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A motion offense is a category of offensive scheme used in basketball. Motion offenses use player movement, often as a strategy to exploit quickness of the offensive team or to neutralize a size advantage of the defense.
Motion offenses are different from continuity offenses in that they follow no fixed repeating pattern. Instead a motion offense is free-flowing and unrestricted, following a set of rules. Some examples of basic rules that are commonly used are:
- Pass and screen away: Players pass to one side of the court and seek to screen for players on the opposite side of the court. The hope is to create spacing and driving lanes to basket.
- Back screen: Players in the key seek to screen players on the wing and open them up for basket cuts.
- Flare screen: Player without the ball on the perimeter seeks to set a screen (usually near the elbow area of the lane) for another player without the ball at the top of the key area.
The origin of the motion offense has been disputed. Though credit is often given to Hank Iba, the former head coach of the Oklahoma State Cowboys men's basketball team, there are many[who?] who believe that motion offense was developed earlier by coaches of the New York Renaissance, an all-African American team who played during the 1920s and 30s. In fact, the Rens were the first team—black or white—to win the World Championship Professional Basketball Tournament, held in 1939, by using the motion offense.
Hank Iba's version
Hank Iba's teams were methodical, ball-controlling units who featured weaving patterns and low-scoring games. A major contributor to the motion offense run at OSU was through the methodical mind of Bloomer Sullivan, Hank Iba's assistant early on who implemented his own version of the motion offense at Southeastern Oklahoma State College for 31 years.
Bob Knight's version
Another prominent head coach who was influential in the development of the motion offense is Bob Knight. Knight used the motion offense to great success for over 40 years as the head coach of the United States Military Academy, Indiana University, and Texas Tech University, recording 902 total victories. His motion offense emphasized post players setting screens and perimeter players passing the ball until a teammate becomes open for an uncontested lay-up or jump shot. Players are also required to be unselfish and disciplined, and must be effective in setting and using screens to get open.
The motion offense is used by a vast majority of high school, college, and professional basketball teams. Many basketball teams have continued to use the offense to great success on all levels of the game.