“Monster Traps” from Houston’s Kelvin Sampson

Years ago, Kelvin Sampson decided that in order for his team to take the next step, they needed to create an identity. The result was the establishment of the “Core Four” – pick and roll defense, post trapping, transition defense, and offensive spacing.

Here’s a look at one of the “Core Four” – post defense.

“Monster” Traps

Swift, aggressive traps are the key for Houston’s post defense. Even before the ball is caught, post defenders are taught to try to take away easy looks into the post. Never be content to play behind the offense. Three-quarter front to deny the pass. Arm bar on the hip. Other hand out to take away the pass.

If the offense does decide to pass, the goal is to force passes in the air. With the ball in the air:

  • x4 comes across the “blue line” to double with hands high
  • the post defender (x5) moves to take away the baseline
  • the guard on the trap’s side (x2) prevents a pass back out to the perimeter
  • the guard defending the top of the key (x1) drops to the nail to see everything
  • the guard opposite the trap (x3) drops to take away the low man’s cut

What sets Houston apart? The speed and consistency with which this happens…

More from Coach Kelvin Sampson

In this Championship Productions video, Kelvin Sampson’s Program Development Guide: Better Practices, Better Defense & Becoming a Great Coach, you’ll learn Coach Sampson’s keys to improving rebounding, strategies for defending the pick-and-roll, and more!

Here’s a clip from the clinic…


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