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A closer look at why KU's inbounds plays worked against Ohio State


Because it's hard to realize all that goes on during a basketball play while it's happening, I wanted to do a quick breakdown of what allowed Kansas' Ben McLemore to get five easy points (a three-point play and a dunk) against Ohio State on one particular sideline out-of-bounds play.

Here's the video of McLemore's layup/foul if you want to follow along.

We see that KU starts by putting its four players on the four corners of the lane. McLemore comes from the weak side and starts the play by setting a diagonal screen for Kevin Young, who is closest to the inbounder, Elijah Johnson.

Original positioning.

Original positioning. by Jesse Newell

Notice that McLemore does a good job of being physical against his defender, OSU's Shannon Scott. The sophomore guard tries to keep McLemore from crossing the lane by bodying him up, but McLemore is able to extend his arms through the contact (without drawing an offensive foul) to make it over to Young.

McLemore push.

McLemore push. by Jesse Newell

From here, Young cuts to the rim to clear out of the way (light blue arrow).

McLemore screen.

McLemore screen. by Jesse Newell

KU then "screens the screener," as McLemore — the original screener — backs up to receive a screen from teammate Perry Ellis.

McLemore, who has wowed with a lot of his talents so far, also shows great footwork here, quickly tapping his feet in a backpedal to accept the screen before turning it back up to full speed to attack the rim.

Ellis' screen isn't perfect — it's almost more like a post-up — but it's good enough to clear space for McLemore.

Ben footwork/loop.

Ben footwork/loop. by Jesse Newell

Another aspect that shouldn't be overlooked is Young selling the play on the baseline (blue bubble below). His defender, OSU's Deshaun Thomas, appears to be in a position to help guard the rim, but Young raises his hand as if he's about to receive the ball.

Young calls for ball.

Young calls for ball. by Jesse Newell

Thomas buys the fake, quickly recovering to defend Young while leaving his back towards the basket.

Young's deke, along with Ellis' screen, leaves a wide-open lane for McLemore to receive the lob from Johnson.

Open lane.

Open lane. by Jesse Newell

KU pulls off the same inbounds play 7 1/2 minutes later.

Even though Jeff Withey is in the game as the 5 with Kevin Young at the 4 (as opposed to Young being at the 5 and Ellis at the 4 in the first play), the movements and screens for each player are the exact same.

All arrows.

All arrows. by Jesse Newell

Young once again plays a significant role, as he sets a solid screen on McLemore's defender, Lenzelle Smith Jr., to completely open up the lane.

Young screen.

Young screen. by Jesse Newell

OSU doesn't communicate well on the screen, and Thomas, who was guarding Young on the play, chases the forward to the outside instead of staying inside to protect the rim (yellow arrow above).

Johnson throws the lob, and it doesn't hurt to have a guy like McLemore catching it, as his head is nearly even with the rim at the top of his leap.

McLemore alley-oop.

McLemore alley-oop. by Jesse Newell

McLemore jump.

McLemore jump. by Jesse Newell

During the game, ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla tweeted, "Bill Self's inbounds play baskets vs. a well-coached OSU team one of many reasons he is worth salary. Has multitude of coaching strengths."

On the screen-the-screener play above, Self took advantage of McLemore's athleticism and Young's execution to get his team five easy points — a significant boost considering the Jayhawks beat the Buckeyes by eight.


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