U.S. Bank Pac-10 Basketball Tip Of The Week

Jan. 25, 2005

By Mary Murphy

Many people watch basketball on TV or listen to games on the radio and wonder what it means when the announcers talk about the 'one-guard' or the 'three-player.'

Well...here's your inside scoop. Have you seen coaches scribbling like crazy on little marker boards at time-outs? What the coach is doing is explaining to their players where they need to be on a certain play or in a defensive situation. The coach often uses a numbering system and that system goes like this:

The 'one' is the point guard. She's usually the player who brings the ball up the floor and acts as the coach on the floor. She's the primary decision maker, the person who communicates most closely with the coach.

The 'two-guard' is one of your best shooters, a guard who can handle the ball and knock down some shots - also known as a 'shooting guard.'

The 'three' is also called a 'swing' player. This is usually your most versatile player. She can be a shooter, a slasher, a defender or some combination of all three. Some people call a 'three' a small forward. This position can be a real grab bag depending on what your team needs.

The 'four' is most commonly the power forward and the second-tallest player on your team. The coach expects rebounding, a good post defender, the ability to post up down low, and perhaps, if you're lucky, step out and hit a 15-foot jump shot.

The 'five' is your best low-post threat. Usually the tallest player on the floor, she can defend the 'bigs' on the other team, score reliably from the low post and rebound up a storm.

There you have it... Basketball by the numbers and this week's 'U.S. Bank Pac-10 Basketball Tip of the Week.'

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