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Origin and Strengths of the Equal Opportunity Basketball Offense

The Equal Opportunity Offense evolved from the Cincinnati Backdoor Cut offense. That offense has one purpose: to give players at the pivot and forward positions tremendous scoring power close to the basket. As explained earlier, this pattern is swung from side to side, running the same plays from the left and right and left again without hesitation.

The Equal Opportunity Offense, as the name implies offers scoring opportunities for every player on the team. This half-court basketball offense eliminates the necessity of teaching several team offenses. The Equal Opportunity Offense can be run against both man-to-man and zone defenses and will blend well into many different offensive philosophies. You can run the Equal Opportunity Offense and fast break. You can run it and operate a strongly controlled, semi-controlled or a free-lance style of play.

While teaching the Equal Opportunity Offense you are teaching fundamentals. The give-and-go, pick and roll, one-on-one, first-cutter-second cutter, pick-opposite, the cut-through and pivot play. These are all integral parts of the Equal Opportunity Offense. You don't teach it all at once. There is something new to add and your players should progress every single day.

By teaching this offense, you will be teaching teamwork. A dozen lectures about teamwork will never do as much as much for that aspect of your game as the Equal Opportunity Offense will do in one week of practice. Everything about the Opportunity Offense involves teamwork. The individual player is completely immersed in the total team effort. Even so, there is plenty of opportunity for player to exercise individual initiative.

It is necessary to understand the reasoning behind the development of this offense, in order to teach the Opportunity so that it can be run smoothly. Mechanical pattern play is worse than no offense at all. Far too often too many coaches install a new offense in a one-two-three, robot-like way and the players run it in that same exact way.

If the coach has full understanding of all the subtleties and nuances of a pattern, he can teach the offense so as to be fluid. If the philosophy behind the offense is one that the coach understands and appreciates, he can communicate so much better with his players.

Formations - Keys to Future Success

The Opportunity Offense is initiated from a 2-1-2 formation. The 2-1-2 formation is achieved by first setting in an odd formation that looks like a 2-2 created by the fact that two players stand side by side on the edge of the free line as illustrated in Diagram 1.

This 2-2 is designed only to aid in alternating two players in the pivot spot. In the beginning do not alternate these two players, but will always go into the pivot or to the forward spot as designated. As they become more experienced, they alternate. This maneuver is used to get into the high post 2-1-2 set. By alternating players in the middle:

  • No defensive opponent can become a specialist at interrupting cutting routes.
  • It allows you to take their tallest player outside immediately.
  • If this taller player stays inside even though his man goes outside, you usually have a big player running the first cut.

The two players setting side by side should be knowledgeable pivot players. One is designated to always set the cue to determine which will go to the high post. He will do this by placing one foot on the smaller hash mark, this means he is going to the forward position.

He can line up below or above the hash mark. He can line up on either side of the lane he chooses and the remaining forward will take the other side and the set will look like Diagram 2.

The guards will maneuver in close enough so that a relatively short pass is all that is required to initiate the offense. This is done with either a pass to the wing or pass into the post.

Here is the 2-2 formation shown in a number of ways. All of them are cued by the #5 offensive player. The other forwards are #3 and #4 and the guards are #1 and #2 (Diagrams 3,4, and 5).























Above are the formations achieved after the maneuvers by players #3, #4, and #5. Note that after the cuts, one forward is fairly close to the key hole. There is a good reason for this. That forward is always the one opposite the ball or on the opposite side of the floor from the guard with the ball. if the guard should pass to the middle, that forward must clear out across the keyhole. Being close, this expedites his crossover.

The weak side forward, #3, must take his cue from the actions of the other forward may be #4 or #5. #5 may cross under in which case #3 will cross with him. (See Diagrams 6 and 7).









In the two above diagrams, #4 or #5 may fake a cross and return, in which case #3 will fake a cross and return. (see Diagrams 8 and 9).









The player going into the high post may line up below and move around the top man or he may line up and fake a move across the key and move up to the middle (See Diagrams 10 and 11).

#5 cues #4 and #3 is cued by the one that goes to the forward's spot. Here are some maneuvers that may result from this type of freedom of movement. (See Diagrams 6 through 17).

You can see how many different maneuvers are possible. Yet, they are simple to execute and easily signaled by actions of the players, themselves. Whenever the big players are slow getting down the floor, you can simply matters by having #5 get in the top spot on the side of the key and going directly to the high post position as illustrated in Diagram 14. When the big guys get down early enough, using these maneuvers just described will put a lot of pressure on their defenders, thus enhance your offense.

The guards can time themselves so as to arrive just at the time big guys have run through their list of drills.

Continued on next page: "Getting into the 1-3-1 formation".

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