Horns Offense

 

What to Discover or Recall . . .

The Horns offensive set is designed to better utilize basic Mid Screen/Roll action.
By deploying a second high post screener, it allows the ball handler the option of driving off a screen in either direction.
Having two screeners high also clears out any baseline defensive help on dribble penetration.
When the defense does try to help, it creates open outside shot opportunities for good spot up shooters.

Horns Offense

| Overview | Ball Reversal | Basic Reads | Variations | Installing | Game Strategy | Case for Defense |

Recently, there has been a very large increase in the number of teams using the Horns offense. By deploying a second high post screener, it provides the ball handler the option of driving off a screen in either direction. Since screens are available on both sides, unlike it's cousins the Mid Screen and Side Screen, the Horns offense cannot be disrupted by simply influencing the ball handler away from the screen.

With both screeners high, all Off-Ball defenders are in first pass denials making it very difficult to help out against dribble penetration. Because of its 1-4 high alignment, Horns is an excellent offense to deploy against pressure defenses.

Offensive Fundamentals Required

Learn More   Proper Execution of On-Ball Screens

Learn More Basic Low Post Moves

Learn More Offensive Rebounding

Schematic Sequence

Horns Schematic

 


5 Stars

Phase 1: Dribble Penetration

 

Horns Basic Roll

The basic option of the Horns or "V" offense is for the point O1 to drive off a high post screen. The high post sets an On Ball screen to free up the point guard for dribble penetration.

The dribbler has the options of:

Horns Basic Pop

Note: When the screener rolls to the basket, the "off" screener then goes opposite and pops out. If the screener pops out after the screen, the "off screener cuts away to the basket.

Phase 2: Ball Reversal

Post Isolation

Ball Reversal Side Screen

Post Isolation

When the screen and roll action does not produce a good shot, O1, O2, O3 and O4 looks to feed O5 posting up strong in the low post area.

Side Screen

O4 passes to O3 on wing and sets an ON Ball screen. O3 drives over O4's screen initiating screen and roll action. O5 sets a back screen for O4 rolling to basket. O1 and O2 spot up.

 


5 Stars

Key

Basic Reads & Counters

Horns Reads

The keys to the success of the Horns high post screen action is in execution and coordination. The ballhandler and screener have to think and function as one unit. This requires proper footwork, timing, non-verbal communication, and experience.

Players should be prepared to recognize and attack the following situations:

Mid Screen Reads & Counters: What if the defense . . .

Expand Close Button

Click on the desired read to view illustrated counter option

  1. Defender TRAILS OVER the screen?  Counter

    Defenders SAGS OFF to help out on drive.  Counter

  2. Defender GOES UNDER the screen? Counter

  3. Defenders SWITCH on the screen?  Counter

    Smaller defender is MISMATCHED INSIDE.  Counter

    Bigger defender MISMATCHED OUTSIDE. Counter

    Defensive players ANTICIPATE SWITCHING.  Counter

  4. Defense SHOWS & RECOVERS on screen?  Counter

  5. Defense CHEATS OVER the screen early?  Counter

  6. Defenders OVER PLAY posts?  Counter

  7. Defense TRAPS the dribbler? Counter


 

Read: Defensive players CHASES over the screen.

Counter: Point Drive

Horns Drive

Horns Drive

When defensive players X1 chases over the screen, O1 turns the corner on dribble and drives hard to the basket.

^TOP

 

Read: Defensive player SAGS OFF shooter to help on drive.

Counter: Kick Out Pass

Horns Drive

Horns Drive

If baseline defender X2 or X3 drop off to help out on O1's dribble penetration, O1 makes a kick out pass to O2 or O3 spotting up for open shot.

^TOP

 


 

Read: Defensive players goes UNDER the screen.

Counter: Pull Up Jumper

Horns Drive

Horns Pullup Jumper

When defensive player X1 goes under O5's screen, O1 pulls up for an open jump shot.

^TOP

 


 

Read: Defensive players SWITCH on the screen.

Counter: Post Roll

Horns Drive

Horns Screen & Roll

When defensive players X1 and X5 switch on screen, O1 looks to feed the screener O5 rolling to the basket or posting up against the smaller defensive guard.

 


Read: Smaller defensive player matched up inside against post.

Post Mismatch Option

Horns Drive

Horns Post Isolation

When O5 has a mismatch advantage against smaller O1, O5 posts up looking for a feed from any on the peripheral players.

 


Read: Big defensive player matched up outside against point guard.

Point Mismatch Option

Horns Drive

Horns Outside Isolation

Against the defensive switch, when ball handler O1 has a definite advantage over bigger X5, screener O5 clears out allowing point to go one on one against X5. If/when point's shot is not available, post can then dive to the basket to exploit smaller X1.

CAUTION: If the defensive wing should drop off to help, point should make a kick out pass to wing spotting up for three point shot. If the baseline defensive player should step out to help, the point can make a drop pass into the low post.

^TOP

 


 

Read: Defensive players ANTICIPATE switch and zone.

