Miami Hurricanes – Staggered Screen Study Guide | #FastModelMadness22

By Randy Sherman

Miami Hurricanes staggered screen study guide blog

Check out this Radius Athletics study guide on the Miami Hurricanes’ staggered screen action, from the basics of spacing to fitting into an overall 5 Out offensive philosophy.

The Sweet Sixteen is underway. There have already been upsets, #1 seeds getting bounced, Cinderella stories and unexpected participants.

Jim Larrañaga’s Miami Hurricanes have deservedly earned their way into the round. Perhaps his squad (#10 seed, Midwest Regional) fit into the “unexpected participant” category as they take on another unexpected participant, the Iowa State Cyclones tonight.

In this post, we’ll look at some scoring options from the staggered screen–a hallmark of the Miami offense. The ‘Canes run quite a bit of five-out offense and this staggered set fits their overall spacing concept. Let’s take a look.


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Staggered Screen Basics

Structurally, the staggered screen is a four-player action. It involves the cutter, two screeners and the passer.

When setting up the staggered screen, I prefer for the second screener to be “unlike” the cutter. Miami reflects that as well. The second screener is almost always their 5. The cutter is a guard. This may not eliminate switching, but it at least deters it for most teams.

The second screener should adjust their location. We do not want the two screeners to be in a row. The second screener should be either inside or outside of the first screener. This is based on the cutter’s defender.

If the cutter’s defender trails, we want the second screener to widen and be outside the first screener. This makes the trail more extreme and increases the effectiveness of the long curl cut.

Fig. 1 – Staggered Screen Basics

If the cutter’s defender goes under the screens, we want the second screener to adjust inside the first screener. This forces the defender further under the screens and increases the likelihood of a catch-and-shoot.

Miami Hurricanes Staggered Screen

The Hurricanes use the staggered screen as part of their offensive attack. In the video below, watch for some of the staggered screen basics discussed above.

Let’s take a look at some of the primary scoring options from this staggered set. First, the curl.

Fig. 2 – Long Curl Cut

A well-constructed staggered screen combined with a trailing defender will yield an opportunity to long curl the screens and penetrate (Fig. 2).

Often, the cutter does not receive this pass and continues through and out to the far side (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3 – Long Curl & Exit

For Miami, that sets up screen-the-screener. The second screener screens for the first screener.

Fig. 4 – Curl by the first screener

If trailed as depicted in Fig. 4, Player 2 may also have a tight curl opportunity. Player 2 may also straight cut the screen and receive the pass from Player 1 (Fig. 5 below).

Fig. 5 – First Screener Straight Cuts

Off this catch there are options. The first is the “pitchback” to Player 1 (Fig. 6 below).

Fig. 6 – Pitchback

After coming off the screen, Player 2 pitches it right back to Player 1. Player 2 could also “KEEP” instead of pitching back. This can feel and look like a “fake” and create a driving opportunity (Fig. 7 below).

Fig. 7 – Fake the ptichback and KEEP it

Let’s assume Player 2 delivers the pitchback. Player 1 can flow right into a step-up ball screen from Player 5 as pictured in the photo and Fig. 8 below.

Fig. 8 – Step Up Ball Screen

Player 1 has an empty side to attack. Player 5 rolls down the middle of the lane while the three players outside the screen find space.

The staggered, screen the screener, pass and pitchback and the step-up screen flow and connect in this staggered action the Hurricanes love.

Miami Hurricanes vs Iowa State Cyclones

If styles make fights, Miami’s matchup with ISU will be interesting. “The U” has a Top 20 offense (per kenpom.com) and the Cylcones boast the nation’s fifth-ranked defense (per kenpom.com).

Further, Iowa State has yet to lose to a non-Big 12 team. Will the ‘Canes be the first? Larrañaga has taken a double-digit seed to the Final Four before as head coach of George Mason in 2006. The quest to take another team there resumes tonight.

NOTE: This piece originally appeared at Radius Athletics XTRA and is reposted with permission.

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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.
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