Louisville has trouble defending Kevin Jones in the high post
Louisville utilized a 2-3 zone defense for much of the game against West Virginia this afternoon. Louisville had major issues reacting to Kevin Jones flashing to the high post and Jones took advantage of this on his way to a career high 25 points.
Look at the space at the high post and the slow closeouts by the Louisville big men. West Virginia did a good job of spacing the floor all day against the zone to leave the high post open for Jones. Jones flashed with the intention of getting the ball and making a play and he did just that several times against the zone.
Louisville looked content to give Jones the foul line jump shot and not allow him to drive to the basket. This seems to be a viable strategy if they wanted to keep their big men out of foul trouble but their defense on the high post was still too soft. They often gave Jones an arm’s length of space after the catch, which is too much against a good offensive player like Jones.
Look at the space he has after the catch. There is not a defender close enough to bother the shot by Jones. He is able to continually catch, face the basket and knock down the mid range jump shot. To his credit, Jones quickly recognizes the space given to him and acts swiftly in rising up for the jumper.
Time and time again, Louisville allowed Jones to catch and shoot in the high post with minimal pressure applied. These are three examples of this, all which resulted in a made basket. After the videos, we will show how Louisville should have been defending the high post all game.
In this play, Louisville actively guarded the high post instead of being passive on defense. Look at the following shots and see how Jones is closely defended before the catch and prevented from making the catch in a dangerous position.
Instead of sagging back into the lane, allowing Jones to make the catch at the high post and cutting off the driving lane, allowing Jones to shoot the jumper, Louisville countered with a more preventive solution on defense in this play. They had a player shadow Jones the entire time around the high post and cut off the passing lane to not allow Jones to make the catch.
Why they didn’t do this the entire game baffles me. They made it too easy for Jones to catch the ball in the high post and he torched them time and again on his way to a career high in points.
The Mikan Drill can be found on Twitter @TheMikanDrill