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Could a man-press jumpstart NC State’s defense?

NC State Basketball

Could a man-press jumpstart NC State’s defense?

NC State stands 1-4 in ACC play and has struggled mightily on the road. In NC State’s first four ACC games three have been on the road. The Pack has lost at Miami, UNC, and Boston College. This season a lot of teams have struggled in road ACC games. The ACC standings are log jammed with two win and one win teams throughout. NC State just lost to GT at home, pushing them to 1-4.What are some changes the Pack can make to mix things up?

NC State has struggled defensively this year as they have not communicated well or been sound on rotations. Too often they have left guys open because they over pursued in help-side or did not hedge ball screens properly. NC State has also looked disinterested at times on defense as well, yielding easy baskets.

What can NC State do to try and jump start their defense?

One solution could be to employ a man to man full-court press, 40 minutes of hell style. This tactic would force the guards to pick up at 3/4 court and harass their man all the way down the court. While this wouldn’t be any sort of trap or double team, a simple man press has a way of speeding up your opponent and putting them into positions they aren’t comfortable with. It also could create turnovers by making the point guard want to get rid of it prematurely, or having a lapse in concentration as he brings the ball up the floor.

NC State has the depth and athletes to pull off an aggressive defense like this. Dennis Smith, Terry Henderson, Markell Johnson and Torin Dorn have the length to cover lots of space as well as obstruct passing lanes. Malik Abu can pick off passes and stop the ball with his quickness. BeeJay Anya seems to be an ideal player to have as the last line of defense to protect the rim.

Depth is a luxury that the Pack has to implement a full-court attack. They have the athletes and the numbers to make this work. It also would help them get out in transition. It would create more turnovers in the open court which would get the Pack where they are at their best, on the run.

What is another area that can be amended to help NC State out of their losing streak? The Pack beat Virginia Tech by attacking the paint off the dribble as well as being physical on the block. In the games since, they have gone away from attacking the basket. Instead, NC State has settled for long pull-ups that are bad shots not only from a degree of difficulty perspective but also analytically speaking.

Dennis Smith and company need to use their quickness and size to penetrate the paint. Penetration by NC State guards will draw fouls and attention which will yield more space for Abu to dominate. NC State also has guys capable of knocking down threes, although their looks need to come from an inside-out based attack.

The college basketball season is long and creates lots of ups and downs. It can be frustrating for fans, players, and coaches. The Pack can make strides if they change their approach by implementing an aggressive defensive strategy that forces the players to expend energy. Offensively they must turn down 17 footers and play to their strengths. Dennis Smith needs to lead this team and stop the no ball movement shots he has been taking. NC State can turn this thing around, but each player needs to buy in and hold each other accountable.

What are some changes from a strategy standpoint that you would like to see? Offensively? Defensively? Players strengths?



  1. Jules

    January 17, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    This is a horrible idea. A team that cannot defend in the half court, mostly because of lack of effort, isn’t going to be a team that figures out how to run a press effectively.

    • Tyler White

      January 17, 2017 at 6:04 pm

      Effort is an issue which is why a press could work. Pressing makes a team have effort. Also the turnovers forced by pressing fuels teams. If a team forces a turnover and it results in an easy dunk they are even more intense the next possession. Half court hasn’t worked so why not see if they would give effort in a different look?

      • Jules

        January 18, 2017 at 3:50 pm

        Pressing take a concerted effort by 5 players or else it gives the other team consistently open 3’s and layups. Pressing takes much more effort than a zone or half court man to man. To think a way to improve a teams effort is to give them more work does not make more sense to me.

        • Jules

          January 18, 2017 at 3:54 pm

          A common theme you hear among players is missing assignments, I just find it hard to believe that this would not be the case in a press and that we would not pay more dearly for these mistakes. I do however believe that in instances like the Pitt game, using a press against a team without great ball handlers in spots is a great idea.

  2. wolfpack74

    January 16, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Are you kidding? Do you want the other team to shooting 75% from the floor? No one on the team can cover man to man. Teach a good zone and stop the 3’s.

  3. wornoutstatefan

    January 16, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Dribble-drive is going to be the only way this team can be successful. Having TH3 or SWJr run the baseline every time down the floor just isn’t going to work. State has been doing that play for 5 years now and the other ACC teams know how to defend it. There is absolutely no movement on the offensive end, it’s pathetic.

  4. yakima2k

    January 16, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    That said, an effective full court press requires 5 athletes. You can’t have one big lug that has trouble getting up and down the court. So if we’re going to do that from time to time, I’d think Abu and Kapita would be the best two bigs to have in the game, along with whichever three guards are freshest.

  5. yakima2k

    January 16, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    I’d like to see Coach stretch the perimeter defense a bit, but that means our bigs need to be much more focused and ready to defend the basket and they just aren’t right now. Anya’s the only big playing with any passion right now, and he’s too heavy to be effective more than occassionally. Abu and Yurt have to be more active and play tougher on both ends of the court.

    • Pack Insider Staff

      January 16, 2017 at 3:41 pm

      Yurtseven’s play has been a microcosm of NC State’s problems. He’s soft, hesitant and lacking confidence. He’s only a few games into college career, so you don’t want to dump blame on him, but if State is going to change course, Yurtseven is going to need to start to play with a little more nasty and a lot more confidence.

      • yakima2k

        January 17, 2017 at 12:06 am

        Agree, but I’d rate Abu the even bigger example. Upper classman, should be wrecking opponents, but instead playing soft and with uncertainty. He should be a 20-10 guy, and instead he’s 12-7 and passes it to the wrong jersey 3 or 4 times a game. Plenty of blame to go around though.

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