‘Pitt’ vs. 2-3 zone From Jim Boeheim, Syracuse University, New York

This is a tough-to-defend set play against a 2-3 zone. The University of Pittsburgh had a lot of success running this play against our 2-3 zone defense many years ago when Brandin Knight was its point guard.

Jim Boeheim play diagram 1DIAGRAM 1: Set up two players behind the zone on each side along the baseline and place a post player at the weak-side elbow. A guard brings the ball up the left side of the floor, drawing the top defender toward him or her.

  » ALSO SEE: Attacking the Syracuse 2-3 match-up zone

The other guard (this player must be a guard who can break a defense down with dribble penetration) cuts from the right side and receives a pass from the ball handler. The weak-side forward cuts wide into the corner.

Jim Boeheim play diagram 2DIAGRAM 2: The player at the elbow breaks to the top and sets a backscreen on the top defender. The guard curls around the screen and drives to the basket (a drive to the basket is always the first scoring option).

As the middle defender steps up to stop the drive, the baseline player slides across the lane and cuts to the ball-side low block. The ball handler fakes a pass to the right corner (causing the ball-side defensive forward to hesitate) and drops a bounce pass to the low block for a post-up scoring opportunity. The off-side guard cuts to the basket on the weak side, forcing the weak-side defenders to stay at home.