Saints Look To “Flex” On Offense


When Jimmy Patsos first arrived at Siena, he established a goal of increasing the team’s production on the offensive end of the floor. Having only scored an average of 60.0 points per game last season, the Saints have made a significant improvement of +9.1 points (69.1) per contest so far this season.

Patsos introduced the “flex” offense, an approach utilized since the 70’s from high school to the NBA which breaks though some of the traditional stereotypes of players fitting into specific positions on the floor. It is a system which uses patterns and that emphasizes passing, screening, ball-reversal, options and counters.

“The flex is kind of a continuity offense,” explains Patsos. “Everybody gets to play every position. In the flex everybody gets to handle the ball, but it’s a system. Everybody has to screen. Everybody gets to touch it. You can run quick hitters for different guys cause it’s always out of the same set.”

The flex is a system Patsos is quite familiar with. He has seen it utilized successfully first-hand at the highest level while serving under Gary Williams at the University of Maryland. Williams used the flex offense to lead the Terrapins to the 2002 NCAA National Championship. Dr. Thomas “Dr. Tom” Davis who served as the head coach at Lafayette College, Boston College, Stanford University, the University of Iowa, and Drake also used the flex offense and Jerry Sloan ran his variation of it for years with the Utah Jazz.

“Gary Williams got that. Tom Davis did it. It’s good. It’s a good system if you have a balanced team. In other words we don’t have a star so I’ve got to run it. It’s not the best system if you have tremendous players probably because you have to share the ball more. They’re buying in and they like it.”

Siena has seen the element of sharing the ball produce great results individually and as a team. Freshman point guard Marquis Wright continues to lead the MAAC in assists with 5.5 per game while as a team the Saints are second in the MAAC, averaging 13.3. In terms of scoring, there is also a fairly even distribution amongst the top scorers, Poole (15.1), Hymes  (10.1), Bisping (9.2) Long (9.0) Wright (7.8) White (6.0).

Rob Poole also has familiarity running the flex system making it an easy adjustment.

“The funny thing is in high school I ran the same offense,” said Poole. “My high school coach played under Gary Williams so he ran the same stuff. So when he (Patsos) asked us to do that stuff I knew exactly all the different looks to look for. We have a lot of different guys who can score the ball.”

While averaging 69.1 points, the Saints have scored in the 70’s, 8 times and in the 80’s once in the first 21 games this season. Although improved, Patsos knows he will need to continue to see increased production to compete with the top teams in the MAAC.

“I think defense wins games but you have to score,” said Patsos. “The MAAC’s a scoring league. Canisius is probably the best team in the league when they make threes. Iona is really good and Manhattan’s really good. You’re not getting those three teams unless you can score. So we’re gonna have to work on scoring.”


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