The New 4-Man Weave in a Context of "Outside-In/Inside-Out" Terminology for Lulu

  • @Lulufulu

    The weave, including the new 4 man weave, is “outside in,” the way I use the term, but the term is still young and evolving, and wrapped up in Selfian “Both-ness,” as I will try to make clear subsequently.

    Anything where the ball goes inside (to the blocks) first to collapse the defense to defend a high percentage inside shot is “inside out,” again, as far as I can discern.

    Anything where the ball is shot BEFORE it makes it to the blocks, or is driven to the blocks, or is passed to a player cutting from outside to the blocks for a shot, is either outside in, or a hybrid of outside in and inside out.

    I qualify my definitions here, because, so far, “inside out” appears to be a term of art from Bill Self’s basketball terminology. And he has not specifically defined it in the media for us, as far as I recall. I had never heard “inside out” used before he did this season, though I recall all the way back to my childhood coaches teaching to pass the ball into the post, collapse the defense, and look to pass it back out to an open man, if the post man could not get a shot off.

    I don’t know if “inside out” is widely used in college basketball, or not. Self doesn’t define these terms, so that is left up to us. Perhaps some of our fellow board rats that are out coaching in the trenches, or otherwise associating with today’s coaches and players, can fill us in.

    Interestingly, I do not recall “outside in” being used publicly by Coach Self, until AFTER we here at had been using it to describe what we thought KU ought to start doing instead of playing “inside out.”

    I believe that use of the term “outside in” started with me, or @HighEliteMajor, here on, but hardly precludes the possibility some other board rat here used it before either of us. It seems to me that it was a term I coined, but I have learned not to be certain of such things. Language is a living, fluid thing and word emergence is particularly prone to simultaneity at times when groups and activities are experiencing what seems a period of significant crisis, or change. When we get new emotions, think anew, and get new words from interesting persons like Bill Self, and new insights get triggered, each one of us begins needing new words to think and write with to describe the new way of looking at things. It is a most natural phenomenon for humans, for thinking and language go hand in glove for we humans.

    Further, even if I, or someone else here, coined the term “outside in,” it also does not mean any of us necessarily coined it before others elsewhere did. We can say we coined here for sure for our usage. But it may have been a term of art for some time with Self and other coaches and players and just never used in public by them, until, perhaps coincidentally, after we here began using the term here.

    All I can say is:

    a.) I first recall hearing “inside out” from Self in a story, or interview, earlier this season, when talking about “who we are,” and how we were going to play regardless of our lack of “standing height;” and

    b.) I recall thinking I, coined the term “outside in” to try to give a name to what @HighEliteMajor had been reasoning for sometime Self ought to do, and what I believed Self had started trying to do. But he might recall an earlier usage of outside in than me and I would trust his memory more than mine at this stage of my life. 🙂

    @HighEliteMajor will probably be able to shed light on things, as he seems to be much closer to those that are actually playing and coaching the game today than I, an old fuddy-duddgy, am. I am all fan now. He probably has a sharper short term memory. And perhaps, if anyone actually were curious to clarify this point, @approxinfinity, or @bskeet, could do a text search of our stored content and find the first usage of “outside in,” or “outside-in,” two ways that I have written it, and that others might have.

    I have no vanity or sense of possession about the origin of the term “outside in,” only an intellectual curiosity about etiologies of words generally within online communities and in interaction with mainstream media and coaches and players.

    My recollection is that @HighEliteMajor had most of the season been posting about the short comings of our strategy of playing inside out and that his reasoning dated at least back to the Stanford loss early in the tournament last season, and possibly some before that.

    My recollection is that I came to be interested in thinking through and trying to understanding this issue of basketball strategy of play first by Self’s discussion of “inside out” as his preferred way of playing, then in response to both the problems KU was having trying to play this way, and particularly from @HighEliteMajor’s on going and insightful discussion of how we might alternatively be playing through our three point shooters much more productively.

    At some point, I joined up with @HighEliteMajor on the issue of initiating offense with treys from outside, and not going inside first at all.

    Next, I leaped outside the box and briefly reasoned that the potential productivity edge of the outside trey was so great in time the outside trey would come to be the way to attack first all the time. I then shocked and appalled even fellow outside-the-boxers by reasoning that KU ought to shoot not just start attack with more treys to start more possessions, but on ALL treys on every possession!

    At that point I crossed the threshold of being a three point crank! 🙂

    But I am very confident that basketball will migrate to at least 75% of offensive possessions with the first shot taken being an outside 3pta, and that once there there will be experimentation with 100% of offensive possessions commencing with treys. The more the shot clock is shortened, the more the tendency to initiate shooting with treys will occur.

    But @jaybate 1.0, you are asking about right now, what about the damned weaves that I asked about in the first place?

