At the high school level the name of the game is still finding a way to dominate the battle for points in the paint - and developing a dominant post player remains the best way to accomplish that.
Developing a good post player can allow your team to control the paint - and in high school basketball that is the name of the game. There is no doubt that at the college and professional levels there has been a movement away from the post, but at the high school level, I'm convinced that a good post player is as important as its ever been. Whether it's making a post move, sprinting ahead in transition, or attacking the offensive glass there are numerous ways that a good post player can influence the game.
I titled this post "Motion Offense - Post Player" and in doing so I wanted to emphasize the role of a post player in an offense that places a priority on screening and entering the ball to the high and low post. In this style of offense, we are going to get our paint touches through timely cutting and entries to those post players. Naturally, the post players take on central roles in the offense and we need to be prepared to develop the skills of those players on the practice floor.
Post Player Posts:
Post Play in Transition -
The logical place to start a post on Post Players is in transition. There is a ton of scoring potential for the 5 Man in transition if he plays with energy and force. By simply running the floor hard the post player can feed off of pitch ahead passes and early post entries and if he has some ball-handling skills the opportunity to "be your own outlet" is an added opportunity to score the ball.
Transition Scores -
In all of these three scenarios, we are employing a single rim runner system. The 5 Man (post player) is the one who is solely responsible for rim running and getting to the low post.
If the 5 Man does not rebound the basketball we are expecting him to sprint to the rim. In diagram 1 we are looking at opportunities to sprint to the rim and receive a pitch ahead from whichever player is advancing the basketball.
Pitch Ahead, Post Entry:
On the occasion that the initial Rim Run does not elicit a pitch ahead pass we want the 5 Man to begin looking to establish post position on the ball side right away. The sideline pitch ahead pass followed by an entry into the low post is another prime transition scoring opportunity.
Those 5 Men who have ball-handling skills and free range to rebound the ball and attack have an additional scoring opportunity. We refer to this concept as "Being your own outlet" or BYOO for short. In this scenario, we have four perimeter players stretching the defense with our 5 Man now attacking off the dribble towards an open lane.
Low Post Scoring -
In the half-court, we are trying to get our post player to be an effective scorer on the inside. I am a firm believer that we do not need our post player to have an endless amount of post moves in order to be effective. In fact, I think we can get our post players to master four basic concepts we can build post players that can truly impact the game in our favor.
Low Post Scoring -
We want to train our post players to really master four concepts in order to be impactful threats with the ball.
We are looking for players to simply make a move to their strong hand first. This can end in a variety of ways including a baby jump hook, finish at the rim, jump stop finish, etc.
If the defense wants to take away the strong hand then we need to develop something as a counter. I generally teach our post players to use a spin move in the post that allows them to turn away from the defense and be able to finish the ball at the rim as a counter move.
Turn & Rip:
On the occasion that the post player gets pushed off of the block we want him to be able to turn and face the rim. From here we are looking to employ some guard skills and rip the basketball across their defender's face and finish with two feet at the rim. The turn and rip concept is something that we practice program-wide and the 5 Man is no exception.
If the defense decides to front the post or 3/4 front the post we need to prepare the post player to counter this by using their legs to seal their defender while leaving a passing window open for the perimeter players. Post seals can come in the form of lob passes or bounce passes, but both depend on the post player moving the defender up the lane and giving the passer a window to enter the pass.
Low Post Passing -
Passing from the Low Post is the "Next Level" for the post players in motion offenses. If we can develop post players that can score the basketball and pass the basketball then we are in really good shape. Depending on what kind of offense we are running (3 or 4 out) the passing options might be slightly different on post touches. For example, if we are running our 3 Out Offense then there are going to be more drop pass opportunities, but if we are working with four out spacing then the kick out or skip passes are going to be more prevalent.
Low Post Passing -
One of the biggest teaching points we can give to post players is to immediately look to the middle of the court on every post touch.
Looking to the middle will allow us to take advantage of any dive or high/low opportunities that might be present on the post entry.
One rule that we establish with post entries is that the 4 Man immediately dives on any entry pass. That little drop pass to a cutting 4 is a great scoring opportunity from this moment.
Ball Side Kick & Kick Opposite:
If that drop pass is not open then our post player has a number of other opportunities on the ball side and backside. If the ball is doubled then he can kick it out to the shooter on the ball side. If defenses are a bit more complex then perhaps the openings are on the backside. Utilizing the skip pass to the opposite slot and corner are great ways to find open shooters out of the post.
Offensive Rebounding -
Maybe the most underrated part of post-play is the ability to rebound the basketball offensively. For Post Players, this should be a focal point to create points without being the coach having plays drawn up for them. Although some of these tips are things that also apply to any crashing perimeter player they are extremely important to the post players.
Getting to the High Side -
One of the most important offensive rebounding concepts is the idea of "Getting to the High Side". Whether you are crashing from the corner or moving from the dunker spot "getting to the high side" is a must to put yourself in a good position to rebound.
For players crashing from the perimeter, we are simply asking them to crash towards the elbow as opposed to crashing along the baseline. Theoretically, we are going to be able to tip out more long shots and create more offensive rebounding opportunities.
For players in the post or along the baseline, we are also asking them to "get to the high side". Just as with the perimeter players we are looking to maximize our chance to get an offensive rebound or at least tip the basketball out to our teammates on the perimeter.
Fighting to 50/50 -
The concept of fighting to 50/50 is also one that should be employed by any player crashing the glass. For the post player, this means they can not settle for standing behind the player defending them.
When we use the phrase "Get to 50/50" we are referring to the positioning of offensive rebounders in relation to their defender. We want the offensive rebounder to be shoulder to shoulder with his defender in order to give him a chance to tip the ball out or get the rebound. This is especially important for players along the baseline (post players, and corner players).
Concluding Thoughts -
Developing a good post player is essential in creating an efficient motion offense. Their role as a transition threat, inside scorer, and interior passer is critical to the effectiveness of the offense. As defenses focus more of their attention on the post player it will open up opportunities for the perimeter players. Ideally, we want to develop our post players so that they are a threat to sprint ahead in transition, a threat to score in the paint, and a force to be reckoned with on the offensive glass. If this style of player is one that you are looking to make the focal point of your offense I would encourage you to check out my 3 Out Motion Offense.
Deep Dive Breakdown of Three Out Motion offense
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