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Princeton Point Series

Updated: Apr 8, 2022

How I would incorporate the Princeton Point Series into a High School Offense and the best resources I've gathered on Point Action over the last year.

It is almost impossible to scroll through my timeline these days without spotting tweets about the Princeton Offense. In a basketball world dominated by the ball screen, there seems to have been a resurgence of Princeton Offense concepts throughout the collegiate and professional ranks. I don't have hard evidence to show this, but I can't help but think that this recent resurgence of popularity can be traced to changes in the modern game. Given the greater emphasis on the three point line, the use of the 5 Man as a distributor, the opening up of the paint, and the popularity of "positionless" basketball it would seem logical that Princeton concepts would become more attractive in today's game. Regardless of where this resurgence has come from it seems likely that the success of the Golden State Warriors, Richmond Men, and Stanford Women's teams in recent years will ensure that it is does not die down any time soon.

Perhaps no concept within the Princeton system seems to be quite as popular as the Point Series. This series features your 5 Man as a distributor at the high post and includes the use of split screens, back door cuts, DHOs, and ball screens as a means to create quality shots. I think what makes the Point Series so attractive is that you can run it as part of the larger Princeton System or use it alone as the main engine of your offensive. In fact, many coaches have tweaked the traditional reactions and spacing to fit the modern concepts that we mentioned above. In this post, I wanted to put together a general plan for how I might use the action at the High School level and then at the end organize some of the best resources I have encountered over the last few years.

Main Entries -

The two main entries into Point Action that I would teach are the Slot to Slot Pass and the Wave Through. In both scenarios, we are asking one of our slot players to make a brush cut that will create a gap for our 5+ Man to flash into. Once the gap has been created for our 5 Man to flash into we are looking to make a pass into the Pinch Post or Elbow area. With the basketball now entered at the elbow, we have now arrived in the Point Series formation.

Slot to Slot Pass:

If the trailing guard is not denied we simply make the slot to slot pass to initiate the entry. The pass is then followed by a Brush Cut to the opposite corner.

Brush Cut - a cut made through the paint that attempts to create a gap for the 5 Man.


1 - Slot to Slot Pass

2 - Brush Cut to the Corner

3 - Flash to the Elbow

4 - Elbow Entry Pass

Wave Through:

If the man with the basketball feels uncomfortable making the slot to slot pass then he can initiate the Brush Cut by simply waving him through. Defenders in passing lanes, ball pressure, or wanting to mix things up are all good reasons to go to the wave through option.


1 - Wave Player through

2 - Brush Cut is made

3 - 5 Flashes to the Elbow

4 - Elbow Entry is Made

Use of False Motion -

I have used the option of a Slot to Wing DHO as an entry into half-court offense for years, so incorporating this element of the Point Series is really interesting to me. The Slot to Wing DHO can be used as a pressure release, a way to get different players into certain actions, or as a way to get some false movement before we enter the basketball into the elbow area. In teaching the concept I would probably stick with the label of Forwards Out to paint a picture in our players' head about how the movement of the four perimeter players should look.

Forwards Out -

False Movement:

As the DHO is conducted with the Slot and Wing players we should also have our backside players simultaneously exchanging positions.

The 5 Man is timing his move up to the elbow so that his defender can not beat him to the spot.


In an attempt to keep things simple we will use the Slot to Wing DHO as a way to simply get some false movement and then flow directly into Point Series.


1 - Slot to Wing DHO

2 - Simultaneous Backside Exchange

4 - Slot to Slot Pass or Wave Through

4 - 5 Man Rises

5 - Elbow Entry into Point Seres

Wing Entry -

To those familiar with the Princeton Offense the wing entry would be the trigger into the Low Post portion of the system. That simple pass from the slot down to the wing would represent an opportunity for the 5 Man to get a post-up touch. In an effort to maintain simplicity we would simply use the Wing Entry and subsequent spacing as a way to isolate the 5 Man in the post. If the ball was not entered into the post we would simply look to swing the ball and flow freely into Point Action.

Wing Entry -

Pass to the Wing:

The Pass to the Wing will be followed by a cut to the opposite corner. This cut now creates better spacing for the post entry pass to be made or for the player with the basketball to attack the rim.

We would generally prefer the Drive Through the Elbow.

Check the Post:

Once the wing player receives the pass we are expecting our 5 Man to position himself for a touch on the block.

If the ball is entered we would most likely give the passer the option to either re-space to the corner or to make a basket cut.

Swing & Flow:

If the post entry is not made (and there is no drive) then we should look to swing the basketball. In the diagram above the 4 would simply get to the point and 2 would swing the basketball to him. At that point we could easily flow directly into Point Action.


1 - Swing Pass is Made

2 - 2 Re-spaces back to the Corner

3 - The 5 Man Pops to the High Post

4 - Entry Pass is made into the Elbow

Away and Over Options for the Passer -

Once the ball is entered to the elbow we can get into the two main scoring options in the action; Over and Away. In a clinic last offseason Richmond Assistant Coach Rob Jones explained that they would teach players to let the defense dictate which option to choose. The passer could either screen away, entering into a split screen action, or make an over cut and enter into that same split screen action with the player in the corner. Regardless of which option the passer chose we would teach players the same series of options to use to combat the defense.

"Away" Option -

After Entry:

In the Away option the passer immediately screens away for the nearest cutter. This coming together together of the screener and cutter will be referred to as Split Action.

Teaching Points:

For the Cutter...

- Cut hard to the Rim

- Encourage the Reject

- Encourage the Curl

For the Screener...

- Face the Corner

- Just Above the Elbow

- Screener Pops after Cut

I personally really like the idea of requiring the cutter to make a move to the rim (curl or reject) rather than trying to cut over the split screen and get the basketball. This can help to simplify the decision making for players and continue to get pressure on the rim.

What if there is no shot from the split action?

If there is no pass made to the cutter then we should hit the screener on his pop back to the three point line. As with any offense we would be teaching players to think Shot, Drive, Action on the catch. If there was no shot from the screener then we would flow directly into a Middle Ball Screen action.