Paul Westhead’s System was a fast-break, transition-style brand of basketball based on strong defensive pressure, rapid-fire offense with three-point shooting, and superior conditioning. The style produced games with dramatically increased numbers of possessions and a pace that opponents were rarely able to maintain for an entire match. We asked Chris Turkmany ’87, who as a coach has employed the Westhead strategy, to describe one of the basic plays in The System — the play after a made basket by the opponent.
1 Tony Walker
2 Jeff Fryer
3 Bo Kimble
4 Hank Gathers
5 Per Stumer THE PLAY
Stumer rushes to get the ball and inbound to Walker as quickly as possible. The first pass option by Walker is to Fryer, who has sprinted up the right side for a three-point shot, then to Kimble running wide to the left before cutting to the basket. Walker may even find an open path to the basket for a layup himself. As the pressure release for the ball coming inbounds, Gathers then moves down the floor and across the key to the low block. Stumer trails the play and sets up at the top of the key. All players along the perimeter have the green light to shoot a three-point shot.
Chris Turkmany ’87 is an assistant boys’ varsity basketball coach at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California. He has regularly run The System in his coaching career.