Iowa Zone Offense

 

Iowa Zone Offense

The "Iowa" Zone Offense was developed and refined by Tom Davis. It's success received national exposure and recognition back in the early days of ESPN when he was coaching Boston College. What makes the Iowa zone offense unique is that the players play ony one position. They do not interchange positions. They just flip sides. Since players do not have to learn multiple assignments, they can become much more efficient and productive in performing their single roles.

The Iowa zone offense places a major emphasis on a strong low post attack along with using a dribble entry rather than a pass entry to initiate the offense. Because it is keyed off dribble penetration, it is an excellent early offense for any team playing uptempo. It also combines both overloading and spreading tactics and principles in attacking the zone.

| Player Alignment | Continuity | Post Attack | Baseline Options | Overplay Counters |

Basic Player Alignment

Basic Alignment Left Basic Alignment Right

The basic player alignment of the Iowa zone offense is comprised of a point guard or ballhandler O1, a baseline runner or corner O3, a low post O5, a shooting or swing guard O2 at the top of the circle and a weakside rebounder or power forward O4.

The ballhandling guard O1 can initiate the offense with dribble penetration to either wing. The post player O5 is the best postup scorer, not necessarily the tallest player. The baseline runner or corner O3 is usually the small forward who is proficient in shooting low angle, baseline and corner shots. The swing guard O2 is the best outside shooter. The weakside rebounder or power forward O4, is the second best inside player who is active of the offensive boards and can play outside.


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Basic Continuity

Sharp accurate passing is a key ingredient in attacking any zone defense. Make the zone defense work by moving the ball from sideline to sideline. Good ball movement increases the chances of defensive break downs and results in good shots. Incorporate skip passes, post feeds, and pump fake passes. Pass to the open player. Do not force the ball or make difficult passes. Pass to a specific target away from the defense. Do not pass to any player that does not call for or want the ball. Eliminate dribbling especially the trap or one bounce dribble which allows the zone to recover and match up.

Ball Reversal

When the ball is pass out to the shooting guard O2, it triggers the weakside rebonder O4 to step out to the wing and the corner O3 to run the baseline.
The post O5 drops and point O1 steps-in. When the shooting
guard O2 passes to weakside rebounder O4 stepping out, all four non-ballhandlers are an offensive threat to receive a pass.

Ball Reversal

Corner Basket Cut

When the wing O4 passes to corner, they make a "give and go" basket cut. If O4 is covered and does not receive a pass, they empty out to the weakside
and the post O5 flashes. Weakside wing O1 breaks into the middle and out to the ballside wing.

Corner Pass

Ball Reversal

When the ball is passed out of the corner to O1, who in turns pass to O2 it triggers ball reversal with O4 stepping out to the weakside wing and O3 running the baseline.

Ball Reversal

Corner Cut Opposite

When the wing O4 passes to corner, they make a "give and go" basket cut. If O4 is covered and does not receive a pass, they empty out to the weakside
and the post O5 flashes and O1 breaks into the middle and out to the ballside wing re-establishing the overload.

Corner Pass Overload


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Inside Game - Post Reads

Post feeds play an important role in the Iowa zone offense. The post must establish a strong inside presence. Since most zone defenders play behind when guarding the low post area, get the ball to the post whenever possible. When the zone does collapse in order to protect the middle, it opens up outside shots for your spot up shooters.

Note: Inside players that find it difficult to get open against aggressive person to person defense, usually find it much easier to get open and score against zone defenses.

When the post's defender plays behind, the post can expect a pass from any of the outside players. Post Defender Behind

If the post's defender plays on the highside, the post seals the defender anticipating a pass from the corner.

Post Defender on Highside
When the post's defender plays on the baseline side, the post seals them off and anticpating a pass from the wing or top of circle. Post's Defender on Baselineside
If the defender fronts the post, the post seals them off anticipating a lob pass or a high/low feed from the weakside rebounder breaking up to the free throw line. Lob Pass
When the corner's defenders sags off to help on the post, the corner spots up for an open shot. Corner Shot
When the wing's defender sags off to help on the post, then the wing spots up for an open shot. Wing Shot


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Baseline Runner Options

The baseline or corner runner causes matchup problems for zones. In addition, since the cutter is moving behind the defenders, it proses vision and communication problems.

On ball reversal, when a bottom defender steps out to matchup against the open wing, it opens up a passing lane to the baseline cutter in the low post area. Corner Flash
When the post defender of the zones moves over to guard the baseline cutter it creates a delima. If defender stays in to protect the basket, it creates a wide open corner shot. If the defender continues out to the corner, it opens up the middle for post. Opposite Corner
When the post defenders switch matchup on the corner's baseline cut, the cutter has the option of doubling back for an open shot. Corner Back Cut


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Overplay Counters

Anytime a pass to the next player is overplayed and denied, just simply make a skip pass to the next player. Do NOT force any passes. When a zone defense extends and exerts pressure, it also opens up the middle for post isolation mismatch or for dribble penetration.

When the pass out of the corner is denied, the corner looks to make a skip pass pass out to the swing guard at the top of the circle. Corner Skip Pass
If the pass to the top of the circle is denied, the wing looks to make a cross court "X" to the weakside block. If the "X" pass is not open, then the wing can step out for a cross court skip pass. Wing Skip Pass
When the defende cuts off the reversal pass to the wing, the wing can back cuts hard to the basket for a lay-up or drop pass to the post. Wing Back Cut
When the zone extends and pressures the passing lanes, it isolates the post defender one-on-one. Post Isolation

When zones extend and pressure, the passing lanes, it also open ups dribble penetration into the middle or a seam. If any of the outside defenders sag off to help on the drive, it will create wide open shots off kick out passes. If a post defender drops off to help on the drive, it creates a drop pass for an easy layup.

Note: Ballhandlers should be careful to avoid offensive fouls.

Dribble Penetration


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| vs 2-3 Zone | vs 1-2-2 Zone | vs 1-3-1 Zone |

Attacking 2-3 Zones

Ball Reversal Ball Reversal
Post Feed Post Feed
Wing Skip Pass Wing Skip Pass

Post Reads & Feeds

Base Feed Defender High
Top Feed Defender Low
Post Behind Defender Behind
"X" Pass "X" Pass

Learn More Zone Offense - 2-3 Reads & Counters

Specials

Corner Top Cut Corner to Wing Special
Dribble Penetration Dribble Penetration Entry


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Attacking 1-2-2 or 3-2 Zones

Ball Reversal Ball Reversal
Post Feed Post Feed
Basket Cut Basket Cut

Post Attack

Base Feed Base Feed
Top Feed Top Feed
Defender Behing Defender Behind Feed
"X" Pass "X" Pass

Learn More Zone Offense - 1-2-2 Reads & Counters

 

Specials

Back Screen Lob Back Screen Lob
Wing Flash Wing Flash
Dribble Penetration Dribble Penetration

 


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Attacking 1-3-1 Zones

Cross Court "X" Pass "X" Pass
Ball Reversal Ball Reversal
Post Look Post Feed
Basket Cut Wing Basket Cut

Learn More Zone Offense - 1-3-1 Reads & Counters

 

Specials

Overload Overload Right
Base Screens Base Screens
Dribble Penetration Dribble Penetration

 

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