To make large strides you have to pass through the "low-ground". It's the little things, or several little things, that must be perfected long before they all add up to the ultimate goals.
We have examined the incremental shifts including, rythem, defensive spacing, timing forced turnovers, steals per game, total steals, total blocks, defensive rebounds, 3pt fg% defense, scoring defense, fg defense, fewest fouls, block shots per game, total block shots to come up with our top Small College Small Ball Defensive coaches including DII, DIII, NAIA, JUCO coaches.
Winston Neal - Columbia State JUCO
With an eye for recruiting guys who can guard, Neal develops multiple Defensive Player of the Year athletes. A hard-working student-athlete himself (Georgia Tech 2002) he knows how to get the best out of his players yielding one of the top defensive margin gap in the JUCO game each year.
Brian Gibson - Southern-New Orleans (La.) NAIA
Showcasing a defensive clinic game in game out featuring rebounding and scoring defense per game, his team holds three national top 10 records in 3-Pt Fg Pct Defense, Blocks per Game, and Total Blocks.
Delton Deal - SAGU (Texas) NAIA
Deal has proven his defensive dominance. His Lions have the NAIA’s fourth toughest field goal percentage defense. And its not uncommon for them to force twenty turnovers a game.
Robert Ford - Salem (WV) DII
Ford has a history of developing Defensive Player of the Year candidates. Using a combination of zone and half-court to pack line with a touch of defensive rebounding they keep their man in front and keep the in hunt all season.
Austin Johnson - Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) NAIA
On the road or at home, the large gap between scores tells exactly how hard fought the wins come on the defensive side. LC wins game in game out through a group effort in skill development and locked down defense.
Dre Wills – Post DII
In year one on the job, he University of Vermont all-star and America East Defensive player of the year has imposed his defensive tenacity on the players at Post. Steals, blocks, timing, and running the opposing offense off the three point line, Post defends to the level they last saw in 2010 when their women’s team ranked 6th in the nation for three point defense.
Sean Rigothi - Pace DII
Formulating game-plans and implementing defensive strategies, he coached his high school team to a pair of appearances in the Section 9/Class AA semifinals and a perfect 6-0 MHAL divisional record. Fast forward. to the DII level, that experience is keeping Pace alive and finding ways to win. The Setters' defense is getting it done limited opponents under sixty points per game.
Hayden Sowers – Pearl River JUCO
Sowers takes an analytical approach to defense by studying game film, scouting reports and tracking defensive statistics. Applying those numbers on the court, he develops high defensive IQ in post players leading to the nation's top scoring and FG % defenses.
Shiva Senthil - SUNY Canton DIII
At the summit of DII, Shiva developed multiple all-conference performers. His quick work at SUNY Canton proves he can do it anywhere. Not just one dimensional, his defense does it all… first in total blocks, fourth in FG% D, sixth in defensive rebounds per game (tenth in total rebounds per game) and seventeenth in three-point field goal percentage defense.
Chris Wright - Talladega (Ala.) NAIA
In just two short years on the job, Wright has already laid the foundation of defense in Talladega. Wrapping up his opponents with a suffocating field goal defensive percentage that ranks second in NAIA play and the number one ranking in defensive rebounding. All of these little things add up to one concrete scoring defense that he can build the next level on.
Josep S. Clinton - Dominican (NY) DII
Clinton demands solid defense throughout the day. Everyday. Between his emphasis and his phenomenal player development and workout assistant Jason Armstrong, Dominican has been one of the best defensive teams in DII, ranking 11th in defensive rebounds per game and three-point field goal defense 13th in turnovers forced, 14th in steals per game and 19th in field goal percentage defense.
Max Sass - Pratt DIII
Some six years in as the head coach. During which time we have all watched the Pratt defensive graph chart skyrocket each year over. He made significant strides improving the team's Defensive Field Goal Percentage, Three- Point Field Goal Percentage and Rebounding Percentage to national leading percentages.
