Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

DeMatha shell

Mike Jones

Building the DeMatha team defence,

- basic principles
- penetration principles
- passing and cutting.

Start with a high post then low post.

See Defending - Wootten horseshoe, Wootten Fogler.

1) Basic principles


Influence the ball sideline-baseline (out of the middle), deny one pass away, X3 is two passes away, has at least one foot in the lane, and can see ball and man. Guarding a high post, X5 always plays between the ball and his man (denying), no matter where the ball goes.

Pass and hold to start, each time coach calls "pass", defenders move as the pass is in the air.

X3 is three passes away from the ball, in the hole, underneath the rim. X4 has one foot in the lane.

All defenders call out their position - ball, deny, help, or hole.

Progression - attackers pass the ball around (move the ball) until coach calls "freeze", the defence is allowed to move until they are in position, be efficient in your movement.


5 moves to the low post, and can change sides.

Defending a low post, guard low side if the ball is below the foul line, and high side if the ball is above the foul line (deny the ball, really get around). To change positions, X5 can

- move behind 5, which is their preference because they have a long guy who can block shots
- go in front the same way (facing 5), e.g., if X5 is a smaller defender who always tries to deny 5,
- go in front by stepping through (two steps, step up and over).

5 is probably going to be bodying you the whole time.

With their big they want him to just stay behind the low post, he can alter the shot even if 5 catches the ball.

Progression - attackers move the ball, 5 can play in the high post or low post.

2) Penetration principles

They really work on taking charges. In a game the other team can drive at any time, help, help the helper and rotate.


Never help from the high post.

X2 can't allow 2 to beat him to the middle of the floor, their defence isn't built to get beat middle.

If 2 drives baseline from the corner, hole-guy X3 meets the ball outside the lane and takes a charge (2 puts the ball in his chest and pushes him down), X4 helps the helper, sprinting to the baseline and turning to see the floor.

X4 closes out on a pass to 4, and guys can recover.

The same thing happens if 1 beats X1, X3 gets over and stops him, X4 has to sprint, turn, and see 3 if he cuts in. The only guy they are leaving open is 4 for an over-the-shoulder pass back out to halfcourt.

Never help from ballside (stay home), there is no one to help X2 on a kick-out to 2, he'll make it 9 times out of 10. That's why the emphasis is on the opposite-side helper, there's plenty of opportunity to rotate back if 1 kicks it to 4.

Progression - move the ball, whoever has the ball drives whenever coach calls "drive", everybody rotates, knock the player down, kick the ball out and everybody hustles back out.

No defensive possession is over until you've blocked out, boxed out, pursued and gained the rebound.


They can help from the low post because the rotation is very simple, hole-guy X3's job becomes easier, X5 steps over (to help), X3 gets post player 5, X4 steps down, and the pass they give up is the one furthest from the basket.

It's a little trickier if 5 is weakside, they have to talk, if X3 says he's got it,

a) X5 drops, butt to the baseline, and X4 helps him,


b) if 5 comes over (to the dots), maybe X5 steps up (stays with 5) and X4 is in position (drops).
See Defending - Fratello drive and trap.

Although not discussed, in the video when 1 drives from the guard spot,

a) X3 helps on the drive, X5 stays with 5 and X4 sprints down to take away 3,


b) X5 helps (shown), X3 takes away 5, and X4 sprints down to take away 3 (note that X5 may be in a better position to help, X3 is not in the hole).

If 5 is ballside, X5 is shown stopping the drive, X3 takes away 5, X4 takes away 3.

(For simplicity, with a ballside or weakside low post, always have X4 take away 3 on a drive from the opposite wing or corner, then X5 stays with 5 if X3 helps, or X3 takes away 5 if X5 helps)

3) Passing and cutting

Fogler shell drill.


1 cuts through on a guard-to-forward pass, attackers rotate and the defence rotates with them. X1 goes from guarding the ball to a deny position to guarding a cutter to being in the hole.

2 passes it out to 4 (replacing 1), who will pass back to 2 and cut, go through the rotation again.
(Option - can replace 2 with a coach, see Defending - Face cuts)


On a guard-to-guard pass there is a weakside pindown. X2 has to move from deny to helpside then interchange with X1, who has to talk to X2 and let him through (talk him through it).

Continue with a pass from 4 to 2.

Progression - move the ball, pass and cut, coach can call "drive" at any time, and finish with "shot".up

This page was made with Basketball playbook from Jes-Soft

2007-19 Eric Johannsen coacheric53@gmail.com