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01 Июня 2006 Журнал "FIBA Assist Magazine"

Виды спорта: Баскетбол

Рубрики: Профессиональный спорт

Автор: Auriemma Geno

The High-Post and the Triangle Offenses

The High-Post and the Triangle Offenses

The High-Post and the Triangle Offenses

Geno Auriemma, 2006 inductee in the Basketball Hall of Fame, was women's team assistant coach at the University of St. Joseph's, and then at the University of Virginia. As head coach of the University of Connecticut, he won five NCAA women's titles. This Italian- American coach was chosen as Women's National Coach of the Year five times by different organizations, and coached six collegiate Women's National Players of the Year. He also won a gold medal as assistant coach of the U.S. Women's National team at the Sydney Olympic Games, and a bronze medal as the head coach of the women's team at the 2001 FIBA Junior World Championship.

The basic move from which we start to teach this offense is the split cut, which is a cut of two players around the high post. The first one, who passed the ball, cuts first (diagr. 1). The center can pass the ball to one of the two cutters, or she can turn, face the basket, and shoot the ball herself.

When I was young, the players were not indicated as 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, but simply as two guards, two forwards, and one center. So many times I will mention the two guards, who cross the mid-court line practically at the same time, and one center, who goes in the high-post position whenever it's possible. The reason we cross the mid-court line with two guards is that it's difficult for the defense to double team when the offense moves this way.

After the ball is passed to 1, 2 makes a cross cut and, if she is free, receives the ball from 1 (diagr. 2). If not, 1 goes to the middle of the court. She cannot be trapped here, because there is always a teammate near her, who will punish the trap.

If 1 is overplayed, she makes a backdoor cut going towards the mid-court line, or, if she receives the ball, she can pass to 2 or dribble, crossing towards the mid-court line (diagr. 3).

2's defender cannot trap, because there is immediately a pass back or 2 can easily go behind the ball line and help the dribbler. Besides, we can send the center away from the ball, after the inbound pass, because we do not need her as a safety. In this way, we can avoid to have the center dribbling the ball.

A basic detail: the guard without the ball does not cross the mid-court line until the dribbler herself: she can be a safety valve and receive a pass from 1 (diagr. 4), when the defense gets tight.

When we dribble over the mid-court line and are able to pass the ball to the post, we make the split action with the first passer, who cuts first.

Here are the various options:

  • Pass and cut.
  • Pass and make a screen.
  • Pass, fake a cut, and come back.
  • The center can pass to one of the cutters, or else fake a pass, and then play one-on-one.

The key point of this action is that we want the defenders of the two guards to turn their heads and watch the ball as it reaches the high post. It's difficult to play good defense in this situation because the defenders do not know where the offensive players will go.

I would like to underline that the success of this play does not depend on the quickness of the two guards, because they can beat the defenders even if they are slower: they can count on reading the defense on different options and on the two different cuts.


We start to build the split simulating a situation of a rebound, baseline out-of-bound, and then the split at the beginning a 3 vs 0 and then a 3-on-2 (diagr. 5).

We set the players in three lines, with a guard, who brings the ball on offense starting from over the midcourt. There is also one mid post player and one at the free-throw line extension. 1 crosses the mid-court line and then changes direction. She must pass the ball to the forward before going out with both feet from the center court circle: this is the time for deciding where to pass the ball (diagr. 6).

We set the players in three lines: 1 passes the ball (again, before going out with the feet of the center court circle), and then cuts and goes in the corner on the ball side (diagr. 7).

2 passes the ball to the mid post and then 1 and 2 make the split cut (diagr. 8). The center must be active and smart to read the defenders' moves and capitalize on their mistakes. It's a must to read the defense, both for the cutters, as well as for the center with the ball.

It's also very important to have a good alignment between the forward and the center (diagr. 9):

  • The forward must be outside the three-point line, at the free-throw line extension.
  • The center must be at the mid post position, with enough space between her and the baseline for the cut of a teammate. There should also be enough room to let her play one-on-one as a final option.

We say to the players that no move is prearranged, but, again, they must read the defense and let that set up determine what will work best.

Here, for example, are two other options after the pass to the mid post:

  • 1 can anticipate the cut (diagr. 10) or
  • Makes a curl cut around 5, without going in the corner (diagr. 11).

