Basketball

Play Breakdown: Why Kansas’ Out-of-Bounds Plays Are So Successful

Bill Self is known for his successful out-of-bounds plays. Film junkie Robi Coker examines why they work so well.

With Bill Self’s induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame this September, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to look at one of his staple out-of-bounds plays. It’s produced numerous scoring opportunities for his team over the years and can do the same for your team.

This play can start out of a “box” or a 1-4 flat alignment. The basic concept that makes this play so effective is the “flex” screen. Self likes to have his point guard take the ball out and initiate the action, and he likes to place both post players on the ball-side. This allows the offense to take advantage of big/little matchups in case the defense switches the screens. It also helps if you put your best shooter in the opposite corner, so the defense will tend to “hug” him. Finally, the player on the opposite block needs to be able to read the action and deliver the correct pass. It’s essential that this player doesn’t cut until the ball-side block player catches the ball at the elbow. If he cuts too early, his defender will be able to deny the elbow-to-elbow pass, which will abort the play.

The first scoring opportunity comes off the “flex” screen.

In the first clip, you’ll notice the inbounder doesn’t even make contact with the defense. But because the defender takes the path of least resistance, it still ends with an easy dunk. In the next clip, the inbounder does a great job setting what we call a bone-on-bone screen, freeing the post player for the easy basket.

The second scoring opportunity comes after the inbounder sets the “flex” screen—he comes off a down-screen by the post who reversed the ball.

In the first clip, the defense miscommunicates how they handle the “flex” screen, and the inbounder is wide open off the down-screen for an easy 3. In the second clip, the inbounder curls off the down-screen and attacks the rim. In the next two clips, the inbounder does a great job of curling the screen and playing 2-on-1 vs. the post defender. In the last clip, the defense switches the “flex” screen and the inbounder uses his speed to take advantage of the mismatch.

The final option we’ll look at is the post player following the down-screen with a ball-screen. In the clip, the post defender had to guard two screens and worry about helping with the post-up. He’s not there to hedge the screen, allowing the inbounder an open look off the ball-screen.

This is a very simple play that can be very effective with basic screening concepts. When executed properly, it’s extremely hard to defend.

Robi Coker is the head coach of Plainview High School (Ala.). The ASWA Class 3A Coach of the Year in 2016-17, Coker led the Bears to a school record 31 wins and its first state championship appearance since 1979. Coker served as the Director of Basketball Operations for the University of Mississippi prior to joining Plainview in 2013. You can follow him on Twitter @robicoker.