The Bill Self hi-lo motion offense is probably one of the more popular but complex offenses used at the high school levels. We use portions of it ourselves the past 2 years and it has served us very well. It is also a very patient offense similar to something like the Bo Ryan's Swing Offense. Bill Self has ran it at Tulsa, Illinois and Kansas where he coaches now. Though Self claims he installed it in 4 days while at Tulsa, my own experience has been that it takes time and repetition to learn the hi-lo properly. This is just one iteration of the many continuities in his offense, the weak-side cut continuity. Watch the video and then you can read my thoughts below.


This is a 3-out 2-in motion offense. To run it, you want to ideally have at least 4 good forward/center types in your rotation. This offense will allow you to get the ball deep in the paint where your posts can bang one-on-one against the defense.

Self has a couple of rules for his posts,

- if the ball is entered into the ball-side post, the weak-side post should dive to the basket (for a dump off or offensive put-back). Perimeter players straddle 3-point line
- if the ball is passed into the low post on the weak-side, strong-side post sets stagger screen for corner player

These are just rules for the low posts. There are more rules for the weak-side action on the reversal which I will need to go over in another post.


At the heart of the offense is one post coming up to the high post to receive the pass from the wing. O5 in this case the high man, looks for O4 coming across the lane.

I haven't shown in the diagrams, but depending on how X4 plays O4, O5 will either look for the quick dump, lob or side-entry. As the defense adjusts, you must teach your players to adjust. So if they front, you must lob. If they double, you must adjust.

Ball Reversal:

When the ball is reversed, here you'll see the cross block screen. O4 sets the cross block for O5 who ducks underneath looking for the quick hitter.

If not there, the ball is passed up top to the high post O4 who has popped up after the screen. O4 will look again for the hi-lo. And the motion will continue from there.


If you're confused, don't worry, I was too when I was first learning this offense. And this is just 1 iteration, the weak-side cut continuity. There is a strong-side cut continuity as well as several set plays and quick hitters.

But if you master the offense, it can be very efficient. It works for both M2M and zone defenses and if you have good perimeter shooters, this offense is almost perfect. Our team has had some great posts so we've based our offense on the hi-lo and it's been very good to us.

If there was one drawback with the hi-lo, I would say it is that because your posts are occupying 2 of the 4 spots around the key, there isn't much space for penetration by the perimeter players. That can frustrate some guards, but again, you just have to be patient.

Of course, if you're looking at implementing the hi-lo, Bill Self's new Hi-lo DVD is a must see. It's a newer version of his 1999 video with some more updated sets. And, it's only $34.99 so that's a bonus in itself after all those other expensive ones. Coach Self's DVD on the hi-lo is considered the best one out there.

Also, be sure to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum for the plethora of notes that I have including Bill Self hi-lo stuff.