View Full Version : The Flex is Back

02-20-2007, 09:31 AM
With Micah's integration into the offense now complete, Pendo's confidence in his shot emerging, and Bouldin and Pargo's ability to post small guards, GU now has the small forward/guard line-up to run the flex to perfection.

Saw alot of it last night and some the second half of Memphis. I think that Derek gets better looks out of the flex than the other plays that are designed for him to run off of multiple picks. I'd like to see GU run the flex about 50% with the wrinkle of posting up Pargo/Bouldin when they see a mismatch down low. Mix this in with other sets that include isolation for Pargo's drives and it is a thing of beauty.

Also I hope Jeremy continues to drive and dish at times as well as taking it to the rack. Derek has been great at this lately and has been hitting Pendo in rythm for open jumpers.

02-20-2007, 05:46 PM
You'e right. The Zags' offense has looked downright smooth the last three halves. Much as Sean brings boards and smarts, I think the team runs a much better offense with a 4-guard set and Kuso or Pendo in there. They'll lose some rebounding battles, but the flex is just so efficient and at any time you have four guys out there who can hit a jumper and a couple who can drive. And Micah's range is obviously opening things up for Raivio to shoot or drive.

02-20-2007, 08:38 PM
With Micah's integration into the offense now complete, Pendo's confidence in his shot emerging, and Bouldin and Pargo's ability to post small guards, GU now has the small forward/guard line-up to run the flex to perfection.

I thought the basic Flex offense relied upon 2 post players who set screens for one another in the lane area with the movement of the 2 wings and point guard complementing the foundation of the flex: the low post screens. If I'm correct, I think what we're seeing w the 4-guard offense is kind of a flex-offene hybrid rather than the ideal. I'm not being contentious (very, very happy w the 4-guard offense and think it's a better fit for the Zags now for sure), just looking for some one to coach me up on the nuances of what exactly the flex offense is supposed to look like. Anyone, anyone.....Buehler?

Addendum: Excellent website here explaining the basics of the Flex offense (and destroying my 2-post player assumption above!). The site includes a graphic showing player movement one pass at a time: http://members.tripod.com/~coacheshome/flex.htm

02-21-2007, 03:40 AM
Here's an article from '03 by Fran Fraschilla on Gonzaga's flex. You'll have to follow the link to get the charts -- but the text is below.


Tuesday, February 18
Updated: November 14, 3:30 PM ET

Flexing a team's offense

By Fran Fraschilla
Special to ESPN.com

At some point during the college basketball season, you will hear the announcers use the term, "The Flex Offense."

Interested in the X's and O's of college basketball, but don't understand the terminology? Read ESPN's Fran Fraschilla's introduction to Hoops 101 on ESPN.com for a crash course in the basics of basketball.

It is an offense that can found from the ACC to the WCC. Mark Few's Zags of Gonzaga, and Gary Williams' Maryland Terrapins, albeit a little differently, get a lot of mileage out of the flex offense. The basis of the offense, however, was introduced in the early 1970s by Carroll Williams of Santa Clara University. He is known as the "father" of the modern "flex offense.

But Carroll Williams' assistant coach Dan Fitzgerald brought it north to Spokane as the head coach of Gonzaga and it has been a big part of the Zag's success ever since.

The "flex" is a continuity (or pattern) man-to-man offense where all five players are interchangeable. It involves constant reversal of the ball from one side of the court to the other. It can also be described as a structured form of "motion offense". And, with patient ball movement and good screening, it can keep a defense on its toes for the entire 35-second shot clock.

Whether out of the fast break or a half-court entry pass, the initial pattern, or basic spots on the court at team wants to fill in the "flex offense", are the two elbows, the two corners and the ball side block (or low post). As the ball is passed from the point guard (1) at the elbow to the power forward (4) at the opposite elbow, we back screen the cutter (3) out of the ball side corner and look for the pass inside for the lay up. Note that the small forward (cutter) makes his cut to the baseline side of the screen.

After the back screen by the center (5), the point guard (1) down screens for him and pops out to corner to create spacing. The post man (5) comes off the screen looking for the jump shot. Teams with a mobile big man, like Gonzaga's Zach Gourde, love this option.

The continuity continues as the small forward (3) sets the back screen for the off-guard (2).

The next move is for the power forward (4) to down screen for the small forward (3), who comes to elbow looking for the jumper.

If the defender (X4) denies the pass to the power forward (4) at the elbow, it presents a great opportunity for a back-door lay up for the power forward. If this happens, it's up to the small forward (3) to replace the power foward at the elbow.

The "flex" continues as the post man (5) passes to the small forward (3) and the off-guard (2) back screens for the point guard (1).

Some teams like to throw the ball to the corner and set the staggered double screen away -- in this case for the off-guard (2). This action also isolates the point guard in the post.

When the ball comes out of the corner and is reversed from the power forward (4) to the off-guard (2) and ultimately to the small forward (3), it's up to the point guard (1) to set the back screen to keep the initial pattern going.

Gonzaga 'Flex'
Here is an example of the 1-2-2 entry that Gonzaga has used in the past to get into its flex offense. If the Zags enter to the left side, the post man (5) will down screen for the off-guard (2) and pop out to the corner to clear out. The power forward (4) will screen for the small forward (3), who will Make a "curl cut" into the lane. If run correctly, the result is a layup opportunity ... if the power forward (4) sets a good screen.

Now, if the small forward (3) doesn't come open off his cut, the point guard (1) sets a down screen for the power forward (4), who pops out to the corner.

On the pass out to the power forward (4) in the corner, the small forward (3) sets the back screen for the post man (5), who looks for a lay up.

The continuity simply continues as the off-guard (2) down screens for the small forward (3).

Another common entry to get into the flex offense is what we call the "1-4 low" set with four players on the baseline. Whichever way the point man dribbles, the opposite post man (4) flashes to the elbow to receive the pass.

As you can see, even though we have entered the ball from a different set, we can continue the continuity as we back screen for small forward (3).

Then, the down screen for post man (5).

02-21-2007, 04:06 AM
Nice read! I forgot about that article.

john montana
02-21-2007, 08:43 AM
when i was in highschool the flex was our primary offense. playing in college we ran more of a motion, but several teams in our conference ran the flex, and i HATED defending against it. at 5 ft 10 in college i always guarded a guy at least 3-4 inches bigger than me and when playing against the flex it was easy for a bigger guard to seal me off when setting the down pick. i think we'll see bouldin and pargo do more and more of this down the stretch, they are both effective in the post. the zags have really run the flex well lately. having interchangable pieces (who can all shoot the 15 footer) really helps with that offense.

02-21-2007, 01:09 PM
Thanks for adding your insight, as someone who has played at the college level, on how the guard post up is a natural part of the flex offense.

I'll have to try it out next sunday at our over 40 church league;)