Don't let the lack of clips from the Euroleague fool you, I like watching Euro basketball and I have been watching just haven't been uploading. I read this interesting article on about the differences between European and American basketball that was posted on the Yahoo! forum. I agree with Coach Terry Stotts' observations for the most part especially about the differences in passing versus the 1-on-1 play we see so much of here in America.

One thing I think Stotts didn't write about but others have which I strongly agree with is that European players shoot the ball much better than Americans. With the trapezoid key, I think it's even more important that players shoot the ball well. You cannot rely on a Dwight Howard to camp on the low block, catch and throw it down anymore. Athleticism becomes less important, skill much more important. This point cannot be under-emphasized, European teams have leveled the playing field with the US because of their shooting. As I've said in the past, shooting is the great talent equalizer. It doesn't take raw talent to be a good shooter, it just takes practice.

Back to the action, this is just a great example of the simplicity of team basketball. It's probably one of the oldest plays ever, the UCLA upscreen. It's remarkable how so many decades later, it still works so well. Watch the video and read my thoughts below,

If you only have 1 play in your playbook, I would probably choose one that involved a UCLA screen. It's so fundamental, so simple, and so effective. I understand that the Manorca player missed the layup, but that doesn't take away from how great a play this is.

UCLA Upscreen to Backdoor:

I'm diagramming it out of a 1-4 high set, even though in the video it doesn't really appear to be 1-4, this will give you more structure to teach it.

O1 passes to O3. Simultaneously O2 goes down to the low block then sets the UCLA upscreen on O4's defender. O4 curls around the screen and comes around underneath for the backdoor play.


Team basketball is my theme for tonight and I will post later another great team basketball sequence, but good screens and good passes lead to good shots. I think we as coaches can learn a lot from European basketball, especially in terms of player development. All European players can defend, rebound, shoot, pass and dribble. It's why we see more and more international and specifically European players in the NBA.

The 1-4 high set is a great set to run out of. Lute Olson has been using it and his high-post motion for years. For more great offense from the high-post and 1-4, check out Lute Olson's DVD on the 1-4. As always, head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk about hoops and more.