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September 15, 2014     Newsletter #46

Dear Coaches, Players, Friends,

Today's Quotes
"What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player." - John Wooden

"One of the highest compliments you can be paid is that you are a person of your word." - John Wooden


Today's theme is our "Runner" Zone Offense

Our "Runner" offense is a very versatile offense that we will use to attack zone defenses that feature a one-guard defensive front (1-2-2, 1-3-1 zones). We have also successfully used it against the 2-3 zone, the box and 1 defense, packline defenses, and even man-to-man defense. We have a number of good options and counters, making it a very effective offense.

See diagram A below. Set your offense in a 2-out, 2-in set with guards O1 and O3 flanking the X1 defender, and post players O4 and O5 inside at the blocks (or just above). Your best shooter, O2, runs the baseline from corner to corner, always on the ball-side. If he/she can make a couple from the corner, the X4 defender will have to come out to defend (diagram B). This frees up O4 on the low block.

1-2-2 Zone Offense - zone-2, runner offense 1-2-2 Zone Offense - zone-2, runner offense 1-2-2 Zone Offense - zone-2, runner offense

If the X5 defender slides over to pick up O4, then O5 should be open for the pass from O4 and the lay-up (diagram C). Or, although not shown in the diagrams, O4 can screen the X5 defender (before he/she slides over) and this frees O5 for a cut to the ball-side low block and the lay-up.

Another pointer... the middle of the paint is open when the ball is on the top. We have our opposite low post player "flash and go back". If O1 has the ball, we want O5 to flash into the middle of the paint (diagram A) looking for the pass from O1, and the shot.

If the pass goes to O2 in the corner instead, O5 should immediately go back to the opposite block area (weakside rebounding position for O2's shot). If O3 has the ball on top, O4 flashes to the middle, and goes back if the pass goes to the corner.

Guard pointers... our guards O1 and O3 must stay up high, otherwise the O1 to O3 (or O3 to O1) pass might be intercepted. They must resist the urge to slide down toward the wing areas. This however does not preclude either O1 or O3 from making a dribble-drive into the paint or elbow areas for a jump-shot. The dribble-drive can often be set up with a pass fake to the O2 in the corner, and then making the quick move inside.

Diagram D. Quick pass inside... after O2 makes a couple shots, the outside low defender will run out early. In this situation, often O1 can make the pass directly to the ball-side low post for the lay-up. To set this up, have O1 dribble a little toward the wing, getting the X2 defender to come out... then make the pass-fake to the corner, and pass inside to O4. O3 can do the same thing on the left side of the court, with a direct pass into O5.

1-2-2 zone offense - hi-lo pass

There are several other options and plays we use with "Runner". For details of these options, see "Zone-2" - "Runner" Offense. These options include:
  • Set play "45" (or "54") to our post players
  • the "Back" option
  • the "middle cut" option
  • the "Back - Skip Pass" option (pin-screen the back-side low defender)
  • the "Flex" option
In summary... after your runner O2 hits a couple shots from the corners, it's amazing how the defense gets caught up in watching the runner. The middle flash cut and pass to O4 or O5, or the direct pass from the wing into the low post (diagram D above) become open for easy baskets.

This offense is very effective against the 1-2-2 and 1-3-1 zones, and also against a tightly packed 2-3 zone. Using this offense against the 2-3 zone will stretch the zone, as the low defender has to come outside to defend the corner. Here we will often slide a post player up to the ball-side elbow or high post.



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Till next time...
Best wishes,
Dr. Jim Gels, aka "Coach Gels"
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