition and actually had a lot of success when they could run. However, I expect things to be a little bit more deliberate this season simply because they have better, more efficient players. However, guys like #2 Hunt Jr. and #10 Garrett definitely can push the tempo when they have the ball.
Motion: They like to start a lot of their Motion possessions with a little “butt screen” from the 4-man around the top of the key as you see in this clip. The 5-man follows ball side to look for a duck-in before the ball is reversed to the popping 4. As the ball is reversed the 5-man will once again follow to post up as they set a staggered double away for the player in the weak side corner. They really like to reject the staggered double and bring the first screener off a single down screen. We must stay disciplined and chase the shooters off this downscreen. If they don’t have a shot they will bring the back cutter off another single down screen to the same side.
Motion: Similar to the clip above, the possession begins with the little “butt screen” from the 4-man. They reject the staggered double to come off the single down screen and bring back the back cutter off another single downscreen. We would have wanted to chase that last down screen as opposed to going up through like the Tennessee State defender did.
Motion: This clip is out of a slightly different look but they still end up setting that staggered double away that they like so much. Once again, they reject the double as the ball-hander probes the defense a bit. The Belmont defender guarding #55 Cooper over helps on the potential drive and completely loses Cooper who ends up coming off the down screen to nail a wide open 3. We must stay TIGHT and CHASE #55 Cooper.
Ballscreen Continuity: They will generally lift their opposite post player to the perimeter, but be ready for #0 Claude to duck-in more this season. In the clip you can see on the initial reversal #0 comes high which they more so do in order to open up the baseline drive if they reject the ballscreen. We do NOT want to allow rejects. Once the ball is swung around the highest guard will back cut and the forward will follow his pass into a ballscreen and roll to the basket. Be disciplined in our ballscreen defense assignments (going over the ballscreen for #55 Cooper, #2 Hunt and #10 Garrett especially).
Over/Under to Horns Ballscreen: A lot of their favorite set plays start with the wings interchanging by one Iverson cutting over the top with the other running the baseline. After the over/under #55 Cooper comes off a ballscreen and the Tennessee State defender makes a late decision to go under. We ALWAYS are going over this ballscreen. Due to going under, the big man has to help up to take away the 3 and leaves #0 Claude wide open on the roll for a dunk.
Over/Under: Here is an example of #55 Cooper coming off and shooting the 3. We have to chase him. If you chase him and he curls around the player at the elbow we can give help towards the rim until the guard recovers. Cannot give up this 3!
Over/Under: The tough part about chasing the over/under is allowing the curl to the rim just like mentioned above. Here is an example of them scoring on the curl. If you get screened like the defender does here at the elbow you need to immediately call out the switch so as not to give up a layup.
Backscreen/Downscreen: This play may not be called as much with Tyzhaun Claude out, but whoever they are running it for will pop to the wing for a catch as the weak side guard works his way down underneath the rim. The ball is then reversed around and a diagonal backscreen is set for #0 Claude. We should be able to see this coming and communicate so as not to get screen. If you do get screened as much as the defender in this clip then we need to communicate the switch and the guard will just play in front of the post with backside lob help. It is possible they would run this for #3 Baker too.
They will primarily be in traditional man-to-man defense but they have some guys who will look to shoot the passing lanes and create some turnovers. With playing #3 Baker at the 4 they may try and switch 1-4 since they will have relative mismatches against the size of our guards/wings anyway. Losing Tyzhaun Claude hurts them around the basket, but #22 Bryan is big and will simply try to be in the way at the rim.
Last season they did try to “ICE” some wing ballscreens (force the ball handler to reject the ballscreen and drive baseline) so that is a little wrinkle that we could see this evening. If they do “ICE” we need to either use our athleticism to still come off the screen and put their big man out of position or look for opportunities to slip the screen to the rim.
Keys to the Game
- Follow the plan. First game jitters are a real thing, but if we simply execute the game plan it will all work out in the end. Talk things over in the huddle after a mistake. Don’t make the same mistake twice. Don’t force the action offensively. Let the game slow down and come to you.
- NO 3’s for #55, #2, #1, #5, #10. These guys are all very good shooters. Have to take away their catch-and-shoot 3’s. Get over ballscreens. Chase off down screens and get over flares.
- Allow 8 or Fewer Offensive Rebounds. They have some athletic guys who will crash the glass hard, but with our length and athleticism there is no reason they should have success on the glass. Set the tone early this season that we will dominate the glass.