Princeton Principles

Watch the man in front of you, he tells you what to do!

The Smart Take From The Strong

From the time I first saw the game of basketball being played back in Philadelphia in the 50’s (I’m admitting my age but so be it) I became captivated with the motion, beauty and synergy of the game and I’ve been hooked ever since.


As I have recently written to my corporate clients in a piece subsequent to the stock market slide of a week or so ago though “the

only thing that’s constant is change”. Certainly the game of basketball has changed since those days, but, what has not changed is that at its highest levels the game remains a TEAM game and synergy is tantamount to TEAM.


Being from Philadelphia I was quiet close to Princeton, N.J. and had an opportunity to watch the great Bill Bradley take his game to

national prominence while at Princeton which was a thrill….when I was 15 he was my idol and I emulated his every move.


The year was 1967 and Bradley was gone from Princeton but the new dawn of Princeton basketball was about to occur in the spirit, body and mind of Coach Pete Carril and his now legendary “Princeton Offense”.


Coach was always reluctant to document his style (I refuse to call it a system because he refuses as well) simply stating “it’s just

basketball”. The Princeton offense is a series of synergies that become intuitive and became the standard by which all others

(offenses) were judged. Cutting, screening, backdoor layups, open 3 pointers etc, etc. Everybody making everybody else better. Basketball, the game I love!


You can imagine my complete joy when I had a chance to sit in the same room with Coach Carril several years ago with another coach and discuss basketball, just the three of us. We watched film of basketball and learned theory and subtleties from the man himself AND, when the three hour session ended he thanked US for spending the time.

Coach loves the game and loves teaching it to anyone willing to listen.


I’ve studied extensively (resources below) and taught semblances of “Princeton” everywhere I’ve coached, believing very deeply that teaching what I call Princeton Principles will benefit every player at every level regardless of what “system” their eventual coach(s) has implemented.


As Coach Carril says “it’s just basketball”!


What follows are links to resources that reference this beautiful, most effective, most emulated style of play.

I hope you take something from these words and from the game itself.


Princeton High Post Offense aka “CHIN”


Princeton Low Post Offense


 I titled this page “The Smart Take From the Strong”  because that is the title of the only book I know of written by Coach Carril.

When I last checked it is available at


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