In a typical fast break situation, the defending team obtains the basketball and passes it to a faster player who sets up the fast break. That player (usually the smaller point guard) then speed-dribbles the ball upcourt with several players trailing on the wings. He then either passes it to another player for a quick basket, or takes the shot himself. Recognition, speed, ball-handling skills and decision making are critical to the success of a fast break.
A fast break can sometimes lead to an alley oop if there are more offensive players than defenders.
If the fast break did not lead to a basket and an offensive rebound is obtained and put back quickly, this is called the secondary break.
Some teams rely on the fast break because of their speed, notably the 1980s Showtime Los Angeles Lakers and the present Phoenix Suns. A few great players leading the fast break are Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd and Steve Nash, because of their great decision-making. Arnold "Red" Auerbach helped develop the fast break while he was coaching the Boston Celtics. However, Frank Keaney, the legendary basketball, football, and baseball coach at the University of Rhode Island, is credited with inventing the fast break in basketball and compiled a 401-124 record in 28 years on the court. He is a member of the Helms, Naismith and New England Basketball Halls of Fame, the State of Rhode Island's Heritage Hall of Fame, and the Providence Gridiron Club's Hall of Fame. A celebrated educator and administrator, he finished his 36-year career (1920-56) at RISC as Director of Athletics. The University of Rhode Island's Keaney Gymnasium was dedicated in his honor in 1953, and the school color, "Keaney Blue," was his creation.