The Up and Under is an underrated move that I feel doesn’t get much appreciation in terms of “basketball moves.” Moves like the crossover, step-back, and euro-step are glorified in the game today, but people forget about the effectiveness of the up and under. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t give the crowd quite the excitement that a deadly crossover does, but I believe its a move that’s just as important and can definitely make getting a basket much easier.
The Up and Under is predominantly seen in the post, when a player is trying to create space or get his defender in the air. It consists of a pump fake and a step through which leads to an unguarded basket if the defender bites on the fake. A lot of players like to give a preliminary move before going to the up and under. For example, one possession a player may get the ball in the post, shimmy, and perform a jump or hook shot. Now, when they get the ball on the next possession; his defender remembers the shot he took last time so it makes them prone to jump. So now as the offensive player, you already have the advantage because you know he’s going to jump and you’re going to step through to get the shot off. It’s a very successful move against players that love to jump on pump fakes and try to block every shot. However, the most important parts of the move are the pump fake and the footwork. When players receive the ball in the post, one of the main things that referees look at is their pivot foot. So when performing this move, its key the player doesn’t change or pick-up their pivot foot on the step through. The pump fake is the selling point, so if you have a good fake, your defender will more than likely go up in the air and you will be looking at an open basket.
Hakeem Olajuwon showing off his repertoire of post moves.
Hakeem Olajuwon is one of the best post players that we have ever seen in the league. He has an array of moves in his stash that even to this day, players like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James go to him to learn. Olajuwon was nearly unstoppable, giving players move after move with impeccable footwork that was greatly appreciated by basketball nerds. He was a player that lived by the up and under and gave many defenders buckets. Hakeem made scoring in the post look easy and as you can see in the video below, many players fell victim to his greatness.