In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, Wake Forest basketball assistant coach Matt Woodley joins the Basketball Podcast with Chris Oliver to discuss individual and team basketball defense.
Woodley came to Winston-Salem after spending two years at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa as an assistant coach under Darian DeVries.
Woodley boasts extensive and diverse experience at the professional, collegiate and high school levels. He has coached 21 future NBA players including Klay Thompson and Hassan Whiteside in addition to serving as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies D-League team and an assistant for the franchise’s summer league team.
As a three-year starter at Drake, Woodley played in 83 games and was twice named honorable mention All-MVC and the team MVP as a senior in 1999-00. He ended his career as the program’s all-time leader in three-pointers and steals. He remains the Bulldogs’ all-time steals leader with 194 and earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Drake in 2000.
Since earning his degree, Woodley has accumulated nearly two decades of extensive coaching experience at nearly every level of the game. Prior to Drake, he served as special assistant to the head coach at the University of Pittsburgh during the 2017-18 season, where he assisted with game preparation, practice plans, scouting reports as well as day-to-day basketball operations.
Prior to Pitt, he gained experience in the professional ranks with three seasons on the staff of NBA D-League’s Iowa Energy, including serving as the organization’s head coach in 2016-17.
Woodley joined the NBA following three seasons as the head coach at Division II Truman State where he improved the team’s record in each of his three seasons to amass a 38-44 record as a head coach by taking over a lagging program and leading the team to eight, 10 and 20 wins in his three seasons. In 2013-14, he guided the program to just the sixth 20-win season in program history and set a program record with 13 conference victories.
Learn more from Matt Woodley:
Matt Woodley Quotes:
“If your bigs don’t have low hands in the screen and roll, it doesn’t matter what you do, you’re not going to be very successful.”
“The thing I learned most with [Tony Bennett] . . is the execution of your fundamentals, not the execution of scheme . . I think that’s so lost in development.”
“Be simple in your approach and be a master of your fundamentals because you will be difficult to play against.”
“Anytime you overextend your defense, there’s two things that are going to happen – number one, you’re going to give up more . . restricted area, deep paint shots . . and you’re going to foul more .”
“To me, your defense should be built to beat the best. And to beat the best you have to be totally sound, you can’t be a total help and recover . . two movement team.”
“There’s a chronological order of going with adjustments . . but really it just boils down to: we have to do what we do better.”
“The number one thing on defense . . besides guarding the basketball . . is how do you get on and off the ball.”
“The game’s changing, but are we changing on how we’re developing our players?”
“I’ll never ask a player to do something unless I have video evidence. Everything should be data driven.”
“One thing . . I would challenge all coaches to do, instead of spending so much time on scouting reports . . develop your own shell drill based on what you’re going to see in your league.”
“If you can’t guard the ball with any resistance . . you just can’t play . . You have five guys that can do that . . it’s just more of a want-to and an ability to be completely detailed in your fundamentals on how you want to teach that.”
“We have really good players. The hardest thing for high school players to get onto the floor in college, college to the pros . . is to be able to be really sound defensively.”
“When you’re practicing . . the one thing I would challenge coaches to do . . is constantly change your matchups in practice.”
“You have to find time to study the game to help your players become better.”
Click below to listen in if you listen on:
Matt Woodley Breakdown:
1:00 – Introduction
2:00 – Defensive Philosophy Conversation
3:00 – Adapting the System
5:00 – Execution of your Fundamentals
6:20 – Restricted Area Deep Paint Shot
7:20 – Step-in Threes
9:00 – Stay consistent
10:30 – Someone to have a Chart
11:30 – Chronological Order of Adjustments
13:30 – Spending on Scouting Reports
15:00 – Horn’s Down Look/ Point Corner Split Action
17:00 – More on Scouting Reports – Order
18:50 – SMILE
20:30 – Get Up and Down with Purpose
21:30 – “Sticking Them All” Concept
22:40 – Does a Closeout Matters Much?
23:30 – We Don’t Believe in “Chopping Your Feet”
24:30 – Run and Stop
26:00 – Working on One on One
27:00 – Are we Leaving our Feet to challenge?
28:15 – Teaching Guys To Run and Stop
30:00 – Chopping Your Feet
31:00 – One Slide: Turn and Run
32:40 – Knowing WHY
34:00 – Scouting Report is so Important
35:30 – Never Play 1-on-1 from the Gap
37:00 – Help and Recover, Single Side Tag
39:00 – Ball at the Top of the Key
40:30 – Explaining Terminology of 1-on-1 and other terms
42:00 – On The Ball
43:00 – Swarm the Basketball
44:30 – Below to Up Movement, Back to the Ball
46:00 – Recruit Offense in Coach Defense
47:00 – Reading The Ball and Teaching Defense Decision Making
48:30 – Consistency Changing your Matchups in Practice
51:00 – Single vs Double Side Tag Thoughts
52:30 – Need some Iso Situations
53:30 – How to Cover the Ball in Screen&Roll?
56:00 – How to Attack Switch
57:00 – Find Time to Study the Game
58:00 – Conclusion
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