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Basketball Offense - 2-3 Man Offense

From the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook, @

Consider the 2-Out, 3-In offense if you have two or three strong inside post players, or if you do not have great outside shooters, or if you are not blessed with a great point guard. This offense is designed to be a deliberate, tempo-control offense that looks to get high-percentage inside shots.

As in any good offense, the 3-point shot can be taken when open, but our main goal here is inside shots, post-moves, lay-ups, free-throws, and attacking the offensive boards for rebounds. Big strong teams usually don't like a fast-paced, running game and often tend to do better with a slower, tempo-controlled game. Players must be patient and value each possession. Game scores tend to be lower with this style of offense.

Here we present two basic patterns... a "2-3 Low" offense and a "2-3 High" offense. Either (both) can be used by simply having the point-guard call "High" or "Low". Both offenses have continuity and can be run patiently, indefinitely until the defense breaks down and a good inside shot is obtained.

2-3 "Low" Offense

This 2-3 low offense is somewhat similar to what Coach Bruce Pearl used to run at the University of Tennessee, although the offense I am presenting here is actually something we have seen at the high-school level. There is some similarity to the Flex offense, but unlike the Flex, the Flex down-screens are not used, and the "bigs" are kept inside and the guards outside. This offense has continuity, with the inside players continuously running the flex cut, as the ball is moved back and forth on top, or into the corner.

If diagram A below, we see the basic set which is a two-guard offense with O1 and O2 on top, and our three inside players down low with O5 on the block and O3 and O4 starting in the corners. O1 passes to O2. This triggers O5 to back-screen for O4, and O4 makes the flex-cut either over or under the screen, whichever the defense allows. After screening, O5 seals the defender and immediately "shapes-up" (comes back) to the ball for a post-up. O2 could pass to either O4 or O5 inside. If the pass is not there, O5 moves out to the weak-side corner.

O2 could also pass to O3 in the corner. O3's options are: pass to the flex-cutter O4, shoot the outside shot, dribble-drive to the hoop, or pass back out to O2 (or skip-pass to O1).

2-3 Low Offense - flex cut 2-3 Low Offense - flex cut 2-3 Low Offense - flex cut

Diagram B shows O2 passing back to O1. This triggers O4 to back-screen for O3 as O3 makes the flex-cut. O4 seals and shapes-up to the ball. O1 could pass to either O3 or O4, or to O5 in the corner, or back to O2. Here we see O5 getting the pass in the corner (diagram C). O5 could shoot, pass to O3 inside, dribble-drive or pass back outside. Here O5 skip-passes back out to O2.

The skip pass to O2 triggers O3 to back-screen for O5, and O5 makes the flex-cut. Are you seeing the repetitive pattern here?

Teaching Point: Note that whenever a corner player dribble-drives the baseline, the post player on the ball-side block "I-cuts" up the lane line (to just below the ball-side elbow) to create spacing for the drive, and also for a possible dump-pass from the dribbler for a possible inside shot.

2-3 Low Offense - post I-cut

When the I-cutter O3 gets the pass (and the defense rotates), the opposite corner O4 basket-cuts, and could be open for a pass from O3, and a lay-up. But O4 should only cut if the ball goes to the I-cutter O3... otherwise we like to keep O4 in the corner for the kick-out pass from the dribbler O5.

Diagrams D, E and F below show another option... you could call it a special play, or just allow it to run in the normal flow of your offense. O2 passes to O1. This time O5 and O3 set an inside "elevator" screen for O4. O4 cuts along the baseline, and then cuts up between O3 and O5 into the paint, as O3 and O5 close the elevator door. O1 passes to O4. O4 could have a quick turn-around jump-shot here, or could look to pass to either O3 or O5 posting up inside. O3 and O5 could also X-cut inside to further confuse the defenders.

2-3 Low Offense - low post elevator screen 2-3 Low Offense - low post elevator screen 2-3 Low Offense - low post elevator screen

Diagrams G, H and I below show yet another option... again, you could call it a special play ("Delay"), or just allow it to run in the normal flow of your offense...(more details).

2-3 "High" Offense

The 2-3 "High" offense is also a two-guard offense. With the "High" offense, we bring our three inside players up to the free-throw line extended, with O3 in the middle, and O4 and O5 on the wings. Once again, this is a patient offense, looking for inside shots, lay-ups, post-moves and free-throws... (more details).

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Helpful DVDs:

How to Run the 2-Out 3-In Motion Offense

How to Run the 2-Out 3-In Motion Offense
with Steve Alford, UCLA Head Coach, former University of New Mexico Head Coach; former University of Iowa Head Coach
In this video, Coach Alford will teach you all of the "ins and outs" of the 2-Out 3-In motion offense. Using a combination of on-court demonstration and a detailed marker board session, Alford covers the responsibilities and scoring opportunities for each position in detail. Alford states the different rules to use when dribbling and passing the ball. The "whole-part" teaching technique is explained along with showing you how to utilize your team's strengths while playing away from their weaknesses. The 2-Out 3-In motion offense is very unique... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now

Geno Auriemma: The Complete Guide to the High Post Offense

Geno Auriemma: The Complete Guide to the High Post Offense
with Geno Auriemma, Head Women's Coach UConn, 2015 NCAA Championship Coach; 10x NCAA Women's Basketball National Championships; 8X National "Coach of the Year".
Coach Auriemma has redefined the meaning of success in college basketball. His topic on this DVD is the High Post Offense as he shares crucial teaching points that have allowed his teams to dominate offensively. Auriemma uses players in live 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 settings to illustrate the principles of the offense... The High Post offense is as effective against zones as man-to-man... (more info)

Price: $39.99
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Dana Altman: The Complete Guide to the High Post Offense vs. Any Defense

Dana Altman: The Complete Guide to the High Post Offense vs. Any Defense
with Dana Altman, Creighton University Head Coach, Six NCAA Tournament Appearances.
If your team is without a dominant post player and you need an effective offense to utilize the players you have, this video is for you! The High Post Offense is a great offense, utilizing guards and undersized post players with great success and creates spacing, works against pressure defense, has many options, and is limited only by your imagination. Coach Altman shows you his base set for running the offense, shows you the correct positioning, movements, and cuts. He then goes into different set plays you can run out of the offense to utilize different strengths you may have or exploit potential weaknesses your opponent may have. Altman ends the tape by showing you different ways to run a delay game when time is critical and shows you different ways of transitioning into the offense from a fastbreak. Excellent instruction... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now

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