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Big Man / Little Man


At Nathan Hale, we set a goal each season to convert on 40 percent of scoring opportunities out of our primary and secondary fast breaks...

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									                                Big Man / Little Man

At Nathan Hale, we set a goal each season to convert on 40 percent of scoring
opportunities out of our primary and secondary fast breaks. To reach this goal,
two to three times a week we run our players through a series of scoring
sequences that they might face in a game in a drill that we call “Big Man / Little

This drill simulates scoring opportunities that typically produce high-percentage
shots for us, as well as allowing us the opportunity to practice basic
fundamentals such as footwork, passing, pivoting, shooting, and dribbling, all
completed while working at game speed. This drill also serves as a great
conditioner, one which the players tend to enjoy because it allows them to work
with a basketball rather than running sprints.

In addition to scoring opportunities from our fastbreak, we also practice several of
the entries that we use for our motion offense. In all, we feel that this drill does
an excellent job of preparing our players to score against any defense that they
might encounter in a transition situation.

Basic Set-Up:
This is a full court drill. We start with one player at the free-throw line on the left
side of the court with half of his teammates lined up behind him. Then we put the
other half of the team on the sideline at the outlet area. We usually start with the
posts or bigger players under the basket with the perimeter players on the
sideline. (Diagram 1)

What we teach – the basics:
The Rebounder: Rebounders are taught to take the ball at the highest point in
front of their heads. As they come down, they are to look over their outside
shoulder while making a quarter turn. The ball should then be thrown to the outlet
man with a two hand overhead pass. (In a game, if the outlet is not readily
available, rebounders are taught to chin the ball with the elbows out while

The Outlet:
Players wait with their backs square to the sideline. To receive the outlet, they
take a step away from the rebounder and then come back on a direct line to
receive the ball. The player receiving the outlet pass must land with a two foot
stop, rip the ball through, get vision of the basket, and then push the basketball
out with the dribble. (Diagram 2)

The Drill:
The rebounder tosses the ball off the backboard, grabs it at its highest point, and
then outlets the ball before running the wing position to the other end of the court.
While he runs the wing, his partner pushes the ball to the center of the court as

quickly as possible, looking to give the ball back to the rebounder before the
rebounder is inside of the three-point line. (Diagram 3)

Once the rebounder receives the pass, he executes one of the finishing moves
that will be discussed shortly. After scoring the basket, the players then
exchange positions, with the perimeter player inbounding the ball (making sure
to be clear of the backboard) while the post runs the point to the other end of the
court. (Diagram 4)

Note that each time a player comes to a stop, he must use a two foot jump-stop.
It is also important for the player who runs the wing to stay wide on his route
when he crosses half court. As he crosses half court, he should touch the
sideline and look back at the point guard for the pass, making sure to maintain a
good angle to the rim.

The following are some of the sequences that we use:
   a) Outlet to a lay-up (break away): On receiving the outlet, the wing drives
       in a straight line to the basket in as few dribbles as possible. An emphasis
       is placed on pushing the ball out hard and finishing at the rim. The trailer
       follows to tip in any missed shots before moving to the outlet position. The
       wing then takes the ball out and the sequence repeats with the players
       having exchanged positions.
   b) Two and Up: Once receiving the outlet pass, the wing player pushes the
       ball to the middle of the court as hard as possible as the post player runs a
       lane along the sideline. After two dribbles, the point gives the ball up to
       the player running the sideline, who finishes with a lay-up. Another
       variation would be to finish with a short bank shot.
   c) Slide Along the Three and Attack: On receiving possession of the ball
       from the point guard, the post maintains his dribble while sliding along the
       three-point line towards the sideline. After two or three side steps, he then
       explodes out of his slide and attacks the basket, finishing the move with a
       lay-up. (Diagram 5)
   d) Attack the elbow (drive, jumper, and cross court): Once receiving the
       ball on the wing, the post player makes a two footed jump-stop, swings the
       ball through and aggressively drives at the near-side elbow. The player
       can finish at the rim with a short hook, he can pull up for an elbow jumper,
       or he can pass cross-court to the point guard who has relocated for a jump
       shot. (After delivering the ball, the point guard step in and cuts away like
       he is using a flare screen. Both of his hands are up and his feet are set to
       so that he is ready to shoot after catching the ball). (Diagram 6)
   e) Back to point: After the ball handler completes the pass to the player on
       the wing, he steps away from the ball before flashing back to the area that
       he has just vacated. Ideally, we are looking for him to be able to shoot a
       jumper from the elbow.
   f) Shallow: This is one of the entries that we use in our motion offense. The
       point guard initiates the entry by calling “Shallow” and dribbling at the

