The Effect of Baylor's Zone Defense

        No team in the country can match Baylor's top-tier athleticism and unbelievable length in the frontcourt; they have forwards that can move like guards, yet stand at 6'10" on average with 7'+ wingspans. It's this versatility that allows coach Scott Drew to put Baylor's three best players- 6'7" Quincy Acy, 6'10" Quincy Miller and 6'11" Perry Jones on the floor at the same time because all three are unselfish and can play different positions on the offensive end and all three can play in Drew's 2-3 zone or 1-3-1 matchup zone systems on defense.

        In Drew's 2-3 zone, Acy, the team's best rebounder given his motor and four years of experience doing all of the dirty work for the Bears, plays below the rim, collecting pretty much anything that comes in his path. He meets cutters with his forearm to slow down opposing zone offenses and clog up spacing. Acy is quick enough to lunge out and guard the high post until his guards recover and he can challenge shots virtually anywhere in the paint. Playing by his side are freshman Quincy Miller and sophomore Perry Jones. In this matchup zone, both Miller and Jones challenge perimeter shooters on the wing, closing out with their quickness and length and on most occasions guard against baseline drives and funnel the wings back up top, the strength of the defense. Drew also has the luxury of subbing in 6'10" guard Anthony Jones, yes, I said guard, and 6'9" Cory Jefferson, who offer the same length and similar versatility as that of Acy, Miller and Jones.

        Drew also set up a 1-3-1 matchup to his benefit as well with electrifying 5'10" guard Pierre Jackson on top for force pressure and funnel opposing guards into potential trap opportunities. Jackson rotates playing strong side defense with whomever is playing behind him, most commonly 6'4" athlete Deuce Bello or 6'1" guard A.J. Walton. All three are quick enough to rotate from the offense swinging the ball by getting out to defend the ball and then rotating and recovering to guard the middle of the zone in the high-post as well. The key to the defense is the bottom and the wings where Drew again features his three best forwards to challenge shots on the wing, protect the rim and perhaps most importantly, once the ball is secured, to get out in transition and run the floor for easy buckets by beating opposing big men down the floor.

        Acy has shown the awareness and toughness to step-up and take the charge on slashers if his teammates get beat, but again, Acy, Perry Jones and Quincy Miller are all rim protectors with long arms that double in their ability to play the passing lanes as well and that's the key to slowing down offenses.

By President - Corey Ruff - 12-30-11