In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, one of the winningest active Division I coaches with over 450 career wins and 13 NCAA Tournament appearances to his credit, Bruce Weber joins the basketball podcast to discuss defensive concepts.
Weber has guided the Wildcats to 20-win seasons and NCAA Tournament appearances five times during his tenure, including consecutive 25-win campaigns the past two seasons for the first time in school history. K-State recorded its first 25-win season in five years and made its 12th trip to the Elite Eight in 2017-18 then followed it with another 25-win campaign and a third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2018-19. The school is one of just 24 nationally, including 15 in power conferences, to win at least 25 games in each of the last two seasons. He is the first Wildcat head coach to lead the program to multiple 25-win seasons (three).
Weber has compiled a 463-244 (.655) record in his 21 seasons as a head coach, which includes stints at Southern Illinois (1998-2003) and Illinois (2003-11). His teams have participated in postseason play 15 times, including 13 NCAA Tournament appearances. He has won 15 NCAA Tournament games, including trips to the Sweet 16 in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2018 and the Elite Eight in 2005 and 2018, while his 2004-05 Illinois squad played North Carolina for the NCAA Championship.
Bruce Weber Defensive System:
- Ball Pressure – how far from the basket?
- Close outs – Contest every shot
- Close the middle penetration
- Helpside Defense – How we rotate?
- Defending the post
- How to defend ball screen?
- Transition defense
“We talk about a culture of effort . . buy into the system and develop.”
“If you get them to believe in defense, you always have a chance to win . . especially on the road.”
[On defense] “We take things away . . taking away two or three of the best set, rhythm plays that the other team has.”
“We made it tough on people to get the ball up the court . . we try to keep a body on a body . . that doesn’t put us in as many scrambles and it also helps us with our blockout.”
“We try to disrupt that passer with hands, with pressure.”
[On defense] “The art of being a safety is so important . . we always talk about one safety getting back protecting against layups.”
“One of the most important things is we talk about is talk. We have to be the best talking team on the court . . in transition D you don’t have a man, you have whoever is open.”
“One of the most important things early in the season that you need to emphasize is transition defense.”
“We are preparing to beat the best teams in our league, not the average team or the bottom team.”
“I talked about . . flexibility and that’s within your season from one season to the next because you’ve got different talent and different strengths and weaknesses but also within games.”
“Do not go to war with one bullet . . If you’re going to guard guard a ball screen a certain way . . and they’re cooking you, are you going to change? . . You have a second . . or even a third bullet.”
“It starts with the foundation you build from September through November. That foundation is the same stuff you’ve got to rely on when you get to late February and into March.”
“I believe our guys learn the game, they learn how to play . . Dee Brown, one of our great guards said . . ‘That helped me as a player . . and helped me as a coach.’”
Click below to listen in if you listen on:
1:00 – Culture of Effort
2:40 – Flexible, Continue to Change, Believing Defense
4:00 – Things That Helped Them Build the Culture of Effort
5:30 – Keys to his Defensive Success
7:00 – His Defensive Players
8:40 – Practice
10:00 – Jailbreak and Jammer Bumper
12:30 – How Spred You Want your Defense?
14:00 – Defensive Side Pressure
16:00 – Defending the Post
18:20 – Change in Ball Screens
20:15 – FlatHeads
22:00 – Change in Transition Defense
23:50 – Talk
25:00 – Quick Drag Screen out of Transition
26:00 – Beat the Best Teams in the League
28:00 – Ability to be Flexible in Every Game
31:00 – Things that Changed Him in Coaching
34:00 – Conclusion
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