Defensive Thoughts from Tom Izzo

Defensive Thoughts from Tom Izzo by Bob Starkey

This article was originally posted on Coach Starkey’s website:

I came across some old clinic notes from Tom Izzo on defense and stance:

Best friend is Steve Mariucci…Izzo goes to 49ers mini camp to observe and learn.

In all sports — defense wins championships.


Baltimore Ravens: worst offense ever in NFL—win Super Bowl


Michigan State Hockey: #1 ranked because of great defense


Chicago Bulls: had 2 1st Team All Defensive Players


Must sell “defensive wins championships” mentality to your best players…when your best players buy into your system, you’ve got a chance.


Program turned around when Mateen Cleaves signed…he came in and brought a toughness with him.


Best players can be prima donnas  if you want to win games, but if you want to win titles, your best players have to do a lot of things.




Stay in your stance.


We play with one hand up — BIG — including on closeouts


Contesting shots is easy…contesting a pass is not…Izzo refers to contesting the pass as the role of the defender on the ball, not on the receiver.


Izzo squares the feet and shades players with the squared feet — not with one foot up…stay square even to shade…one foot up is too much of an advantage for the offense.
Knees bent.

Defense, and stance — “Never Relax”…”Never Relax” is on their championship rings…don’t come out of your stance.

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