Stanford Basketball Film Study: Zoom action

Dec. 8, 2022, 9:39 p.m.

The second installation of Stanford Basketball Film Study will look at zoom action, a set utilized a lot in Jerod Haase’s offense. Similar to the empty ball-screen, zoom action is a set that has increased in usage across college basketball due to the five-out revolution. The set looks to get guards and forwards going downhill, where they can use the space generated to make a variety of decisions.

What is zoom action?

The zoom action involves an off-ball down screen from a player on the perimeter, while the man with the ball delivers a dribble hand-off to the player receiving the down screen. The zoom action can create plenty of space for driving opportunities, as defenders can become bunched up on one side of the court thus leaving open gaps. Zoom action can also be run using staggered screens to generate even more space on weak side drives.

Throughout this season, Stanford has run the zoom action and other actions off it various times.

During this sequence, the Cardinal use a high pick-and-roll 10 feet above the arc to get into zoom action.

Senior center James Keefe screens sophomore forward Harrison Ingram’s man. Ingram passes Keefe the ball, and Stanford flows into zoom action, with junior forward Max Murrell setting an off-ball screen for graduate student guard Michael Jones. Unfortunately, Jones is not able to gather his footing and loses the ball for the Cardinal.

In the example below, the Cardinal fake the zoom action to junior forward Brandon Angel, who then circle cuts through the paint. After that, sophomore center Maxime Raynaud passes the ball to sophomore forward Harrison Ingram, who was the off-ball screener for Angel. A top-of-the-key pick-and-roll ensues, and Ingram is able to get a clean look from mid-range to give the Cardinal an easy basket at the beginning of the game.

This movement is especially effective because many times the ball-screen defender won’t anticipate that the screener will eventually get the ball.

In this play against Memphis, Angel has the ball up at the extended elbow area, while junior guard Michael O’Connell sets a down screen for senior forward Spencer Jones, who’s running from the left wing to the top of the key. Jones’ defender goes over the screen, looking to disrupt the potential handoff. Jones reads the defender, and fades back out to the wing. He could’ve taken the 3-pointer off the catch, but instead he pump fakes and dribbles to the space left open by his defender. The help defender is ball-watching Jones, which allows him to kick the ball out to graduate student guard Michael Jones for a 3-pointer.

Look for Stanford to run more zoom action plays and their analogs throughout the rest of the season.

Kaushik Sampath is the sports managing editor. He is a junior from Fayetteville, Arkansas and a history major. You can catch him watching and ranting about his beloved Arkansas Razorbacks or hanging out with friends on campus. Contact him at sports 'at'

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