How Michigan built an elite defense: Part IV — Personnel upgrades

Cleaning the Glass is usually solid, but that quote is questionable. They absolutely did make a structural change to how they guarded ball screens. They went from a hard hedge to keeping the big at the level of the screen. That shortened rotations significantly and made a huge difference. You can see it clearly in the great PnR video that you put together on a previous post.

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I don’t think the idea is that Michigan didn’t adjust anything at all, just that the fundamentals of the defense were very similar. Ball screen defense generally changes based on the ball handler and the screener and Michigan will change up its coverages based on how the guard can shoot or how the big likes to play.

I don’t remember Michigan hard hedging the majority of their ball screens last year either. Maybe sometimes? But definitely not all the time.

That’s actually fair, I was thinking 2 years ago. The Donlon era always slips my mind.

For me, the most important change was that Donlon and Yakich evaluated their players correctly. Some players could improve their skills or effort; they were held accountable and responded-developed. Others would always be limited in some way; those limits were schemed around. The ability to distinguish between the two types of issues and respond accordingly is a very important part of being a great coach.