Five Possessions: Tyler Herro Back Action

By Randy Sherman

#FivePossessions – Five curated possessions featuring Tyler Herro of the Miami Heat demonstrating “Back Action” from his days as a Kentucky Wildcat

As the NBA season draws near, Miami Heat rookie guard Tyler Herro is making waves in preseason action. His scoring ability at all three levels is pulling him closer to a starting role with the Heat.

Herro played one season of college basketball at Kentucky where he was part of a deep, talented Wildcat team. His role as a featured scorer increased as the season progressed. Herro’s game may be even better suited for the increased space and freedom of movement in the NBA.

In the clips below, Herro demonstrates some knowhow in spread ball screen offense during his playing days in Lexington. Demonstrated are three basic options on the catch for the Back Action player: catch-and-shoot, catch-and-go and catch-and-rip.

Having an effective “rise man” in Back Action is a valuable piece of the puzzle for the efficiency of the basic spread pick-and-roll. Herro will provide that in South Beach.

Back Action

Back Action refers to the player immediately behind the ball screen rising up and making themselves available for a throwback pass. Other terms you may hear for this are shake, corner lift and single-side bump.

In many pick-and-roll defensive schemes, a player outside of the ball screen is used to tag the roller. The Back Action combats this by making that defender “wrong” even when they are doing exactly what they are coached to do. In the video above, you see Herro catching with an advantage due to his man having tag responsibility.


When well-timed and well-executed the Back Action can lead to open catch-and-shoot opportunities as reflected in the spread ball screen diagram below. Click on image to head to the FastModel PlayBank so you can add the images to your FastDraw library!  


X2 makes a deep tag on the roller and the Back Action by Player 2 creates separation for an open three once Player 1 throws it back.

Bonus Video: Villanova Wildcats – Back Action – Catch-and-Shoot


At times, the tagging defender makes a quick tag and recovers but they are behind the rising Back Action player and the cutter catches with a small lead.

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Above, X2 tags and recovers but is lagging a bit behind Player 2 on the catch. Thus Player 2 catches with a small advantage for a middle drive. Player 2 reads this prior to the catch and goes on a middle drive without hesitation.


At times, the tagging defender makes a quick tag, recovers and makes and effort to prevent the throwback pass to the Back Action player.

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In Frame 1 above, X2 tags and gets back into the play. Perhaps they reach into the passing lane or end up on the ball side of their man, but the pass makes it through to Player 2. This presents an advantage to the baseline side. Player 2 rips the ball through and attacks with a drive to the outside.

These five possessions offer a glimpse into some of the things Herro can bring to the NBA level. The ball screen often creates an advantage for one of the three players outside the ball screen. The best teams realize that ball screen offense is not a “two-man game” it is instead a “five-man game.”

By understanding Back Action and the progressions described above players outside the ball screen can apply pressure on the defensive scheme and enjoy scoring opportunities.

Continue the conversation:

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Randy Sherman is the owner and founder of Radius Athletics - a basketball coaching consulting firm - where he consults with basketball coaches at all levels on coaching philosophy, practice planning, Xs & Os and teaching a conceptual style of basketball. While a head basketball coach at the the interscholastic level, Sherman's teams won 197 games in nine seasons.
October 2, 2019, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA: Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro runs drills during practice on the second day of the Miami Heat training camp in preparation for the 2019-20 NBA season at Keiser University on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019 in West Palm Beach, Fla. (Credit Image: © TNS via ZUMA Wire)

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