Before that epic Superbowl matchup, I caught the second half of the NC State game against Wake Forest. 2 ACC teams that are extremely young, clawing and scratching their way through tough schedules, basketball at it's best. The game ended in thrilling fashion with a tip-in by NC State off a missed 3-pointer, a tough way for Dino Gaudio's Demon Deacons to lose when they probably should've won.

I took several clips from both teams, but since NC State won, I thought I would breakdown what their half-court offense looked like. State likes to go inside, they have a a couple of great big men in JJ Hickson and Gavin Grant. They use a very basic flex patterned offense and it was for the most part pretty effective. Here are few sequences showing some of the options off their offense,

In the video, you can actually hear Sidney Lowe call "Hi-lo, Hi-lo", but the offense is really a patterned flex. It's not as tight as say Boston College's flex offense, it's more generic and simple. In my opinion, you could call it flex for dummies.

Baseline Flex to Post-up:

They start out the offense in a 3-out 2-in look. There is some fill-cut-replace that happens to get setup, but the essential part of the offense starts like so,

They reverse the ball from right to left. O4 sets a mid-lane cross screen for O5 who comes across the lane. O5 can choose to go over top of the screen or under the screen. From there, it's a post entry then O5 can make a move. Wake was fronting Hickson almost all game so this option was not very effective.

Downscreen for 3-pointer:

Regardless if the low-post option is not available, O3 will come and set a downscreen around the FT line for O4.

O4 comes off the downscreen and looks to get the ball from O2 on the wing. O4 is usually open for the catch and shoot 3-pointer from here. In the video, I showed 2 clips where Grant came off and scored 2 x 3-pointers from this exact play.

Weakside Post-up:

Now, if the 3-pointer is not available off of the downscreen. Then the ball is reversed all the way to the weak-side wing.

O1 receives the pass on the weakside wing. O3 who has set the downscreen goes to post-up on the weakside low block. Essentially it's a 2-man game between wing and post-up.


One of the reasons why Sidney Lowe was brought in after Herb Sendek left was that he would bring in a more NBA-styled offense. Many fans and players commented that Sendek's Princeton-style offense was not working for them. Unfortunately, an NBA-styled offense works when you have NBA talent, which State does not have yet. I think the flex, while simplistic, really does get you good looks at the basket.

In a tournament on the weekend, our team played against a hall-of-famer local high school coach. His teams have been running the flex forever, and I always love watching them play because they execute so well and his players are always highly skilled. Our team did beat them in the end, but it was close throughout.

For more great info on running the flex, take a look at a great video from another ACC coach, Gary Williams DVD on the Flex. You will learn everything you need to know about how to run this motion offense. To discuss this and many more of your favorite basketball topics, head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk with other coaches from around the world.