Congrats to Coach Roy Williams for winning the 2017 NCAA championships! Coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels is famous for their secondary break and early offense. Coach Williams started his career under legendary Coach Dean Smith and has since won the NCAA title twice in 2005 and 2009. So let’s get right into what makes his program successful.
What is a secondary break?
We’ve covered Tom Izzo’s fast break before but what is a secondary break? Coach Williams defines it when 2 or more defenders are back. When your guards can’t create a 1 on 2 or 3 on 2 situation, you try to get quick action with your 2 bigs who will sprint to the block or come in as a trailer. Alot of times, teams just practice for the primary break and forget about the secondary break.
We’re going to run. We’re going to try to make the other team’s players run faster and longer than they have ever run in their lives. In a typical game we want to have between 90 and 105 possessions, and we try to get that number up as high as we can, because if I’m better than you are, the more possessions we play, the more likely it is that I’m going to beat you.
North Carolina’s offense is very simple: RUN, RUN, RUN. Every single possession. If possible, just run primary and secondary breaks on all possessions. This offense puts an emphasis on ball reversible and lots of high low opportunities.
- Get better shots than the other team
- Complete each possession by boxing out
- Don’t turn the ball over and get the ball from them
They key statistics Coach Williams checks at half time are:
- FG% and opponent’s FG%
Fast tempo: kids like it, fans like it.
Offensive transition: No lanes, just get to the other end as fast as you can.
Coach William’s prioritises the needs of the program over the individuals. The Tar Heels are one of only 3 teams that haven’t had a player transfer in the past 2 years as opposed to the many one and done NBA freshmen with Kentucky’s Coach John Calipari. This system creates alot of high low opportunities for your big men and Kennedy Meeks carried them to the championship.
What does this mean? This offense is for you if:
- You don’t rely on 1 star player
- You’ll need a bigs that can run the floor. Think Ed Davis, Tyler Hansrough and Kennedy Meeks.
Our ideal game is to never face a set D and just run secondary options all game.
We’re going to assume the primary break doesn’t give us an open layup. Check out our primary fast break guide here. The key here is the gaurds must stay wide to leave space in the middle for the 2 big men to operate.
1st option – Regular option
The 1st option is to dump the ball to the first big man directly cutting to the front of the rim. The 2nd trailing big man fills the top of the key.
Decisions: Are they guarding the ball side corner (2)? If yes, dump the ball to 5. If they’re guarding 5, pass to 2 then dump to 5 from the corner.
We want the post to get a touch every single trip down the floor. Every play we run is designed to get the ball inside.
- Place an emphasis on getting to the free throw line. Get the opponent’s best players in foul trouble.
If 2 and 5 are not open then look to reverse the ball to create space. 1 will pass to 4 at the top of the key who will pass to 3. 5 will also cut across on the ball reversal.
Now 3 can pass to 5 on the low block or wait for the UCLA back cut. 2 will come up and screen for 4 who will cut to the basket.
- 2 must touch the paint before coming up to screen
- The pass to 4 is usually a lob or alley-op pass.
If the pass to 5 or 4 is not available, you can reverse the ball again. After the screen for 4, 2 will now fill the top. 3 can pass to 2, 2 will pass to 1. 4 now sets a screen for 5. Dump the ball to 5.
Or 2 can set a ball screen for 3 whilst 4 sets a screen for 5. 3 penetrates to the kill zone for a shot or lob the ball to 5.
Below are more options based on the regular set. These options are not called out but needs to be read by the point guard based on what’s happening.
Instead of reversing the ball and getting a backdoor cut, 4 can set a screen for 1. Then 2 sets an up screen for 4.
If ball can’t be passed to 4, 1 passes to 2. Then 1 and 5 set a staggered screen for 3 to come up for a shot.
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