Here is the most common ball screen play that Jay Wright used during Villanova's 2016 & 2017 national championship seasons. It's really simple, yet highly effective. The best kind of play!
If you have a ball handler who can make good decisions in ball screen situations, this is a great play to use. It starts with some good motion that will occupy the help defense and give freedom to the ball handler and the screener to make some plays. It also puts your other players in good perimeter positions for three-point shots on the penetrate and pitch.
Technically, the play is initiated when the post player lifts up to the slot and sets a ball screen for the ball handler. The beauty of that is if you have a smart player who sets good ball screens, it doesn't have to even be a play call. However, Jay Wright's teams usually don't set a screen until there are two players on the ball screen side.
When the perimeter players see the ball screen being set, that's when they react and move.
This play can be run against man to man defense or match-up defense.
Play can be run to either side.
1 has the ball on right side.
2 and 3 should be shooters.
4 can be a guard or forward that can shoot from the perimeter. They start out front around the right slot (foul line extended).
5 is a post player who begins on the strong side in the low post area.
Note: 5 can begin in low or high post areas. They can also start on either the weak or strong side.
1 initiates the play by passing to 3.
1 then cuts through to the left corner.
4 slides over to the right wing area.
2 lifts up to replace 4.
3 passes to 4.
4 reverses the ball to 2.
After swinging the ball, 3 and 4 exchange.
5 lifts up to set ball screen for 2.
1 lifts up to left wing.
2 goes off 5's ball screen and attacks the basket.
5 rolls to the basket.
2 has several options:
a. shoot layup or jumper.
b. hit 5 rolling to basket.
c. kick-out to 1, 4,3 for a three-point attempt.
Counter - Skip and Post Up Seal
On skip pass to 1, of course, they have the option to shoot or attack.
However, 5 is often open as they roll to the basket. And they are in perfect position to seal their defender!
That's because the screener's defender (x5) is recovering from a position or above 5. Sometimes, the screener's defender (x5) is even on the opposite side of the hoop.
Counter - Defender Overplaying Ball Screen
Also, if the ball handler's defender tries to cheat towards the ball screen, 5 can position on the opposite side where the ball handler would drive to the left.
If 1 sees this, they should space to the corner.
Also, if 1 sees their defender turn their head for a brief second or they start to help on the screen, this is a great time for a backdoor cut by 1.