THE BASIC SETUP: Kentucky's Adolph Rupp and his assistant, Harry Lancaster, believe any zone press can be successfully challenged by one attack. In its three options (right) only the cutting angles of the players vary. It begins (above) with the offense overloaded to one side. Guard G1 can make the inbounds pass to any one of three men—the other guard, G2, who is the team's best ball handler (1), or either forward: Fl, angling toward the ball (2), or F2, hooking back from midcourt (3). Everyone keys on G2. When he breaks, the others break simultaneously. After the first pass G1 heads upcourt while the center (C) cuts cross-court to support ensuing action.
FIRST OPTION: At the break, if G2 is clear, the first pass (1) goes to him. He quickly dribbles to the top of the foul circle and stops. He is now in position to whip a return pass (2) to G1, who has rushed up the right side after making the inbounds pass. If that route is closed he passes (2A) to F2, who, failing to receive the first pass, has reversed his field and cut back upcourt on the left side. Fl is the trailer, available for a safety pass in the event that G2 is hit with a double-team. C continues his arc toward the basket. "We want our men in center court near the circle," explains Lancaster, "so they will have passing lanes and won't be trapped on the sides."
SECOND OPTION: G2 angles toward the passing lane and continues across it while Fl moves in to take the inbounds pass (1). Fl then dribbles slightly to the right of the foul circle. At this point he has two choices. He can return the pass (2) to G1, who has cut up the right side after making the inbounds pass, or he can pass (2A) to F2, who has again reversed direction and cut upcourt on the left side. Then Fl moves upcourt behind the play to create a possible three-on-two situation, which is what the offense wants against any zone press. The center's pattern remains the same, across the middle and up the right side. Type of press dictates which option is used.
THIRD OPTION: G1 fakes to both G2 and Fl as they cut across the passing lane toward the left of the court, and passes (1) to F2, angling to the ball at the top of the foul circle from his original position at midcourt. F2 dribbles briefly toward the center line, and now he has two options. He can pass the ball (2) to G2, racing up the left sideline, or (2A) to G1, who took off along the right sideline in what coaches call a "banana inside" pattern after making the inbounds pass. Rid of the ball, F2 moves right or left, behind the receiver—again hoping to force a three-on-two situation. "If the first two passes are sound," says Lancaster, "the press is usually beaten."