The Princeton Offense - Making Defenses Pay with Layups and 3s
Home > Coaching > Basketball Offense > The Princeton Offense - Making Defenses Pay with Layups and 3s

When an offense has stood the test of time, there is a reason...IT WORKS! The Princeton Offense has been used for years to get easy backdoor lay ups and open shots! And it works especially well against aggressive man-man defenses.

There are many different pieces to the Princeton Offense. One piece of Aaron Jennings’ Princeton Offensive System is the Chin Series.

The Chin Series has been implemented and used at all levels, from middle school to the NBA. The Chin Series is a continuity piece of the Princeton Offense. It is nearly impossible to stop when executed correctly.

While there are several parts to the Princeton Offense, Aaron Jennings breaks it down into easy individual pieces that can be implemented individually or as a part of the Princeton Offense in its entirety. Chin Series is one piece of the offense that is easy to implement and can be used at ANY level!


5 Reasons to Implement The Chin Offense

1. Easy to Implement
The Chin Offense is relatively easy to implement. While putting in the entire Princeton Offense can take some time to implement and teach the offense, putting in the Chin Piece of the offense is a quick way to get started and create easy shots for your team.

2. Creates Open Shots
Every Coach wants to put their team in the best position to score. The Chin Series does just that. It uses a team’s aggressive defensive nature against them. By doing this, it gets your players easy backdoor layups that can be demoralizing for your opponent.

3. Keeps the Defense off Balance
As soon as you get a backdoor layup, defensive teams begin worrying about the backdoor cut. This opens you up for a 3 pointer or a curl to the basket as your defender trails you.

4. Builds Confidence
Players have rules to follow when running Chin. They know where they should go on the court. When they are confident, they play at a faster speed on offense…..and when you play at a faster speed, you are HARDER TO GUARD!

5. Narrows Your Focus
Like anybody, players do better when they can focus on less. The Chin Series allows your players to do just that ...focus on less and execute at a higher level. Instead of trying to make multiple reads at once, you are giving them one or two reads to make.


The Princeton Offense Starts With GREAT SPACING

  • Guards start 3’ above the 3 point line

  • Wings are FT line extended about 2’ feet off the 3 point line

  • The 5-man starts on the ballside elbow


  • Do You Want An Easy Lay Up? Just Pass-Pass-Throw It

    Aaron Jennings, who has played in the Princeton Offense while at Northwestern University and has used it as a coach for over a decade, states the first part of the Chin Series, Pass-Pass-Throw It, has scored more lay-ups than any other offense he has ever run.


    Chin Series Part 1: Pass-Pass-Throw It



    PASS-PASS-THROW IT

    Pass-Pass-Throw is a quick ball movement set that will get you many lay ups when you run it. Making crisp, sharp passes is key.


    OPTION 1: Backdoor Lay Up

    1. The PG makes a quick pass to 2 followed by a quick pass to 3.

    2. As soon as the PG passes the ball, they receive a back screen from the 5 and they may get a quick lay up off a pass from the wing.

    OPTION 2: Flare Screen

    1. The 5-man sets a flare screen for the guard.

    2. The 3-man can skip the ball to the 2-guard coming of the flare for a 3 pointer.

    OR

    3. If your post can shoot from the perimeter, they can open up to the 3 point line after the flare screen and look for their shot.

    OPTION 3: Elbow Jumper

    1. After the 5-man sets flare screen, they open to the ball looking for a jump shot or they look to catch and attack the basket.

    OPTION 4: Continuity

    1. Fill all spots and you have all three options available again

  • Pass-Pass-Throw It
  • Chin Strong
  • High Post

  • Chin Series Part 2: Strong



    CHIN STRONG

    When teams decide they must take the ball reversal away from you, then your team can turn to Chin Strong. Chin Strong gives you quick, easy scoring options that get everyone involved in the offense.


