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Teams equipped with smaller, less athletic players often face an uphill challenge when they go up against bigger, more powerful squads. However, teams can still turn this perceived weakness into a strength by implementing specific strategies and sets on the basketball floor.
With 2010-11 Naismith National High School Boys Basketball Coach of the Year Kevin Boyle leading the way, learn about different ways you can win with undersized players. Boyle provides an overview of his offense before getting into specific team drills to practice the key concepts.
For undersized teams, the goal here is to spread the floor after we get over half court. However, the first problem is getting the ball up the court against pressure. You might have a lot of trouble even getting into your sets and plays.
First, you want to stretch high and wide full court against a more athletic team. Stay out of the corners so that guys have the opportunity to fade to the corners and drive when necessary. Second, look to keep 15 to 18-foot spacing between guards and 15 to 18-foot spacing between the wings.
With this first motion offense, we have a few simple rules: 1) If you pass below, you cut through, 2) If there is no post player on the ballside, aim for an inside cut looking for a layup or quick cut behind the defender, 3) When the passer cuts, the opposite guard fills in for him and the opposite wing fills in for the opposite guard, 4) If you pass the ball out, replace yourself, and 5) If you pass across, cut to the rim hard and fill the wing’s spot on the same side. Or, after passing across, look to get a little flare screen with the wing player screening for the cutter. You can also pass across and then screen down.
With these rules, you learn about spacing, cutting, and some simple rules to teach kids how to space the floor (especially against teams that are bigger, longer, and more athletic). The goal here is that we want to create good space for backdoors and gap dribbles.
If you feed the post, look to make a banana cut to the elbow with space, have players fill, and then pass it back out for the three-point attempt. It really makes a difference if you take the opponent’s big man away from the basket by having a high post instead of a low post. Remember, we aren’t screening a lot with this set because we’re relying on cutting.
Get two lines of players, one at the top of the key and near half court and the other on the ballside wing. Players on the wing will sprint off the screen and V-cut toward the pass. Look to create spacing.
Players will catch the pass, rip it, dribble hard towards the paint, jump stop, and then dish out to a flaring wing player in the corner. After players pass the ball, they should backpedal beyond the three-point line (for defensive balance).