Last week I spoke with former UConn assistant and current Boston University head coach Marisa Moseley. This is the first in a series of posts where Coach Moseley shares her wisdom and knowledge. Today’s focus is on post defense and recruiting.
Coach Moseley was an excellent shot blocker during her playing career (also at Boston University). I read on her bio on the BU website that she worked with post play while she was an assistant the past nine years at Connecticut (they reached the Final Four all nine years she was there). Based on those two experiences I thought it was safe to assume I could learn something from her about post defense. That assumption proved correct.
She said at UConn they preached never facing the player you are guarding off the ball. That meant the head is constantly on a swivel. The key point defensively in the half-court happens when the offensive player makes a cut across the lane. To dictate the action, the forearm of the defender must go up to bump the cutter. Whoever hits first will usually win, so anticipation is crucial. The goal of the defender in bumping the cutter was to change the trajectory of the offense. If the offensive player was trying to go above the defender, bump them to go below you and vice-versa.
She also spoke about what to do when the ball was below and above the free throw line. Below the free throw line, the key advice is to never lose site of the ball. Above the free throw line, you should have a foot splitting the offensive player’s feet. UConn really emphasized that they never wanted to have both feet of a defender over the offensive player’s feet to avoid getting sealed and easy lay-ups.
The speed and confidence that Coach Moseley conveyed this information was impressive. She showed very little effort to retrieve this information, which to me showed how ingrained it was with her. I could not keep up with the notes I was trying to take. It was reminiscent of a conversation with former Merrimack coach Helen Williams about post defense earlier this year.
I was reminded of what Merrimack Coach Monique LeBlanc had told me earlier this summer about recruiting. Coach Moseley is currently seeking dynamic scorers. In general though, she wants players that are good teammates and will eliminate players that are not respectful to their families. A recent recruit came with her sister, and Coach Moseley observed the dynamic. It was positive. When she gave the family this positive feedback, the recruit was surprised by the observation that she made. Many recruits think it is all about basketball, but the coaches need to know the character is there as well.
This is the first in a series of posts with thoughts from Coach Marisa Moseley. Future posts will write about coaching players with different roles and problems in the game today.