    OPTION 1: UCLA Cut

    1. PG passes to the ball side wing and makes a basket cut

    2. The wing looks for a quick pass to the PG for a lay up as the first option

    OPTION 2: Staggered Ball Screens

    1. The wing dribbles off of 2 staggered ball screens.

    2. The 4-man tries to turn the corner and attack the basket.

    3. The 5-man rolls to basket looking for bounce pass.

    OPTION 3: Downscreen for Post

    1. The 4-man reverses the ball and sets a down screen for the post who pops and can take a shot from the top of the key.

    OPTION 4: 5-Man Diving

    1. The 5-man reverses the ball to the wing.

    2. The 4-man sets a back screen for the 5-man to dive and look for a pass from the wing.

    Chin Series Part 3: High Post

    A third great option in the Chin Series is entering the ball to the high post. This creates scoring options that will keep the defense off balance!

    This is one of the best parts of the offense. While Coach Jennings has used the offense to create uptempo, easy scoring opportunities for his team, each coach can put their unique fingerprint on this offense.


    The 3 Parts Of The Princeton Offense

    Chin Series is only one piece of this effective offense. The other two parts of Aaron Jennings’ Princeton Offense are the Point Series and the Low Series.

    Point Series - The Point Series is an offense that is initiated by entering the ball to a high post.

    The Point Series emphasizes and teaches the split-action where the offense is reading what the defense is giving you and taking advantage of this. This split-action leads to many backdoor lay up opportunities as well as wide open 3s.

    Low Series- The Low Series allows for teams to go seamlessly from transition into the Princeton Offense. It also utilizes low post play as an option, giving teams something different to worry about on defense while still focusing on multiple backdoor cuts.

    The Low Series has something for everyone. It is a transition offense that looks to attack through low post first, but then multiple backdoor cuts looking to put extreme pressure on aggressive defenses...and once again, when they fear the backdoor cut, open 3s will flow naturally from this system.


    What NBA Teams Know That You Don’t

    Coach Pete Carril

    One thing Coach Pete Carril is known for is winning 514 games over a 29 year career at Princeton. Maybe his most memorable moment was the 2011 shock of defeating the defending champion UCLA Bruins 43-41 in the NCAA tournament. A game that showed the entire world what the Princeton Offense could do. While Coach Carril has since retired, his offense lives on with basketball teams around the world.

    This offense gave the more talented teams he faced headaches for years. Although Coach Carill will be the first to tell you he did not invent the backdoor cut, coaches will tell you that he learned to use it more effectively than ANY OTHER COACH IN HISTORY! Colleges across the country soon followed suit and implemented this highly effective offense.

    Copycat Coaches

    Coaches are known to “borrow” offenses that work when they see opportunities to improve their team. These coaches know one thing-if you are going to implement an offense, implement one that creates easy scoring opportunities for your team and gives your team the best chance to win.

    It is hard to find an NBA team that has not adopted or used a variation of the Princeton Offense or principles. Just turn on the TV and watch the Sacramento Kings, New Jersey Nets, or Washington Wizards, each who have incorporated the Princeton Offense into their system. Coach John Beilein who successfully implemented parts of the Princeton Offense at Michigan will now bring those same principles to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    Many college teams have implemented all or pieces of the offense as well. You can find teams from coast to coast using the offense. One team is Coach Scott Mooney and the Richmond Spiders who have become a regular in NCAA Tournament use the Princeton Offense. Another team that has had success using the Princeton Offense is Coach Randy Bennett and the St. Mary’s Gaels. Other teams have implemented principles taught in the offense into their system, such as the 2019 NCAA Champion Virginia Cavaliers under Coach Tony Bennett.


    Implementation of the Princeton Offense

    Implement Everything

    Part of the beauty of Aaron Jennings’ Princeton Offensive System is the fact that you can pick and choose what you want to implement. If you choose to implement the entire system, break it down by teaching one series at a time. Whether it is Chin, Point, or Low, wait until your team has a good understanding of the series you are implementing and then move on to the next piece of the Princeton Offense.

    Each piece of the offense has several options. Break down the offense by looking at each option in the order it appears in the offense and then move on to the next option.

    Implement A La Carte

    Maybe you want to start with only one piece before implementing it all, you can easily do that. You can pick the piece of Aaron Jennings’ Princeton Offense that best fits your teams, whether you have a team that everybody shoots the 3 well or you have 1 or 2 players that shoot well from the perimeter, the Princeton Offense has something for everyone.

