Monday, May 28, 2012

Using the Stack to Add a Dimension to the 1-4 High

As you know, I am a huge fan of things that are simple yet effective. As a high school program we don't have unlimited time to teach fifty different sets and counters. So when there is something that gives the few sets we run an added dimension I jump at it!

The 1-4 high look is popular to run sets out of because you open up the inside of the defense and it allows you to get some great looks. At times though, the number of things you can do are limited, especially if you don't run sets that involve many steps. Today I was reading about the stack offense and it hit me - why not use the stack as an entry into 1-4 high sets? It's  a simple way to add another wrinkle to what you are doing. It's also something simple that can confuse the defense. It is good for getting you a few simple looks before you get into your main offense. If it were me, I would use 2-4 quick hitting stacks and have them be a part of the play call. If your 1-4 high set is called 14, then give the stack a color. So you could run Blue 14 or Red 14 and it would give you a little bit different look.

Even more effective would be using the stack as a starting look to get into all offensive formations if you run sets or base offense out of several different formations. You could use the stack as a disguise to camouflage the set you are getting into because you could run the same stack action into a 1-4 set one time and a box set the next. These types of quick changes also make you a little bit harder to scout.

Below I have drawn up several different ideas on how to use the stack look to get into your 1-4 high sets. Hopefully it gets you thinking and inspires you to come up with your own entries.

Quick is just a simple way to get you into your 1-4 high. Start with your  posts on the bottom, wings on top. Wings L cut up and the posts flash up. You are right into your offense.
 Quick Dribble
This is kind of a counter to the quick look. Defenses will start to overplay the L-cut out. So the counter is to dribble at the cutter and have them back cut to the rim. If you don't get the back cut, the backcutter (3) replaces the point (1) and we swing the ball to him and are into our 1-4 offense.

If you wanted to get really creative with it, you could even add an "America's Play" type look where the posts elevator screen the cutter back to the top. 

Quick Cross
If teams start to really overplay the wing to the point of beating them to the spot you could run a look like quick cross. On the cross, both wings come up to the elbow appearing that they are going to cut out as normal. Instead of cutting out however, they cross to opposite sides with one of the wings (coaches decision) receiving a double screen from the other wing and the post. The screening wing then flairs to the open wing and we are into our 1-4.

 Quick Backscreen
Again, another counter for the aggressive teams. Do the dribble over but instead of just backcutting, the wing gets a backscreen from the post on that side. The other post and wing clear and it should be an easy lay up. Can run this right into a sideline PnR too and clearn the cutting wing to the backside corner.

Quick Iso
If you are blessed with a stud and want to iso him, easy way to do it out of this is to have him start at the point, dribble to the wing, and look for the iso as players fill in. If he can't drive to the rim then he reverses to the filling point and we are in the offense. Works great if your stud is your wing because he gets an early iso and is in position.

Beat the Sag
It's always frustrating to play a PACK team because they sag off so much and clog the lane. We all know a great way to beat the sag is with the skip. So this could be a counter against the sagging team. Run what appears to be your iso play, but the backside post stays home. The PG skips the ball forcing a fast close out which we can drive to the middle on. At the same time the backside post has stepped in, sealed his man who was over sagging, and now has excellent position for a quick dump down.

Shooter One
This is a simple set play you could run for your shooter. Make it look like you are running your iso look dribbling to the shooter's side. The shooter runs out to the corner through an elevator screen and looks for the skip. If not there the backside wing fills the post, the shooter fills the backside wing, posts fill up, and we are into our offense. 

 Wing Cross Downscreen
To get the traditional stack downscreen out of this look you could cross your wings, have them duck under the bigs (easier if the bigs step up a little bit), and come off a pin down screen to the wings. Then the bigs pop off the screens and you are into it.
 Shooter Two
Simple look for your shooter. The shooter (3) cuts across, through the stack and up to the wing off the elevator screen. Everyone separates and we are into our 1-4 look.

 Post Iso
As coaches we are always looking for ways to get paint touches. This is a very simple way to accomplish that. Again, you are running your Iso look but instead of everyone popping, the ballside post cross screens and flashes high post for a high-low look.
 If nothing is there, swing to the top, post pops, and we are in our 1-4 look.

In Conclusion
As I wrote this article I realized that it might be even better to use the stack to start your offense if you ran offense out of multiple looks. Run these looks into your 4 out motion as well as your 1-4 high offense. That way it really works to conceal what you are doing - are you going motion or sets? Are you going to your box sets or your Princeton offense?

Either way you look at it, I think starting in something like the stack allows you to better conceal what you are doing because to the opponent (maybe not so much coaches but players for sure) it all looks and starts the same. It's going to make you harder to scout and harder to prepare for. Hopefully this gets you thinking about how you can use the stack to conceal your offense.

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