Simply, the “Box and 1” is a combination defence, with one defender denying a particular player the ball at all times. This is done by playing a “tight” man to man style defence, however without any responsibility for “help” or rotation. The defence is mostly used if a team has a particularly dominant perimeter player.

The remaining four defenders play a “zone” defence and the rules of the 1-1-3 Match Up can be used to quickly develop a “Box and 1” defence.

Teaching the “Box and 1”

To teach the “Box and 1”, have 4 defenders and up to 7 offensive players. The defenders are to use the slides of the 1-1-3, provided that:

  1. 1 defender is always on the ball;
  2. 3 defenders always have one foot in the key (or are fronting a post player).

Shown are the 1-1-3 rules being used:

  • Frontline defender (x4) takes the wing;
  • Frontline defender (x5) fronts the low post;
  • Guard (x2) moves to help position behind post (e.g. the same position as when trapping in the 1-1-3).
  • x3 remains close to 3, denying them the ball

As the ball is thrown to the corner, the frontline defender (x5) moves to there. The help
defender (x2) moves to front the post and the defender that was on the wing makes the “long slide” to the help position.

Alternatively, x4 could have made a “short slide” into fronting the low post, leaving x2 in the help position. The difficulty with this, is that the low post player may “seal” x4 as they rotate.

Another alternative rotation is for x4 to rotate to the high post (and denying any high post players) and x1 rotating down to the help position.

The defenders may also apply the principle of “whoever can get to the ball quickest moves”. Here x2 rotates to defend 2 at the wing position and x1 drops to deny the high post.

This leaves the two front line players (x3 and x4) defending the low post player.

Playing the “Box and 1”

As shown, initial alignment is very similar to the 1-1-3, with the exception that x3 is guarding only 3. x3 stays close to the offensive player, not needing to move into “Help” positions.

x3 defends 3 wherever they go on the court – denying any pass to x3.

When the ball is passed to the player that is under pressure (3), the zone defender that would have normally rotated to defend a person in that area, can now make the same rotation and trap or “double team” the offensive player.