View Full Version : Coaching Clinic Video: Tarkanian's UNLV Amoeba Defense

12-17-2016, 09:33 PM
I have been looking for this video for awhile so I could post it, and now someone has finally uploaded it to youtube.com (not me).

Hall of Fame basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian used man to man defense throughout most of his years at UNLV, but he became known for a particularly style of zone defense - the Amoeba - that he would break into when Vegas' man to man defense wasn't up to snuff. He generally didn't like using it, and in fact, use to put an asterisk next to wins where he was forced to use it. This was done for 2 reasons: 1) he felt that his teams should always be great in man to man throughout any game 2) he didn't want opposing coaches to spend much time game planning for the Amoeba. Although not a junk defense - it is essentially a zone with man to man principles - it was an extremely hard defense to play against on short notice, and very hard to plan for because it apparently requires your 3 to be long and highly athletic. For four years near the end of his tenure in Vegas, Tark had the honor of coaching the greatest wing defender I have ever seen play college basketball, Stacey Augmon. Needless to say, the Amoeba with Stacey was particularly destructive.

Despite rarely being used, the defense has become one of those most talked about in basketball. Some time back Tark put together this coaching clinic video which teaches the amoeba defense to fellow coaches. It is a really interesting watch, and something I thought that coaches and players on our board might interested in viewing since the defense is so legendary, and because the coach teaching it, in the words of Bob Knight, was the greatest coach he ever coached against in his entire career in basketball....a complement not to be taken with a grain of salt. Tark was a defensive mastermind.


12-20-2016, 05:22 PM
Thank you....awesome video by a great coach...

Go!! Zags!!!

01-05-2017, 08:51 PM
That was cool! Thanks for posting.