Introduction to UCLA Offense


Every person who either plays or has watched basketball must have heard the term UCLA Offense created by John Wooden. The UCLA Offense came to prominence through Coach Woodens’ effective execution of its principles which led to unparalleled success for his teams.


One of the key features of the offense is the execution of the UCLA cut. ULCA Cut has its own uniqueness and advantages. It can be done on the both the sides of the court. Coaches must always ensure that when the UCLA Cut is in run, that the guards have ample space to score from the pass. A well-executed UCLA Cut can result into an easy shot for the guard close to the basket. Additionally once the basic movement is mastered additional offense will be able to be generated.


One of the most significant advantages to the UCLA offense is its simplicity. If the time is taken by teams to develop the full range of ‘reads’ out of the offense then its degree of effectiveness is very high. The UCLA offense can be run as a continuity offense so the player can continuously be run on one side of the floor and the other until an acceptable scoring option is presented.


For the UCLA Cut to be effective a good screen must be presented and utilised effectively by the offensive players involved. The players must focus on scoring off of every screen and as a result develop a constant threat to the opposition. The higher the number of effective screens you set, the more disturbed the defence will become and the more scoring opportunities will present themselves.


When coaching against the UCLA offense the key feature to master is defending screens. Being able to nullify the high off ball screen is pivotal. A simple way of doing this is by having your defenders jump to the ball on the pass and then have the cutter’s defender supported by defensive players off the ball moving into a stronger than usual help position. This restricts the angles for a successful pass to be made and limits the amount of space in which to cut to the basket. When defending the screener (Centre usually) the defender can sink off the screen to help in slowing the cutter once the UCLA Cut is initiated.

UCLA Offense Standard Diagram 1
UCLA Offense Standard Diagram 1

Basic set-up for the offense is 1-4.


Offense starts with a pass from the point position (One) to the wing (Three).


Five (5) moves from the high post to set an off ball screen for One (1).


One (1) creates a lead and then cuts ball side of the screen to the basket.


Four (4) on the initial pass moves to set a down screen for Two (2). Two (2) moves into the weak side low side position and cuts off the down screen moving to a receiver spot at the foul line.

UCLA Offense Standard Diagram 2
UCLA Offense Standard Diagram 2

Once one (1) has not received the pass on the way to the basket the player moves to weak side wing.


Two (2) continues to move to the point position ready to receive the first pass of the ball reversal.


Five (5) flashes to the strong side low post as Four (4) flashes to the ball side high post.


Five (5) can then fill the vacant high post as the ball is reversed to start the offense again on the opposite side of the floor.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Coach Riches has been working within the sport, business and education industries for many years. During this time he has built an extensive number of formal and informal qualifications. A firm believer in training and development designed to help people reach their full potential, relevant o their needs and functional to their industry environment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *