Follow along as Middle Tennessee State University head men’s basketball coach Kermit Davis breaks down some of the basics of his highly-effective Zone Motion Offense. Coach Davis first details the roles of each player in the offense before highlighting the basic continuity of the system. Each section is diagrammed for you on whiteboard before being played out live on the basketball court.
Basic Zone Motion
Coach Davis will run this zone motion against all of the defenses his team goes up against. His squad will end up in the same offense all the time. It all starts with a base movement. Players 4 and 5 are mid-post, straddling the first lane marker. The 2 and 3 wing players will start off low enough that the bottom defender will have to guard the wing player on initial passes or ball reversal.
Meanwhile, this offense is big on attacking the short corner area. This base movement moves our 4 and 5 players. We believe the short corner area (which is about 10-12 feet along the baseline) is a great angle to step through and score and gives you great chances to screen the zone from the short corner.
The initial movement begins when the ball goes from player 1 to 3 on the wing. Player 5 will be straddling the first lane marker and then the opposite post is sprinting hard to the short corner area with his/her backside facing the baseline. Be in a position to get off a quick shot or drive it to the basket.
However, let’s say we don’t have anything on the mid-post or short corner. Well, the ball is then reversed back to the 1, the post player steps in hard in the lane and looks for the ball. On ball reversal from 1 to 2, the short corner will assume the post position on the ball side. So upon reversal now, the 5 is sprinting to the short corner, and the 4 is coming hard to straddle the first lane marker. That continuity will continue.
Live on the court: In the video clip below, notice all of the good ball fakes, shot fakes, and hard sprints to the short corner. Everything is crisp and clean. This is the basic continuity of the offense.
Short Corner Mid Post
Now let’s take the offense one step further. So what can happen when the ball is entered to the short corner? Let’s start with the ball in player 2’s hands on the left side. 5 is in the short corner position. 4 is mid-post. 1 is at the top and 3 is on the opposite wing.
The goal for player 2 is to catch it low enough where the bottom defender must step up to guard him. We call this dragging the defender up to the T. The biggest thing you can do in a zone offense is have one defender have to guard two players. This will stretch the defense.
From here, the first option is for a pass to 5 and he will catch the ball with his/her backside parallel to the baseline. This player will catch and step through the move and go right at the rim.