BY JOSEPH FONTANAZZA
SC Contributing Writer
A point guard receives an inbound pass.
He gazes into the abyss filled with white and red jerseys, as he starts his journey to the other side of the court.
A spilt decision comes over him to run right hoping to elude his defender.
He acquires a quick feeling of tranquility, while the guard sees some room to stretch his strides.
But an unexpected advisory stops his path to freedom. Startled, the guard unleashes a desperation pass.
The pass finds the unwanted hands of the white and red attackers.
This scene is what the East Stroudsburg University Warriors Men’s Basketball team looks like to opponents.
Size is a rare commodity for Division Two Basketball teams. ESU, the 6th ranked Division II team, has one player listed at 6’8” or over.
By comparison, San Diego State, the 6th ranked Division I team, has 5 players listed at 6’8” or over).
Because of this, ESU head coach Jeff Wilson set his sights on speed and he found a blend of quickness and stamina. Those attributes give the Warriors an abundance of lateral quickness that allows ESU to play tight man on man Wilson, seeing those attributes, employed a full court trap defense meant to frustrate opposing backcourts into a multitude of mistakes.
Using a three guard system with Matt Tobin, Whis Grant and Jamal Nwaniemeka, the Warriors are easily able to switch off assignments without fearing a disparity of athleticism.
Without the apprehension of having to stay on their man, the Warriors are able to stay vigilant in the passing lanes waiting for a wayward pass.
That sentiment is echoed when looking at the PSAC leaders in steals.
Tobin, Grant and Nwaniemeka all appear on the top 25 leaders in steals (Tobin 1, Grant 12, Nwaniemeka 24 as of 2/21/2014).
After an opposing guard receives a pass a Warrior is right on their hip.
With the Warriors lateral quickness, they are able to steer their man into help defense for a trap.
The traps led to the flailing passes that the Warriors constantly take advantage of. ESU also does a great job after the steals to attack the basket for an easy field goal.
Furthermore, the front court is an big part of the Warriors’ being able to finish baskets off the steal.
The big men rumble down the court looking for a pass to attack the paint. Not only do the forwards help on the offensive facet of the game but they are a vital part of ESU’s trapping defense.
Rasheed Moore and Zechariah Runkle are what prevents teams from simple passing down the court to beat the trap.
The East Stroudsburg Warriors trapping defense would drain the stamina of even trained sprinters but this is why they have one of the deepest benches in the PSAC.
When subs like Will Brown, Lamont Tillery, Muhamadou Kaba, Malcom Richardson and Dajon Todmann enter the game there is little drop off of production.
With the PSAC and Division Two tournaments coming up, it should be interesting to see how this trapping defense plays against some of colleges’ best teams.
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