Coach George Dikeoulakos answers the questions of readers again. You may send your question at any time by going to the “Ask The Coach” section.

Katerina Hatzidaki (coach from Greece): I would like to ask you which scouting software  do you use, and how did you get the knowledge of scouting?

George Dikeoulakos: Thank you Katerina for your question but I had to translate it in English as to  answer it in English. The BEST software for scouting is “BASKETSCOUT” of  sportcode company. It gives you data and stats of plays, which player scored  from which action, which way players move or score or make turnovers or steals, how coach use his players and subs, it’s amazing software and not expensive at all. If you or anyone else need more info about it send me a message and I’ll answer directly to your e-mail. How I got this knowledge? Hmmm… I think experience taught me, and my insistence on observing the details. Now it’s more easy for the new generations of coaches, my good friend D.Priftis (assistant coach of Greek national team) and me are teaching “scouting” at the University of Physical education in Athens as to the school of coaches, so new coaches have the opportunity to make a base of “how to” of scouting, but I insist that experience will give you the knowledge.

Andrea (coach from Italy): In a few months I shall coach for first time a men’s team in second division. How many plays I must have against man to man?

George Dikeoulakos: First of all you have to know the strength of your team. Good shooter? Make stagger plays for him. Good center? A baseline pick, or a shuffle cut. Good perimeter players at one on one? Draw an isolation game. Personally I believe a lot on running a small number of plays as long as each one of them have more than two options. Imagine your opponent is defending your team which is running a double high pick n roll action (what most of the teams call “horns”) with a good hedge out and a strong help from the other big man, but at the next offense you call “horns side” and your 2 and 4 are changing positions. Now defense cannot react as before, it’s an offensive play which is totally against their defensive plans. So let me answer more specific to your question, I believe that you must have at least one middle and one side pick n roll action, a shuffle cut and stagger screen action, a base line pick to your big man. But you must have different options from these 4 plays, for example from the suffle cut and the stagger screens you may end it to a middle or side pick n roll, or isolation for one on one, or even start the shuffle cut with your big man or your point guard depending who you want to post up. In that way you’ll have 4 plays X 3  options, that makes 12 plays! Of course you must also have a motion offense which you can use it as a transition offense, one or two baseline out of bounds plays against man to man and one against zone, and two plays against zone defense. Later on you may add some extra plays. But always keep this advice to your mind. “It’s not what kind of play you run, but how you run it”. Stay in all details (screening spacing timing speed) because details will give you the win.

Selassie (player from Ghana): In all honesty, I am a good basketball player and I just completed university and was even the captain of the team I am wondering how I can find a team to play for in Europe. I am 6’6, 6’7 I need your help please.

George Dikeoulakos: Almost every day I receive e-mails or DVD’s from players that have ambitions and will to play in Europe. I am sorry but I cannot help everyone, it’s impossible for me and for any coach. But I can show you the way to help yourself. So if coaches are not responsible for watching new talents for import to Europe then who is? The answer is “agents”. That’s their job. Through internet you can find some good basketball sites who have links on some basketball agent’s sites. Come in contact with some of them, and whoever is interested, go prepare some good DVD’s of you (whole games, not highlights), a small CV with some of your stats and send it to him. BE CAREFULL, send him just material, not money for your ticket etc. I have seen and I have heard many stories so please try to have contact only with FIBA licenced agents.

J.D. (from Netherlands): Coach, do you think that pick n roll action is only a man to man offense or is there any way that we can use them against zone defence? If yes can you suggest any play?

George Dikeoulakos: Hi, it’s a very nice opportunity to talk about pick n roll against zone. Of course I believe that pick n roll action is very effective against zone defence as I also believe that in your team you MUST have some pick n roll actions against zone defence (but not only pick n roll). In my opinion you can create an easy shot from a pick n roll, but if nothing happens, you must know what to do after that, I mean how to attack, split the defence etc. I’ll show you two pick n roll plays against 2-3 zone, and one against 3-2 or 1-3-1 zone defence. Against 2-3 zone, you can start your primary play against zone defense, but also moving your players in such way that make them having a side pick n roll option as you can see at picture 1.

One more solution that a pick n roll can give you is by setting it at the top of the key as you can see at picture 2 and 3. Against 3-2 or 1-3-1 I love the following pick n roll (see picture 4 and 5) which makes my players feel more comfortable. I hope that I gave you some ideas, but as an epilogue I’ll remind you what I wrote at the beginning. Your players must always know what to do after the pick n roll and how to destroy the balance of the defence.

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