Most Gonzaga fans have probably noticed that the offense that Mark Few runs has changed quite a bit over the years since he took over as head coach. Coach Few is known to be a Motion/Flex coach and has a number of DVDs where he teaches it. But with the success of the Gonzaga program, the better recruits he has attracted, Coach Few has adjusted his offense to match the talent. With the improved talent, they began running more sets and more 2-man game. I blogged over a year ago on what appeared to be a drive and kick offense. At a coaches clinic earlier this year, Coach Few outlined what they run now.

Mark Few's Ball Screen Offense:

Looking through the notes, it looks very similar to the European Ball Screen offense which many Euroleague teams have been running for years. The keys to the offense are:

1. Great Spacing
2. Utilizing the corners
3. Ball handlers must read each screen

The offense is very free flowing, in this way it is motion-like, although they do call out set plays. Essentially, the goal is to spread the floor, either 4-out, 5-out, or in a 1-4 high set.

These 2 sequences below outline the goal of the offense. O5 starts first by sprinting into the ball screen. Coach Few emphasizes the 'sprint' because that catches the defense off guard, either X5 will be too slow or overanticipate. Another coaching point is that strong side wing must always fill. This accomplishes 2 things, it forces the defense to make a decision, does X3 go to help on the O5 dive, or stay with O3. Also, by filling up top, you keep your safety in case the ball is turned over. Finally, the weakside players must not stand around. Once O1 clears the screen, O4 is diving to once again for X4 to make a decision. O2 fills up top,

Very similar situation here, on the 2-man PNR game. O5 sprints into the butt screen. If X5 is playing soft and O2 comes off naked, dunk or layup. If X5 shows hard, then O5 pops to the corner for the jumper, at worst over top of a shorter X2. O3 and O4 interchange/fill with O3 as an option for O2 coming off the ball-screen, forcing X3 to make a decision again,

These 2 diagrams are another common scenario. O4 goes to set the X-screen for O5 who steps out and sprints into a butt screen for O2. O1 passes to O2 and fills the strong-side corner.

Once O2 comes off the screen, O5 dives. O4 comes up top. This forces X4 to make a decision, stay and help on O5 or stick to O4.

In all of these scenarios, the key is being able to maximize matchups by having versatile players who can finish at the basket and also shoot the ball. If you look at Gonzaga's roster the past few years, they've had bigs like Josh Heytvelt and Austin Daye who could step out and hit that 3-pointer, a matchup nightmare of opposing defenses. That is where this offense is incredibly effective, it forces the defense to decide between protecting the basket or protecting the perimeter, often times teams cannot do both unless they have superior athletes.

Some of these concepts are discussed in Mark Few's Set Plays DVD where he outlines principles of maximizing matchup scenarios.