You Need Help: Boise State’s 911 drill

The Boise State Basketball team is looking to prove themselves once again as expectations are high in the City of Trees. With a veteran squad led by guards Anthony Drmic and Derrick Marks, the Broncos look to make a big splash this year in the Mountain West Conference.

The Mountain West media poll had the Broncos picked to finish second in conference. Though the Broncos have an innovative offense that is known throughout the basketball world, their defense struggles. Ranking 145th in points allowed last season.

The Broncos look to improve their defense once again this season as they try to make a run the the conference tournament and possibly the NCAA tournament.

The Mountain West is known as one of the better basketball conferences in the land. Boise State has to make up for some what of a lack of athleticism, especially against teams such as San Diego State, UNLV and New Mexico.

Below are clips from Boise State’s 911 defensive drill from last season. The drill is to perfect the skill of help defense. Derrick Marks is guarding Dezmyn Trent forcing him baseline. The reason for Marks forcing baseline is to limit the options the offensive player has.

If forced middle, it’s much easier for the offense to break down the defense due to the amount of space given. In this drill, Marks is told to get beat to simulate a game like situation. Notice the angle he has against Trent; open and right off the outside of his hip.

As Trent penetrates baseline, notice where the backside is. Each player, Watkins, Duncan, and Bropleh have their focus on Trent. The main goal is to protect the basket. Iggy is in deny position, due to being one pass away.

If two passes away, generally the help side defenders need to have two feet in the paint. Pending who Boise State is playing, they made need to guard the 3 a little tougher, which may force one foot in the paint rather than two.

As the ball moves, so does the defense. Watch the rotation Boise State makes. Iggy drops to the elbow, Watkins closes off any chance for the offense to get an easy look at the basket. Duncan slides down underneath the basket to take away the corner 3 pass, Bropleh slides just below the elbow.

One point of emphasis while coaching help defense is seeing man and ball. Defenders need to see not only what the ball is doing, but where their man is moving. The backside of Duncan and Bropleh’s head are showing on the screen shot below. This shows they are vulnerable to their man cutting to the basket due to lack of vision of their man they are defending.

The 911 drill is all about reacting with the ball and making the right rotations. Trent knows he isn’t going anywhere baseline. He kicks it to Mikey Thompson, where Iggy closes out. Marks is in a denial and Bropleh, Duncan and Watkins make the rotations.

As Thompson passes, Watkins is fighting for inside position of his man to make sure he is between the ball, man and the basket. Marks makes his way to put one foot in the key, as well as Iggy. Bropleh closes out and Duncan is in help position for the corner shooter.

The most impressive aspect of the Boise State Basketball team is how well they rebound. Granted Bronco big man Ryan Watkins was the work horse on the boards last season, but Coach Rice has got all the players rebounding with sound technique.

Notice when the shot is up, NONE of the Broncos are watching the ball in the air. Each player is finding their man before the ball hits the rim. A sign of discipline and culture that Leon Rice has brought to the Boise State Basketball program.

For Boise State to have a chance at winning the Mountain West Championship, it starts on the defensive side of the ball. We know Boise State can light up the scoreboard, but can they limit their opposition?

The 911 drill is a great way to gain the trust of teammates. Look for Boise State to be better this year on defense with the additions of James Webb III and Chandler Hutchison. Two long and athletic players that could help the Broncos defending the basket.

Below is a video of Boise State’s 911 drill from Championship Productions.

What are your expectations for this season? Let us know in our comment section below.


About Drew Vachal

Drew Vachal
I am the founder and creator of Bronco Nation News. A graduate of Boise State, husband, expecting father and an uncle. Email:

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