The "box and 1" defense is a commonly used "junk defense", or combination defense. With this, the defense sets up in a four-man zone box formation, with one defender playing your best player man-to-man (see Junk Defenses).
Like attacking any zone defense, look for the gaps in the zone and penetrate those areas. Get the zone out of position with good quick passing, keeping the wings wide, using skip passes and dribble penetration. See Zone Offense to review the principles of zone offense. Your other four players have to "step up" and look for their shot also.
Actually, you don't have to do anything fancy. Just setting good screens for your star player is very effective. This is simple and can create confusion on the part of the defense. The defender guarding your star player when screened calls for help or a switch, and his teammate (who is playing zone) may be confused on whether to go with the man, or stay in his zone. And the defender playing man-to-man on the star, may get confused and not take the correct spot in the zone. So simple screens can confuse the defense, and maintains your star player as a vital part of the offense. Also, another effective tactic is having your star player set screens for the other four players and then he/she seals the defender being screened and rolls to the hoop for the pass (see Setting Screens). This is often an easy way for your star player to get open, and it often creates confusion and a "mis-match" in the defensive coverage.
Another easy strategy is to put your star player in either corner, running the baseline, always on the ball-side. This forces the defense to play what looks like a 2-3 zone. Now just use your 2-3 zone offense (see Attacking the 2-3 Zone).
Also see the "Big-Blocker" Offense for attacking junk defenses, including not only the "box-and-1", but also the "triangle-and-2", the "1-3 and a chaser", and the "diamond-and-1" defenses.
There a number of ways to attack the box and 1, depending on whether your star player (being guarded man-to-man) is a guard or post player. Let's look at a few simple set plays.
Although not shown in the diagrams, instead of having their X4 defender come up to defend the high post, the defense might have their X3 defender come up to defend the high post. In this situation, teach your O3 to move down to the weak-side low block any time he/she sees the X3 defender moving up to the high post area. Meanwhile, your star moves way out to the corner or wing areas to take his/her defender out of the picture. Now O3 is wide open on the weak-side low block for the pass and lay-up.
Put your star player at the weakside elbow. O1 dribbles toward X2 to engage X2. O2 screens X2 and O1 dribbles around the screen for the open 10-12 foot pull-up jumper. If X3 comes up to defend O1, O1 passes to O3 down low who is open for a lay-up. You could also run this to the left and call it "51".
See Diagram B. If nothing develops, O3 cuts to elbow paint area looking for a pass, and then moves out to the opposite wing. O2 rotates out to the point. O1 waits for O3's cut and then cuts hard to just inside the free throw line, looking for the pass, and immediately cuts out to the ball-side wing if the pass in the paint is not there.
Diagram C. The ball is reversed from the corner to the wing and to the point. The point now starts the same play, going to the opposite direction.
Try this 1-4 low stack if your point guard, O1, is your star. Put your best outside shooters in each corner. O1 can dribble either right or left, and then pass to the wide-open shooter in the corner (either O2 or O3). It the low defender comes out, pass inside to the O4 (or O5 if on the left side). If the top defenders (X2 and X3) start to drop into the corners, then you have a simple 1-on-1 clear-out for your star O1.
Some set plays will work. Try "91". O4 back-screens for O1, and this gets O1 an open 3-point shot from the wing.
Pat Summitt's Mastering Special Situations (format - DVD)
with Pat Summitt, University of Tennessee Head Women's Basketball Coach; 2008 NCAA Champions - 8-time NCAA Championship Coach, over 950 career wins.
Attacking the 1-3-1, 2-3 and Box-and-1 Defense (format - DVD)
with Jerry Petitgoue, Cuba City HS (WI) Head Boys Basketball Coach (35+ years), 19 Conference titles, 3X Wisconsin State Championships
Coach Petitgoue, the winningest coach in Wisconsin High School history, shows you how to beat junk defenses with different offensive looks. Petitgoue's on-court demonstration shows how to attack the 2-3 zone, the trapping 1-3-1 and the Box-and-1.
When facing a Box-and-1, Petitgoue demonstrates how to create space and use screening to keep your star player in the game. He includes options such as skip passes, penetration and slip screens to create baskets... (more info)