Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

Kentucky dribble-drive

John Robic & John Calipari

See Offences - Calipari dribble-drive, Kentucky ballscreens.

5`s main job is to be opposite the ball (relocate), block and below, or behind the backboard (even better, X5 has to flatten out), it's really good if you have a post who can't score with their back to the basket.

2 and 3 are as low as they can be, and come out late (low and late). Their 2 was left-handed in 2013-14. 3 can be the weakest offensive player, anybody. The guards are 1 and 4 (other teams can't switch that), and one step to the left of their Xs, really high.

If 1 can't throw it ahead in transition, or take a layup, they go into one of their entries, top or side.

They want layups, open 3s, and lob passes, they do not throw bounce passes except on a backdoor.

Drop zones are below the elbows outside the lane lines.

They want to fly it up the court, go from side to side, and stay on the attack, not push it, pull it back and call a play. They may screen later in the possession if they don't get anything.

Del Harris - too much pick and roll stifles ball movement and the penetration game.

There are three entries from the top - pitch, slide and pull.

1) Pitch

1 drives to the nail, 4 runs across, 5 relocates, 1 pitches it back when 4 gets even with him, 1 replaces 4 (general rule - replace whoever you pass it to).

If X4 sags, 1 drives it right at him.

Any switch on a pitch is an automatic kickback and post - 4 throws it back to 1, 5 ducks in.

4 has the ball, it's his game, he drives and stops in the drop zone if he can't get to the rim, lob to 5 or skip to 3. They teach a stride stop (1-2, outside-inside), if you have to use a jump stop you are probably not trying to get a layup.

5 relocates again, 2 comes out to his X when the ball is driven away from him, looking for a skip pass (if X5 helps on 4`s drive, X2 will pinch on 5). A skip pass is a great way to post, automatic (they don't do it enough).

3 makes a read from the corner - go backdoor if X3 is playing high, or sprint out to his X if X3 is playing flat, be low and late (if he is early, X3 can stop the drive).

4 passes to 3 and replaces him, it's not a weave. 3 has to get to his X, and 4 has to throw to the X. 3 uses three steps from the corner, starting with a crossover step (5 uses the same footwork to relocate).

If 3 drives middle inside the elbow, 5 relocates, 2 comes out to his X once 3 breaks the lane line, 1 is the pitch man and meets 3 at the mid-point (split line), 3 replaces 1 on a pitch, which should be an even or positive pitch (1 gets past 3).

2) Pullback

1 makes a pull-back dribble (and can call "pull"), which indicates to 4 that he should go, it can be a through cut or a nail cut, opening up space for 1.

On a through cut, go through the elbow then out the other side, pushing 3 up to his X (4 reads 1, keeps going if 1 drives middle, or pops back out if 1 makes a right-hand drive, like a nail cut).

Robic likes the through cut because it gives a double gap. Another option is a rub (brush) cut, they don't do that because teams will switch it.

1 stops in the drop zone if he can't get to the rim, 2 gets out to his X if X2 is playing flat, 1 throws to the X and replaces 2 in the corner.

2 looks to drive inside the elbow, 5 relocates, 4 stays in the corner until 2 gets to the lane line, 2 can pitch it to 3, and replace whoever he passes it to.

The guy in the pitch area goes side to side, if he is a driver, look to catch and run downhill.

On a nail cut, 4 replaces 1, use this if you want to get the ball to 4 as the pitch man.

If the ball is being driven towards you in the corner, a lot of times you will be out of the play.

If 2 backcuts (a drop) he keeps going, 5 ducks in, look for a give and go with 1.

They don't dive anybody on a post entry, they want 5 to play.

If 4 can handle the ball well, everything's the same if 1 passes to him and spaces away, they can do a pitch or through cut.

3) Slide

1 spaces out and passes to 4 for an iso at the top of the key.

In the video, 1 will nail cut, or through cut and keep going if 4 drives right, or pop back out if 4 drives left (shown).

Quick Set

They have isolations at the top and on the wing. Quick is an iso to get into swing. On a Quick 3, 3 gets open, 1 hits the wing and goes all the way through, 2 lifts, it's 3's game he can go baseline or middle.

If 3 drives middle, 5 relocates, 4 would get a pitch at the lane line extended or go to the corner if there is no pitch, 2 would get a pitch at the split line, 3 replaces the guy he passes to.

They want to give 3 two opportunities to make a play. Here 3 hits the first pitch guy, 4 drives it looking to score, swings it back to 3 and goes to the corner, spots are filled.

Now they can do whatever they want, e.g. 3 can swing it to 2 and cut (shown), pitch it, or drive for a layup.

3 cuts through the elbow, but reads whether to keep going or pop back out.

The passer also reads the ballhandler on a Quick set.
(Option - 3 can initiate a cut by 2 with a pullback dribble or pass fake, and 2 would cut if overplayed)

Here 3 hits the second pitch guy and replaces him.

They want to give 3 two looks, e.g. 2 swings it and through cuts.

If X4 is flat (low), 4 can come out to his X as 3 crosses the NBA 3-point line, instead of waiting for 3 to stop in the drop zone, 4 stops until 3 stops, and can then go backdoor.

1 can get into Quick without a pass, waving through 3 then attacking baseline or middle from the wing (Quick 1).

Swing series

Swing is their transition game, it gets them into dribble-drive. Quick and Pullback are entries, see above.


1 passes to 3 in transition, or in the corner, gets a return pass (not a Quick), 4 through cuts (or nail cuts).

Mads Olesen - quick replace - if 1 starts to cut then replaces himself for a return pass, 4 cuts to the basket and 3 drops to the corner, creating space for 1 (the same action as a step-back dribble).


1 waves through 3, 4 and 2 fill behind.


1 passes to 4 who swings it to 2 and cuts.
(As a shooting drill, 2 attacks, rotate 1 to 3, 3 to 4, 4 to 2, see Shooting - Dribble-drive 4 on 0)
Walberg - use this to create a triple gap for 2, see Quick hitters - Dribble-drive 243-143.

or b)

4 backcuts to the ballside corner, 2 and 3 fill behind.

1 passes to 2 and basket cuts, floor spots are filled.up

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2007-23 Eric Johannsen