Wide Open Spaces

This is an inbounds play against man-to-man defense that creates great shot opportunities and forces the defense to be concerned about the whole court. It is an overload play that leaves one half of the court free for an athletic and creative cutter to work his man to free up for a lay-in off the inbounds pass. It provides a good screen for a three-point shot. Because the defense is often confused about how to position themselves against this set, alert players will sometimes have easy opportunities to cut directly to the basket for lay-ins off of the inbounds pass.


  1. Whichever side the ball is on, three players line up shoulder to shoulder facing the hoop. The middle man should be a good long range shooter. Player 2 takes up a position way high on the offside. He should be an athletic player with speed and good cutting skills. The inbounder should focus on the three stacked players as if that's where he intends to throw the ball. Even a little bit of acting and exaggeration is surprisingly effective in the heat of the game.
   Double1 (4K)

  1. When the inbounder slaps the ball to start the play, Player 4 steps back and Players 3 and 5 close up, forming a screen. The inbounder should be looking right at that action. Meanwhile, Player 2 cuts hard toward the hoop and attempts to beat his man to get open for a pass and lay-in. Ideally, he will free up; and the inbounder, who has been selling the defense by looking at the three-point shooter, will deliver a pass as he comes clear for a lay-in. Note that Player 2 has a lot of room to make creative cuts and spin moves. Once the pass has been made, Player 3 heads out to the fast-break prevent area above the top of the key, and other players move to rebound in case Player 2 misses the lay-in. The key is not to move too early because you want to give Player 2 every opportunity and maximum space to beat his man.
   Back Ups 2

  1. If the game situation is right, the inbounder can obviously hit Player 4 for the three-pointer. After the shot is on the way, Player 3 should move to the fast-break prevent position above the top of the key. Player 2, the off-side cutter, should be ready to rebound, as should Players 1 and 5.
   Back Ups 3

  1. Defenses sometimes get very confused by this set and leave themselves open in surprising ways. For instance, sometimes Player 3 or 5 is left in a position to make a straight cut to the basket for a direct pass and lay-in. Note that Player 3 will always have deep responsibility unless he happens to be the player wide open for a straight cut to the hoop. In that case, Player 4 would inherit the deep responsibility.
   Back Ups 4

  1. Another good variation is for the off-side cutter to free up around the free throw line, receive a pass, and then pass back to the inbounder or to Player 5 cutting to the hoop. Especially if you are running this play for the second or third time during the game, the defender is probably giving the cutter a big cushion to prevent lay-ins. Very often, the inbounder will be wide open on the return pass.
   Back Ups 5

  1. Another twist is for the cutter to flare out to the right corner, receive the pass, and reverse the ball to Player 3 at the free throw line. Player 3 is in good position to dump down to Player 1 as he steps in bounds after inbounding the ball. Player 4 cuts low off of Player 5, and Player 5 steps to the mid-block area. Somewhere in all that action, there is an easy shot waiting for someone.
   Back Ups 6

Points of Emphasis:

  • The inbounder should sell the overload, keeping the off-side cutter in his peripheral vision only.
  • The inbounder needs to be patient and wait for the cutter to lose his man.
  • All players need to be alert to defensive lapses. If there is a direct cut to the basket, take it.
  • Make sure that there is always a player occupying the fast-break prevent area.

Teaching Tips / Motivation:

  • Make sure that the inbounder steps directly into the court before cutting to any other area.
  • Tell players that this play provides more opportunities than most for alert players to get easy, unplanned lay-ins.
  • Praise players for making good decisions.

jssocials alternate:


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Enfuego says:
12/20/2007 at 2:40:18 AM

This is very similar to an inbounds play I designed where it is the same setup but when player 1 throws it to player 4 for the trey in your case, players 1 and 3 set screens for player 5 who should have a wide open lop and then layup if player 2 cuts to the corner and not the middle.

Money in the bank on the second time you run the play.

