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The Princeton offense is an offensive basketball strategy which emphasizes constant motion, back-door cuts, picks on and off the ball, and disciplined teamwork. It was used and perfected at Princeton University by Pete Carril, though its roots may be traced back to Franklin “Cappy” Cappon, who coached Princeton in the late 1930s,and Bernard "Red" Sarachek, who coached at Yeshiva University from 1938 to 1977.
The offense is designed for a unit of five players who can each pass, shoot, and dribble at an above-average level. These players hope to isolate and exploit a mismatch using these skills.Positions become less important and on offense there is no point guard, shooting guard, small forward or power forward. However, there are certain rules that players running this offense are expected to follow.
The offense usually starts out with four players outside the three-point arc with one player at the top of the key. The ball is kept in constant motion through passing until either a mismatch allows a player to cut to the basket or a player without the ball cuts toward the unoccupied area under and around the basket, and is passed the ball for a layup. The post player is a very important player in the offense. He sets up in the high post and draws attention to his positioning. When the ball is received in to the post the players main objective is to find back door cutters or defenders who have fallen asleep on the weak side.
The hallmark of the offense is the backdoor pass, where a player on the wing suddenly moves in towards the basket, receives a bounce pass from a guard on the perimeter, and (if done correctly) finds himself with no defenders between him and a layup. Alternatively, when the defensive team attempts to pack the paint to prevent backdoor cuts, the offense utilizes three point shots from the perimeter. All five players in the offense—including the center—should be competent at making a three-point attempt, further spreading the floor, and not allowing the defense to leave any player unattended.
The offense is often a very slowly developing one, relying on a high number of passes, and is often used in college basketball by teams facing opponents with superior athletic talent in order to maintain a low-scoring game (believing that a high-scoring game would favor the athletically superior opponent). As a result, Princeton has led the nation in scoring defense 19 times including in every year from 1989 to 2000.
During his tenure as head coach of Princeton (1967–1996), Pete Carril compiled a 514–261 record, a .658 winning percentage. His teams won 13 Ivy League championships during his 29-year tenure with the Tigers, and received 11 NCAA Tournament bids and two National Invitation Tournament berths. Princeton captured the NIT title in 1975. Perhaps Carril's greatest win was his final upset victory on a backdoor cut to give Princeton the win 43 - 41 over the 1995 defending NCAA champion UCLA. The win extended Coach Carril's retirement by one game and is ranked as one of the best NCAA upsets of all time. Former Princeton coach Sydney Johnson and his predecessors Bill Carmody, John Thompson III, and Joe Scott have all employed the Princeton offense.
After his retirement from Princeton in 1996, Pete Carril served as an assistant coach for the National Basketball Association's Sacramento Kings until 2006. During his time with Sacramento, Carril helped Rick Adelman, who became the Kings' head coach in 1998, implement the Princeton offense. Carril returned to the Kings during the 2008–2009 season as a consultant.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Hornets, New Jersey Nets, and Washington Wizards also have run versions of the Princeton offense.in the National Basketball Association. Rick Adelman introduced a modified version of Pete Carril's system to the Houston Rockets during the 2007–2008 season. Coach Alvin Gentry also implemented an altered version of it that shows similarities to the triangle offense during the Phoenix Suns′s 2012–13 season. Eddie Jordan implemented the Princeton offense as coach of the Washington Wizards from 2003 to 2008) and of the Philadelphia 76ers from 2009 to 2010.
Besides Princeton, some of the NCAA Division I college basketball teams best known for using the offense are:
NCAA Division II colleges that have used the Princeton offense include:
NCAA Division III colleges that have used the Princeton offense include:
NAIA colleges that have used the Princeton offense include:
High school basketball teams that have used the Princeton offense include:
Amateur Athletic Union, Youth Basketball of America, and United States Basketball Association teams that have used the Princeton offense include:
John Robert Thompson III is the assistant coach for the United States men's national basketball team since 2017. He previously served as the head coach of the men's basketball team at Georgetown University. He grew up in Washington, D.C. and was named first team All-Metro by The Washington Post while playing for Gonzaga College High School in 1984. Thompson was hired on April 20, 2004 to replace Craig Esherick and was fired at the end of the 2017 season. Prior to being hired at Georgetown, Thompson was the head coach for four years at his alma mater, Princeton University.
Peter Joseph Carril is an American former basketball coach. He is best known for his time as head coach of Princeton University for 30 years and his use of the "Princeton offense". He also coached at Lehigh University and in the NBA as an assistant with the Sacramento Kings.
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William D. Carmody is a retired American men's college basketball coach, formerly the head coach at the College of the Holy Cross. He was the head coach of the Wildcats men's basketball team at Northwestern University from 2000 through 2013. From 1996 through 2000, Carmody was the head coach at Princeton University.
Joseph Winston Scott is an American college basketball coach who is currently in his second stint as the head coach at Air Force. Scott previously was head coach at Air Force once before, as well as at Princeton and Denver.
