First Four – Wichita State Drag Screens

By Randy Sherman

The Wichita State Shockers (#11 seed, South Region) face the Vanderbilt Commodores (#11 seed, South Region) in “First Four” action from Dayton, Ohio.  The match up features teams that had expectations coming into the season but find themselves in the play-in game with the right to face #6 Arizona on the line.

The veteran backcourt duo of Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker pace the Wichita State (24-8) attack. They have the poise and the tournament experience to be dangerous in the Big Dance, but they first have to win their way out of Dayton.

VanVleet is the catalyst of the Shockers attack and one tactic head coach Gregg Marshall utilizes to aid VanVleet is the drag screen in transition.

Often the Shockers will use a “double drag” where both trailing posts set ball screens for VanVleet. This can lead to a myriad of offensive opportunities and VanVleet is adept and making the correct play.

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The Shockers set the double drag with players in the corners or allow VanVleet to turn the corner into a loaded side. From there VanVleet makes things happen via ball screen reads, dribble weapons or jumpers off the bounce.

VanVleet can also find a post rolling to the basket or a “throwback” to a pick-and-pop player. The double drag action is a way to initiate offense early in the possession.

The drag screens in transition force the retreating defense into communicating and matching up while dealing with the ball screen and the change of sides early in the possession.



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Randy Sherman is the owner and founder of Radius Athletics - a basketball coaching consulting firm - where he consults with basketball coaches at all levels on coaching philosophy, practice planning, Xs & Os and teaching a conceptual style of basketball. While a head basketball coach at the the interscholastic level, Sherman's teams won 197 games in nine seasons.
February 27,2016: Wichita State Shockers guard Fred VanVleet (23) drives to the basket in the first half during the NCAA Basketball game between the Illinois State Redbirds and the Wichita State Shockers at Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, Kansas. Kendall Shaw/CSM(Credit Image: © Kendall Shaw/CSM via ZUMA Wire)

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