When most coaches think of “baseline runner,” the first thought is often zone offense action. That isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the man-to-man offense used by a number of teams in college basketball today. This includes UCLA, who ran this heavily en route to the highest effective field goal percentage in Division I in 2016-17.

So, what is Baseline Runner offense? Put simply, Baseline Runner is a read-based offense that relies on a “runner” playing along the baseline and using screens set by two screeners.


One advantage of Baseline Runner is that it’s simple conceptually for players to grasp. It doesn’t predetermine paths, but this offense clearly defines each player’s role. At any given time, you have two guards, two screeners, and one runner.

It’s the job of the two guards to make sure the ball moves and follows the runner. It’s the job of the two screeners to set tough, legal screens and look for dives/slips. And it’s the job of the runner to work off of those screens, often changing speeds and direction, to get open. Though teaching your perimeter players how to read those screens may take some time, the spacing and job of each player should be crystal clear.

This offense is a potential half-court option for teams who don’t have natural playmakers with the ball. It does, however, require multiple guys on the floor at a given time who can create their shot off of the ball. That means you have to have guys in your backcourt who can make shots off screening action and understand what reads to make. It also helps if you have longer guards, guys who can see over defense to find the runner and both bigs.

While some run Baseline Runner as a primary half-court offense, it also has some applications as a much more situational offense. It can be used to flatten out pack-line defenses or as a counter to junk defense.  For coaches, this is a good offense to be aware of  and keep in your back pocket.

About Just Play Sports Solutions: Just Play Sports Solutions was founded in 2014 and streamlines coaches’ workflows and allows them to better teach their teams. It is rapidly changing how coaches are able to engage their teams and is being utilized by hundreds of coaches across the country. Just Play Sports Solutions currently provides playbook, scouting, and teaching tools for footballbasketball, and lacrosse.