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By consistently winning the battle of deadball situations, Michigan State head basketball coach Tom Izzo believes teams can add three to four victories to their win total each season. This area is often overlooked by many coaches but can really pay major dividends for a program. Take advantage of inbound plays, jump balls, and missed free throws this season and find creative ways to attack your opponent.
In this week’s team concepts feature, Coach Izzo reveals many of his proven strategies along with two effective sideline out-of-bounds plays. Izzo truly believes that many of these tips and strategies have played a key role in his program improving from an NIT team and into a NCAA tournament mainstay.
Coach Izzo uses these sideline out-of-bounds plays after timeouts and late in games. So why exactly are they such a big deal? Well, when players know they are coming out with a play, it makes them think and focus a little more. After time outs, some guys think it’s time for their shot. For Coach Izzo, it eventually got to be a confidence thing. That’s when the team started winning the close games.
It’s about the attention to detail after a time out or dead ball situation. If you do it and believe it and sell it, it will be helpful. You can come up with three or four more wins during a season and see that these things really make a difference.
The objectives here are simple: score points, punch it inside, go after a player in foul trouble, or post up. Always carry a purpose.
Play Set-up: With “One“, you’ll need your best swingman taking it out of bounds. Three players are stacked at the top of the key facing toward the opposite hoop. The remaining player starts down low at the near low block. Also, your point guard should be a good shooter in this situation.
Play Movements: Now anytime we can get the ball into low post, we will look to do so. First, the low block player should act lazy to the defense and then break hard to the ball. Next, the PG in the stack nearest to the ball loops around the stack and to the opposite wing. Once the ball is passed in to the former low block plater, the inbounder cuts to the hoop close to the player with the ball and looks for a handoff & drive to the hoop.
The remaining two guys in the stack then set a double screen for the far wing player. The wing player comes off the screen and the player low with the ball looks to hit him for a jump shot.
Meanwhile, the closest pick guy slips backdoor to the basket, and the furthest pick guy then spots up on the wing for a three-pointer opportunity.
Tip: This play is great for a late three-pointer at the end of the game or quarter. The options are there for inside and outside chances. Remember, timing is important here.
Play Set-up: Similar to before, start three players in a stack at the top of the key with your point guard in the middle. Also like before, have another player start out at the low near block. Make sure this player is one of your top shooters.
Play Movements: First, your goal should be to get the ball to the point guard. We’re also looking to post a player and then get a quality jump shot.
In the stack, the guard pops out and receives the pass. He immediately dribbles to the opposite wing area. The passer then cuts toward the hoop and then posts up on the far side block. The two remaining stack players set a double screen for the low block guy. He comes off the screen and sprints up top for a jumper. There should also be a “slip and space tactic” with the two screeners, similar to the first play where one slips backdoor and the other creates space and gets in position for a shot.
The previous clips can be seen in Championship Productions’ DVD “Tom Izzo: Winning Dead Ball Situations.” To check out additional videos featuring special situations and inbound plays, head over to our basketball library.
Current Texas head women’s basketball coach and former Duke coach Gail Goestenkors is a big proponent of the fast break offense. She prefers her teams to score via the fast break as much as possible and believes that an effective transition game can directly translate to success on the court.
This week, learn three versatile fast break plays that Goestenkors has implemented successfully with her teams over the years. Watch as the Texas coach explains each play and assists with player movements before they are fully simulated by a team on the basketball court.
In the first play, there’s a point guard at the top of the key with the ball. There’s a guard in the right corner, a low post player on the same side low block, a farside wing player at the free throw line extended, and another forward up top. Take note of this set-up. The spacing is similar in each of these three plays. In this case, this offense is up against a zone defense.
First, the ball is passed to the corner wing player. If the wing has an open lane to the basket, they should drive to the hoop. If he can’t, he should go to the baseline because we want the post defense to be low side. If the post defense is high side, look to work the ball to the inside.
From here, you can get into the “Carolina Break.” Once you get the defense low side, don’t just look to pass it back up through the point guard. Instead, look to skip to the high post because you have a seal and potential easy layup for the post player. Remember, “SKIP, SEAL, IN.” Keep the opposite side clear. The low-post player should remain on the strong side until the ball is reversed. If the defender denies the outside wing player, go backdoor.
Once the ball is reversed to the opposite wing player, the low post player will now cut to the strong-side post. Next, the corner player sets a back screen for the high-post player, who cuts off the screen and has the option for a lob pass down low. If he’s not open, there’s a pass to the new high-post player (i.e. the former corner player). If that player doesn’t get a lob pass, there’s a seal and he will look to get a low pass in for a right-handed layup.
Key: These fast break plays allow you to transition into any offensive set.
Meanwhile, you can run two different breaks depending on who the trail post is. Goestenkors likes to run this break quite often for her three-point shooters. When they trail in, the defense must respect them. They will also come up to defend her. When the ball is reversed, there’s a great angle available for a back screen.
Notice when the ball is reversed to the wing player. Now instead of the back screen, we are setting a down screen with the high-post player. The corner player pops up top off this screen, receives the ball, and the two post players open up. The player with the ball up top looks immediately inside to his two options.
Depending on personnel, the point guard should know whether to call Basic or Down (usually depends on who the trail post is).
If we have a shooter that’s really hot, we go into “Double.” It’s just like Down, but there’s a double screen. On the reverse, the PG and high-post player set a double screen (staggered) for the corner player, who receives the ball up top. The two low players now open up and look for the inside feeds. The corner player can also shoot the three-pointer up top if he’s open from the double screen.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Gail Goestenkors: Transition Offense & Quick Hitters.” To check out more transition offense-related videos, visit our basketball library.