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With March Madness in full swing, buzzer beaters and last-second shots are a common sight across the college basketball landscape. Pick up a pair of proven game-winning quick hitters submitted by two of this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament participants. The first play is effective against man defense and submitted by Jim Calhoun of UConn, while the second play is a dual-option by VCU using the 1-4 high set.
Submitted by Jim Calhoun, UConn, Storrs, CT
The Set-up: This play has been a top need play for Coach Calhoun in previous seasons. 1 brings up the ball and in this scenario, starts on the left side of the floor. 3 is on the opposite wing. 4 is at the free throw line. 5 is on the left low block and 2 is on the weakside/right low block. 5 should be your best low post scorer. 2 should be your best overall scorer.
The Action: 1 makes a dribble entry on the left side. He dribbles to the three-point line between the top of the key and wing. 1 then changes direction on the dribble and comes off a screen set by 4 at the top of the key. 1 then dribbles to the center of the top of the key. 2 sets a cross-screen for 5 in the lane, who rolls across the lane looking for the entry pass from 1. 3 reads the defense and either slides out top or cuts toward the baseline on the right side.
The Finish: After setting the cross-screen in the lane for 5, 2 pauses for a moment under the rim and then rolls hard off a downscreen set by 4. 2 curls to the left side elbow. 3 still reads the defense and slides either up or down depending on the help defense. 1 passes to either 5 in the low post or 2 at the left elbow for an open jumper. After setting the downscreen for 2, 4 gets into good position for a rebound.
Submitted by Mack McCarthy, former head coach at VCU, Richmond, VA
The Set-Up: 1 starts out with the ball up top and center. 2 is on the right wing. 3 is on the left wing. 4 is on the right elbow and 5 is on the left elbow.
The Action: 1 makes a dribble entry to the right wing while 2 cuts through to the basket and to the opposite wing with the help of a weakside backscreen by 5 at the low block. 2 clears to the opposite wing area. 4 slides over and sets a screen for 3 cutting to the basket. 1 looks to hit 3 on the cut and 4 rolls to the top of the key after the screen.
Based on the current positioning (1 on the right wing, 4 up top, 2 on the left wing, 5 on the farside low block and 3 on the near low block), here are a few options:
Option A: 1 passes to 4 while 3 slides over and sets a cross screen for 5 breaking over to the ballside low post. 4 passes back to 1 and breaks to set a down screen for 3, who pops up to the top of the key. 1 looks to pass to 5 in the low post or to 3 popping free for a jumper at the top of the key.
Option B: 1 passes to 4, while 5 slides over and sets a cross screen for 3 cutting across the lane. 4 quickly swings the ball over to 2. 5 rolls to the top of the key. 2 can now either shoot a three-pointer, pass to 3 on the ballside low post, or hit 5 at the top of the key.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “”Over 50 Game-Winning Quick Hitters” by Winning Hoops. To discover even more plays for your playbook, head over to our basketball library by clicking here. Got a favorite quick hitter that has worked for your squad?
This week’s drill breakdown features six useful pick & roll plays designed for quick baskets. The “quick-hitters” were submitted by Vonn Read, who has worked as an assistant basketball coach at the University of Kentucky and University at Albany. The plays demonstrated below all begin on the left side of the basketball court, however, can easily be switched to the right side with just a few adjustments.
The Set-Up: In Play A, the 1 guard starts on the left side and dribbles off of 4’s high screen at the top of the arc. Following the pick, 4 then rolls off into the left corner. The 5 player, who started out on the right low block, sets a high screen for the 3 player, who was at the top of the key just to the right.
The Finish: The play finishes by the 1 guard passing to 4 in the corner or 3 in the low post for a backdoor layup.
The Set-Up: In Play B, the 1 guard starts on the left side of the court and then dribbles off of 4’s high pick at the top of the arc. Following his screen, 4 then rolls off to the left. The 3 player moves from the right wing of the court and into the near corner. Then, 5 starts out on the low right block before setting a high screen for the 2 guard, who was in the right corner to start. The 2 guard then cuts backdoor toward the basket.
The Finish: The play finishes by the 1 guard passing to 4 in the corner or 2 for the backdoor layup.
The Set-Up: In Play C, the 1 guard starts on the left side and dribbles off the high screen set by 5. 5 then sets another screen under the basket near the baseline, this time for 3, who had started out in the right corner. Now, 3 is running the baseline. The 4 player comes up from the right low block and sets a screen for the 2 guard up high. The 2 guard, who had started out at the top of the key, then cuts to the off-side right wing.
The Finish: The play finishes by the 1 guard passing to 3 in the left corner/baseline or to 2 for a long jumper on the wing.
The Set-Up: In Play D, the 1 guard starts out on the left side and dribbles right off of a high screen set by 5. Then, 5 moves into the lane and sets a pick for 3 under the basket. 3 started out on the right low block before running baseline to the left corner. Meanwhile, 4 starts out on the right low block as well before setting a high screen at the top of the key for 2. The 2 guard then cuts to the right wing off of the pick.
The Finish: The play finishes by the 1 guard passing to 3 for a 15-foot jumper in the corner or passing to the 2 guard for a 3-point attempt. This play is similar to Play C, but this time the players are starting out in different spots on the court.
The Set-Up: In Play E, the 1 guard starts out on the left side and dribbles off of a high pick set by 5. 5 then sets another pick, this time for 3 on the left low block. 3 is now running baseline after starting out on the weakside low block. Meanwhile, 4, who started out beyond the arc on the right side, sets a high screen for 2, who moves from the top of the key to the right wing.
The Finish: 4 then cuts into the lane off of the high screen and the 1 guard hits 4 while he’s cutting into the lane.
The Set-Up: In play F, the 1 guard dribbles off 5’s high pick up top and 1 cuts to the right towards the top of the key. After the screen, 5 then rolls to the left corner/baseline area. 4 then cuts from the weakside low block to the center of the lane.
The Finish: The play finishes by 1 passing to 5 for a short jumper on the baseline or by passing to 4 who is cutting into the lane.