Kansas Basketball Drills

I picked up some of these drills while coaching at Bill Self Basketball Camp at Kansas this past summer after KU won the NCAA National Championship.

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  • When going to post up a defender, stick your head into the defenders outside shoulder to create more space to move
  • Also, when pivoting to post up, hit the defenders arm when you are throwing your arms up to call for the ball. This gets rid of the defenders pass denial.

Step-off Series

  • When you are a step off of the low block, make read of where defender is
  • If you are a right handed player, pivot with left foot. If you are a left handed player, pivot with right foot.
  • Make sure that you catch the ball with your long arms fully extended. If you try to catch the ball too close to your body, this makes it easier for a defender to knock the pass away from you.

3 types of series:

  • Rip through and go
  1. chop across the guys face. Don’t bring ball low because it takes too long. If you land an elbow on the defenders face, he won’t guard you as close. “He ran into my elbow, sir.” – Danny Manning
  • Jab step then back
  1. step over defenders top foot and play him off your inside hip to create space on a shot
  • Jab step into crab dribble across lane


  • If defender takes middle away, use drop step move
  • If defender takes baseline away, use turnaround jumpshot

Cheat Steps

  • This is for big men when they receive the ball at top of the key
  • In KU’s offense, they fling the ball from the post to the weak side wing. Then the big goes up top to receive pass.
  • Big makes shot fake and takes one dribble towards where the pass came from
  1. Danny Manning tells his big’s to score in 3 dribbles or less, preferably 2
  • Keys to doing this correctly
  1. You must have a solid base
  2. You must chin the ball and rip through the defenders face
  3. “Phone booth shooting” Straight up, straight down. Release ball at peak of shot above your head to create a little bit more space to get the shot off.
  4. On ball fakes, use your body to fake defender. Manning says, “show the whites of your eyes. Lift head, and quick, but short, ball fake to shoot.”

Chair Drill (Perimeter Skills)

3 types of moves:

  • Slide Step
  • Jab Step
  • Touch & Go Step
  • Slide Step
  1. Going left? Pivot on right. Going right? Pivot on left.
  2. Keep ball below the knees when you go and drop your inside shoulder to give appearance of a hard drive to basket
  3. when going the opposite direction of your hand (going left for a right handed shooter) make sure to pull your hip through to be square to the basket
  • Jab Step
  1. Jab forward, not to the side
  2. take the ball to the inside of your knee and then pull back as you go
  • Touch & Go Step
  1. Do a jab step, and if the defender doesn’t bit for it, touch foot and go

Manning’s Dirty Trick to Free Throw box-outs.

  • When boxing out on free throws, keep feet and hands close together. This is good because you can explode them out when the time is right and it provides more space.
  • “He hit my elbow” Just stick em out there
  • Kick the guys foot out when he trys to box you out on a free throw. As Manning put it, there is a chance that he will roll his ankle and be out for the game, which is good for us.
  • When coming off a screen, show both hands and catch ball with them fully extended
  • Footwork with chair, use inside pivot foot
  • Always call for the ball, if you don’t, manager gets to shoot it

Post Defense

  • Have hand around guys to discourage a pass to the post
  1. Once pass is made, relocate behind man, DO NOT GO FOR THE STEAL!
  • Go hip to hip to force guy out of the block
  • Trapping the post
  1. all traps come from the middle of the floor. So whatever you do, don’t let the guy spin towards the baseline. Force him middle.
  2. get your chest on his shoulder to prevent getting smoked in the face
  3. pull him a little bit to get him over
  4. Hook your forearm around him instead of arm bar
  5. looks normal, but when he moves, he pulls you with him
  6. never put your baseline arm on him

More of Manning’s Dirty Tricks

  • Thumb trick. Stick your thumb into the guys side by his hip to move him out.
  • On offense, step on his foot so he has to go backwards. This creates space for you to do something with the ball.

Kids to watch:

  • Grant Beasley
  • Drake Short
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