Maybe you could add that variation in there.

I also have a great press-breaker for a layup I would love to share with everyone and please email me for it and I can describe and show you guys so that it can come out in a future addition on the newsletter.



Byron says:
12/20/2007 at 7:30:55 AM



Enfuego says:
12/20/2007 at 7:33:54 AM

Lob* not Lop

I want to show my press break on here but I don't know how or if they will let me


Joe (Co-founder of Breakthrough Basketball) says:
12/20/2007 at 8:09:19 AM

For those of you interested in press breakers: http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/qa/q1515.html


rogelito h. abanggan says:
12/22/2007 at 7:18:33 AM

1 as an inbounder is too short for the defender on the baseline. how about #4 or #3 is the inbounder and # 1 replace the position of #2 or #3


Randy says:
12/30/2007 at 6:21:24 PM

When I first read this I didn't think it would work quite as easily as described. It did! The second time we ran it in the game we got a totally uncontested layup right down the middle. I told my guard to count to 2 and the defender would turn his head, then go. Worked like a charm.


javaughn says:
2/26/2008 at 10:22:06 PM

yes i love it


6/19/2008 at 1:07:14 PM

this play is beautiful i used it singly in the entire game with jus switchin cutter passes n won i love it


Unknown.. says:
6/13/2009 at 11:48:07 AM

This looks like a great play.. But do you think that 8th graders would understand and do this play correctly??


rdt427 says:
9/24/2009 at 12:42:19 AM

well said and done :) thankz


Joey Williams says:
1/11/2010 at 9:10:33 AM

I need a few inbound plays under our basket against 3-2 zone. we are in the playoffs and I want change things up. We have played these two teams twice each. Also what is the total price on the Danny Miles DVD and how soon can I get it.

Joey Williams


Brad DeYoung says:
1/16/2010 at 11:59:48 AM

TRY THIS PLAY!! You will be amazed at its simplicity and how many open looks it gets. Coaching 6th grade this year we play same teams many times and it still provides great opportunity for easy shots.


Andre says:
1/24/2010 at 2:36:42 PM

Try this at practice. Let one unit know of the play and see how the second unit defends it. I just designed this for you, so it has not been game tested. If they are defending you in the 3-2 and you are inbounding under the basket try having 1,2,or 3 cut diagonal and receive a screen from a big at the strongside elbow the cutter should be open for a layup or a mid-range shot. But the cutter has to have good basketball IQ and know if he should shoot or drive. He can also receice the screen from weakside elbow also but I can only invision a layup in that situation unless the defense it totally off gaurd(I don't expect that to happen though since your in the playoffs). Let me know if you try it and how it works, it fairly simple.


Andre says:
1/24/2010 at 2:46:49 PM

Or try running two diagonal screens at the same time. If they are not open a last second screen can be set in the lane by cutter 1 for cutter 2 or vice versa. But this situation must be ran quickly. Your players should have no problem with this if you run it. Again not game tested yet. Should be able to get the ball inbounded and get a quick shot. Let me know if you try it and if it works.


Novice 3rd grade says:
2/8/2010 at 10:29:07 PM

We use our tallest player as the inbounder because he is able to pass over the defense easily. However, he is one of our best shooters also. Is there a philosophy about who passes in the ball. Everything else equal, tall man passing over defense or tall man receiving the pass?
Thanks for your suggestions


Eileen says:
7/4/2011 at 3:24:36 AM

Would this work for a team of shorter players vs a taller team.


Jeff Haefner says:
7/5/2011 at 11:35:09 AM

Eileen - Yes, this can work vs a taller team. As with any set play, the key is to know your personnel and execute. Here's a link with tips on running set plays effectively:


Ryan says:
8/3/2011 at 12:57:38 AM

One piece of advice I would give when running OB plays is to have your play begin when the ref hands the player the ball. If you begin your play by having your inbounder slap the ball, you are losing 1 second off your time to get the ball in.


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