Full-court press

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A full-court press is a basketball term for a defensive style in which the defense applies pressure to the offensive team the entire length of the court before and after the inbound pass. Pressure may be applied man-to-man, or via a zone press using a zone defense. Some presses attempt to deny the initial inbounds pass and trap ball handlers either in the backcourt or at midcourt.

Basketball Team sport

Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball through the defender's hoop while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one or more one-point free throws. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play (overtime) is mandated.

Man-to-man defense is a type of defensive tactic used in team sports such as American football, association football, basketball, and netball, in which each player is assigned to defend and follow the movements of a single player on offense. Often, a player guards his counterpart, but a player may be assigned to guard a different position. However, the strategy is not rigid, and a player might switch assignment if needed, or leave his own assignment for a moment to double team an offensive player. The term is commonly used in both men's and women's sports, though the gender-neutral 'player-to-player' also has some usage.

Zone defense is a type of defense, used in team sports, which is the alternative to man-to-man defense; instead of each player guarding a corresponding player on the other team, each defensive player is given an area to cover.


Defenses not employing a full-court press generally allow the offensive team to get halfway down the court (a half-court press) or near the basket before applying strong defensive pressure.


A full-court press takes a great deal of effort, but can be an effective tactic. Often when teams are behind late in a game, they will apply full-court pressure as a means of attempting to produce turnovers as well as tire opponents. Certain teams, such as those coached by Rick Pitino and Billy Donovan, are known for applying full-court pressure during most of the game (this was especially evident for Pitino's Kentucky Wildcats championship squad in the 1996 NCAA tournament). Presses are especially effective against teams with poor ballhandlers, shallow benches (since players become more fatigued when being attacked by a press), or slow, deliberate offenses (since taking the ball up the court can waste a substantial portion of the shot clock). Once a press is broken, however, the defensive team is vulnerable to a potential fast break or open three-point opportunity since defensive players may be caught behind the play.

In basketball, a turnover occurs when a team loses possession of the ball to the opposing team before a player takes a shot at their team's basket. This can result from the ball being stolen, the player making mistakes such as stepping out of bounds, illegal screen, a double dribble, having a pass intercepted, throwing the ball out of bounds, three-second violation, five-second violation, or committing an error such as traveling, a shot clock violation, palming, a backcourt violation, or committing an offensive foul. A technical foul against a team that is in possession of the ball is a blatant example of a turnover, because the opponent is awarded a free throw in addition to possession of the ball.

Rick Pitino American basketball coach

Richard Andrew Pitino is an American basketball coach, who last coached Panathinaikos of the Greek Basket League and the EuroLeague. He has been the head coach of several teams in NCAA Division I and in the NBA, including Boston University (1978–1983), Providence College (1985–1987), the New York Knicks (1987–1989), the University of Kentucky (1989–1997), the Boston Celtics (1997–2001) and the University of Louisville (2001–2017).

Billy Donovan American college basketball player, professional basketball player, point guard, college basketball coach, NCAA Tournament championship coach

William John Donovan Jr. is an American professional basketball coach and former player who is the head coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He previously spent 19 seasons at the University of Florida, where his Florida Gators teams won back-to-back NCAA championships in 2006 and 2007. Donovan has more wins than any other coach in the history of the Florida basketball program, and he coached the Gators to more NCAA tournament appearances, NCAA tournament wins, and Southeastern Conference (SEC) championships than all other Florida coaches combined.

Effective press breaks employ quick passing more often than dribbling to advance the ball up the floor. Short, quick passes are less prone to turnovers than either long passes or dribbling. Another effective way to break a man-to-man press is to pass to the center. Most presses keep a "last man back" (usually the center) whose job is to disrupt a potential fast break resulting from the press; this may leave the offensive center unguarded and able to receive a pass near midcourt or near the basket for an easy score.

Center (basketball) Position in basketball

The center (C), also known as the five, or the big man, is one of the five positions in a regular basketball game. The center is normally the tallest player on the team, and often has a great deal of strength and body mass as well. In the NBA, the center is usually 6 feet 10 inches (2.08 m) or taller and usually weighs 240 pounds (110 kg) or more. They traditionally have played close to the basket in the low post. A center with the ability to shoot outside from three-point range is known as stretch five.


