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.
Additional Best Selling Insutrction featuring Tom Izzo and Billy Donovan:
All Access Michigan State Basketball with Tom Izzo
Tom Izzo: Winning Dead Ball Situations
Tom Izzo’s ‘Basketball Smorgasbord’ of Drills and Basketball Wisdom
Tom Izzo: Dominating Rebounding & Man-to-Man Defensive Drills
Billy Donovan: The Spread Pick & Roll Offense
Billy Donovan: Mastering the Full-Court Match-Up Press
Billy Donovan: 10 Aggressive Transition & Conditioning Drills
Billy Donovan: Competitive Drills for Player Development
In this week’s edition of All-Access, we take you to East Lansing, Michigan for an exclusive look inside a Michigan State men’s basketball practice. Watch as head coach Tom Izzo — who led the Spartans to a 2000 National Championship and six final fours — walks through a variety of team drills for you and details specific roles, player instruction, overall strategies and general team tips.
First, Izzo leads his team through a standard warm-up that Michigan State uses nearly every day and incorporates many different facets of the game. Next, the coaching legend provides explicit instruction to his players as they work their way through their “Daily Dozen” practice drills. With this behind-the-scenes look, see what kind of ideas, drills and coaching tactics you can pick up on and implement with your team. Most drills can be used across all levels of basketball and are easily adaptable.
In this particular warm-up session, Coach Izzo has guards working at one end and forwards/centers at the other. First, the guards start with pound dribbles. After practicing in-place, players will go from the baseline to half court as one repetition and even work their way up to using two balls at the same time. Additional warm-up work for the guards includes baseball passes, plus drills focusing on hop-steps, pivoting and passing.
Meanwhile for the big men, players will explode to the rim for quick monster rebounds before passing to an outlet. Then, the drill graduates to tip-rebounding, which is essentially trying to tap rebounds into the basket while in the air and never returning to the floor. Finally, a dummy will be put in the paint so that players have to work their way around contact while looking to finish the play.
In the “Daily Dozen”, players start out with right and left-handed layups. Note that even at the college level, the fundamentals of basketball are still used on a daily basis. Reverse layups are incorporated next before it’s time for hanging layups, where players try to avoid the charge and finish the short-range basket in the lane. And finally, the team breaks out into a 3-man break drill. The drill starts with a rebound on one end of the floor and finishes on the opposite end with all participants making a layup or jumper. Consider using this drill to add some variety to your own daily warm-ups.
This week’s player development feature breaks down proper technique and strategies for on-ball and help-side defense. Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo walks you through a series of drills aimed at developing the appropriate spacing, footwork, movements and communication needed on defense so athletes can benefit at every level and the actions become second nature.
Start with two lines out at the top of the key. The following drills will feature two offensive players and two defensive players going 2 v 2. One player will start with possession of the ball and the other offensive player will be off to the wing a bit. Meanwhile, one defender will play on the ball at first while the other is in help defense.
Begin with the two offensive players going back and forth passing the ball while in place. At the same time, have the defensive players keep switching from on-ball to help-side defense. The defense should always be working at a very fast pace with frequent arm movements.
Keys to remember on defense:
-The “line of the ball” is the direction that the ball can go. A help defender should always be one “big step” off the line of the ball.
-Keep your body between the ball and the basket. Coach Izzo prefers that players go chest-to-chest and shoulder-to-shoulder on defense so they don’t open up their feet up and funnel their man to the sideline.
-Be in a help position versus a deny position.
-Pressure the ball with one hand. One hand should be up in the face of the man with the ball and one hand be down to defend, always switching depending on which side the ball is on.
Next, integrate pivoting and arm gestures with the ball for the offensive players in order to simulate typical game action and quick movements.
Keys to remember:
-Defenders should always move on the pass, not on the catch. When a pass is made, the defensive man is already moving from on-ball to help-side.
-Move with the outside foot to the direction of the ball. After two steps, a player should be in proper position.
-Never get the outside foot “up.” Players will have a harder time getting back into a play for on-ball defense and will be a step behind.
-Always keep down low and take one step before pushing off.
Now have the offensive players take one dribble in either direction before passing. This puts additional pressure on the defense and forces them to keep proper positioning and techniques.
Keys to remember:
-Your goal is to beat the ball into the offensive guy’s hands.
-With a dribble, the defense now must really anticipate. The minute a help-side defender picks up the man, he releases. He steps in but never changes the line of the ball and is still parallel to the line. The help defender shouldn’t jump to the ball.
-Move to where the ball is thrown and then look. Don’t look and then move.
-Always have four or six “defensive eyes” on the ball at all times.
The drills and techniques covered in this feature can be found in Championship Productions’ DVD “Tom Izzo’s Basketball Smorgasbord of Drills and Basketball Wisdom.” To check out additional videos in our exclusive Tom Izzo collection, click here.