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March 20 – End of Game

Rick Torbett

March 20 – End of Game

Way Out by Rick Torbett

Rick TorbettHere’s the scenario: You’re ahead with 3 minutes on the clock. Whether you’re playing with a shot clock or not, you’re trying to milk the clock. Your opponent MUST come out and play aggressive defense. They MUST try and create something – they’re behind.

Ordinarily, this is an easy read for your Read & React team (Layer 1 & 3). If your defender is over the Read Line and if you’re one pass away from the ball, you REAR CUT to the basket. If you’re not open, a teammate has already filled your spot, gotten the pass, and action continues.

However, in this scenario, you’re playing WAY OUT. You’re one pass away but you’re also halfway between the arc and the half line. Your defender is over the Read Line, in fact, he/she has been over the Read Line the entire time!

It seems like players have a hard time deciding WHEN to basket cut in the above scenario. Most of the time they don’t cut at all. They try to help their teammate (who has the ball) by coming to the ball so that it can be handed off to them. This brings two HOT defenders close to the ball and bad things usually happen. By the way, if you DID basket cut this far away from the goal, it’s an almost guaranteed lay-up! It’s simply too much space for one defender to guard.

SOLUTION: When you’re “one spot away” in this “WAY OUT” formation, wait until the ball can see you to make your basket cut. I know that this violates the letter of the law when you’re one spot away and your defender is over the Read
Line.

However, what good will it do for you to make the cut if the ballhandler can’t see you and deliver the pass? Also, keep in the mind that the ballhandler is probably being pressured more than usual in this scenario. You must be “locked & loaded” for a rear cut. You must be anticipating a Dribble-At by the ballhandler. An East-West dribble is usually the
first choice a ballhandler will make when confronted with extreme pressure.

How do you anticipate a Rear Cut? You watch the face and eyes of the ballhandler. The moment there’s eye-contact, you cut to the basket! Your team must play Layer 1 Pass & Cut in its most principled form.

By the way, this applies to any formation you’re using.

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The Perimeter Zone – Part 3 of 3 (In case you missed them, click for Part 1 or Part 2)

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