The 2-3 Zone


In the Husky community you will hear a lot of talk that surrounds the 2-3 Zone. Most of the talk deals with; ‘How do we stop it?’, ‘Why can’t we win, when the other team runs it?’ and, ‘Why did we run it at Oregon?’

Here are your answers:

1) How do we stop it?
Step 1- Don’t be an idiot! This isn’t a joke, it is serious. How many times have we seen Isaiah Thomas just try to push through the 2 and then run into the 3? It seems like almost every possession. When that doesn’t work, the team seems to be all about the 3 ball. Which isn’t bad, but can’t be your whole offense. We see just as often, Scott Suggs, CJ Wilcox, or Terrence Ross get frustrated with the 2-3 zone and just throw up a 3.

Step 2- Set up a half-court offense. Our whole team is built around just pushing the ball up and down the court as fast as possible. However, when a team executes an efficient 2-3 zone the offense is slowed down to a grind it out pace. This pace just doesn’t suit the dawgs. Thus, when a team is set up in this zone, the answer should be a systematic and well-run offense that moves the ball around and creates space in between this zone.

Step 3- Be Patient! If the first play doesn’t work, try another one, and if that doesn’t work, try another one. Only when the shot clock is at 1 should you just throw up a shot. Now, I am not saying don’t take any 3s because if that shot is there- take it! But, don’t just force a 3, when the first or second play doesn’t create an opening in the opponent’s defense.

Step 4- Get Physical! Create fouls, use your body, and drive to the hoop.

2) Why can’t we win, when other teams run it?
The answer is in the above steps, we are forcing things and turning the ball over. The Dawgs are trying to play fast, the other team is trying to play slow. It is easier for a team to force their opponent to slow down, rather than speed up. This frustrates the huskies and thus, the huskies turn the ball over way more than they should.

3) Why did we run it at Oregon?
To Protect Aziz N’Diaye. He is still recovering from his torn ACL, and while he can play, he is not athletically at 100%. Also, Darnell Gant was out for the majority of the game, which left only N’Diaye and Bryan-Amaning as the big guys on the court. This created an opportunity for N’Diaye to step up and play more minutes. However, to do this N’Diaye needed to be protected in a zone defense.

The Dawgs are figuring all of this out, and this upcoming homestand should create a clear opportunity for improvement in playing the 2-3 zone.