Counter: Post Slip

Horns Drive

Horns Slip

When defensive players X1 and X5 anticipate the switch and zone, high post should fake the screen and slip (cut away) to basket for shot.

^TOP

 


 

Read: Defensive players SHOW & RECOVER against the screen.

Counter(1): String Out & Post Roll

Horns Drive

Horns Show

When defensive players X1 and X5 try to show and recover against the screen, O1 strings out defender X5 with dribble. O5 rolls to basket looking for pass from O1. If defender X4 moves across to guard O5, then O5 pops and O4 cuts to the basket.

Caution: If defender X5 is in foul trouble, X1 should drive hard to the basket looking to draw a foul.

Counter (2): String Out & Post Pop Option

Horns Drive

Horns Pop

When screener O5 is a good outside shooter, O5 has the option of popping out against the show and recover defense instead of rolling to the basket. If O5 pops O4 goes opposite and dives to the basket. Defender X5 will have a hard time recovering against O5.

^TOP


 

Read: Defender CHEATS OVER the screen early.

Drive Opposite

Horns Drive

Post Iso Option

When the On-Ball defender anticipates the side screen and CHEATS OVER early, the ballhandler should drive opposite to the basket. In changing direction to drive opposite, the ball handler can use a front crossover, a behind the back, or a reverse between the legs dribble. In reversing direction, the ballhandler also has the option of driving off the weakside screener rather than to the basket.

^TOP


 

Read: Defender overplays a post.

Post Lob Pass

Horns Drive

Wing Iso

If either screener's defender overplays to deny or disrupt the screen, the screener back cuts to the basket looking for a lob pass.

^TOP


 

Read: Defensive players TRAP on the screen.

Counter(1): String Out & Post Roll

Horns Drive

Horns Trap Roll

When defensive players X1 and X5 double teams O1 on screen, O1 should immediately string out (spread) the double team with dribble while 05 rolls to basket. O1 can pass directly to O5 or to any of the peripheral players for feed to O5. Ball must be moved in the air against the trap with sharp passes (no dribbling).

Counter(2): String Out & Post Pop

Horns Drive

Horns Trap Pop

When defensive player X4 moves across to guard O5 on double team, O5 pops out and O4 cuts to basket forming a 2-1-2 alignment. O1 can pass directly to O4 or to any of the peripheral players for feed to O4.

^CLOSE

 


5 Stars

Horns Variations

Horns Variations

Various NBA teams have adapted the Horns' twin mid screen action to take advantage of their specific player personnel. The Horn's alignment readily allows for a host of very successful variations that takes full advantage of specific player personnel. Some of these more frequently used variations include Loop, Base Split, Picked Fence, Twin Sides, High Post Rub, and Hand Back Lob.

Click below to View Illustrated Details:

Expand Close Button

Click on desired proven variation below to view illustrated details.

 

| HP Rub | Flex | Twin Sides | Loop | Base Split | Fence | Hand Back |


High Post Rub

HP Rub

Point O1 makes an entry pass to wing O2 and cuts to basket off O5's high post back screen. O2 looks to make a lob pass to O1 if available.

High Post O5 after setting back screen for O1, initiates steps out for a reversal pass from O2. O2 then down screens for O1 and O4 down screens for O3 on the weakside.

Down Screens

HP Rub Down Screens

High Post O5 after setting back screen for O1, initiates steps out for a reversal pass from O2. O2 then down screens for O1 and O4 down screens for O3 on the weakside.

Side Screen

HP Rub Side Screen

O5 initiates side screen action by passing to O1 coming off O2's down screen and setting a side screen. O2 and O3 spot up for three point shots on weakside. O4 sets a back pick for O5 rolling to the basket.

^TOP


Flex

Horns Loop

Ballhandler passes to weakside post O4 stepping out and makes a high post rub cut off O5. O4 looks to feed O1 on basket cut. If not open O1 continues and sets a base screen for O2 initiating flex action.

Down Screen

HP Rub Down Screens

O5 sets sets a down screen for O1 and clears to the corner. O4 passes to O1 and down screens for O2. O1 looks to feed O3 coming off O2's base screen or to O2 popping out off O4's down screen.

Continuity

HP Rub Side Screen

Flex action continues with O1 passing to O2. O5 rubs off O3's base screen as O4 clears to corner. O1 then down screens for O3.

Learn More Flex Motion Offense

^TOP


Twin Side Screens

Horns Double Side

Ballhandler O1 executes a dribble hand-off with wing O2. O2 then dibble penetrates off O5's and O4's double side screens. Weakside wing O2 spots up.

Post Roll

HP Rub Down Screens

If the defense switches, O2 looks to feed O5 rolling to the basket or posting up strong. O2 also has the option of passing to O3 spotting up or back cutting to the basket when their defender overplays. Post O4 pops out.

Side Screen Action

HP Rub Side Screen

If a good shot is not available off the drive, O2 makes a reversal pass to O4, who in turn passes to and sets a side screen for O1. O2 sets a down screen for O3 on weak side.

