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AMOEBA DEFENSE

In the late 1980's and the early 1990's, UNLV had some of the best teams in the history of college basketball which included three Final Four trips in a five-year period including the national championship in 1990.  The key to their success was their defense that was able to take teams out of their offense and apply extreme pressure in the half court.  That defense was the Amoeba Defense.  Because of this defense, UNLV was able to force bad shots and turnovers that led to run outs in transition.

Setting Up the Defense

The defense is set up as shown in Diagram 1.  X1 is just inside the half-court circle and will pick up the ball at half court.  X2 sets up at the top of the free throw circle while X3 and X4 position themselves just below the elbows.  X5 is just in front of the basket.


Diagram 1

There are two ways that the defense can set up.  The first is to guard the ball straight up as shown in Diagram 2.  We want X1 to pick up the ball at half court and then get into his path to force the change of direction by the dribbler.


Diagram 2

We also have the option to trap with X1 and X2 setting the trap.  This can be done either off of the dribble (Diagram 3) or off of the pass (Diagram 4).  Whenever we set a trap, X3 and X4 are the interceptors and X5 protects the basket.


Diagram 3


Diagram 4

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