The following zone offense is designed to create many problems for most zones. It is convertible to meet odd front (1-2-2 and 1-3-1) zones or even front (2-3 and 2-1-2) zones.
The Convertible Zone Offense is from Mike Harkins in a book titled “Successful Team Techniques in Basketball”. Coach Harkins coached Eastern Montana College (now MSU Billings) from 1960-1976, sending 10 teams to the NAIA national tournament in Kansas City. He compiled a 290-158 record at EMC, winning 12 conference championships and 10 NAIA district championships.
Play #1 – Guard Clear
This play starts from a 1-3-1 offense. The guard O1 cuts through to the ball side corner after passing to the forward O3. The offside forward O2 replaces him. The high and low post exchange positions. This is an overload play.
The guard O1 cuts through after making the same pass. He again is replaced by the offside forward O2. Instead of completing the overload, the guard replaces the offside forward and the ball is quickly reversed to him. These two options start off very much alike and keep the defense guessing.
Play #2 – Outside Cut
Options 1 and 2
The guard O1 passes to the forward O3 and takes an outside cut. The forward gives the ball back to him and takes either of the two options mentioned in Play #1. He can cut to the corner for the overload or replace the offside forward who has replaced the guard for the overshift.
Play #3 – Corner Play
The low post O5 goes to the corner, takes a pass from the forward O3 on that side who cuts through to the opposite side. The high post man O4 comes down to the low post. The ball is reversed around the horn to the forward O3 who cuts through. This play has 2 men cutting through the zone and also quickly reverses the ball in an attempt to overshift the zone.
Play #4 – The Two-Up Adjustment
The forward O3 on the side of the high post clears to the other side of the floor. This causes the forward O2 on that side to move up front.
The ball comes from the guard O1 to O2 who moved forward near O3 who came across and replaced O2. Many times O3 will be open because the zone man on that side will go up to cover the forward who went up front. When the high post man saw the forward O3 on his side clear out and go to the other side, this was his key to replace him as shown in the above diagram.
The ball is then reversed back to the high post man’s side and many times he is open for the same reason. This has converted us from a 1-3-1 offense to a 2-1-2 offense. This would split an odd front zone.
Play #5 – The 2-1-2 Corner Play
We need a play to convert us back into a 1-3-1 offense. To do this, we run the corner play by having one of the two guards, O1, throw the ball to the forward O4 and cut through. The offside guard O2 comes over and replaces O1. The high post man O5 rolls down. The offside forward O3 cuts into the high post area. The ball is then reversed from O4 to O1 to O2. We have attempted to catch them overshifted and we are now in a 1-3-1 offense.
This would split an even front zone.
This zone offense would have enough moves to create many problems for most zone defenses and would be convertible to meet both even and odd front zones.