West Virginia senior Tucker DeVries discusses defensive approach for program

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The old sports cliche goes that offense sells tickets but defense wins championships. It can be debated how true that really is, but it's certainly hard to argue against the idea that being an elite college basketball program requires tough defense.

You can take a look at West Virginia’s basketball history over the years and see an emphasis on defensive culture, from John Beilein’s notorious 1-3-1 zone to the turnover-creating full-court man-to-man press dubbed “Press Virginia” that highlighted a portion of the Bob Huggins era.

The topic of defense came up as West Virginia senior Tucker DeVries stopped in for an interview last Monday with WVU media outlet Hoops from the Hills. One of the first things that DeVries made clear is that his father -- new head coach Darian DeVries -- will likely have a defense that looks different than the one his program at Drake was known for.

“His first year or two the team he had looked a lot different than the team he’ll have here,” he said. “Each year he's just adapted to the roster he has in place and I think everybody has different defensive capabilities and he tries to utilize those in the best ways possible.”

DeVries made note of the fact that despite the current roster looking a bit smaller in stature than many fans would like, the athletic prowess of the new group will create opportunity for a particularly pugnacious approach to defensive strategy.

“I think with more athletes you’re able to be a little more aggressive,” he said. I can tell you right now I will not be picking up from 90 feet and pressuring someone all the way up the court, but there will be guys on the team that can do that. I think he utilizes everybody’s strengths differently.”

As the team gets together this summer for their first opportunity to meet and play together, DeVries expects there to be an adjustment period. But before long, he feels confident that his father will be able to sort out each player’s strengths on the new roster and use that insight to figure out the program’s best approach defensively.

Throughout the summer it will be a little bit of, not trial and error, but trying to see what guys are capable of and to see what he's able to do with each player, while sticking to his main principles as a coach,” DeVries said.