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“The Thinking Behind the Backdoor Cut”

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on November 17, 2006

It’s sort of joke, isn’t it, to be writing just a paragraph on the backdoor cut, the move that dominated the Ivy League (and frustrated all ilk of opposing teams) for decades and, eventually, changed (and revived) the NBA? It also feels presumptuous of me to be writing this. Pete Carril (I’m sure he had predecessors, and he certainly spurred a legion of followers) is the expert, the Moses with the holy tablet on this one. But, I have no idea how Pete and Bill Carmody (Northwestern) and Joe what’s-his-name taught and teach this at Princeton; I have no idea what they say, so here, at least, is a fresh perspective.

(Okay, two paragraphs.) The idea behind TBC is: the more the defense extends away from the basket, the more room you have behind them (between them and the hoop) to cut, catch and score. When introducing TBC at our clinics, we tell players that when someone denies you the ball out away from your hoop, that you should stop, turn and shake his hand, saying “thank you, I’m about to score two points on you”. Basketball’s a game of deception, right? I mean at its core. So, what we do is set-up the backdoor, create a situation that looks like you REALLY want the ball passed to you moving away from the hoop, or, additionally, moving out AND toward the ball (my preference as a set-up). You want it bad so, naturally, the defense, your opponent, wants to deny you that which you most desire (nice guys, huh?). Get the defense running, stop and pivot and change direction on a dime for the bounce pass and score. See how many times they deny you then. They’ll give up on that idea. At which point you start practicing your three-point shooting.

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