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Chalk Talk: Breaking Down Brad Underwood's Stagger Play

Over the past couple of weeks, we have taken a closer look at the offense of new Oklahoma State head coach Brad Underwood. In our first week, we looked at his motion offense; last week, we looked at one of his ball screen set plays. This week, we will take a look at one of his set plays that has off-ball motion. This includes off-ball screens and off-ball action, as opposed to on-ball action (e.g. two-man game, ball screen, etc.). This play includes what is known as stagger action. A stagger screen is when two players set an off-ball screen for the same cutter.

The play starts off with a pin down screen on both sides to free up the guards. The ball handler then passes to one of the two guards to start the action.

Double Pindown

The guard on the opposite side (G2) then runs to the middle of the three point line and he receives a pass from the guard with the ball (G3). The guard who initially had the ball then runs toward the strong side corner in preparation for the first stagger screen.

Pass 1


The guard in the corner (G1) then becomes the "runner" and he receives two screens on the baseline by both the guard (G4) and the forward. The guard up top passes to him once he comes off the second screen.


Stagger one

After the guard in the corner receives the pass, he can either shoot or continue in the action. If he doesn't have an open shot, he dribbles to the top of the key to replace G2, who is now running toward the weak side corner. G3 then comes off of a stagger screen to replace where G1 just was.

Stagger two

Once G3 comes off of his stagger screen, G4 sets a back screen on the forward's man while the forward cuts toward the basket. The ball handler has the option of passing to the guard coming off the screen or waiting to pass to the forward off his back screen. The latter is almost always open because the screeners' defenders often sag off their man during the screening action.

back screen


Additionally, if at any time one of the screeners on the baseline is left uncovered, they abort their action and cut toward the basket.

Here's the play in its entirety:

Stagger Back

And here's what it looks like if the defense sags off of the screeners:

Stagger Back Abort

This play gives the offense many options to score. If nothing works, the players can immediately transition into their motion offense. Set plays provide change-ups to the base motion to make an already potent offense even more dangerous.


That what this week's Chalk Talk! Be sure to keep an eye next Wednesday for the next edition!