If Steph Curry has encouraged more and more young players to work on the 3-point shot, then it was former San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobli who popularized what is commonly referred to as, “the Euro step” — essentially a move in which a player drives to the basket and, as they approach a defender, take a sideways step around the defender before lifting up for a shot.
Much like Curry and the 3, Ginobli’s Texas two-step has inspired a legion of players at various levels to perfect the move.
Not surprisingly, it is now a “thing” at the high school level. While covering the Oceana-San Mateo girls’ game Tuesday, twice referee Steve Ruiz called traveling on a drive to the basket. When I asked Ruiz how often he sees players attempt the move, he said more and more. The key, Ruiz said, is at which point the player picks up their dribble to begin their move to the rim.
This is also referred to as “the gather.”
“As soon as two hands come to the ball (the gather), you get what we call a step-and-a-half,” Ruiz said.
To better understand the mechanics behind the call, I talked with Paul Carion, longtime high school coach who is currently helming the Jefferson girls’ team and is also a 20-year referee veteran, who still puts on the striped shirt every now and then after coaching his Jefferson squad.
Carion said the biggest thing to know about the Euro step is that traveling rules in the NBA are not the same as the rule employed at the high school level.
“The NBA has a different traveling rule that says you can take two steps,” Carion said. “The high school rule says one step and lift your pivot foot as you release the shot.”
The key to pulling off the move successfully in a high school game is to be sure the move begins off the dribble. As high school players have become more sophisticated in playing the game of basketball, so has the use of the Euro step. Carion said early adopters were called for traveling constantly, simply because of the optics.
“At the high school level, it looks like a travel. … In the early days, a lot of officials automatically called it a travel,” Carion said. “Officials really need to be patient and really look at it.”
It’s important for officials to really know the move because more and more players are using it. It is now part of the training implemented by private trainers as well as youth and high school coaches.
“On the girls’ level, you’ll be lucky if you have two who do it proficiently. On the boys’ level, I think half of the team (roster) is capable of doing it —whether they use it or not,” Carion said. “I think most kids do do it correctly.
“It’s now a staple. It’s getting more and more prevalent every year.”
Another move that originated in the NBA that has trickled down to the high school level is a one that presents similar confusion to that of the Euro step, in that, when does a step-back become a travel?