David Preheim runs a very nice coaching blog very similar to this one where he provides a great deal of valuable information. Coach Preheim along with Troy Culley who is a contributor to the blog created a best of the horns sets playbook, featuring an incredible amount of set plays out of the horns set. For those who aren’t familiar, the horns set is called such because it looks like horns with two post players at the elbows and two wings in the corners. In many ways it is similar to a 1-4 high set, except your wings are dropped down to the corner. If you have bigs that are better away from the basket then you may find many of these sets useful, or if you have a lineup where your bigs are not truly post players you may also find some of these plays to be suitable for your team. You will find the horns set used at all levels, from NBA and international play on down to youth levels. Here is a an example of the Los Angeles Lakers running a horns set.
There is no way I can possibly cover all of the set plays that Coach Preheim and Coach Culley have covered in their playbook of horns set plays. If you’d like to look at the full playbook I’ve added it to my Facebook page so you can access the full playbook (there has to be around 100 plays in it). Here are a few I found that I really liked.
Horns Set Plays – Flex
Here you have a horns set play that is designed to have some very similar features to the flex offense. If you watch the NBA you’ll notice most teams run some sort of variation of flex virtually every game. With this particular play you have a few nice options. Off the high pick and roll you get a flex screen for your 4. If this is a good screen you may have a quick entry for a layup. What I like with this is that the right side of the floor has been cleared out, so there’s no real help there to begin with. If this first option for the 4 isn’t there, you 2 guard is coming off a screen from the 5. I always like the screen the screener action like this. In this particular diagram it shows the 2 guard penetrating if he doesn’t have a shot with the 5 an 4 rotating to accompany this penetration.
Horns Set Plays – Flex Look – Post Entry
Here is another horns variation with flex involved. Again with this play you’re trying to get a post isolation, but you also have a screen the screener action for your point guard who sets the initial screen. If you’re a team that likes to run flex, these are some nice set plays that you could use to initiate your flex offense before getting into your flex motion.
Horns Set Plays – Duke – Ball Screen Dribble Exchange
This horns set play from Duke involves a high ball screen and then a dribble exchange with your big and either your 2 or 3 guard. If you have good athletic guards/wings that can create and score off the dribble this would be a nice set play for your offense. I especially like the last part of the play where the 5 drops to the opposite block, where he will be wide open if his man goes to help. For those familiar with the read and react offense, the one thing I like about the read and react is that it teaches kids how to move without the ball. Too often in this type of situation guys stand still without the ball and don’t put themselves in positions to be successful. This set play gets your 5 into that position to be successful. NOTE – If on the dribble hand off between the 4 and 2 the 4 man hedges to help, the 4 could then keep his dribble and attack the basket instead of handing off on the play.
Horns Set Plays – Flare Screen
If you’re a team that either (a) has a 4 and/or 5 that can really shoot or (b) does not have traditional 4 and/or 5 and instead plays more of a 4 or 5 guard offense, then this is a set play that could work for you. This is a simply play designed to get a quick outside shot for either of those players. For this play I’d also like tell my 4 to dive to the basket after setting the flare screen because their defender may likely try and help over top on the screen. As stated before this may be a good way to take advantage of having a 4 or 5 that can shoot, but also is a nice way to drag the other teams bigs out on the perimeter where they may not be comfortable defending.
Horns Set Plays – Chicago Bulls – Back Screen with a Dribble Handoff
Here’s another pretty simple play out of the horns set. The play begins by hitting one of the high post players, in this case the 5. After the entry pass is made, the PG cuts down the middle before coming back and setting the back screen for the 4. If this is open the 5 makes the pass. If not, the PG comes on the dribble exchange and looks to score or possibly dump off to the 4. I would also make sure to teach my 5 in this case that if his man goes to help on the dribble exchange he can fake the handoff and keep it himself. When I was in high school we had a post who was excellent at this and got himself a ton of easy baskets. If executed once or twice he’ll keep his guy honest for the actual exchange later in the game.
If you would like to view the full playbook featuring a ton more variations of the horns set plays then please check out my Facebook page where you just need to like my page and then you can download the entire playbook for viewing at your leisure.