Armond G. Hill is an American professional basketball coach and former player who most recently served as assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Craig Malcolm Robinson is an American college basketball coach, basketball executive, and broadcaster. He is a former head men's basketball coach at Oregon State University and Brown University. He was a star forward as a player at Princeton University in the early 1980s and a bond trader during the 1990s. He currently is the Executive Director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Sydney Johnson is an American college basketball coach and the former head coach at Fairfield University for the Fairfield Stags men's basketball team. Previously, Johnson was the head coach at Princeton University from 2007 to 2011 where he led the Princeton Tigers men's basketball team to the 2011 Ivy League Title and the 2011 NCAA Tournament. A 1997 Princeton alumnus, Johnson played for the Tigers from 1993 to 1997.
The dribble drive motion is an offensive strategy in basketball, developed by former Pepperdine head coach Vance Walberg during his time as a California high school coach and at Fresno City College.
Franklin C. "Cappy" Cappon was a college athlete and coach. He played football and basketball at Phillips University and the University of Michigan and coached basketball and football at Luther College (1923–1924), the University of Kansas (1926–1927), the University of Michigan, and Princeton University (1938–1961).
The Princeton Tigers men's basketball team is the intercollegiate men's basketball program representing Princeton University. The school competes in the Ivy League in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The Tigers play home basketball games at the Jadwin Gymnasium in Princeton, New Jersey on the university campus. Princeton has won six Eastern Intercollegiate Basketball League championships, 27 Ivy League championships, and the 1975 National Invitation Tournament. The team is currently coached by Mitch Henderson.
The 1960–61 Princeton Tigers men's basketball team represented Princeton University in intercollegiate college basketball during the 1959–60 NCAA University Division men's basketball season. Franklin Cappon began the season as head coach. In January 1961, Cappon suffered a mild heart attack, and Jake McCandless took over his role as head coach following Cappon's hospitalization. The team captain was Donald Swan. The team posted a 9–2 record under Cappon and then a 9–6 record with McCandless at the helm. The team played its home games in the Dillon Gymnasium in Princeton, New Jersey. The team was the champion of the Ivy League, earning an invitation to the 24-team 1961 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.
The 1989–90 Princeton Tigers men's basketball team represented Princeton University in intercollegiate college basketball during the 1989–90 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The head coach was Pete Carril and the team captains was Matt Lapin. The team played its home games in the Jadwin Gymnasium on the University campus in Princeton, New Jersey. The team was the champion of the Ivy League, which earned them an invitation to the 64-team 1990 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament where they were seeded thirteenth in the Midwest Region.
The 1991–92 Princeton Tigers men's basketball team represented Princeton University in intercollegiate college basketball during the 1991–92 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The head coach was Pete Carril and the team co-captains were Matt Eastwick, Sean Jackson and George Leftwich. The team played its home games in the Jadwin Gymnasium on the University campus in Princeton, New Jersey. The team was the champion of the Ivy League, which earned them an invitation to the 64-team 1992 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament where they were seeded eleventh in the East Region. This was the team's fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Basketball Tournament after having lost in the first round by a total of seven points in the prior three years.
The 1995–96 Princeton Tigers men's basketball team represented Princeton University in intercollegiate college basketball during the 1995–96 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The head coach was Pete Carril and the team captain was Sydney Johnson. The team played its home games in the Jadwin Gymnasium on the University campus in Princeton, New Jersey. The team was the champion of the Ivy League, which earned them an invitation to the 64-team 1996 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament where they were seeded thirteenth in the Southeast Region. This was the final year that Carril coached the men's basketball team. He would be succeeded by assistant coach Bill Carmody. Carrill retired as the Ivy League's winningest coach in terms of overall victories, conference victories and conference championships. By the end of the decade, Princeton achieved a 76.1% (210–66) winning percentage, which was the eighth best in the nation.
The 1986–87 Princeton Tigers men's basketball team represented Princeton University in intercollegiate college basketball during the 1986–87 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The head coach was Pete Carril and the team captain was Joe Scott. The team played its home games in the Jadwin Gymnasium on the University campus in Princeton, New Jersey. The team finished second in the Ivy League, earning no postseason invitation to either the 1987 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament or the 1987 National Invitation Tournament. The team won its last five games to finish the season with a 16–9 overall record and a 9–5 conference record. However, they finished one game behind a 10–4 Penn Quaker team in the conference race.
Basketball is a ball game and team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules. Since being developed by James Naismith as a non-contact game that almost anyone can play, basketball has undergone many different rule variations, eventually evolving into the NBA-style game known today. Basketball is one of the most popular and widely viewed sports in the world.
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules. Basketball is one of the most popular and widely viewed sports in the world.
The 1936–37 Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team represented the University of Michigan in intercollegiate basketball during the 1936–37 season. The team compiled a 16–4 record, and 9–3 against Big Ten Conference opponents. The team scored 741 points in 20 games for an average of 37.1 points per game – the highest point total and scoring per game in school history up to that time. Michigan finished in third place in the Big Ten.
The 2004–05 Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team represented Georgetown University in the 2004–2005 NCAA Division I basketball season. The Hoyas were coached by John Thompson III – his first year at Georgetown – and played their home games at the MCI Center in Washington, DC. The Hoyas are members of the Big East Conference. They finished the season 19–13, 8–8 in Big East play. They advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2005 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament before losing to Connecticut They played in the 2005 National Invitation Tournament and advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to South Carolina.
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