    Well, I wanted to lay all that out, so that there was a specified terminology and context to fit the significance of the weave into.

    Until this season, the weave was Self’s answer to the need for outside “action” (i.e. designed plays) to get guys an open look either outside in a pull up jumper, or on a drive it inside to the rim. The choice was the players and the coaches and the choice depended on the circumstance. If we needed a trey, the weave was run to get someone a look outside. Who took the shot depended on which guy in the weave got the first open look and the first good matchup from a switch by the defense. If we wanted to get a high percentage inside look and a possible FT that would stop the clock and hang a foul on one of the opposing players, the player searched for the open look outside, but the moment a defender over played the outside, one of the guys on the weave drove the lane to iron. This weaving all involved out perimeter players, our 1, 2 and 3 men. And it could occur either after the ball went into the post or not, but it tended to occur before the ball went into the post, and in situations where there was a lot of pressure being put on outside. Thus, it tended to be “outside in” play, but at a time when Self had not to my recollection talked publicly about “inside out,” or “outside in” ways of play. This notion of the weave and this context held for say, 2008 to last season.

    But in 2014-2015, Self was faced with what he called a deficiency in “standing height,” which was being partially masked by saying guys were taller than they were. I say partially, because even their exaggerated heights (KU roster inches, if you will) were indicative of a standing height deficiency. Then Self’s concerns became empirical outcomes as good teams, and bad ones, on the pre conference schedule began blocking and altering our players at unprecedentedly high frequency.

    Self responded to media queries by insisting that KU had to learn to play “inside out,” even though we were didn’t have a lot of “standing height,” because “inside out” was “who we were.”

    But over time Self’s short bigs inability to score efficiently inside, and his teams rising proficiency with trey shooting, lead Self into more and more trey shooting, and more and more initiating the offense not point to wing to post, but point to wing to point to back side wing for a trey, or even just point to wing for a trey.

    And then Self started pulling first one post man out to two feet beyond a free throw lane elbow and taking taking just enough treys to enable driving in which the ball never went to the low blocks until it was driven their on the dribble by the one big.

    Next Self brought both post men out to 2 feet beyond the elbows part of the time and shots were taken without the ball ever being passed into the blocks. The formation began to look like 1 point guard out and 4 players–two posts and two wings–on a transcept spanning the court about 2 feet beyond the elbows of the free throw lane. This was an old offensive formation that my high school team ran one season, but it ran on the principles of the High Low Offense, not on the old timed action of my high school team offense. It ran like Fred Hoiberg’s offense at ISU, but was easily morphed into and out and back into the traditional 1-2-2 high low offensive formation for switching modes between playing outside in as the 1-5 allows and inside out as the 1-2-2 allows. It can also morph into a 1-3-1 which is the formation of the High Low post offense most familiar to most fans, and what can be run either against man2man, and what is always run against zones.

    But the key here is that the “outside in” mode of attack (shooting before the ball is passed into the post on the blocks) began to take precedence because necessity was an inventing mother, to vary the cliche.

    And so Self found himself inventing ways for his short bigs to start attacking outside either: a) with a trey; or b.) with a drive to the blocks to condense the defense, after which a kick out could at lest theoretically occur and be called a variation of playing “inside out,” rather than always “outside in.”

    But then with the short bigs increasingly operating outside and with Perry especially being highly mobile (in effect a 3 playing out of position at the 4, when on the blocks), it occurred to Self to include Perry into the weave. He ran a few 3 man weaves with Perry in the games before the second ISU game to get Perry used to doing it.

    Then in the ISU game, Self pulled out the 4-man weave with Perry in the weave, because he is already outside and the team is trying to figure ways to get him the ball for attacking the blocks and the rim from outside anyway.

    So: now the four man weave is an integral part of the “outside in” approach to play that has evolved this season.

    But one has to realize that part of “outside in” play is varying between taking the outside trey, and driving into the block for a face to the basket inside shot. And Self thinks of this as a way of playing “inside out” with the abilities of our current short bigs.

    The coolest thing about the 4 man weave is not readily apparent, but here it is as best as I can explain it presently.

    The three man weave has always been about shaking perimeter guys loose for an outside look, or a drive to iron. It never really forced the opponent’s bigs to chase. They might have to help differently, but they never really had to leave the rim and slide and chase.

    But now with Perry running in the weave, the opponent never knows whether what is being created is an action for perimeter guys, or for a big, like Perry. Thus they HAVE to send once of their big men chasing and sliding, and the weave can then force not just guards to have to switch, but guards and bigs to switch, which create create an enormous MUA for Perry.


    And when the opponent is left with only one footer at the rim, then we can challenge him to commit to stopping a driver, and dish off to guy that can get to a rim with no rim protector!!!

