Play of the Day: Hofstra Horns Flipback by Max Sass
As a graduate of Hofstra University and former grad assistant for the men’s basketball team, it has been terrific to see the resurgence of the program. The story of the way head coach Joe Mihalich has been told many times, but maybe even more impressive than the turnaround he’s captained is his brilliant offensive system and game plans.
When I was a junior at Hofstra, in Mo Cassara’s first season at the helm and Charles Jenkins’ final one, the Pride finished tied for second (with Old Dominion) in the CAA – to that point the highest finish since joining the conference. Hofstra, in Mihalich’s third year has now bested that and is a pair of games away from the Pride’s first NCAA Tournament since 2001.
On top of being the favorite in the CAA, Hofstra is second in the conference in scoring, averaging 79.3 PPG. A big reason for that is the excellent ball screen sets that Mihalich and the Pride run. A lot of looks are out of Horns, including this one from their victory over Drexel in the CAA Semifinals.
CAA Player of the Year and star point guard Juan’ya Green (#1) starts by going off 4 man Denton Koon’s (#12) screen. As Koon circles over the 5 man (Andre Walker, #44), Green hits the 5 behind him. A sharp change of direction leads Green into a top of key hand off. The wing Brian Bernardi (#24) sprints behind Green getting the handoff, which means Drexel cannot help off him, because he is such an elite level shooter. Koon filled to the corner while Ameen Tanksley (#1) fills higher up on the wing one pass away. While Koon’s defender would be the roll-help in most defensive systems, Koon is directly in the sightline of Green and difficult to help off.
While Hofstra does not score immediately off this action, the movement and spacing is very dangerous and this set is one that coaches with a dynamic ball screen guard should consider implementing. CLICK HERE for the PDF play diagram.