Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

Huggins open post

Bob Huggins
2008, and 2004

1 wants to have the ball in the middle of the floor (the chute).

3 backcuts if not open, then the spot closest to the ball has to be filled. 3 does not turn his back on the ball, on a shot he will have to rebound (or get back). Don't zig-zag if overplayed, just go, it never hurts to backcut. You have to backcut on a pass fake.

1 passes to 5, takes a step to the ball in case his defender does not jump to the ball (cut across his face), basket cuts and clears. 2 and 4 fill behind, 2 cuts across the foul line and then hard out top, pushing off his bottom foot. If denied he would push hard off his top foot and backcut. Cut in straight lines, don't round it.

Catch, turn and square up on the perimeter (otherwise the defence knows where you will pass). Good spacing is 15-17 feet.

Players do what you demand, but you can't demand everything.

Run the offence until you get 5 in the post on a basket cut or backcut, then he can post (spin and seal, or step across).

Use the corner every once in a while, drag a defender out. It's good when bigs are in the corner, they can pass out, cut and post. If a big can't handle the ball outside, you don't have to pass to him, pass fake to backcut.

On a pass out of the corner, cut and self replace.

(Note an option that a big could pass and basket cut from the corner, post, then backscreen for 2 on a pass to 4, see shuffle cut below.)

2 basket cuts on the pass to 4, 3 fills.

If someone screws it up, move or dribble to fill a spot.

This is the best passing drill Huggins has seen, then add five defenders denying passes.

Move defenders, spread them, iso them. Offensive rebounding and posting are better on the move from the perimeter because they are harder to defend.

That's a Foul, March 2008

On any pass towards the basket, cut and replace; on any reversal pass, replace cut or up screen to move the defence. Cutting on the back of a cutter is effective (double cut, see Petitgoue open-post Revolve). See NSW open-post offence.

After passing, a player can basket cut, screen away, ballscreen, or go to the ball for a handback or a rub cut off the ballhandler. Do not pass and stand.

1 passes to 3 and announces a screen by putting his hand up and calling 2's name. 1 screens away with his butt to the ball so 2 can curl it, then 1 comes straight back to the ball, 3 has to have someone to pass to. 1 yanks 2 around the screen with his right arm, which helps 1 pull himself to the ball. 2 dips his inside shoulder coming off the screen.

2 backcuts if jammed by his defender.

Cutters always go to the basket (curl or backcut), have shooters screen for non-shooters. Non-shooters backcut, they don't screen.

If defenders switch, 1 will slip the screen, or 2 will make a switch cut - curl around the screen, then screen for 1, who curls around 2, who then comes back to the ball.

Flex screen

Run it until 5 gets to the block, then he crosses the lane to set a flex screen.

2 flex cuts on the pass to 3 (the ball should be centred on the flex cut), then 5 ducks in behind the cutter.

If a shooter sets a flex screen, then 4 would downscreen for him.

On a flex screen, or when 5 is in the post, other players stay out or clear out (e.g., 3 does not curl 1's screen).

Ballscreen or go to the ball

Huggins likes to move defenders before ballscreening. Use a designated ballscreener, or ballscreen with anybody. Here 4 is the designated ballscreener, run it until he gets the ball, he passes and ballscreens, 5 steps up if X5 helps on 4 rolling (ballscreen and drag). 5 gets away from his defender.

4 could pass and follow for a hand-back, use inside hand-backs if the on-ball defender sags off (e.g., the defender of a big on the perimeter).

Jerry Petitgoue - ballscreen on a pass to the corner.


1-2-3 go to the ball for handbacks, 4-5 ballscreen for 1-2-3 and roll (don't ballscreen for bigs).

On an inside handback, 1 gets the ball and goes, 5 goes to the basket.

On an outside handback, 1 will read how the defenders are playing him and drive one way or the other (e.g., away from the best defender), 5 goes opposite to the basket, or 1 will shoot from behind if the defenders stand back.

Pressure-release entries

Against pressure, 2 and 3 backcut, 4 and 5 fill, then 2 and 3 flash up to the high posts, giving 1 four receivers.

Jerry Petitgoue - the wings downscreen for the bigs.

On a pass to 3,

- 5 can backcut if overplayed, 1 can follow his pass for a two-man game with 3
- 2 flarescreens for 1 then slips, 4 goes deep
- 2 flarescreens and stays, 5 basket cuts and clears, 3 and 1 play.

On a pass to 4, 2 backscreens, 1 smash cuts, 2 steps to the ball.

To play on one side, optionally use backscreens until the ball is reversed - 1 backscreens for 4 on a pass to 2, getting 4 into the post (4 takes a step to the ball showing his hands), then 4 would backscreen for 2 on a pass to 1 on the wing.

Or use downscreens - 4 downscreens for 1 on the pass to 2, then 2 would downscreen for 4 on a pass to 1.

On ball reversal to 3, 4 crosses the lane to set a flex screen (the only time you cross the lane), everyone else stays out.

5 flex cuts on the pass to 1, 3 downscreens if 4 is a shooter.

To run the offence with two bigs, go screen for the best player.

2004 - if a guy can't play, go screen on the ball for the best player.


You can run anything you want out of this, e.g., flex, shuffle, staggers. Optionally make 4-6 passes before shooting unless it's a layup, then have 4-5 ballscreen or 1-2-3 get a handback.


5 passes and makes a hard basket cut from the top, will reverse pivot on his ballside foot if the defender is below him and on a pass turn middle for a hook shot, or reverse pivot on his weakside foot if the defender is above him and drop step baseline.

Run flex if 5 isn't open. 2 flex cuts on the pass to 3, going over the screen so X5 has to help, 5 ducks in.

Option - number all the cuts and screens, and call them out.

(Note that instead of clearing weakside after a basket cut from the top, 5 has in effect crossed the lane after cutting)


For a shuffle cut, run it until 5 gets in the corner, then he screens when the ball is swung. Backscreens are butt to the basket.

See Huggins 3 on 3 on one side.

This page was made with Basketball playbook from Jes-Soft

2007-23 Eric Johannsen