Duke: Post Isolation Against Man-to-Man

By Daniel Benjamin


This play is pretty simple and is designed to get your best low-post scorer isolated on the low block with a possible mismatch.


Player 5 needs to have the ability to score with his back to the basket as well as be able to set solid screens and possess some agility.

Players 1 and 2 should be able to handle the ball well and be good passers.

Player 4 should be able to make a post entry pass.


Step 1:

Four players start on the perimeter with player 1 in possession of the ball.

Player 5, who the play is run for, is positioned on the strong side low-block.

Player 1 passes the ball to player 2 and cuts to opposite corner.

Step 2:

After player 1 cuts to opposite corner, player 5 goes to set a back screen for player 4, who cuts to the ball-side block.

Player 5 then goes to set a ball-screen for player 2.

Step 3:

Player 5 sets a ball screen for player 2 and then rolls to the basket.

As player 5 is setting a ball-screen for player 2, player 4 cuts out to the near corner.

Player 2 dribbles towards the top of the key.

Step 4:

Player 2 passes the ball to player 4 in the corner.

In the meanwhile, player 5 is working to keep his defender under control (i.e. behind him).

Step 5:
Player 4 passes to player 5, who looks to score.


Additional Comments:

Duke has used this play time and time again to get all three Plumlee brothers an easy look.

The play can be run both sides, just have to adjust personnel.

Do not start the play in the middle of the floor.

While the play is deigned for player 5 to receive the ball on the low-block, don't be afraid to get the ball to player 4 or player 5 on their basket cuts.

A good way to get a defender under control is to go towards the basket. Then get your head and shoulder past the defender by using a front pivot and step through. After securing proper position, sit down in your stance.

Note: In step 4, if player 4 is not open, player 2 can enter the pass to player 5.

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


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Mary says:
11/21/2014 at 12:28:17 PM

Duke''s offense always have 3 or 4 options built into a play. I''ve seen the number 2 attack the basket after 1 has gone through; the 5 and 2 can do a give and go using a low or high Lakers cut. Often the number 1 back picks 3''s man and number 2 Alley-oop pass for the score. Number 5 can receive the pass from 2 while 4 Lakers cut high They''ve simply isolated this play and given one of their options, which in this case is for the number 5.


Coach M says:
11/16/2014 at 6:08:02 AM

Dariusz, I agree with your assessment. Bear in mind, however, that the NCAA plays with a 35 second shot-clock. You can afford to have the ball in one place for 2 or 3 seconds, if you have movement away from the ball.

I wouldn't run the play like this b/c we have to play with 24/14 over here in Europe.


luis says:
11/5/2014 at 9:17:20 AM

The screen set for 4, should be inside the block so 2 doesn't hold the ball that long.


alex says:
11/4/2014 at 6:20:05 PM

its a great play provide that you have an outstanding post player


Sane says:
11/4/2014 at 6:07:16 PM

The first scoring option should be a pass to player 4 after the initial screen from player 5. When 5 comes and screens for player 2 then you have the pick and roll option to player 5 or jump shot for p2. If those are not open then you can pass to p4 in the corner to hit p5 posting up. Lots of scoring options before you get to P5 in the post. I like the first option on the back screen by P5. This should free P4 for a lay up.


Coach H says:
11/4/2014 at 4:35:18 PM

With all the screening, I take it this play is against a man-to-man defense?


Rhi says:
11/4/2014 at 3:09:22 PM

How fun. I think I'll try this with my boys. Thanks!


Dariusz says:
11/4/2014 at 11:10:39 AM


I'm from Poland. Duke is one of my favorite NCAA teams. I look at this play and I think that there is one problem with timing. After player 1 pass the ball to 2 and cuts to opposite corner, player 2 holds the ball to long. He must wait for player 1 cut, backscreen between 4 and 5, and for pick' n roll with 5.

What do you think?


Eric says:
11/4/2014 at 10:53:41 AM

The last step of that play should be the 3 man back screening the shooting guards defender for a kickout 3 near the top of the key off center right as the guard should relocate. Leaves the 3 and the 5 in the paint for the rebound with 4 crashing from the corner. 1 has to retreat to cover a long rebound break.

Post man passing is the key to a great post player as it penalizes the double down for the defense.


Cleveland Clunis says:
11/4/2014 at 8:42:20 AM

I like this! I'm putting it to use this week


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