Step Up or “Knicks” Ball Screen Actions


Written by Wes Kosel

Wes Kosel will enter his first season as an Assistant Coach at Augustana University under Tom Billeter in 2016-2017. Kosel came to Sioux Falls after two season at Colorado College as the lead assistant. Kosel, a native of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, served as an assistant coach at Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Texas Lutheran University from 2012-2014. Kosel graduated from the University of Kansas in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. He also has a master’s degree in physical education from the University of Houston. While attending Kansas, Kosel served as an assistant coach at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. A life-long student of the game, Kosel honed his coaching skills by working summer camps for various programs in Texas, Colorado, Missouri, and New Mexico. Kosel also is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a Certified Personal Trainer, both of which are certifications earned through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Kosel and his wife, Molly, live in Colorado Springs.

August 18, 2016

Step Up or “Knicks” Ball Screen Actions by Wes Kosel

The “Knicks” or step up ball screen is being used more and more by college, NBA, and other professional teams. As a counter to a typical wing ball screen (which encourages the ballhandler to dribble towards the middle of the floor), a step up ball screen is set allowing the ballhandler to dribble towards the baseline. The ball screener sets the knicks screen with his back to the baseline. The screener can then roll into the lane or pop to the perimeter for a shot. This action can force the defense to guard something they aren’t used to seeing. It can work especially well when the corner is cleared allowing space for the dribbler and screener to work.

The plays below were taken from the NCAA Division III, International, and NCAA Division I levels.

Knicks Ball Screen Actions

Benedictine (IL)

Benedictine clears out the left corner running 2 off of a screen from 5 at the block. Once 2 clears, 5 moves out to set a step up screen for 1. If 1 turns it down and drives middle, 5 can pop to the wing for a shot or isolation.



Argentina sets a step up screen with a guard (Ginobili) and has him flare to the top of the key for a shot or high ball screen from 5.



5 sets a step up ball screen for 1 as 2 runs off of a staggered screen from 3 and 4 on the left side of the floor.



2 clears the left corner running the baseline to the right corner. 5 sets a knicks ball screen for 1 then rolls into the lane. If nothing is there, 1 can also look to kick out to 4, 3, or 2 for a shot on the perimeter.


Click on the pdf link below to download the Step Up “Knicks” Ball Screen Actions:

Knicks Ball Screen Actions Playbook

You May Also Like…


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.