    If Self can get Jamari, or any other big do develop a credible trey, or even just an 18 footer, Self could go to a five man weave, and completely wear down the opposing team’s pair of footers!!!

    I doubt we see the five man weave, unless Self goes maybe one play really small with Perry as the 5, and Frank, Devonte, Wayne and Brannen on the transcept, but that bunch could not guard a pair of footers on the other end.

    The killer discovery however is for the future: find two mobile post men that are truly 6-8 to 6-9 that can shoot trey, to go with a 1, 2 and 3 that can shoot the trey, and run the five man weave and traditional footers, even a four man Nike stack of them, can be run into the ground, and actually become a disadvantage.

    So: to distill things, Self has retained the high low post offense, added formations that allow our short bigs to line up outside, and either shoot from outside, or run and jump at the blocks to accomplish an inside game that keeps teams from overgrazing our trey shooters, AND now frequently goes into outside in mode to shoot first without passing it inside to a post man on the blocks. Finally, the weave is expanded to a four man weave that enables us the option of either shooting it outside first, or attacking the block first, with either post men, or perimeter players.

    This puts Self in the position he has always preferred: take what they give us.

    Create space with ball movement and weaves that avoid congestion, and force opponents to commit to stopping us outside, in which we choose inside, or to stopping us inside, in which we choose outside.

    In the end, we will play take what they give us, and if they play us straight up, we will try going inside first with passes to the post on the block, and if that is ineffective, then with attacking the block from post men moved outside.

    At some point these two forms of attacking at the block, force the opponent to try to take away our inside attack, at which point we go outside in full time until they choose to take that away, and then we go back inside.

    And when we can, we squirt out in transition for a basket.

    Whew! Sorry for going on so, but it was the best I could do right now.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Dude! That was brilliant. I am getting it, it makes sense. I like the concept of the four man weave being able to wear a Kentucky type team down, which we will absolutely need in late March! Coach Self must absolutely be first in consideration for Coach of the Year. What he is doing is nothing short of genius level legendary coaching. IMO of course.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Terrific post. Read it twice.

    Remember Missouri in 2011-12? They played small with a 6’6" guy (Kim English) in the four spot, and had him regularly on the perimeter. In fact, Self felt we had to adjust to them for a good stretch in the game, and not play TRob and Withey together.

    This is the dynamic we can impose upon teams with Ellis on the perimeter, and not playing small, per se. We can create MUAs by pulling a post player from our opposition out on the floor, forcing them to guard – as you point out.

    This is such a simple concept.

    I would say, however, that Traylor cannot function on the perimeter. In fact, none of our “bigs” can except Ellis. I think four out, one in is very difficult with a guy like Traylor on the perimeter. As an opposing coach, I’d trap him, pressure him, funnel the ball to him … whatever to create that turnover opportunity. One thing Traylor can do is drive to the hoop semi-competently, but I’m not sure that’s enough.

    It appears to me that our high-low is perfectly fine when we can score regularly inside. This season, is just doesn’t work as well. In most games, it won’t. Another option is to adjust our scheme to add an outside in focus to our high-low. This really isn’t complex or difficult. Next option is to move to four out, one in when Ellis is in the game. This is perfectly reasonable expectation of coach Self.

    Of course, I qualified this with “of coach Self” – since we know that anything more dramatic is banging our heads against the wall. But it is not heresy to expect our coach to adjust, and put our team in the best position to succeed. He did that exquisitely at home against ISU. He can do it.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I believe what we witnessed against OSU yesterday was a trial by Self, against a team he believed they could get away with an experiment with, attempting to “develop” Traylor for a role as an outside in attacker and Traylor not responding well at all (6 TOs). Bad as it went, I would still not be surprised to see a second attempt, because we are playing a weak team next. And here is why.

    To play the high-low post offense, you need two post men that can do pretty much the same things in tandem. Traditionally, one post is the better low block player, while the other post is a better stretch 4 type. But Self recalls how tough KU was to guard when Kief and Marcus could both shot it from outside.

    So: if KU cannot play inside and B2B with any of our post men this season, and the outside in game is The Tao this season, Self really has to try to develop two posts that can at least show an outside shot, AND drive it.

    You are right that Jamari Traylor hardly seems a likely candidate under normal conditions.

    But these are not normal conditions.

    This is a Jarhead Jayhawk platoon in a campaign with no turning back, and no other apparent options.

    Cliff might be able to do it, but Self would still need a back up.

    Lucas can’t even shoot bunnies, so he is out of the running even under emergency conditions.

    Traylor has to be tried, just like a scrawny little guy to weak to carry a BAR in combat, sometimes has to pick one up and labor with it when everyone else has been killed, or wounded.

    The idea I would like to see Self try is Wayne at 4, and Perry at 5, at least for 3-4 minute stretches.

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