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Winning with the Princeton Offense: “5 Out”

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Back in October, we ran through the basics of the Princeton Offense, focusing on key concepts of the popular offense, proper spacing, and a basic Princeton formation “Chin.” This week, with coach Lee DeForest leading the way, we’re going to build off of that Chin concept and highlight the 5 Out formation, yet another effective set that will give your opponents fits this season.

5 Out Overview

The 5 Out set is initiated through Chin. For a full breakdown of Chin, be sure to read through our feature from last month. To start, the pivot player should be on the same side as the basketball. The play is initiated with a dribble weave before an interchange on the weak side.

Now, we have the forwards up and the guards down. As we are doing that, the pivot is moving to the high-post area. Next, we make the forward-to-forward pass up top and then get the ball to the opposite wing guard. After this, the opposite forward cuts through and to the near corner (closest to the ball). Next, the pivot screens for the forward up top just above the three-point line, and the forward sprints to the opposite (or right) corner.

Here’s where the adjustment comes into play. After the pivot makes the screen up top, he will then step out to the top of the key and the guard with the ball will hit him with the pass up top. Now, we’re in the 5 out set.


Check out all of the options now. When the pivot has the basketball, he has the option to dribble to the weak side (i.e. the right side in this case) at the wing guard before the wing guard cuts backdoor. As he backdoors, the corner forward takes the guard’s place on the wing. Next, the pivot can pass to the wing forward. We now want the pivot to get back to the post, so we have the backdoor guard set a “UCLA screen” at the foul line elbow for the pivot, and he cuts to the post.

When the wing forward has the ball, we can also look to post up the low post guard. The pivot will set a fake screen at the left top of key area and the opposite wing guard will act like he’s coming off of it before cutting backdoor. The corner forward will take his spot. Now, the guard — who was initially on the wing — is the new pivot.

5 Out – On-Court Demonstration

Follow along as Coach DeForest dishes out more tips and strategies – this time from the hardwood. This play is another way to get the backdoor look from the top to the wing out of Chin. Remember, once we are in the set, the pivot with the ball should dribble to the opposite side he received it from. Key: Hold the ball at the top of the key for a second. This gives the other team a chance to deny.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Winning with the Princeton Style Offense.” Check out more videos focusing on basketball offensive systems by visiting our extensive library.

Winning with the Princeton Offense: “Chin”

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Princeton Offense is an effective style of play that enables coaches to maximize the abilities and scoring potential of their players. Overall, it’s a great equalizer and allows teams to dictate the tempo of a basketball game. In this week’s team development feature, learn about the keys to the offense, spacing concepts, and then get a basic overview of the “Chin” set. After getting an understanding of the system, look to add Chin to your playbook this season in order to throw a wrinkle at opponents.


If you have five players that can all pass, shoot and dribble the ball, the Princeton Offense allows you to dictate to the defense the things you want to do. The biggest X-factor is that you must have skilled players.

Keys to the Offense:

Control Tempo

Shot Selection. Emphasize layups first and then three pointers. Also focus on drives and kicks for threes or backdoor layups.

Emphasize cutting and screening. Hard cuts allow you to do some of the same things as a screen. The cuts allow you to set a type of screen and gets teammates open for shots.

Motion Concepts. You get better as the season progresses. You must totally commit to the offense for it to be effective.

It’s a TEAM-BASED offense. It allows freedom, but if a guy makes a hard cut, he can score a layup at any given time.

Chalk Talk – Spacing

Spacing is the critical component of this offense. The ideal situation is to have the guards in the high slot area about 2-3 feet above the three-point line up top and at the elbows extended. Both forwards should start out at the free throw line-extended to start and beyond the three-point line. Then we have one pivot player. The rest of the players are interchangeable. This position is different than the rest, although some teams will even interchange all five spots.

Princeton Sets – Chin

This is the most basic play out of the Princeton Set. It begins with a dribble weave with the top right guard. He will then hand off to the forward on the wing. The pivot always starts on the ball-side block. After the hand off, the forward dribbles back up to the original guard spot up top.


While this is going on, we have an interchange on the weakside, and the forward and guard flip positions. After the interchange it tells the pivot what to do. The pivot will move up to the elbow area and now we have the forwards in the guard spots now and the guards in the forward spots. Next, there’s a pass between the two players up top.

The key to this offense is the forward to guard pass. We want to make this pass as quick as possible. If the defense denies, we’ll do a dribble at backdoor. Remember, any time someone dribbles at you, it’s an automatic backdoor. On this ball reversal to the left side, the opposite forward up top (on the right) must wait until the ball has left the hands of the other forward.

As soon as the ball is in the guard’s hands on the left side, the pivot will now come up and set a backscreen at the top of the arc; it’s like a weakside UCLA screen. The rightside forward will cut to the rim and sprint as hard as he can and then get out to the left corner.

We look to throw the ball there. If it’s not open, the pivot will then set another screen, this time a flare screen for the other forward on the top left. If the forward comes off the screen and doesn’t have anything, he will finish his cut to the rim. If there’s nothing there, then they will continue to the right corner.

If nothing is open altogether, then we start over, and the guards move back up top and the forward gets back to the wings and everything fills in. But now, the Pivot guy will start at the strongside elbow and set the opening screen and begins the play all over again.

Chin in Action

Remember, start the play with the dribble weave. The key here is how quickly the forward passes over to the guard on the wing. If the wing is denied, we dribble at them for a potential backdoor pass.

Also, make sure that your V-cuts are to the basket. We want to pull the defender away from where we want to go. We also want him to get up high and deny, so we must be patient. Also, the receiver should show a hand target on the backdoor. It’s also key to close the distance on the defender before making a hard cut backdoor.

Tips: When catching the ball, always land on two feet. Rip and sweep the ball. Be strong with the ball. Practice landing on two. Also, look to shoot layups as much as possible out of this set.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Winning with the Princeton Style Offense” with Lee DeForest. To check out more offense-oriented videos in our extensive basketball library, including new DVDs featuring Steve Fisher, Mike Jones, and Sean Miller, click here.


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