Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
4/02/2008 02:34:00 AM
The Book on UNC's Ty Lawson
SI.com spoke with an assistant coach from a former North Carolina opponent to get an anonymous scouting report on Tywon Lawson, as well as a breakdown of a set the Tar Heels run for their sophomore point guard. Here's what the coach had to say:
"The main thing for us with Lawson was to square him off and keep him in front of our defenders. He's going to get you with a lot of misdirection, with inside-out dribbles, and crossovers, because he's good at change-of-pace and change-of-direction stuff with both hands. But really, even though he's showing you all that East-West stuff, he's just trying to go North-South and get to the basket. So you have to keep him from penetrating in the full- or half-court.
"I think you can try to 'show' help on Lawson without giving help, by sagging off a little bit. When [Marcus] Ginyard is in, we were willing to help off of him, but he's the only guy in the first six or seven of the rotation that you can leave. When Lawson does get in the lane, we try to help late because he is kind of smallish and can be blocked, but you can't help off the bigs too much. He's just as likely to dish to one of them for a dunk, so you want to help late, when he's committed to a taking tough shot.
"He even uses the change-of-pace stuff in the lane, because he's so good at stopping on a dime. He'll be going pretty fast and then can just hit a spot, dish it or shoot a floater -- and that's a shot he tends to do more if he goes to his left. If he's going right he's usually trying to get all the way to the rack. But there are guards who are much more predictable than Lawson is; he's good at going both ways, but to the right he is more likely to go in and try to draw contact from you with his left shoulder.
It's so important to try to impede him in transition -- not necessarily by getting in his way early, but just by getting as many people back around the basket as possible. Then you can try to slow down the ball -- because there's no way to slow him down when you've left the lane wide open.
The following are two variations of a set the Tar Heels run in their man-to-man offense, as diagrammed by our anonymous assistant. The first one results in Lawson dishing to a small forward -- more likely Danny Green than Marcus Ginyard -- for a three. The second results in Lawson back-cutting to the basket to receive a pass from Tyler Hansbrough:
"They'll call this play their "Basic Box," with the two bigs on the elbows -- and usually Hansbrough on the left elbow. It finishes with him setting a downscreen for the three man, who has the opportunity to shoot. This will be run the majority of time to set up the Lawson counter that comes later."
"The counter to this, which is for Lawson, goes back to the point when they throw it to Hansbrough at the top of the key. Lawson will act like he's going to catch the ball on the wing, and then go backdoor. This might happen on one of 10 instances of the play."