Stephen F Austin Continuous Action Offense

Here is some offense that I saw this weekend while watching Stephen F. Austin play in their conference tourney. They are 31 and 2 for the season and have a 28 game winning streak going. They do not have great athletes, but they are very disciplined and run this continuous action offense. It is similar to Dana Altman’s offense and also similar to that which was run by Al McGuire at Marquette and was later used by Johnny Orr at Michigan and Iowa State.

SFA executed it very well and moved the ball quickly and made sharp crisp cuts. It was like watching a throw back game. I loved watching them SFA execute and am definitely going to watch them in the NCAA tournament. They ran Sam Houston silly with this offense. The telecaster were talking about how disciplined the Lumberjacks were. I heard on of the prognosticators talking about them being a threat to knock someone this week.


Players are aligned in a balanced 2 guard front.

#1 passes to #2 and #2 swings the ball on to #4 at the wing.

#5 sets a back screen and #1 cuts hard to the rim.

#3 cuts off his tail across the lane and #5 moves to the backside elbow position.

#2 cuts away to the backside guard spot.

If #1 is open on the cut, #4 should get him the ball.


If nothing is available, #4 will pass back to #2 at the point.

#2 can pass to #5 and run a guard around cut, or dribble off a screen set by #5.

#4 rotates out and fills the vacated guard spot.

#3 fills the other guard spot and #1 moves to fill the backside wing.

#5 will roll to the rim off the screen and roll action or after handing the ball to #2 on the guard around cut.



If #2 does not have a shot or pass to #5, he will pass back to #4.

#4 will pass to #3 and exchange with #2.




#3 will pass to #2 and #2 will move the ball on to #4.

On the pass from #2 to #4, #3 will cut over or behind the screen set by #5.

#1 will flash across the lane off #3’s tail

#5 moves to the backside elbow.



If a shot opportunity does not present itself, #4 will pass to #2. #2 in this situation, passes to #5 and runs a guard around cut.

#4 rotates out and fills the vacated guard spot.

#1 moves up to the backside guard spot.

#3 moves up to fill the wing.



If #5 does not hand the ball to #2, he will pass back out to #4.

#4 will then pass to #1 and exchange with #2.

#1 has the choice of passing to #3 or #2.

If he passes to #3, #2 runs the shuffle cut.

If he passes to #2, #2 passes to #4 and #1 runs the shuffle cut to continue the action.


#1 passes to #2.

#2 moves the ball on to #4 at the wing.

On the pass from #2 to #4, #1 runs the shuffle cut off #5’s screen.

#3 moves in and sets a back screen for #5 in a screen the screener action.

#5 uses the screen and cuts to the basket.

If #5 is open, #4 can throw over the top to #5.


If nothing is open, #4 will pass to #2 at the point. #2 will hit #5 at the elbow and run a guard around cut.

In this situation, #5 does not hand the ball to #2, so #4 runs the second cut around #5.

If #4 is open, #5 may hand him the ball.

#3 rotates out and fills the ball side guard spot.

#1 fills the back side guard spot.


If nothing is available, #5 can pass out to #3. In this diagram, #3 passes to #1 and starts his exchange with #4.

#1 chooses to pass to #2 at the wing, therefore, #4 then runs the shuffle cut over #5.

#3 moves in to set the back screen for #5.

#5 uses the screen and cuts to the rim.

#2 can hit #4 on the shuffle cut, or throw over the top to #5.


If a shot opportunity is not available, #2 continues the offense by passing to #1 at the point. #1 then passes to #5 at the elbow and runs a guard around cut.

If #2 has done a good job of running his cut and is open, #5 can hand him the ball and roll to the basket.

#1 can get the shot, or hit #5 rolling.

The other players rotate on the perimeter and fill the vacated spots.


If #5 does not make the handoff, he will pass to either guard to continue the offense.

In this situations, he passes out to #3.

#3 then passes to #2 and #2 moves the ball on to #1 at the wing.

On the #2 to #1 pass, #3 will run the shuffle cut and #4 will flash off his tail to the ballside elbow position.

If #3 is open, he should receive the ball for a scoring opportunity.

If X5 sloughs off to protect against the shuffle cut, #1 can make a direct pass to #5 at the backside elbow.

On the pass to #5, #2 will run the guard around. If X5 stays back, #5 should have a great scoring opportunity from the elbow. The other 3 players rotate and fill the vacated spots to continue the offense.

8 thoughts on “Stephen F Austin Continuous Action Offense

  • March 17, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    I run a similar offense at a high school in DC. What I have experienced is the the players don’t realize all the options this offense provides. It take a year for them to get use to it.

  • March 19, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Looks like it is meant to be run against a man-2-man defense. What adjustments are made against a zone or do they run a completely different offensive set? Thank.

    • March 28, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      It is a man offense. If you would like to contact the coaching staff at SFA they might send you what they do against zone defenses. This offense could be adapted and executed against a zone defense using your zone attack principles.

      By the way, the diagrams I show are just the basics of what SFA ran. I watched them play two more times in the NCAA tournament and each time I watched them on TV they showed more of their scheme. I loved watching them play. Wish I would have copied the games on DVD, but did not do that.

  • March 19, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Is similar to an offense that Steve Yoder and Al Brown ran at Ball State in the 80’s, which was called a shuffle continuity offense, except that offense had more flex-like picks and cuts on the baseline.

    • March 28, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      Coach Fields,

      You are correct! There are a tremendous number of options. I watch SFA two more times as they played in the NCAA tournament and each time I saw them they exhibited more of the offense. The diagrams I have included only scratch the surface. I would love to see what you added to the offense.

    • March 28, 2014 at 6:26 pm


      You are right on in talking about the offense Ball State ran when Steve Yoder and Al Brown ran. They ran the “Butler Offense” that Tony Hinkle ran at Butler University. Al and I played together at Purdue for Ray Eddy and we ran the Hinkle system there in the early 1960’s. The Butler system has a myriad of options and is a continuity such as the SFA system.

  • July 30, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Does anyone have a DVD video to break this down in a clinic setting? This offense looks like it is hell to defend because of the constant motion and options if a defender tries to sag or cheat. I could see the 5 man’s defender trying to sag but then that would allow a pinch post or ball screen action for a shot at the elbow. If they play tight then the back screen options would hurt a defense. Definitely would like more information. If someone has more info or film please let me know. I’d love to see more.


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