The article was written by University of Southern California Director of Scouting Martin Bahar.
The 1-3-1 Baseline Out of Bounds defense aims to eliminate easy layups and open shots by encouraging your opponents to try to lob the ball over the top of your zone towards half-court. The zone is packed and, ideally, you hope teams abandon their normal BOB strategies due to the fear of turning the ball over trying to inbound the ball against an unfamiliar defense.
Every member of the defense has a specific role that makes the defense work. This article is going to breakdown the different responsibilities that each player has in the 1-3-1 BOB defense. Here is a quick video breaking down Vanderbilt's use of the 1-3-1 baseline out of bounds defense.
Man on the Ball (X4)
Usually your longest or most athletic player, the man on the ball is causing chaos for the inbounder. He MUST keep his hands up and active, jumping up and down to limit the inbounder’s vision and ability to find open gaps against the defense.
By putting a long, athletic player on the ball, you hope to encourage the inbounder to lob the ball high in the air towards the backcourt, which will hopefully lead to steals and transition opportunities the other way. X4 is trying to get deflections on EVERY inbounds pass.
If the ball is passed to the ballside corner, the man on the ball (X4) and the ball side wing (X2) will trap the corner.
Big Protecting the Rim (X5)
Your 5 man is going to sit on the ball side block, protecting the rim from any ball side slips, dives, and post touches. He must be alert so that no one is able to dive to the block for easy layups against the baseline out of bounds defense. Once the ball is inbounded, he must find the nearest offensive player to guard in case of 5 Out situations.
Ball Side Wing (X2)
The ball side wing is in an athletic stance preparing to close out on any ball side corner passes. They must be alert and ready to not be screened in. If there isn’t any offensive players in the ball side corner the X2 man can move in and help eliminate passes down the lane line. If the ball is passed to the ball side corner, the X4 and X2 will trap the corner.
Weak Side Block (X3)
The weak side wing’s responsibility is to take away weak side block/basket dives AND weak side corner passes. The hardest part of this job is when there is a weak side basket dive and a weak side corner shooter at the same time. In this scenario, you must protect the basket first and foremost, meaning take away the weak side dive to the rim.
Point guard just inside the FT line (X1)
Your point guard is usually the quickest player who plays the inbounds lob like a cornerback going for an interception. X1 takes ANY pass that is entered above the FT line. If there isn’t anybody above the FT line, X1 should move lower towards the basket or any vulnerable areas. On traps in the ball side corner, X1 should take the next pass out usually towards the wing.
Remember in the 1-3-1 BOB Defense, ANY DEEP PASSES INTO THE BACKCOURT IS A WIN FOR THE DEFENSE. Once the ball goes towards half-court, everybody must match up and find a man.
If you can eliminate the other team's baseline out of bounds offensive sets it could be the difference between winning and losing a close game. As a coach you are trying to get 6-8 points a game off or your own inbounds plays, so eliminating the other team's baseline set plays can be a big boost to your defense.