Scramble Defense

Scramble Halfcourt Defense–Thumbs Down

Jim Larranaga, Men’s Basketball Coach Miami (Florida)
I received the notes from Coach Creighton Burns’ basketball coaching newsletter

a) Thumbs down – trap the receiver of the first
pass in the frontcourt (trap down).

b) Thumbs up – trap the dribbler on the first dribble
over the center line. There are two trappers, two interceptors and a goaltender.

Thumbs down:

Basketball Defense

X1 follows the pass to 2 and traps down with X2.
Weak side X3 rotates up top to take away ball
reversal, is the reversal interceptor (RI).

Weak side
X5 moves up to the high-post area (the next most
likely pass), becomes the high-post interceptor
(HPI, often a big). X4 is the goaltender (GT), he
fronts 4. Any post-to-post screen is an automatic

Get "3 to the ball" on every trap, the two trappers must have their three teammates get ball side and in the action, working together. Positions are the same after trapping on the wing regardless
of the attacking set.


Basketball Defense

On a reversal pass it’s one trap and out. If you
leave your man to go trap, you must run out of the
trap to find the open man, and run to where your
help comes from.

X1 rotates out to find the open man. If X5 decides
to take 3 because he is closer, then X1 would go
where his help came from and take 5.


Basketball Defense


However, if the other team continues to attack with a pass to the corner, trap again. X2 leaves to trap (his man made the pass). X1 is RI, X3 is still HPI, and X5 is still GT.

Basketball Defense


Trailer Trap (Thumbs Down)

On a secondary break, teams are usually looking
to reverse the ball, not make a wing-entry pass.

Trailer trap is normally called after a time-out. X4
becomes the first trapper.



Here is a short video clip of Coach Larranaga diagramming how they double team a pass to the elbow. Click the arrow to see the video. You will be redirected to a page in our shopping cart. You don’t need to buy anything to see the video.

Basketball Coaching
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