Feb 092006

You've all heard of it, but who actually knows how to run the damn thing?

The Princeton Offense was spawned by the Yoda of college basketball, Pete Carril, during his time at Princeton University from 1967-1997. Since its beginning, the offensive set has been picked up by coaches all over the world at every level.

As arguably the most popular offense in basketball history, it might not be a bad idea to get your intramural team together and take a shot at it.

The point of the Princeton Offense is to get the ball to the center (5), and let him be the playmaker. The point guard (1) passes the ball to another guard (3) in the wing and runs through the key to the opposite side of the court (Fig. 1). The guard then has several choices. He can dribble hard toward the elbow, hopefully drawing the last guard's (2) man toward him. This opens up the paint for the 2-guard to make a run and get a "backdoor lay-up" (Fig. 2), the signature result of the Princeton Offense.

If the 3-guard can get the ball to the 5, then the last man on the floor, the forward (4) makes his way to the top of the arc before making a hard backdoor cut, hopefully receiving the pass from the 5-man at the low post (Fig. 3).

If there is no option, the 5-man passes out to the 2-guard at the top of the arc. The 2-guard then dribbles hard toward the elbow again, the forward makes his way to the low post and the 1-guard pops out for the pass and the possible trey. The center comes up to set the screen for the 2-guard who sets up for the easy jumper on a pass back from the point guard (Fig. 4).

Confused yet? If you're still on the first chapter of Basketball for Dummies just remember this: Keep your spacing, make hard cuts to draw defenders to you and always watch who's guarding you. This offense is based on the offense reading the defense and making that (magic word for the day) backdoor cut at the opportune moment.

Source: ESPN.com

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