One of the great stories in college basketball over past decade has been the rise of Butler basketball on the national stage with back to back National Championship appearances. Butler teams had always been under the radar on the national level, but continued to follow the “Butler Way” when recruiting the right players for their program. The “Butler Way” works to build teams around the core values of “humility, passion, unity, servanthood and thankfulness”.
Coach Stevens did not have a typical rise through the ranks in becoming a D1 head coach. He left his marketing position at Eli Lilly to serve as a volunteer in the Butler office, before getting hired on full-time by Thad Matta and then again by Todd Lickliter. In 2007, Stevens was hired as the head coach and has rewritten the record books for the Best Coaching Starts by Wins for three-year (89), four-year (117), and five-year record (139).
With the recent announcement that Butler will be joining the Atlantic 10 and the significance of the pick and roll on almost every possession of the NBA Playoff games, here is a basic pick and roll action that Butler teams like to run. The Bulldogs used this action a lot with Matt Howard setting the ball screen for Shelvin Mack. The shooters position was often filled by Gordon Hayward or Zac Hahn, who could knock down the three point shot from anywhere in Marion County. The basic action starts with the point guard backing his man down the sideline until he gets a step below the 5 man’s ball screen. We call this “Mark Jackson” your defender to set him up and to read how the defense is playing the pick and roll.
We have two basic options out the set up:
1) SAME: if the screener’s defender makes a hard hedge then we make a quick pass back to the wing for the shot or the screen dropping into the post.
2) OPPOSITE: if the ball handler cannot get to the basket, then he looks to make one of the opposite defenders help off to guard him and kick to one of the wings for a shot
This is a very simple pick and roll action, but it is key that you have a point guard that can read through the progressions to make a quick decision. I also include some set plays that we have developed over the years that we like to run with the basic Butler pick and roll action. The “Butler 3” series of plays has worked great for us and gets us an open look almost every time we run them.
We have a new basketball coaching contributor in Ryan Yoder. He is the Varisty Boys’ Basketball Coach at Lakeland High School in LaGrange, Indiana. I think that you will really like his work.