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DIAMOND & ONE ZONE TRAP
 
Every quality team must have a full court and a half court zone trapping scheme in its defensive arsenal. To our way of thinking, the simplest, most effective and easiest to teach is the "diamond and one" zone trap.
 
FULL COURT

SET UP
 
This zone trap is set up initially in a 1, 2, 1 (diamond), and 1 configuration with the 5 guarding the inbounds pass and the 3 and 4 about 10 feet behind, each several feet outside and on opposite sides of the paint as the trappers. The second fastest guard is positioned near midcourt, initially in the center of the court and the fastest guard is positioned as the safety about 10 feet behind the other guard and in a position to stop any long pass on either side of the floor.
 
Generally, the 5 allows the inbounds pass to come in on one side of the floor or other, directs the ball to the sidelines as much as possible and then closes quickly to trap that player along with the trapper on that side. If the player with the ball puts their head down and starts dribbling, they are highly suscepitble to being trapped. If the first ball handler turns and looks down the court for a pass to an open player, they are less likely to be trapped.
 
INITIAL ROTATION
 
Once the initial ball handler is trapped, all defensive players must rotate aggressively to the ball side to preclude any short passes from being completed on the ball side of the court. The main objective of this zone trap is to force the ball handler to backpass or to try a long cross court pass that can be interecepted by one of the quick guards, so all offensive players on the ball side of the court must be aggressively covered, particularly any players in the center of the zone or along the sideline, as they are prime targets.
 
The most important rotation is that of the weak side wing who must rotate quickly to the center/ball side and cut off the pass to the middle or up the sidelines to the first player on that side. If the initial pass up court on the ball side is completed, it is likely the trap has broken down.
 
The second most important rotation is the guard at the back of the diamond. If two offensive players are side by side with one uncovered, or an offensive player is on the ball  side beyond the rotating off side wing and near center court, that player must be denied the ball by the 2 guard.
 
The final rotation that is equally as important is that of the guard in the safety position. That guard must read the eyes of the ball handler to see where they intend to pass and then sprint quickly to that location in an effort to intercept that pass.
 
OFFENSIVE POSITIONING & RESPONSE
 
In a two up press breaker, the most common used, the ball is passed into a guard off a screen by a forward, the forward rolls to the center of the court at the top of the key and the inbounds passer stays opposite the ball handler across the paint.. The other two players are spread at center court. The forward in the center of the court is the primary target of a pass from the ball handler and must be denied the ball.
 
In a "diamond and one" zone trap, the ball handler is trapped by the 5 and the 3, the off wing, 4, denies any pass to the player in the center of the court, the rear diamond guard (2) covers the ball side mid-court offensive player and the fastest guard (1) is close enough to the player at center court on the weak side to intercept a pass, while being mindful of his safety duties guarding the basket in the event a pass is completed over the top and the basket is attacked.
 
If there is a back pass, the 5 and the 4 sprint to and trap the ball while the 3 rotates to the center of the floor to cover a center pass. The 1 denies a pass to the player at center court on the "new" ball side and the other guard rotates back a bit toward the center of the floor to cover both a cross court pass to the other player at mid court or to act as safety in the event of a fast break.
 
HALF COURT

SET UP
 
In the half court, to surpise the opposition, this zone trap is set up initially in a 1, 2, 1 (diamond), and 1 configuration with the 1 guard in the center of the court guarding the ball and trying to push the opposing ball handler to one sideline or the other. The 2 and 3 are about 10 feet behind, with the ball side defender several feet inside the sideline and the other wing on the opposite side of the court but shading toward the ball as the trappers. The 4 is positioned at the top of the key, initially in the center of the court but shading toward the ball and the 5 is positioned as the safety about 10 feet behind the other guard and in a position to stop any long pass on either side of the floor.
 
The point guard directs the ball to the sidelines as much as possible and as soon ashte ball crosses center court the ball side wing and the point guard aggressively jump the ball handler and trap the ball.
 
INITIAL ROTATION
 
Once the ball handler is trapped, all defensive players must rotate aggressively to the ball side to preclude any short passes from being completed on the ball side of the court. The main objective of this zone trap is to force the ball handler to backpass or to try a long cross court pass that can be interecepted, so all offensive players on the ball side of the court must be aggressively covered, particularly any players in the center of the zone or along the sideline, as they are prime targets.
 
The most important rotation is that of the weak side wing who must rotate quickly to the center/ball side and cut off the pass to the middle or up the sidelines to the first player on that side. If the initial pass up court on the ball side is completed, it is likely the trap has broken down and all players must move to their standard defensive positions..
 
The second most important rotation is the 4 at the back of the diamond. If two offensive players are side by side with one uncovered near the foul line extended, or an offensive player is on the ball  side beyond the rotating off side wing and near the sideline, that player must be denied the ball by the 4.
 
The final rotation that is equally as important is that of the 5 in the safety position. That player must read the eyes of the ball handler to see where they intend to pass and then sprint quickly to that location in an effort to intercept that pass, being mindful of the need to protect the basket.
 
OFFENSIVE POSITIONING & RESPONSE
 
In a 1, 2, 2 offensive set, the most common used, the ball is dribbled up court by the point guard.. The two wing players are outside the 3 point line at about the top of the key and the two forwards are on the blocks. One of the wings is the primary target of a pass from the ball handler and both must be denied the ball.
 
In a "diamond and one" zone trap, agasint a 1,2,2 offense, the ball handler is trapped by the 1 and the 3 as soon as he crosses center court, the off wing, 2, denies any pass to the wing player nearest him, the 4 covers the ball side wing  and the 5 is close enough to the ball side player on the block to intercept a pass, while being mindful of his safety duties guarding the basket in the event a pass is completed over the top to the other forward on the block and the basket is attacked.
 
If there is a back pass, the 1 and the 2 sprint to and trap the ball while the 3 rotates to the center of the floor to cover a center pass. The 5 denies a pass to the player at the sidelines on the "new" ball side and the 4 rotates back a bit toward the center of the floor to cover both a cross court pass to the other player at mid court or to act as safety in the event of a fast break.
 
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
 
Start practicing this technique by walking everyone through what to do when the ball is in different positions.
 
Every team should repeatedly practice breaking a press by passing only. Dribbling slows play down just enough to allow a zone trap to work so to effectively break a trap you pass. However, if any pass is not thrown perfectly, a properly positioned defensive player in a zone trap position may intercept the pass.
 
The offensive unit should practice passing only to break a press and the defenisve unit should practice its rotations to stop the easy ball side pass and force the opposing team to try to go long cross court or over the top where the pass might be picked off.