Go Back To Score In The Frontcourt

Rather than simply being content with controlling the tap in the backcourt, run this play to screen an unsuspecting defender and create a layup opportunity at the hoop.

Most opening-tip plays immediately push the action forward, such as what is shown on the previous page. This set does the exact opposite by tipping the ball backward, then running your deepest player toward the ball to set a screen before releasing the tipper to the hoop. No one sees it coming. 

1 is deep again in this opening-tip set. This time, however, 2 and 3 are positioned much tighter to the center circle. 4 is positioned slightly ahead in the frontcourt.  

5 tips the ball backward to 1 to get the actions started [diagram 1].

Typically, 1’s defender naturally comes to at least half-court to pick up 1 in anticipation of 1 dribbling. 4 moves into the circle and picks off 5, which allows your 5 to sprint hard to the basket down an open lane with no defenders deep to defend [diagram 2].

1 passes over the top to 5 for the uncontested layup [diagram 3].

1 wants to get this pass thrown before 1’s defender gets too close, which makes it more difficult to throw the over-the-top pass. Most defenses aren’t expecting the player who initially tipped the ball to get it back, so once 4 sets the screen on 5, there is no one helping on your 5, which allows him or her to run free toward the hoop.

    1. 5 leaps and controls the ball sending it backward to 1 who is waiting … this looks like it’s a routine back-tap start

    2. The key to the play is having 4 come into the circle and pick off 5, who has just landed after missing out on controlling the tip
    3. 5 slips through the traffic and emerges from the center area to run free toward the hoop as the other team’s 1 player is running toward the ball

    4. 1 has taken a dribble or two to set up an over-the-top pass — make this pass on a line without too much arc on it so it reaches 5 quickly
    5. 5 catches and scores at the hoop before any defender has an opportunity to retreat and challenge the shot

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