Killer OBU Plays


Any good coach knows that games can be won or lost on the margins. What are exactly are the margins? Basically, the little things can make all the difference: player rotations, timeouts, substitutions, game prep, scouting, and….OUT OF BOUNDS PLAYS could be the difference between a 1 point win and a devastating loss. The reality is that individually this stuff on the margins is not significant enough to directly lead to a win or a loss, but over the course of an entire game it can have a big impact.

Out of Bounds underneath (OBU) is one specific area of the game that coaches have a high degree of control over. Creative OBU plays can lead directly to scores and will help your team steal a couple of cheap buckets throughout the course of the game. These easy buckets are invaluable and can demoralize an opponent’s psyche.

Unfortunately, a team only gets a limited number of opportunities to sting their opponents with a cleverly designed play. In reality you might have 5-10 chances to score from an OBU possession during a game. The following are 3 killers OBU plays to help push your team over the top. In addition to the OBU play diagrams we will include a description of the responsibilities of each player within the set, as well as counters and other tidbits of valuable information to make sure you get the most out of your OBU opportunities.

We have put together a short E-Book with 2 additional bonus plays and a list of 5 Ways to Improve your Screening. All of this is FREE. Just click here to download the entire PDF.

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The OBU positions are all interchangeable depending on how you want to use your personnel, some coaches may want to target a specific defender, or put players in positions depending on their strengths.


PG – Point Guard (1-man or primary ball handler)

SG – Shooting Guard (2-man)

G – Guard (3-man)

F – Forward (4-man)

C – Center (5-man)


Key: the combination of the free throw lane and free throw circle

Downscreen: when a player (usually a 4 or 5 man) sets a screen facing the baseline for another player (usually a 2 or 3 man) to come off the screen either towards the perimeter or into the lane looking to score.

Backscreen: when a player is facing towards half court and sets a screen for a player diving to the rim. Usually a good backscreen hits the defender in the “back” or on the “blindside” 

Lane: the rectangular area below the free throw line

Perimeter: the area around the 3pt line

Slip: when a player (usually a 4 or 5 man) sets a screen for a teammate but their defender hedges out or helps to cover the player coming off the screen, leaving the screen to “slip” or go to the rim uncovered

Cross-screen: when a player moves across the lane to set a screen (usually this is a player setting a screen for a 4 or 5 man to get inside position)

For a more complete list of terms visit Arete Hoops Glossary of Terms.



Box Box-1

BOX is a simple concept, but incredibly effective if you can be disciplined enough to run the play the right way.

The Guard needs to clear out and the SG should start their movement as the Guard is clearing out to the opposite wing.

All screens in BOX need to be “Head-Hunting” screens, meaning that each player searches for the defender of their teammate instead of looking to scree an area.

That means that regardless of where the defender drifts to on the floor the offensive player needs to find that defender and hit them with a hard screen.


As SG sets a screen for F, C needs to be moving to towards SG to screen SG’s defender to catch them distracted by the screen between SG and F.

SG is the first option coming off the C screen. If C gets the timing right they can often catch SG’s defender paying attention to the screen on F’s man.


Many teams will try to switch the screen between C and SG but this works well for the offense if C rolls strong to the rim keeping the switching defender behind them.

Last option is to fake the ball towards the C/SG screening action and kick the ball out to F in the corner or G on the wing.


Stack Opposite

Stack Opp - 1

The entire premise of Stack Opposite is to get the defense moving to the other side of the floor then using a cutter that counters that movement.

C and SG need to sprint and draw attention from their defenders so that F’s defender gets distracted by the movement of players to the ball-side of the floor.

G should start their cut as if he is following the lead of C and SG, but instead go and set a screen for F.

Stack Opp - 2

The key to the play is for F to make the defender think he is following the other cutters to the ball side of the floor by making a hard step towards the ball.

After F’s hard step he comes off G’s screen for a layup.

Just as in BOX, if the defenders switch the screening action, G will be open rolling to the rim.




Flare is a great play to run against zone or man-to-man because it puts the defense in a position to choose what they want to cover.

Flare -1

The initial screen between SG and F should be a quick scoring option if F’s defender falls asleep. But the goal of this screen is actually to get SG’s defender out of position to set them up for the next action.

Flare - 2

After SG sets the screen they should run off C’s screen to the corner or baseline for a jumpshot.

If SG sets a good screen for F then his defender should be behind the play and should have trouble fighting over C’s screen.

Flare - 2


PG has the important job of reading the defense to see whether or not SG is open for a shot, or if C’s man has jumped out into the passing lane, opening a slip for C to the rim.

If the defense has collapsed and cut off both of these options, G could be open for a jumper on the wing if PG does a good job of faking the pass to the baseline.



This gives you a good idea of how simple Out of Bounds Plays can convert into easy points for your team during the course of a game. These 4-6 easy points could be the difference in winning and losing close, competitive games. We have put together an entire PDF with 2 Additional plays and a BONUS 5 Tips to Improve your Team’s Screening.

The download is FREE, all you need to do is click the text below, enter your email address and click on the confirmation email and you can download the entire PDF.

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