Maurice Sumpter - Christopher Newport DIII
The Captains out-rebound most and their smothering fg% defense is fourth in the nation. The key to that success is Sumter's ability to impart his defensive history as an all-conference D performer while also emphasizing shot block and steals.
Drew Kelly - Harcum College JUCO
The trademark of Kelly's team's at Harcum has been pressure defense to fuel a high-octane offense. Kelly credits his defense as the key to his team's success focused on timing and blocks. Kelly has never won fewer than 20 games in a single season during his tenure and has been a fixture in the national rankings.
Jake Williams – USC Salkehatchie JUCO
Ahmad Rand was named the 2018-2019 Region 10 Defensive Player of the Year, and was the number one shot Blocker in all of NJCAA with 141 recorded blocked shots on the season as a freshman. He stands as one example of the stellar defensive timing spacing rythem performance Williams develops in the culture of his Indians.
Ken Ammann - Concordia (CA) DII
In his huddle the conversations often resolves around relying on a sturdy defense to get a stop when they need one. By design, defensively they are always very athletic. From ball perimeter defenders to great shot blockers, Ammann has blended a perfect combination for a league leading defense.
Kelvin Starr - The Master's (Calif.) NAIA
No one can say it better than Mr. Starr himself. “For us, it’s the defense end. Sometimes people think we’re a high-powered offensive team. Even though we average 90-plus points, it all stems from the defensive end.”
Chris Briggs - Georgetown (Ky.) NAIA
Early defense is always one of the top keys for success on game day in Georgetown Kentucky. Briggs knows if they set the tone for a scoring defense in the 60’s, all they need is 68 points. And that’s a forgone conclusion with his offense.
Greg Kamansky - Cal Poly Pomona DII
Getting beat off the dribble and giving up three’s, Greg did what all great coaches do. He changed. The staple of a Kamansky’s tenured team is the zone defense used to offset their limitations on toughness and physicality. Today, Kamansky often gets calls from Division I coaches wanting advice or asking to come run a clinic on the zone defense.
Bill Muse – Connors State JUCO
Muse has brought an exciting style to CSC with his fast-paced offense and a tough defense. Game in game out the number one goal is to suffocate the opponent holding them to sixty points or less.
Mitch Oliver - Albertus Magnus DIII
Focused on defensive rebounding, Oliver produces GNAC Defensive Player of the Year, year after year. It’s been the staple of his career leading the Falcons to seven GNAC Tournament titles in the last 10 years, while combining for an all-time postseason record of 26-3 during the last 10 seasons and 22-2 record during the last eight.
Robert Johnson - Virginia Union DII
Johnson led the CIAA in assist-to-turnover ratio and was named the team Defensive Player of the Year during his stint as a player at VUU. Utilizing his own talent to inform decisions as a coach, he emphasizes defense through player development and scouting that results in spacing timing and blocked shots among other stats.
Dave Nieland – Penn State –Behrend DIII
Widely recognized year in year out for leading Division III in scoring defense, his smart pack line D limits the opposition to a measly 54 points per game. Its the same story across the nation… men's basketball teams struggled all year long to score against the AMCCs toughest defense, Penn State-Behrend.
Joe Lombardi- Indiana (PA) DII
In route to another National championship appearance, Lombardi places an importance on-the-ball defense and making an impact defensively around the rim with great awareness and timing. Add to this an assistant in Fudaal who as a GA and staffer in DI was a part of a Steller defensive Portland State leading the nation in turnover margin, and finished second in steals/turnovers forced.
Dr. Geeorge Barber – Greenville DIII
The former staffer for Pitino learned allot from their national championship run in 1996. Some twenty-three odd years later in 2020 after applying the lessons to his own team, he led the country in: steals per game, turnover margin, total steals, turnovers forced. Using various trapping presses in the full court, he has many many coaches and players uncomfortable. Specializing in the trap all over the floor defense, he forces players towards the sidelines and his team to the win.