Basketball Offense - the Horns Elevation OffenseFrom Tyler Whitcomb - Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook
This basketball article is an introduction to Coach Tyler Whitcomb's innovative, new "Elevation" offense, which uses the Horns set. If this offense interests you, get the DVD below, which includes many more entries and options, drills, and seven out-of-bounds plays (5 baseline, 2 sideline).
Coach Tyler Whitcomb is the boy's head basketball coach at West Michigan Aviation Academy and was a former pro basketball GM and scout. In his young career, he already has over 100 high school coaching victories.
Coach Tyler Whitcomb
Elevation Offense Features
- This offense creates actions from the horns elevator set which creates tremendous spacing.
- Running this offense can push tempo by running the actions and then using the termination option. Or slow the game down by making the offense into a continuity.
- It gives your best players the most scoring opportunities.
- The elevator screen is a great pressure release.
- The elevator screen forces the opponent to prepare for you differently.
- This offense can be run to either side.
Get the DVD!
"Encyclopedia of the Elevation Offense" with Tyler Whitcomb
OrganizationSee the horns set in diagram 1 below. O1 is your best play-maker. O2 and O3 are your best shooters and will use the elevator screen described below, as well as drive and kick. Post players O4 and O5 are screeners and can also slip or diagonal cut to the hoop.
We're getting ahead a little here, but when O1 dribbles to either wing (diagram 11), that corner player (O2 or O3) will cut up through an elevator screen set by O4 and O5 at the free-throw line, and the cutter O2 gets the pass back from O1 for an open 3-point shot.
Diagram 2 shows various options available after every elevator screen. O2 may get the shot. O4 could slip to the hoop for a pass from O1. O5 could make a diagonal ballside cut for a pass from O1. O1 could dribble-drive and score, or kick pass opposite to O3. These options will be discussed further below.
TransitionBut first we'll discuss transition into the offense. This is the Carolina Break used to get into the horns set. However we rotate defensively, we want O1 catching the outlet pass in the middle of the floor attacking with his/her dominant hand (diagrams 3 and 4).
O1 speed dribbles in the middle 1/3 of the court (diagram 4). O2 and O3 sprint to the corners. Here, O5 is the rim runner and O4 sprints to the left wing area. Please note that first big (O4 or O5) to get down the court is the rim runner, running all the way to the basket. The other big sprints to the weakside wing slot.
Once the break is over, the rim runner flashes to the elbow and O4 cuts to the other elbow (diagram 5), and we are now in the Horns set (diagram 6) and ready to start the offense.
Dribble EntryO1 picks a side and could dribble to either wing. Diagram 7 shows the ballside corner (O2) back-cutting to the hoop. O2 then cuts hard up through an elevator screen set by O4 and O5 moving together, just far enough apart to allow O2 to get through, and then they "close the elevator" to prevent the X2 defender from getting through (diagram 8). O2 gets the pass from O1 and an open 3-point shot.
Wing-Pass EntryO2 V-cuts to the wing - free-throw line extended, and gets the pass from O1 (diagram 9). O1 cuts through to the opposite corner, as O3 vacates the corner and moves inside. Now O3 cuts up through the elevator screen for the pass from O2, and a shot (diagram 10).
IsolationIsolation is a play or call for your point guard to attack with the dribble from the wing. Again this could be run on either side. Diagram 11 shows O1 dribbles to the wing keeping the dribble alive, as O2 cuts up through the elevator screen. But instead of passing to O2, O1 attacks with the dribble-drive looking to score (diagram 12).
Notice the rotation (diagram 13)... O2 fills the wing behind O1 and could get a pass back out. O4 and O5 stack on the top. If the X3 defender helps inside, O1 passes out to O3 for a shot. It's O3's job to get open for this pass.
SlipThe "Slip", "Diagonal" and "Up" actions work well after running the basic pattern several times, and now the defense starts switching on the elevator screen. Diagram 14 shows the familiar dribble to the wing. On the elevator screen, X4 and X2 switch the screen. Reading this, O4 quickly slips the screen (diagram 15), cutting to the hoop (with X2 on his/her backside), for the pass from O1.
DiagonalIf X5 and X2 switch on the elevator screen (diagram 16), then O5 diagonal cuts for the pass from O1. If well defended, O5 looks for O4 cutting inside (diagram 17).
UpAgain we start with the wing dribble entry. This time, the X2 defender anticipates O2's cut, and blocks O2's cut through the elevator screen. O2 reads this, yells "Up!", and quickly back-cuts for the pass from O1 (diagram 18).
DoubleAgain we start with the wing dribble entry (diagram 19). O1 passes out to O2 on top (diagram 20), but does not shoot this time.
O2 now dribbles to the wing (diagram 21) as O1 cuts through to the opposite corner, and O3 cuts inside. O3 then cuts up through the elevator screen (diagram 22). O2 could pass to O3 for the shot, or O2 could go Isolation and dribble-drive.
You can see the continuity here, as this pattern could be continued until there is an open shot. Remember that all of the above options (Iso, Slip, Diagonal and Up) are available throughout this.
TerminationThis action is done if you want to push tempo. Diagram 12 shows the Isolation action with O1 making the dribble-drive. But here O1 is defended well and stopped, and so O1 (keeping the dribble alive), dribbles back out to the arc (diagram 23), as O5 sprints to the ballside elbow, and O4 moves to the opposite wing slot. O5 now balls-screens for O1 (diagram 24) and they run the pick and roll.
Termination CornerThis action is done after a kick to the corner. O1 passes to O3 in the corner, and O1 clears out to the corner (diagram 25). O4 ball-screens for O3 (diagram 26), and they run the pick and roll.
Motion or Set Play Offense?While this offense can be run similar to a motion or continuity where your players are reading the defense and reacting accordingly, you can still call out each action to force your players to run an action.
Rick Majerus was never concerned about the defense knowing your calls. It is irrelevant. It is more important that your kids on offense know what is going on. If your players can make the reads have them read it. If they cannot make the read, call it for them.
Summary of Actions
- Iso - 1-on-1 for your point guard
- Elevation action - 3-point shot for your best shooter
- Slip - 1-on-1 for your strong side post player
- Diagonal - 1-on-1 for your weak side post player
- Up - back-cut when defense cheats the screen
- Double - creates 3-point shot for the weakside shooter
See more video clips of the elevation offense.
See Tyler Whitcomb's coaching courses on Coachtube.
Get the DVD!The DVD includes many more entries and options, drills, and seven out-of-bounds plays (5 baseline, 2 sideline).
"Encyclopedia of the Elevation Offense"
by Tyler Whitcomb, West Michigan Aviation Academy Boy's Basketball Head Coach; inventor of the Elevation Offense; former pro basketball GM and scout; over 100 high school coaching victories.
Flow into the Elevation Offense with multiple entries that attack the defense before they are set.
Learn the reads off the "elevation" screen to counter the opponent no matter how they try to stop you.
Break down important elements using practice drills that develop an Elevation offense-specific skill set.