The UCONN Huskies ran this play in the 2014 National Championship game. This action allowed for multiple scoring options from their very versatile five players on the court.
To see EVERY play UCONN ran in the 2014 Final Four you can do so in my eBook Championship Execution!
Billy Donovan frequently uses this drill at the University of Florida to work on big on big rotations during pick & roll throwbacks. This scenario is specific to X’ing out your bigs during a pick & roll. During an X situation, a big defender in help must rotate out and take the throwback option if the big helping on the pick cannot rotate back to his man quick enough. In this instance, the big helping on the big would sprint to the rim and locate the vacated offensive big.
- Have coach/manager/teammate stand on the wing with a basketball. (Make sure the drill is performed on both sides)
- Place a cone on the low block opposite of the wing where the ball is located.
- Place one defensive player on the elbow closest to the ball and an offensive player on the other below.
- On a signal, the defensive player must sprint and touch the cone while the offensive players sprints into a wing pick & roll.
- Once the ball handler comes off the pick, they immediately throw back to the offensive player who has popped to the short corner/low wing area. The defensive player should be closing out to the ball as the offensive player catches the pass.
- It is now a LIVE 1-on-1 drill. The offensive player can catch & shoot or go into a post move to score.
- The offensive player is only allowed two dribbles to make their move to score.
First player to score five baskets (not points), wins. Make sure you rotate offense to defense. If you are performing this drill with your team or a group of bigs, Rotate offense to defense and the defense then goes to the end of the line and awaits their turn on offense.
In their Game 4 win of the 2014 NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs ran this half-court set which included a multitude of actions. As soon as 3 cleared 4, 2 was moving to set the backscreen. This timing allowed for 5 to pin-down for 2 and receive the ball on the move popping out. 5 set such a good pick and sealed in the lane that X4 had to help in the lane and allowed for an open throwback to Diaw.
In Part 1 I discussed many of the schemes/plays that are commonly run and how they are usually referred to.
Signaling the Players Involved
During Stan Van Gundy’s lecture that I mentioned in Part 1, he briefly described one aspect of his play call scheme with his elbow series. He uses the terms “In” and “Out” when calling a pick & roll. If he calls “Out”, that is the signal for the 4 man to set the pick. Conversely, if he calls “In” the 5 man will set the pick. For example, if Coach Van Gundy calls “1 Out”, this is a side pick & roll that the 4 man sets for the 1. If he called “3 In”, that would be a pick & roll in which the 5 sets the pick for 3 to come off.
Similar to Coach Van Gundy, I like to incorporate the position number in my play calls whenever I can. Not only does it help designate a “go-to” player for the action, but it is also makes it easier for the players to process a 1-5 middle pick & roll called “15” rather than calling it something like “Minnesota”. Some coaches may argue that the opponent players and coaches will pick up on this and make it easier to sniff out the plays. My opinion is this, your opponent should know (some) calls anyway through scouting. However, as long as you execute your plays with precision this should not be a concern. Make the defense prove they can stop your play(s) on a consistent basis.