In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg head coach Josh King shares insights on full Court pressing and playing in the open court.
Josh King led Ludwigsburg to the playoffs in each of his three seasons as an assistant coach. In his first season as head coach, he led the team to a record of 22-12 overall and 12-6 in conference play in 2022-23
Josh King began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Vassar College, where he spent two seasons. He then moved on to become an assistant coach at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for two seasons before joining the staff at the University of South Florida for three seasons.
King switched to professional basketball and became John Patrick ‘s assistant coach at the German Bundesliga club MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in 2018 . He contributed to the team becoming German runners-up in 2020 and finishing the Bundesliga season 2020-21 in first place in the main round. Ahead of the 2021-22 season, King took up the post of head coach at Czech Premier League side USK Prague. With Prague he reached the quarterfinals of the Czech Championship in 2022. After a season in the Czech Republic, King returned to Ludwigsburg, became the new head coach of the Bundesliga club and thus succeeded Patrick.
Josh King Quotes:
“When you’re recruiting players, you have to be able to have an idea who can fit your system. We have a system. We have a philosophy, so we have an idea what we want to do. But you have to adapt throughout the season, whether that be injuries or maybe someone can’t do maybe what you thought they could do.”
“We want guys that can play multiple positions . . because of the way we want to play . .We want to be a team that’s hard to guard, and we feel like the more positionless guys you have, the harder you are to guard.”
“When we get a stop, we want to get the ball and go. Obviously, we’re looking to advance the ball by the pass, but we want guys that have the ability to just bring the ball up and get us into offense.”
“To press, you have to put the ball in the basket. You’ve got to score . . A lot of times, guys’ habits are score, get back to half court, pick up your man. So, early on, we have to get them in the habit of, as soon as we score, we’re up. You make a three, you get a dunk. We’re not running back. You’ve got to be up. The primary focus is to take the ball out of the best ball handler’s hands of the other team.”
“Teams run really good stuff, there are really good players. One way to eliminate guarding, multiple actions, multiple ball screens is, they come across the half court and there is 13, 12, 11 seconds [left on the shot clock]. Now, they’ve got to get into trying to score the basketball instead of us guarding a lot of false motions and scoring actions.”
“It sounds counterintuitive, but guys sometimes are too aggressive in the press . . it’s a solid press. It’s almost, ‘Let’s let the offense make the mistake instead of forcing them.’ A lot of times we don’t want to run and jump . . because, at our level, if most guards can see you coming to run and jump, you’re going to get picked apart. So, we can’t let the ball handler or whoever’s got the ball see us coming to run and jump.”
“If you can force guys to do what they don’t want to do . . consistently through 40 minutes, then I think the odds of you winning a game are high.”
“We want to try to take them out of their actions as much as possible and just disrupt. It’s just disruption with discipline for 40 minutes.”
“I would say almost half the teams now have like one dominant ball handler. Our analytics are don’t let that guy bring the ball up the floor and we have a chance to be a lot more successful.”
“We need three wins in a possession, especially when we’re pressing. The first win, best ball handler/playmaker doesn’t bring the ball up the floor. Win two is get the ball under control and then win three is finish the play or the possession with a stop. And if we can get . . they used to call them turkeys, three consecutive non scoring possessions. If you get seven of those . . then our chances [for winning] go up as well.”
“If there’s a time out or a dead ball and there’s four minutes left to go in the quarter and you’ve got one team foul, you can be extra aggressive at that point. And you always want to use your fouls, which is something that you have to teach . . Sometimes there’s two team fouls and there’s two minutes on the clock, use a foul. Especially if a team has a scoring opportunity because the ball gets taken out and then they’ve got to run offense again.”
Josh King Breakdown:
1:00 – Starting Practice Later
5:00 – Positionless
6:00 – Recruiting for Professional Level
8:00 – Pressing Style
9:00 – Playing in Open Court
11:00 – Coaching in Europe
12:30 – Pressing System
17:00 – Trapping and Forcing in Middle
20:00 – 8-Seconds
21:00 – Defensive Pressing System
24:00 – Mistakes Make During Press
25:00 – Weak Hand Rule
28:00 – Fly By Concept
29:30 – Pressing Mindset
31:00 – Communication Cues
33:00 – Analytics for the Press
35:00 – Fouling and FIBA World Cup
37:00 – Pressing and Transition Defense
39:00 – Toughest to Defend
41:00 – Ball Screen Coverage
45:00 – Advice for Coaches
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