Let's now assume that the forward 2 is overplayed: here are the different solutions:

a. Backdoor. 5 comes high at the corner of the freethrow area, facing the midcourt line, and automatically 2 will make a backdoor cut to receive the ball (diagr. 12).

In short, when the ball crosses the mid-court line, the play becomes a three-player collaboration: 5 must read the defense and see if her teammate is overplayed.

Then she must offer the choice of the entry pass to 1.

b. Hand off. If 2 goes backdoor, 1 can receive a hand off pass and shoots, or drives to the basket, or 5 can always play one-on-one (diagr. 13).

c. UCLA cut. 1 passes to 2, makes a cut on 5, and then goes on the opposite corner. 5 then does a pick-and-roll with 2: 2 can shoot, pass to 5 on the roll, or make a skip pass to 1 for a three-point shot (diagr. 14).

d. Post up. After the pass to 2 and the UCLA cut, 1 can also stop at the low post position (diagr. 15). 2 goes down to pick 1, after the pass to 5 (diagr. 16). 2 then comes high to back screen 5, after 5 has passed the ball to 1 (diagr. 17).


Let's now add another player, playing with three guards and a center. The beginning of the play is the same, with the ball passed from 1 to 3, and from 3 to 5, with 1 going to the corner on the ball side. 2 replaces 1 in the middle of the court, after faking a cut in the other direction (diagr. 18).

If 5 is aggressively guarded, 3 passes the ball to 1, and 1 passes to 5, who has faked a high cut (diagr. 19). If 1 cannot pass to 5, 5 comes out, makes a back screen for 3, and then plays pick-and-roll with 1 in the corner (diagr. 20).

Spacing is always very important, staying especially outside of the three-point line.


We start with two guards on the line, one forward at the free-throw line extension, one mid-post on the forward side and the other forward at the mid-post position on the other side of the court (diagr. 21).

The play starts when the two guards cross the midcourt line, and the players move based on the defenders' reactions.

When there is an offensive overload in the corner, 2 must always come in the middle of the court. They can now play three-on-three on one side, and twoon- two on the other side of the court (diagr. 22).

If 3 has the ball and cannot pass to 1 or 5, 3 makes a dribble weave, difficult to defend, going towards 1 and then passes to 1. 1 passes to 5, while 2 receives a back screen from 4, and then flares out (diagr. 23). Then, 1 and 3 make a split cut on 5 (diagr. 24). If we cannot pass directly to 5, we reverse the ball from 3 to 2, who is set in the middle of the court and outside of the three-point line. 2 can pass inside to 5 (diagr. 25).

If nothing happens, 4 and 2 play two-on-two on the other side of the court. 2 passes to 4, who comes high, and then 2 moves, based on the reactions of the defense, making a hand off, or a pick-and-roll, using different fakes (diagr. 26).

If 2 is overplayed, 4 comes high, 3 passes the ball to 4, 2 makes a backdoor cut and receives the ball from 4 (diagr. 27).


Based on the previous premises, we can build any play. For example, if 3 is overplayed, 5 comes up to the elbow, and receives the ball from 1, who, after the pass, screens for 2, who goes on the forward spot. At the same time, 3 cuts in the lane and goes to the opposite corner (diagr. 28). 5 can make a pass to 2 or 1. We now form a new triangle on the other side of the court, the left side (diagr. 29). On this side we can create a new three-on-three play, with 1, who passes to 3 in the corner, and then receives a back screen from 4, who then plays pick-and-roll with 3. In the meantime, 5 screens for 2 (diagr. 30).

Another option is the entry pass to 4 on the weak side post, with 2, who immediately makes a backdoor cut to receive the ball and goes to the basket (diagr. 31). It's important to underline that 1, the ball handler, must make the entry pass right away, when she crosses the mid-court line.

If 1 does not have any entry pass options to 3, to 5, or 4, she will pass to 2. 4 will pop out at the forward position, and 5 will come out for a back pick for 3, who will cut in the lane, heading in the opposite corner (diagr. 32).

We can also form a triangle with 3, 4 and 5, who, after the pick, opens up. 4 can pass to 3, or to 5, who can pass to 1 on an automatic back-door cut, right after 5 receives the ball (diagr. 33). In short, this play can have many options, always has a triangle on one side, and a two-on-two play on the other side.

The keys are:

  • Read the defense.
  • Proper spacing.
  • Patience.

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