The Pfeiffer University Offensive Philosophy
The five offensive concepts that shape our offensive philosophy at Pfeiffer are:
3. Attack Mentality
4. Decision Making
5. More than One
Everything we do goes back to these five core concepts; we teach to them in practice and film, base our entire player development program on them, and our breakdowns and drill work all reflect the most important components of our offensive philosophy.
Speed: At Pfeiffer, we work daily on pace of play. We want to control the pace every time we take the court. As a staff, we work tirelessly on identifying strategies of opposing coaches that they employ to try and slow us down. We want nothing to slow us down.
On an opponent made field goal, we assign two inbounders that can never allow the ball to hit the floor. They should be fighting to get the ball out of the net- and into the point guards’ hands. We send two Corners up the court on a dead sprint. We call our point guard the Relay Man because they are always looking for opportunities to advance the ball up the court. When done correctly, the point guard needs no more than one dribble before the ball is advanced to the Corners.
We teach the NBA three point line (23’ 9”) as the Scoring Area. We want the ball inside the scoring area in under 3 seconds. We work on this in every drill that we do, and grade it after every game. We are either advancing the ball to the corners, or the point guard is on a dead sprint to that Scoring Area. This puts a great deal of pressure on transition defense.
Our next marker for speed is that we want to “Pierce the Dome” in under 5 seconds off the shot clock. The Dome for us is what many coaches use as the Pack Line (17’) on defense. This is critical for us because it collapses the defense and forces them to rely heavily on their transition defense cross match ups. Our rule for Corners is that of the Point Guard advances the ball to you, you must Pierce the Dome. This helps us to flatten the defense and makes drive kick options to our inbounders very effective.
On a missed shot or turnover, we teach the same concepts in regards to Scoring Area in 3 seconds or less, Pierce the Dome in 5 seconds or less. We work on what we call ‘bust out dribbles’ on all defensive rebounds and turnovers. Whoever gets the ball must straight line dribble as fast as they can towards our basket. This allows us to outlet the ball in the front court rather than the point guard coming back to the ball and slowing us down. We drill this daily, especially when we have some taller players that are not great ball handlers. We teach to rebound with two hands, catch, gather/protect, land, and start to puch the ball up the court with bust out dribbles. The Golden State Warriors are the best at this- specifically when Draymond Green gets the rebound. Green is a tremendous rebounder that always bust out dribbles and advancing to shooters on the wings. The four players that did not get the rebounder are sprinting up the court and getting deep corner. We believe this is unguardable unless you are sending five defenders back in transition on every shot.
Space: Nothing is more important to us than space. Basketball is a fight for space, and we want to win that fight every possession. Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford says “your shooting is your spacing”, so we make shooting a priority in our recruits and player development. Every day we want game shots from game spots at game speed. Players that don’t work on their shooting don’t play here.
In transition, our spacing rule is the only person in the middle of the floor is the man with the ball. We want our Corners wide (we have them run out of bounds when we dry run our offense daily in practice). Corners are free throw extend when the ball is in the backcourt, and deep corner when ball crosses into the front court. These concepts all go back into getting us the best passing angles and the most spacing possible.
Defense wants to shrink the court; we never want this to happen in our transition game. We used to run our big to the rim, but found that they are in the way more than anything, so we made him one of our two inbounders. When done correctly, the middle of the floor is wide open and we are looking to attack that space for the entire possession. When we combine this with the right pace it is very difficult to defend.
Attack Mentality: We are an attack team on both sides of the ball. That’s how we recruit and that’s how we play every single day. We want to be the most aggressive team in the country, and our attack mentality helps to shape that. Getting the ball to the Scoring Area means we are attacking. Getting the ball to Pierce the Dome means we are attacking. We tell our players they cannot hold the ball longer than one second. We call this concept One Count, and teach that anything else means you are a ball stopper in our offense. Ball stoppers cannot play in our system. We work daily on being shot ready on the catch. Player can catch shoot, catch drive it, or catch move it- but they cannot catch hold. We want to have incredible ball movement, and ball stoppers help the defense.
The concept we teach on the attack mentality is to get downhill and drive it for a layup. If you cannot get a layup, you must get the ball to the other side of the court. We spend a great deal of practice working on combining the speed of how we want to play, having our players understand spatial recognition, getting downhill and getting as many ball reversals as we can. When done correctly, we are creating many long closeouts off the drive kicks.
Decision Making: We do a great deal of individual film in our program, and a lot of that time is geared towards decision making. We teach our guys to make quick, simple plays and that anything other than the easiest play hurts our team. As stated earlier, simplicity is king for us and we want our players to only make easy plays. I believe the reason we led the country in Turnover Margin is a direct reflection to the film work we did daily with our players to continue teaching them to make quick simple plays. The other area of decision making that we teach is shot selection. Our players can only take great shots, which I define as a shot that I know they can make 7 out of 10 times in a player development workout.
The biggest area that we target in teaching shot selection is in our player development. I don’t want my coaches doing ANYTHING in a workout that we don’t want to see replicated in a game. And we want to spend the most time in our player development session on what is going to happen the most with that player. We spend a great deal of time finishing at the rim, making free throws, and making rhythm threes. Some of the player development stuff I see lately is very creative, but doesn’t apply to what we want to have our kids doing. Simplicity is king.
More Than One: We added this one heading into the 2017-18 season because we need to improve on this. We will send four to the offensive glass on every shot, and need to work to get a better Offensive Rebounding Percentage. In 2016-17 we were able to get 32% of our missed shots back. This year we need to get that Offensive Rebounding Percentage to 40% or better. We are offensive rebounding to get the ball back, but it also gets us into our press on defense.
Below is a link to some of our offensive concepts on the offensive end. This video playbook shows the progression from early transition to transition into ball reversals, and then finally our half-court offense that is also based on these same offensive concepts.
Pfeiffer University Offensive Edit: