Understanding the Attack Offense

There has been a lot of discussion about Marquette's offense recently and one of our contributors, Bryan "MU Crisco" Nolasco put this piece together to try and give us a better understanding of the "Attack Offense", one component of Marquette's current offense....

In May, I was lucky enough to attend another Nike Coaches Clinic at the Al McGuire center. One of the speakers was Todd Kowalczyk of UW-Green Bay and his topic was the "attack offense", which Marquette also runs. It is important to realize that this term does not refer to the entire MU offense, which includes their multitude of sets and their transition game. Instead, the "attack offense" is a continuity that is usually run when a set breaks down or a play isn't set up. After a dead ball or coming off of a time out, Marquette likes to set up a play.

There are 3 points that are important. First, the players must move the basketball. It can not be stagnant. Second, the coach must allow the players to break the continuity and just play. Finally, a team is able to get a variety of shots in the offense.

This first picture demonstrates the start of the offense and also the proper spacing on the weakside. The (2) should be lined up behind the pro three point line and on the free throw line extended. The (4) should also be behind the pro line and on the free throw lane extended. This ensures proper spacing. If any of the players on the weak side should be open for a three, they should be able to catch while stepping into their shot and end up shooting behind the college three. On the ball side, the (1) should dribble towards the corner, then receive a ball screen from the (5). They perform a pick and roll and the guard must penetrate inside the elbow.

Crisco 1.JPG

This next picture illustrates if they do not get a shot. The (1) should kick the ball out to the (4) and the (5) should post up in the middle of the paint. When the (4) receives the pass, his first look is to shoot the ball. This is why it is better, if not necessary, for the (4) to be able to shoot three's. Since his defender has to hug him on the weak side, more space will be created for the (1) to penetrate. If his defender does sag and help on the drive, the (4) will be open for a three and coaches say that the best shot in basketball is right at the top of the key.

Crisco 2.JPG

If the (4) is not open for a shot, he should immediately look for the high/low post entry into the (5). Contrary to popular belief, the post-up does exist in Marquette's base offense. The ideal situation would be to put the defender "in jail". That means that the (5) has his defender on his back and he is positioned right in front of the rim. Once he catches the ball, all he has to do is perform a drop step and make a layup or turn and shoot using the rim as a defender.

In the next picture, the (4) was not able to shoot or make a high/low pass. The (5) has cut up to the top and has lined up free throw lane extended, just as the (4) as lined up on the other side earlier. The (1) has taken the spot on the free throw line extended. The (2) should take a step towards the (4) and then go backdoor. If he does not receive a pass, he should continue to cut towards the opposite corner.

Crisco 3.JPG

In the next picture, the (4) will dribble towards the (3) in the corner. Before the (3) cuts up, he should walk two steps in towards the baseline and the basket in order to set up his man. Then he will cut up towards the (4) and receive a dribble hand off. Coach Kowalczyk believes that the two hardest things to defend in basketball is the wide angle off the ball screen and the dribble handoff. After (3) receives the ball, he should drive into the lane, once again inside of the elbow. The (4) should roll to the basket.

Crisco 5.JPG

This picture displays another option. Instead of (4) dribbling towards the (3), he has passed the ball to the (3) in the corner instead. If this happens, they will just perform a pick and roll, just as (1) and (5) did earlier on the other side.

Crisco 4.JPG

In the next pixture, as you can see, the continuity has started over again. If (3) and (4) do not get a shot, (3) should kick the ball out to the (5) who looks to shoot first, then looks to make a high/low pass. If no shot is attempted, (1) will go backdoor and (5) and (2) will perform a dribble handoff or a pick and roll.

Crisco 6.JPG

These three concepts are also important to the continuity. First, when a handoff is performed, the player must come off the screen wanting to score. Second, a player should not go backdoor until they make eye contact with the post player. Finally, when it does break down, it is very easy to get back into the offense.

Many times, defenders will switch on the ball screen or the dribble handoff. If this occurs, the guard should immediate pull back and the post player should post up his smaller defender.

In this picture if the defense adjusts, the backdoor guy can screen down for the corner guy in order to free him before clearing out.

Crisco 7.JPG

As this picture shows, as a counter, the roller can pick the backdoor guy for a shot in the corner.

Crisco 8.JPG

As another option, this picture shows that you can set a double flare screen for the (4) who could be open for a three.

Crisco 9.JPG

Hopefully, these illustrations and descriptions will give Marquette fans a better idea of what the team is trying to accomplish. The continuity is labelled the "attack offense", in order to remind the players that they need to attack the rim in order to put pressure on the defense.

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