Commonly Misunderstood Rules

By Dennis Morris

Travelling

  • A player cannot travel unless they are in possession of a live ball that has inbounds status. A player could fumble the ball the entire length of the court, and would not have travelled. Unless it was ruled that he/she fumbled the ball to control it.
  • A player could dive for a ball, gain control of it and slide, via momentum, any distance and would not have travelled.
  • There is no limit to the amount of steps that a player can take between dribbles.
  • If a player attempts to end a dribble, loses control of the ball, then gains control of the ball, the player would not have travelled.
  • The key is that to travel a player must be in control of a live ball with inbounds status and lift their pivot foot and return it to the floor.

Rebounding

Boxing out is entirely different from backing out. In boxing out a player moves into their opponent does not displace that player, holds their spot, and then goes for the ball. In backing out a player moves into their opponent and displaces them before going for the ball. Displacement
is always a foul.

Legal Guarding Position

  • After establishing legal guarding position, the defensive player is permitted to move in any direction except into the offensive player being guarded. If the defensive player has established legal guarding position, and there is contact on the defender’s torso a player control foul should be called on the offensive player. Whether the defensive player was “set” or not should not be a consideration.
  • Legal guarding position is maintained by the defensive player in this instance until the offensive player is able to get their head and shoulders past the defender.
  • There is no distance requirement for establishing legal guarding position.
  • An offensive player with the ball is never entitled to a step. Time and distance are not a consideration in this instance.
  • Every player is entitled to a spot on the floor, provided they legally established their spot on the floor. If a defensive player legally establishes a spot on the floor prior to the offensive player jumping into the air, there is no designated landing area for the airborne offensive player to return to the floor.
  • If the defensive player jumps within their verticality a player control foul can be called on the offensive player if the offensive player jumps into the airborne defensive player.

Kicking/Fisting Violations

A player shall not intentionally strike the ball with any part of the leg or foot. A player shall not intentionally strike the ball with a fist. A player shall not cause the ball to enter and pass through the basket from below.

NOTE: Kicking the ball is only a violation when it is an intentional act; accidently striking the ball with any part of the leg or foot is not a violation.If the ball is thrown off of any part of the leg or foot of a player and there was no intent to contact the ball, it is not a violation.

Inbounding spot violations

The designated throw-in spot is three feet wide with no depth limitation and is established by the official prior to putting the ball at the thrower’s disposal.

NOTE: The thrower must keep one foot on or over the designated spot until the ball is released. The pivot foot restrictions and the travelling rule are not in effect for a throw-in.

Basket Interference/Goaltending

  • A shot may be blocked or pinned against the backboard, even after hitting the backboard, unless the ball is on its downward flight or within the cylinder.
  • It is not a violation to accidentally touch the basket, including the net, unless the ball is on the rim or within the basket.
  • Slapping the backboard is not basket interference or a technical foul if it is incidental to playing defense. Slapping the backboard is never basket interference. A technical foul can be called if the act was not incidental to playing defense.

Backcourt Violations

  • A player shall not be the first to touch a ball after it has been in that team’s control in the frontcourt, if they or their teammate last touched or was touched by the ball in the frontcourt before it went into the backcourt.
  • While in team control in a player’s backcourt, that player shall not cause the ball to go from backcourt to frontcourt and return to the backcourt, without the ball touching a player in the frontcourt, and be the first to touch the ball in the backcourt.
  • A player from the team not in control (defensive player or during a jump ball or throw-in) may legally jump from their frontcourt, secure control of the ball with both feet off of the floor and return to the floor with one or both feet in the backcourt. The player may make a normal landing and it makes no difference whether the first foot that returns to the floor is in the frontcourt or backcourt.
  • The frontcourt status of a player is determined differently depending on whether the player is dribbling the ball from the backcourt to the frontcourt, or in possession of the ball or receiving a pass from the backcourt to the frontcourt.

Screening

  • An illegal screen is not a violation; there must be contact for an illegal screen to be called a foul. Even the slightest contact on an illegal screen must be called a foul, or the offensive team can gain an advantage.
  • It is possible for extreme contact to occur during a legal screen. If the screened player stops, or does not run through the screen, it is incidental contact.

Dribble Violations

There is no limit to the height of a dribble. The player may dribble the ball over their heads, as long as they do not come in contact with the ball below the equator of the ball.

3 Second Violations

  • Allowance shall be made for a player who, having been in the restricted area for less than three seconds, dribbles in or moves immediately to try for goal.
  • The count ends each time a shot is taken, and a new count begins each time the offensive team gains control. There is no three-second count during rebounding situations.