The Basketball Podcast: EP114 LaVall Jordan on The Butler Way

RELEASE DATE : 16/09/2020

In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, Butler head coach LaVall Jordan joins the Basketball Podcast to discuss the Butler Way. Packline defense concepts and the teaching process are covered.

Jordan, who helped Butler to conference championships and NCAA Tournament appearances as both a player and an assistant coach has his tenure at the helm of the Butler program off to a great start. He has a pair of 20-win seasons and two post season appearances. 

Jordan is a former head coach of Milwaukee, as well as assistant coach at Michigan, Iowa, and Butler. In six seasons as an assistant coach under Michigan head coach John Beilein, Michigan advanced to the NCAA Tournament each year except 2015, won Big Ten Conference regular season championships in 2012 and 2014 and appeared in the Elite 8 in 2014 and the National Championship in 2013.

LaVall Jordan

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LaVall Jordan Quotes:

“We tried to get our guys in the mindset that we . . dictate, dominate and finish.”

“For us, defense starts with offense . . ball security on the offensive side so that we don’t give up easy baskets off turnovers . . It’s hard to guard turnovers, so taking care of the basketball is the first part of our defense.”

“We spend a good amount of time on closeouts and playing 1-on-1 . . we don’t talk help as much as we say support . . because if we’ve got to keep helping you then you’ve probably got to come out of the game.”

“We want to dominate effort plays . . you’re going to play against really good teams that move the ball around . . so you’ve got to have an effort and a second effort . . because your teammates are counting on you.”

“How well does your system line up with your values and standards, your culture . . for us, accountability is a big part of our culture.”

“Everybody understands that they’re going to be held accountable to a certain standard . . and that doesn’t drop or dip . . so you’re going to have to get it done.”

“There’s a culture piece that does drive it. We speak on ‘toughness is a choice’ and we preach that and that’s always been a thing here.”

“We’re going to have six newcomers, so those guys need to be educated on what the culture is. It’s a big responsibility that is on the upperclassmen but also on us as a staff . . to make sure we teach it, make sure there’s clarity . . there’s a clear understanding of the standard an how we behave.”

“When you hit the edge and it gets tough and you’ve got that choice to make . . Are you going to push through for excellence? Are you going to push through to uphold the standard?”

“We dove into that journey last off-season . . trying to get to what makes a good defense, what makes a good offense . . and then try to get good at that. You can’t be good at everything.”

“Here’s what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to get accomplished. Here’s how we’re trying to get it accomplished. And here’s why. Here’s why we do it the way we do it.”

“I think [feedback] is a critical piece . . our guys all want to know how they’re doing . . you have to demand and grade . . and that’s a big deal holding them accountable.”

“What gets measured gets done.”

“If we emphasize finishing and being obsessed to finish, then defensive rebound percentage matters; then if you block out or if you don’t block out matters, so let’s grade it out and demand that it be at a higher level.”

Selected Links from the Podcast:

LaVall Jordan

Butler University

Kamar Baldwin

Aaron Thompson

Brad Stevens

Todd Lickliter

Thad Matta

John Beilein

Emerson Kampen

Kevin Eastman


1:00 – Defensive Identity
4:00 – Defending the Three-Point Line
6:00 – Closeout
8:00 – One-on-One Defensive Mentality
12:00 – Butler One-on-One Sessions
14:00 – Offseason Sessions
16:00 – Value of Simplicity
20:00 – Transition Defense
22:00 – Defensive Transition Drills
27:00 – Help Improving Players
29:00 – Listening to Podcasts
33:00 – Adjustments on Defense
36:30 – Defensive Calls
38:30 – Zone Defense
40:00 – Factors on Baseline Inbound Defense
43:00 – Importance of Mental Cues
46:00 – Questions for Clarity
48:00 – Sideline Inbound
50:00 – Feedback
52:00 – Conclusion

 LaVall Jordan:



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