Learn More  Side Screen Offense

^TOP


Loop Entry

Horns Loop

Point O1 drives wide off O4's screen as 02 back cuts to basket. O5 and O4 rolls down and sets a tandem double screen for shooter O2 looping out to the top of the circle. O1 has option passing out to shooter O2 or feeding O5 posting up.

Ball Reversal

HP Rub Down Screens

O1 looks to feed O5 posting up strong or to make a reversal pass out to O2. O2 in turn passes to O3 who looks to feed O4 posting up off down screen.

Inside Triangle Game

HP Rub Side Screen

O2 also can make a return pass to O1 and initiate the inside triangle game motion. O5 sets a base screen for O4 and O2 sets a down screen for O5.

Learn More  Inside Triangle Game

^TOP


Weakside Split Variation

Horns Flex

Ball handler O1 passes to post O5 and cuts off O5 as O2 back cuts to the basket. Weakside post O4 rolls down to low post area. O5 looks to feed O2 on back cut or O1 on two person game. If an open shot is not available, O5 thens looks to pass to either O3 cutting over O4 or to pass to O2 continuing out off low post O4 for shot.

Inside Triangle

HP Rub Down Screens

O5 passes to O1 on wing initiating inside triangle action. O3 sets a base screen for O4 and steps up and sets a back screen for O5. O1 looks to feed O4 posting up or to lob to O5 going off O3's back screen.

Ball Reversal

Horns Flex Action

Ballhandler O1 makes a reversal pass out to O3 who in turns passes to O2 or can make a skip pass directly across to O2. Post O5 sets a base screen for O4 and pops out off O3's down screen. O2 looks to feed O4 or O5.

^TOP


Picket Fence

Horns Picked Fence

Similar to the movie "Hoosiers" posts O4 and O5 line up in tandem. Ballhandler O1 drives off the double screen while shooters O2 and O3 spot up.

Post Roll

HP Rub Down Screens

If the defense switches, O2 looks to feed O5 rolling to the basket or posting up strong. O2 also has the option of passing to O3 spotting up or back cutting to the basket if their defender overplays. Post O4 pops out.

Side Screen Action

HP Rub Side Screen

If a good shot is not available off the initial action, O2 makes a reversal pass to O4, who in turn passes to and sets a side screen for O1. O2 sets a down screen for O3 on weak side.

^TOP


Hand Back Lob

Hand Back Lob

The hand-back lob is an variation of the old NBA "Chicago" play. It was used very effectively by Argentina in their upset win over the United States Dream Team in the 2002 world championships.

Point O1 passes to O2 coming off O5's down screen. O1 follows the pass and receives a hand-back from O2. Post O5 continues and sets a baseline screen for shooter O3 clearing out the weakside. Post O4 then steps up and sets a back screen for O2. O2 cuts to basket off O4 looking for return lob pass from O1. O1 looks to pass to O3 or O2.

Motion

Double Screen Away

When O1 passes to O2 coming off O5's base screen, O2 looks for shot or feed inside to O5. When the defense switches, O3 looks to feed O5 posting up against the smaller defender. O1 and O4 screen away for O3.

Mid Screen Action

Mid Screen Action

If shooter O1 does not pass to O2, O4 steps out and sets a mid screen for O1. O1 drives off O4's mid screen initiating screen and roll action.

Learn More Mid Screen Offense

^CLOSE

 


5 Stars

Clipboard

Installing the Horns Offense

The key to the success of the Horns Offense is in its execution and coordination. Players need to be well prepared to execute mid screens and down screens. The ballhandler, screener and receiver have to think and function as one unit. This requires proper footwork, timing, non-verbal communication, and experience.

Caution: Before undertaking any offense, players must have a solid, working knowledge of all of its components.

Learn More  Whole-Part-Whole Method of Teaching

Learn More  Motor Skills Learning

 

Horns Breakdown Drills:

View/Print Two Player Entries Drill (2-on-2)

View/Print 3-on-3 Double High Post Drill (Dribble & Pass Entries)

View/Print Half and Full Court Scrimmaging

 

The Game Within a Game

Individual offensive skill development and improvement should be an integral part of every practice. In addition to early time (before practice) work, each player should, personally, have one or two individual fundamental techniques to work on during the course of a practice. The specific skill or skills will vary from player to player and can be assigned by the coaching staff or determined by the players themselves. As a reminder, the skill(s) should be written down on a 3 X 5 card and give it to each player prior to practice.

 


5 Stars

Game Strategies

Scout your opponent. Players need to know what reads to expect during the game. Opponents will generally use only a primary and secondary defense technique in defending side screens. Educate and explain the anticipated reads and their counters. When scouting is not possible, scout your opponent during the game.

Don't be a spectator and watch the ball during the game. Be conscience and alert to any defensive changes or adjustments, especially after substitutions and timeouts. Don't hesitate in deploying various alignments and entries during the game so that defenders cannot focus on defending just one set. Move players around and attack the weakest defenders.

 


5 Stars

The Case for the Defense

Even if you do not plan to use the Horns Offense, you better be prepared to defend against it. It is one of the most used offenses in the game.

No Basket Logo

Learn More

Continue and learn proven ways and techniques to disrupt the Horns Offense

 

 

Back