From a couple of nights ago, watched the game between the George Mason Patriots and the Dayton Flyers. It was a really close game all the way through with Dayton winning it by a few points. I had originally wanted to see Jim Larranaga's Scramble defense, but George Mason ran almost M2M most of the game going to the scramble only a few times.

I really like the George Mason offense though. It was a basic flex continuity and a few quick hitters or option plays out of it. They may not blow out any opponents with their slow methodical offense, but it's disciplined and reliable. Combined with good defense, they should theoretically be competitive in almost every game they play in. I took a few sequences from the first half,

Baseline Flex Continuity:

The Patriots run the flex continuity with mostly only the baseline screens. The players cycle through all positions, so like other continuity offenses like Bo Ryan's Swing offense, each player is expected to be able to post up, shoot 3-pointers, dribble drive, etc.. They usually start in a 4-out 1-in set. The offense is started with your standard pass and pick away. The first look is always inside,

As the ball is reversed the other way, O5 sets a baseline screen for O2 who cuts off the screen high side looking for the pass from O4. In the video, this is the pass made in the first sequence that results in the drop-step layin,

If O2 is not available, then the ball is reversed again. This is where George Mason's flex differs from other versions of the flex. Instead of the downscreen by O3, for O5, most of the time George Mason will just have O5 come up to the top of the key after the baseline flex while O3 shuffles to the opposite wing,

As the ball is being reversed, O2 sets the baseline screen for O4 who cuts off the screen high-side again and looks for the pass from O3 on the other side,

They repeat this continuity until they get a good shot off, reversing the ball from side to side. Now, they do run a couple of options out of the basic continuity. The dribble handoff, the downscreen for 3-pointer, and the PNR (which I won't show but is in the video).

Dribble Handoff Option:

The flex is great because you can add options, counters, quick hitters as much as you want to vary the offense and prevent it from being completely predictable. You can use an audible from the bench to signal the option you want to run. George Mason likes to run a dribble handoff on occasion out of their basic flex. So, instead of reversing the ball all the way to the wing, all they do is have O1 dribble towards O4 for the quick handoff. O4 uses O1 as a screen and dribbles to a nice spot for the pull-up jumper,

Downscreen for 3-pointer:

George Mason on occasion will also run your standard downscreen for the baseline screener in order to get a 3-pointer look as well,


As I mentioned, the flex offense is designed to use up clock, go side to side, it's possession basketball. You can't expect to be a team that will score 100 points with this offense, it's just not designed that way. What you will get is good shot opportunities. It does take discipline to run it, sometimes you see teams try to run the flex, but 1 player will all of sudden decide they want to do it all themselves and go 1v5. Overall, I think if you have a very balanced team in terms of offensive talent, the flex is a great way to spread the ball around and get the best shot opportunity available in the half court.

I originally wanted to see more of the George Mason scramble defense but of course Jim Larranaga doesn't run it much these days since he doesn't believe he has the athletes to do it. But if you like George Mason and want to know more about what the scramble is all about, then Jim Larranaga's 2-pack DVD on the Scramble Defense is for you. Be sure to check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to discuss this and more of your favorite basketball topics.