Preview: Zone defenses to counter size

Expect the Colonials to counter their lack of size with two trapping zone-style defenses aimed at creating turnovers and forcing opponents into bad shots. The Colonials have been working on their 22 and 23 defenses, forms that capitalize the team’s quick guards and forwards, because GW does have the depth to match up man-to-man.

The 22-defense is a full-court zone press. It allows GW’s quick guards, T.J. Thompson and Darnell Miller, to create turnovers and score easy transition baskets. As they pressure the ball-handler to the sidelines, one of GW’s two stationed forwards will step up and double-team the ball to force turnovers. GW’s forwards will attempt to intercept the pass if the ball-handler passes off before the double-team arrives.

While the 22 defense is a risky strategy because the lone center is the last line of defense, it is ideal when GW needs quick points late in the game.

GW will also employ the 23 defense, a half-court press, because it forces opponents into low percentage shots from the outside.

The two guards are stationed along the perimeter protecting against three-point attempts while three other players are down low. Keeping the guards roaming the perimeter protects against long-range three-pointers.

In the 23, two forwards are positioned along the baseline outside the key to stop outside shots along the baseline and disrupt passes to the opponent’s center underneath the basket. The strength of freshmen forwards Tamal Forchion and Darrio Scott, and the athleticism of Jaason Smith will be featured in the 23 defense. Look for this group to block shots and get their hands in the passing lanes often when the Colonials run this half court defense.

The job of the center in the 23 defense is to clear out the area underneath the basket on shot attempts from the outside. His main duty is to rebound and restrict shots close to the basket. Albert Roma will be called on to grab rebounds when the Colonials set up in the 23 defense, but it will not work when the center is paired with a more powerful player.

The Colonials can capitalize on their size by running zone defenses, but a consistent problem in the pre-season has been getting rebounds. Hobbs said after the team’s 95-62 win over Team Vaata Saturday night that the priority now is getting rebounds.

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