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Basketball Play – "America’s Play"

From the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook
"Helping coaches coach better..."

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Coach Ken Sartini
Coach Sartini
Submitted a while back by late coach and friend Ken Sartini (aka "Coach Sar"), Arlington Hts, IL. Ken had a great impact on many young coaches and players, and sadly has passed on. His wisdom and wit are greatly missed by all who knew him.

Coach Sar says he heard Coach Lou Henson describe this play at a coach's clinic as "America's Play", because everyone in America runs it. When adapting this play to your team, put your best shooters in the O2 and O3 positions.

Coach Lou Henson
Former Illinois Coach Lou Henson

See Diagram A. O1 dribbles to the right wing (free-throw line extended area).

Meanwhile O4 and O5 set a double, staggered screen for your best shooter (O2). Notice that O2 first moves inside to the low block area before making the cut around the double screen. If open, he/she receives the pass from O1 for the shot, either a two or three-pointer (see Diagram B).

After O2 cuts around the screen, O5 moves to the ball-side low block for either the quick-hitting pass from O1 or to post up. This is an especially good option if O5's defender pops out on top to help with the screen for O2, leaving O5 open.

America's play America's play America's play

But if O5's defender stays with him/her, then O5 moves to the weak-side elbow, creating a "clear-out" for O1 to dribble penetrate (see Diagram C). In fact, at the start of the play, when O1 dribbles and reaches the wing area... if at that point, O1 feels he/she can beat the defender off the dribble, then he can take it straight to the hoop for the lay-up, or dish inside, or kick out to the corner to O3. But if your game situation calls for a three-pointer, then O1 should pull up at the wing and look for the pass to O2 coming off the staggered screen.

O3 is also a good outside shooter. As another option, O1 can pass to O3. O3's defender may drop down to help leaving O3 wide open in the corner. Also, earlier in the play (before O5 moves to the low block), O3 could come open on a back-cut to the hoop if his/her defender is over-playing and denying the pass in the corner.