The Mikan Drill

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Poor transition defense by Kansas State gives West Virginia an easy dunk

with 3 comments

Watching film later this week, Frank Martin is not going to be happy with Will Spradling in this play. Kansas State was set up in their transition defense to slow down West Virginia but a poor read by Spradling gave Kevin Jones a free pass to the rim for a dunk.

With Kansas State on offense, Spradling takes the three point attempt and the Wildcats send two players back on defense with three players crashing the glass. Although West Virginia comes away with the rebound, Kansas State should be able to prevent any easy transition baskets as they have defensive floor balance.

Will Spradling makes a huge mistake when he chooses to sprint toward the player on the left wing, instead of staying to protect the paint. With two defensive players back in this situation, one of them should be stopping the ball and the other should be running to the paint. With the ball handler bringing the ball up the left wing, it looks like Martavious Irving is going to pick up the ball, which means Spradling needs to get to the paint.

However, Spradling sees Truck Bryant running down to the left wing and sprints cross court to cover him. This leaves Jones with an open lane to the rim for an easy catch and dunk. With one of the two Wildcat players stopping the ball and the other covering a shooter coming down the wing (and a dreadful one at that), the paint is vacated.

This was a very poor decision by Spradling to leave the paint open for Jones on a good rim run. Spradling’s duty was to protect the paint from someone leaking out and he left to cover a poor shooter. The objective of the floor balance is to prevent leak outs like this by protecting the paint and then closing out on shooters. Frank Martin is not going to be happy with Spradling when he reviews this tape as Kansas State was perfectly set up to slow West Virginia before the mistake by Spradling.


Written by Joshua Riddell

December 9, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Posted in Team Breakdowns

3 Responses

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  1. […] and win the game in overtime but their defensive execution on this set was horrendous. This is the second poor defensive play highlighted here from Kansas State in the last week, which is somewhat odd for a team that was giving up only 0.9 points per possession before this […]

    • Great commentary but one problem….you clearly do not understand Kansas State’s transition defense. In respect to your comments…you are correct in high school basketball. But this is not high school basketball and this is not how Kansas State teaches transition defense. Will’s number 1 responsibility was to stop the man with the ball. Other players are taught to sprint to the rim to contest such a pass/shot.


      December 14, 2011 at 4:21 am

      • I don’t think you understand what is going on in the play. Spradling does not need to stop the ball because it is already being picked up by the other KSU player who was dropping back. This means Spradling should protect the paint until the big men can recover.

        If you think sprinting out to Truck Bryant, a 31% 3 point shooter, is more important than protecting the paint, I think your priorities are a bit wrong.

        The transition D is there: One player stopping the ball, one to protect the paint and recover to shooters. Spradling blows his assignment by leaving the paint open to cover a poor 3 point shooter. That’s bad defense.


        December 14, 2011 at 12:58 pm

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