  • Do you want to focus on the easiest piece of the Princeton Offense to use? Start with Chin Series

  • Do you want to focus on running it as your transition offense? Implement Low Series.

  • Do you want to start to help a good shooting team get more open 3s? Begin with Point Series.
  • Princeton vs Zone

    Ok, has this ever happened to you? You work on an offense and your players execute it so well the team has no other choice than to switch to zone against your team. It has happened to lots of coaches. One of the best ways to combat this is when players can easily identify when teams are in a zone defense and do not have to reset the offense to attack, but can naturally go into their zone offense, like the Princeton Offense allows teams to do.

    Aaron Jennings' Princeton Offense has easy reads to identify when a team is in a zone. When your players see this, they seamlessly transition into the zone offense that Princeton flows into, without missing a beat.

    You now took your opponent's desperation and have turned it into despair…..and will likely see them switch back to man-man defense since they did not fool you and you are getting the same easy looks in your zone offense.

    Not Your Father’s Princeton Offense

    While the Princeton Offense has been around for years, Aaron Jennings’ has made his system uptempo. The offense is ALWAYS looking to attack and in doing so it creates constant pressure on the Defense. Aaron Jennings’ Princeton Offensive Systems looks to put up LOTS of points through:

  • Transition Buckets
  • Quick Backdoor Lay ups
  • Open 3’s
  • The belief that the Princeton Offense is a slow down system has been thrown out the window. Today teams run the offense uptempo looking for quick, easy scoring opportunities.


    Battle Tested

    As a coach, you may not want to reinvent the wheel. You might prefer to select an offense that is battle tested. You will always make your “tweaks” to the offense as you go, but if you start with one that has had proven success over time, you give yourself a better chance to start with a solid offensive foundation.

    Aaron Jennings’ Princeton System is battle tested. Coach Jennings played in the Princeton System and has coached with it for over a decade. All together Coach Jennings has 15+ years of tweaking the offense. One tip for any coach is to make sure your quick hitters and counters that you run offensively, flow naturally as an extension of the offense.


    Quick Hitters

    It is important to have quick hitters as part of your offensive system. This might be something you call from the bench or something you run coming out of a timeout. You want your quick hitters to be plays your team has high confidence in running.

    In the Princeton System, some of these quick hitters use a team’s natural defensive aggressiveness against them. As you run quick hitters that make teams pay for being aggressive on defense and trying to “cheat” and take parts of the offense away, it will naturally allow the offense to open back up getting backdoor looks and 3’s. An example of an effective quick hitter would be Princeton’s Finger Wag from the Point Series.

    Point Series- Finger Wag

  • You want to enter the ball to the high post to start your offense (similar to Princeton Point Series). Teams start to deny this pass, so your PG and Post communicate the back door lob by the PG “wagging” his finger.

  • This is an effective quick hitter because it flows naturally from the Point Series.
  • Quick hitters are ALWAYS going to be most effective if they are not easy to identify because they look like part of the offense.


    Additional Resources for the Princeton Offense

    If you’d like to learn more about The Princeton Offensive System we recommend you take a look at Aaron Jennings Princeton Offensive System and eBook. Here you will learn step-by-step how to implement each piece of the Princeton Offense and help you effectively implement some or all of it with your team.



    What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...




    Comments

    Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

    Jeff Morie says:
    12/1/2019 at 10:18:01 AM

    What is the zone offense that they slide back into when they figure out the defense is playing zone?

    Like
      1 reply  

    Mark says:
    12/1/2019 at 1:15:57 PM

    Hi Jeff-

    After using the Princeton Offense to identify if a team is in a zone defense, he shows on the video that the most common offense he runs from their is a 1-3-1 set.

    A lot of teams of the baseline runner go short corner, Coach Jennings has the baseline player in the offense run corner to corner looking to force the defense to have to extend out.

    This does a couple things, overloads one side and also tends to open up the middle for the one post inside.

    Mark Brase
    Breakthrough Basketball

    Like
       


    Leave a Comment
    Name
    :
    Email (not published)
    :
    Two times five is equal to?  (Prevents Spam)
    Answer
    :
     Load New Question
    Comments
    :
    Leave this Blank
    :
        Check this box to receive an email notification when someone else comments on this page.