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Basketball Zone Play - Michigan State Tom Izzo's "Fist-Down"

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Tom Izzo has already compiled an illustrious career as Head Coach at Michigan State University, and will certainly enter the Hall of Fame one day. His teams are noted for toughness, competitiveness and great rebounding. Coach Izzo's 2000 MSU team were NCAA Champions, and the 2009 team was runner-up, losing in the final game to North Carolina. Coach Izzo is a 3-time National "Coach of the Year".

This zone play has been used by Coach Izzo at Michigan State, and comes from his "Multi-Threat Scoring Offense" DVD. Coach Izzo has used this play successfully against the 2-3 zones of both Syracuse and Florida. He describes it as a strange play that works well against both the 2-3 and the 3-2 zone defenses, but not so well against the 1-3-1 zone.

Coach Tom Izzo

We start the offense vs the 2-3 zone as seen in diagram A. We place our best shooters, O2 on the right wing, and O3 at the left (weakside) short-corner. Our worst scorer is at the O5 spot at the high post, and O4 starts on the weakside, left wing.

O1 passes to O2 and O2 dribbles toward the corner, and then passes back up to O1 who has replaced O2 on the wing. As O2 dribbles down, O5 screens the middle big defender X5, and O4 down-screens the weakside low defender X3 (diagram B), and O3 cuts out to the weakside (left) wing. O2 passes back to O1 and cuts hard around O5's screen into the open spot in the middle of the paint. After receiving the pass from O2, O1 delays a second and then dribbles up for a good passing angle to make the pass to O2 inside (diagram C). O2 might have an open shot here.

MSU Fist-Down Zone Play MSU Fist-Down Zone Play MSU Fist-Down Zone Play

The diagrams below show several options. After screening, O5 posts up on the right side, but since he is not a great scorer, O5 is not a priority option, although could be open if X5 comes up to defend on O2. After screening, O4 cuts to the hoop and could get a quick bounce pass from O2 for a lay-up (diagram D).

In diagram E, if O4 is not open (the X3 defender stays on O4), usually our shooter O3 is wide-open for a pass from O2, as the X2 defender will tend to collapse down toward O2 in the paint. Also notice that after passing in to O2, O1 re-locates to an open spot also, and could also get the pass from O2 for an open shot.

Finally, O1 must not try to jam or force a pass into O2 if it looks too clogged up inside (diagram F). In this case, O3 will be open on the skip-pass (from O1) for a 3-point shot.

MSU Fist-Down Zone Play MSU Fist-Down Zone Play MSU Fist-Down Zone Play

See this clip from Coach Izzo


Coach Izzo's DVDs:


Tom Izzo: Multi-Threat Scoring Offense
Tom Izzo: Multi-Threat Scoring Offense
with Tom Izzo, Michigan State Head Basketball Coach; 2000 NCAA National Champions, 3X National Coach of the Year.
Use simple screening techniques and concepts to get your players open for shots they can make! Get detailed instruction and insight on play-oriented offense from one of the game's great teachers and most successful coaches, Tom Izzo. Izzo details three series of plays: Chest Series, Horns Series and Thumb Down Series, as well as inbounds and end-of-clock plays, several drills and other little tricks. Each series contains a variety of sets, pick & roll action and numerous scoring options to add firepower to your offense. In addition, Izzo highlights... more.

Price: $39.99
Buy Now!



All Access Practice with Tom Izzo
All Access Michigan State Basketball with Tom Izzo
with Tom Izzo, Michigan State University Head Coach; 3x National Coach of the Year, 2000 NCAA Tournament Champions

This is your opportunity to sit in on three Michigan State men's basketball practices! Watch from the sidelines as 3x National Coach of the Year Tom Izzo runs his athletes through warm ups, offense, defense, rebounding and more in preparation for the 2010-11 season. In addition, you will experience a pre-practice meeting with Izzo and his staff as they break down practice footage and discuss the adjustments they need to make in their next practice... more info...

Price: $119.99 - (3 DVDs, 440 minutes)


Tom Izzo's 'Basketball Smorgasbord' of Drills and Basketball Wisdom
Tom Izzo's "Basketball Smorgasbord" of Drills and Basketball Wisdom
By Tom Izzo, Michigan State University Head Coach, 2000 NCAA Champs, 3X National "Coach of the Year". Coach Izzo offers up a plethora of basketball nuggets for running a successful program. Before hitting the floor, he talks to coaches about how to develop accountability with players; this accountability model should be done before the season starts to set the tone for the season. Izzo's on-floor presentation begins with quick hitting plays against the zone... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now from the Coach's Clipboard DVD Store!



Coach Izzo teaches his 1-3-1 set for attacking zone defenses
Tom Izzo: The 1-3-1 Zone Offense
with Tom Izzo, Michigan State University Men's Basketball Head Coach, 2000 NCAA Champs, 3X National "Coach of the Year"
Get an insider's view into the Michigan State playbook with this fantastic DVD instructed by Coach Tom Izzo. These set plays have led Tom Izzo and his program to one NCAA National Championship title, four Final Fours, and eight NCAA appearances in his ten years as a Division I head coach. Coach Izzo has won 77% of his games utilizing these set plays. This video will demonstrate ways to take advantage of any type of zone defense... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now from the Coach's Clipboard Basketball DVD - Video Store!



Tom Izzo: The Numbered Fastbreak
Tom Izzo: The Numbered Fastbreak
with Tom Izzo, Michigan State University Head Coach; 2000 NCAA Champs, 3X National "Coach of the Year".
  • Learn the numbered fast break from three-time National Coach of the Year, Tom Izzo
  • Tactics for having a successful fast break
  • Two- and three-man drills are first step in building a productive fast break
Coach Tom Izzo believes in scoring quickly by pushing the ball up the floor. The numbered break puts each player in a position to score. Izzo stresses that this fastbreak limits turnover and confusion by players. Two- and three-man drills are the first step in building a productive fast break. These drills can serve as a warm-up and are good for conditioning. Other drills... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now from the Coach's Clipboard Basketball DVD -  Video Store!



Tom Izzo: Dominating Rebounding & Man-to-Man Defensive Drills
Tom Izzo: Dominating Rebounding & Man-to-Man Defensive Drills
By Tom Izzo, 2000 NCAA Champions, 3X National Coach of the Year. Coach Izzo shares one of the most dominating man-to-man defensive and rebounding systems in college basketball today. Izzo's teams have been among the nation's leaders in rebounding margin (+11.7) and scoring defense (58.9) since he took over in the '95-'96 season. The seven defensive drills that Izzo covers include... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now from the Coach's Clipboard Basketball DVD -  Video Store!



Tom Izzo: Rebounding Drills and Defending the Pick-and-Roll
Tom Izzo: Rebounding Drills and Defending the Pick-and-Roll
By Tom Izzo, 2000 NCAA Champions, 3X National Coach of the Year. CTom Izzo, Michigan State University Head Coach Coach Izzo's teams specialize on the defensive end and on the glass. In this DVD, Izzo presents his rebounding and defensive ball screen concepts. To rebound successfully, Izzo describes how to hit (contact on the shot), find the ball, and fetch (get the ball before it hits the floor). These fundamentals are shown in the One-One-One, 2- and 5-man and War drills. On the offensive side of the floors... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now from the Coach's Clipboard Basketball DVD -  Video Store!