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Youth Basketball Play 3 – “Princeton”

Youth Basketball Play 3 is called “Princeton.” This is another great offense to use against man-to-man defense!

This offensive play is based on the very effective offense of Princeton University. If you’ve ever seen the Princeton offense in action, then you know how effective it can be when executed properly.

What I like most about this offensive play is that it involves a lot of passing and cutting. All five players are constantly moving, looking for their teammates and good scoring opportunities. There is very little standing around, which is a good thing!

Youth basketball play 3 can be used at any level of competition. This play can be modified to fit your players’ skill level and experience. As your players get comfortable with the basic movements, back screens and backdoor cuts can be added.

As always, you must first teach your players the fundamentals of basketball before you can implement an offense. Once your players can perform the offensive fundamentals properly, you can then incorporate those into your offensive strategy.

Check out our youth basketball drills page for some great ideas on teaching your players the fundamentals of the game.

In addition to youth basketball play 3, you’ll find more effective youth basketball plays here.

Youth Basketball Play 3:

To help you understand the play, please follow the key below.

  • 1 = Point Guard
  • 2 = Wing
  • 3 = Wing
  • 4 = Post
  • 5 = Post
  • Black Dotted Arrow = Pass
  • Black Straight Arrow = Player Movement


  • Players start in a 4-1 formation. Players 1,2,3 &4 are spread around the perimeter, while 5 is in the ball-side low post.
  • 3 will v-cut to get open for a pass from 2.
  • If 3 is being overplayed by their defender, they should look for a back-door cut and pass from 2.
  • As 2 passes to 3, 5 should move up the lane to the high post area and be ready to set a back screen for 2.


  • 2 passes to 3 and then uses 5’s screen to cut to the basket. 2 must make a good v-cut to set up their defender for the screen, and then run their defender into the screener.
  • 2 should cut right down the lane looking for a return pass from 3.
  • As this is happening, 1 and 4 will switch positions, or replace each other.


  • If the pass from 3 is not open, 2 should clear out to the ball-side corner.


  • 3 will make a pass to 2 in the corner and then cut to the basket. This is the “give-and-go.”
  • It’s important for 2 to dribble out of the corner, to avoid being trapped, and then look for the pass to 3.
  • As 3 passes to 2, 1 and 4 will switch positions again. This simple action helps keep their defenders occupied and unable to sag into the middle for help defense.


  • If the pass from 2 to 3 is not open, 3 should continue to the other side of the lane.
  • 5 will then slide down to the low post area looking for a pass from 2.
  • If 5 is open or can get good post position, 2 should make the pass.


  • If the pass from 2 to 5 is not open, 2 will pass the ball out to 1.
  • 1 will then pass the ball to 4.


  • When 4 receives the pass from 1, they should immediately look to 3 in the low post.
  • If 3 has good post position, 4 should pass the ball.
  • If 3 doesn’t get a pass from 4 in the low post, they should immediately cut out to the foul line extended area.


  • 4 will make a pass to 3 at the foul line extended.
  • 5 will come out to the high post area and be ready to set a back screen for 4.
  • You are now back at the beginning step of the play.



Youth Basketball Play 3 is a very simple offensive play – yet it can be so effective when executed properly.

The key to this offense, as well as any other offense, is being fundamentally sound. By drilling your players on the fundamentals first, you are setting them up for success.

For more coaching tips and advice, please visit our coaching youth basketball website. Best of luck!