        wing. The wing then makes a shallow cut to the top of the key, looking to
        fill the spot from which the point guard originated. After the wing has
        cleared, the point guard will to attack the rim or for an open jump shot.
        (Diagram 7)
   g)   Screen and roll: The wing moves to the top of the key, giving our signal
        (an upraised, closed fist) to indicate that he is setting a screen. When
        setting the screen, he places one foot inside the three-point line and the
        other outside of the line, making sure that he is facing the point guard.
        The point then fakes away from the screen before explosively reversing
        directions, driving hard off the outside shoulder of the wing. The wing
        finishes the sequence by either rolling to the basket for a lay-up, or by
        spotting up for the jump shot.
   h)   European: This is another of our offensive entries. The point guard
        dribbles to the inside of the wing as the wing comes over the top to take
        the hand-off. After receiving the ball, the wing looks for the jump shot or
        for a curl to the basket. (Diagram 8)
   i)   Hit the trailer (sideline break): After receiving the outlet pass, the point
        guard drives down the sideline to the corner. The rebounder becomes the
        trailer and looks to receive a return pass as he runs down the middle for a
        lay-up. The rebounder needs to concentrate on timing his cut so that he is
        just outside the three-point line when the point guard stops in the corner
        (Diagram 9). Another option is to have the trailer shoot the three rather
        than make the cut.
   j)   Shot fake and drive: After catching the pass from the point guard, the
        wing player gives a shot fake against a defender who is closing out and
        then attacks the basket for a lay-up. This sequence needs a coach or
        manager at each end of the court. It is important for the offensive player
        to read the defender’s footwork on the closeout and then attack
        accordingly. For example, if the defender is closing out to the high side of
        the offense, then the offensive player needs to attack the basket to the
        baseline side. (Diagram 10)

Conclusion: While the sequences presented are the ones that we have our
players run the majority of the time, we do frequently find ourselves creating new
sequences from scratch to deal with situations that we see in a game or while
viewing film. For example, if we feel an upcoming opponent is susceptible to
getting beat by backcuts or the give-and-go, we will practice and discuss those
sequences while going through our game preparation.

We have also discovered that this is a drill that our players truly enjoy running,
understanding that the work that they put into the drill shows in games as we
strive to reach our goal of 40 percent conversion from the fastbreak.

Diagram 1   Diagram 3

Diagram 2   Diagram 4

Diagram 5   Diagram 7

            Diagram 8

Diagram 6

                                                was the Western Division Coach of the Year
                                                in 1996. I have been at Nathan Hale for eight
                                                seasons. We have made the league play-offs
                                                in three different seasons. I currently also
                                                serve as an Assistant Principal at Hale.

                                                Derek Fulwiler, Assistant Coach:
                                                Derek is a 1999 graduate of Nathan Hale
                                                where he was a three year letter winner in
                                                Basketball. He became an assistant varsity
                                                coach the following season. He became the
                                                Head Junior Varsity coach during the 2000
                                                season. He graduated from the University of
                                                Washington in January of 2004 with a double
                                                major in Business and Communications.

Diagram 9

Diagram 10

Ron Newton, Head Coach:
I graduated from Concordia University in
1969. I played basketball and baseball in
college. During my coaching career, I have
coached everything from junior high
basketball to Men’s Pro-Am. For ten
seasons, from 1983 to 1993, I was an
Assistant Coach at Seattle University where I
also earned my Master in Curriculum and
Instruction. From 1993 to 1996, I was the
Head Men’s Coach at Pierce College, where I


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