In the 1950s, the full-court press style of play was invented by John McLendon, an American basketball coach who is recognized as the first African American basketball coach at a predominantly white university and the first African American head coach in any professional sport. McLendon is often not credited because he invented it within the African American college league. Due to segregation, African American teams could only compete against other African American teams. For years, his style of play went unnoticed by white society and later was called unrefined until white coaches adopted it . [1] McLendon's contributions to the game of basketball also include an increase in tempo and the four corners offense. [2]

John B. McLendon Jr. was an American basketball coach who is recognized as the first African American basketball coach at a predominantly European-American university and the first African American head coach in any professional sport. He was a major contributor to the development of modern basketball and coached on both the college and professional levels during his career. He has been enshrined three times in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and also inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

Racial segregation in the United States Historical separation of African Americans from American white society

Racial segregation in the United States, as a general term, refers to the segregation of facilities, services, and opportunities such as housing, medical care, education, employment, and transportation in the United States along racial lines. The term mainly refers to the legally or socially enforced separation of African Americans from whites, but is also used in regards to the separation of other ethnic minorities from majority mainstream communities. While mainly referring to the physical separation and provision of separate facilities, it can also refer to other manifestations such as the separation of roles within an institution. Notably, in the United States Armed Forces up until the 1950s, black units were typically separated from white units but were nevertheless still led by white officers.

The four corners offense, technically four corner stall, is an offensive strategy for stalling in basketball. Four players stand in the corners of the offensive half-court while the fifth dribbles the ball in the middle. Most of the time the point guard stays in the middle, but the middle player would periodically switch, temporarily, with one of the corner players. It was a strategy that was used in college basketball before the shot clock was instituted.

Gene Johnson, head coach at Wichita University (now called Wichita State University) is often falsely credited with creating the full court press, but in fact just popularized it outside of the Negro Leagues. [3]

Wichita State University Public university in Wichita, Kansas, US

Wichita State University (WSU) is a public research university in Wichita, Kansas, United States, and governed by the Kansas Board of Regents.

In the 1960s, Hobbs High School, New Mexico boys' basketball coach Ralph Tasker began using a man-to-man pressure defense from baseline to baseline, buzzer to buzzer. This defensive strategy resulted in numerous turnovers and scoring opportunities for his teams. The 1969-70 Hobbs Eagles team scored 100 points or higher in 14 consecutive games, a national record held for 40 years. [4] Tasker's teams set the New Mexico scoring record for most points scored in a game with 170 points against Carlsbad High in 1970 and with 176 points against Roswell High in 1978, and scored above 150 points in three games in 1981. [5]

Hobbs High School (HHS) is located in Hobbs, New Mexico, United States. It had a student population of about 1900 students as of 2017.

Ralph Edwin Tasker was a high school boys' basketball coach. Born in Moundsville, West Virginia, he coached for over 50 years, including 49 years at Hobbs High School in Hobbs, New Mexico. As head coach at Sulphur Springs (OH), Lovington (NM), and Hobbs, he compiled a win-loss record of 1122-291 (.794). He won twelve New Mexico Boys' State Basketball Championships: one with Lovington (1949) and eleven with Hobbs. His other accomplishments include twice being named National High School Coach of the Year, induction into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame, and being chosen for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Morgan Wootten Award. The Hobbs Eagles' home gymnasium is named Ralph Tasker Arena in his honor. Known for employing a full-court press for the entire game, Tasker's teams were often high scoring, with his 1969-70 team averaging 114.6 points per game and recording 14 consecutive 100-point games, both national high school records.

Carlsbad High School (Carlsbad, New Mexico) Public high school

Carlsbad High School (CHS) is located in Carlsbad, New Mexico, United States, and has a student population of over 1600 students. the school serves Carlsbad and the nearby communities of La Huerta, White's City, Queen, Otis, and Malaga.

Arkansas's coach Nolan Richardson observed and adopted Tasker's up-tempo pressure defense while coaching at the high school level. [6] He called his version of full court pressure "40 minutes of Hell." VCU's former coach Shaka Smart calls his form of full court pressure "Wreaking Havoc" or "Havoc Ball".

The Serbian coach Đorđe Andrijašević was the first one to use this technique in Europe. His zone press was an adapted and improved version of Gene Johnson's full-court press. He used it for the first-time with French team JA Vichy in 1965. This defensive style was then reproduced by other French squads and quickly became popular in other European leagues.

See also

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  1. https://theundefeated.com/features/excerpt-basketball-a-love-story-battle-for-racial-equality//hof.aspx?hof=73
  2. http://nccueaglepride.com/hof.aspx?hof=73
  3. Wichita State University Archived 2011-07-18 at the Wayback Machine Gene Johnson (Basketball Coach, 1928-33)
  4. "U.S. Boys High School Basketball Records - Most Consecutive 100 Points Games".
  5. "New Mexico Boys Basketball Records" (PDF).
  6. "Hobbs High takes aim at 17th state title". ESPN.com. February 2, 2009. Retrieved September 7, 2018.