Principles, sets and options
Zone offence progressions - basic sets, tilted sets, running the corners, and post x-cuts:
Principles of zone attack
- fast break (beat the zone up the floor)
- line up in the gaps
- shallow cut
- drive the gaps (get two defenders on the ball)
- freeze dribble (right at a defender)
- quick ball reversal (with full reversal to the corner)
- skip pass
- pass fake
- shot fake
- jab step
- misdirection dribble
- attack from behind
- attack the short corner, high post
- screen the zone
- crash the boards.
Bill Self - the ball moves the zone.
Mike Dunlap - the zone hates full reversal to the corner.
coachesclipboard.ca - getting the ball into the middle of the zone is a fundamental principle, this can be done by dribble penetration, flashing into the middle, or posting at the elbows. Flash from behind the zone with your back to a sideline, hands up, stop or pause in a gap between the top and bottom rows of the defence.
Randy Sherman - flash middle from weakside, aim for the bottom of the "dots" (jump circle), can fan the ball opposite.
Coach Daniel - drive the gaps or baseline behind the zone.
Kirby Schepp - you want to change sides, get paint touches, and attack with the dribble then pass-pass.
a) 4-out 1-in
This typical man-to-man set can be used against any zone, but especially a 1-2-2 or 1-3-1.
Jay Wright - try to run your man-to-man offence against zones. Ballscreens are highly effective, especially with shooters.
Jeff Bauer - 5 begins behind the zone on the baseline.
Randy Sherman - against a 1-2-2, filling the gaps means lifting 2 and 3 above the dead corners.
See Zone offences - Duke
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5 has the high post when the ball is out top, dives on a pass to a corner.
Use against a 1-3-1 (or 1-2-2) zone defence, or against any halfcourt trapping pressure.
- against pressure defence, have weakside 3 flash to the high post on a pass to 2
- use two high posts to enter the offence.
, 5star 2-1-2
, Offence - Wootten four to score
Variation - 5 stays low for rebounding, see Pitt vs. 1-3-1
c) Tilted 4-out 1-in
Against an even-front zone, here 1 pushes a shooter to a corner, 4 has the top.
, also Maryland
d) Duke runner
The corner shooter runs the baseline.
Can be used against most zones.Look to get full ball reversal (corner to corner).
1 has three short pass options (an overload).
4 can ballscreen to help reverse the ball, or 3 can flash to the high post from weakside.
See Duke runner basics, Duke, also Florida ballscreen 3s.
5 goes short corner to short corner (but can first flash middle), 4 has the high post.
Use against an even-front zone (or trapping odd-front zone).
Tom Izzo, Jack Bennett - never have 1 and 4 in a tandem.
Coach Daniel - 1-2-3 are free to move anywhere along the perimeter so long as they keep good spacing. Go inside to score, or inside-out to get good looks at 3s.
Kermit Davis - use a 1-3-1 set against a trapping 1-3-1.
c) Offset 2-1-2
Two guards, high post, shooter on one side, low post opposite, use against a 1-2-2 or 1-3-1 zone.
Look to get the ball to 4.
d) Two-guard runner
Two guards, high post, ballside low post (on the baseline), a shooter is the runner.
Variation - 5 goes block-to-block, 2 runs the baseline below 5.
- diagonal skip passes to 2
- the high post can ballscreen to reverse the ball (or step out).
Other options, e.g. against a 1-3-1 zone
- 5 starts weakside, comes ballside on a pass to 2, stays on a return pass to 1, and will cross the lane again only if 3 finishes a swing to 2 on the other side (variation - 5 is always weakside when 1 or 3 has the ball).
3) 2-3 (two low posts)
Two-guard front, 4 and 5 on the baseline with a runner.
- 2 can cut up the middle
- 2 can start in the high post
- the weakside post flashes high on a corner touch, or double-team
- 4 and 5 screen for 2
- drag action out of the corner.
Doug Schakel - attack a 1-2-2 zone with two guards, two low posts, and a rover.
Heath Millar - 3 dribble freezes to occupy the top and wing defenders, make the back of the zone come out to the corner on a pass.
Coach K - look for 5 to flash to an open area then go back, stay behind the zone.
(three deep), Atkins baseline
(double low posts), Dave Odom rover
(against a 2-3 zone), Heath Millar continuity
, 5star baseline
, also Kermit Davis vs 1-3-1
, Schepp vs 1-3-1
Without baseline running, see Pitt vs 1-3-1
, Syracuse vs 1-3-1
Also see High-low basics.
a) 3-out 2-in
4 and 5 x-cut on ball reversal, see Pitt
, Hurley basic set
(start with 4 and 5 on the baseline).
Other post-movement options
- x-cut low post, high post (Bill Self
- the low post steps out to the short corner (Self
, Heath Millar
- x-cut short corner, mid-post (Kermit Davis zone motion
, Bruce Weber)
- stay on ball reversal and screen the back of the zone (Canada Basketball
Sherri Coale - the weakside post attacks the area where the (on-ball) defender comes from (high post or short corner), the ballhandler must know where his defender came from.
For other options (e.g. motion, drag action, bleeding on a skip pass, screening), see Self
, 5star high-low
For other entries, see Geno Auriemma
(shallow cut), Izzo arm chop
(4 ballscreens), Memphis
(4-out with trailer), and Maryland Women
(dribbling off centre).
Two-guard front, baseline runner, 4 and 5 x-cut.
See T-game (double-post), Steve Bzomowski.
For other options (e.g. entries, ballscreens, drag action), see Huggins dive and fill, Atkins North Carolina t-game, Kermit Davis four high, Atkins high, Heath Millar, also Dave Odom vs 1-3-1.