By Todd Von Sossan
One of the more difficult aspects of officiating is determining if there was a foul and who exactly fouled who during a rebound. The most important aspect of judging and calling the correct foul on a rebound is to see the entire play from start to finish and call the result of the play. If an offensive player takes an outside shot and you are not the covering official your focus needs to view all players and determine which player had established a legalrebounding position on the floor and which player(s) if any displaced or dislodged an opponent in the attempt to gain control of the rebound. If your focus was already off‐ball when the shot was taken (as it more than likely should have been) identifying who was in the legal position should be easy.
When a player either offensive or defensive has the inside position on a rebound and places his backside on an opponent and displaces that opponent several feet to gain a better position to control the rebound it more than likely should be called a foul. If a player turns and shoves an opponent with both hands 3 feet away from the basket on a rebound would we call that obvious infraction a foul? Yes! So why would we let an offensive player do the same thing with his backside. I know, the player, coaches and fans will allshout “he was just boxing out”. A push is a push no matter what you push with! To gain a legalrebounding position and maintain that legal position with your backside is great and is truly a box‐out. Boxing out is legal; backing out is a foul. Is it legal for the player in the least advantages position (behind his opponent) to place his chest and legs into the backside of his opponent and push him under the basket or away from where the ball may rebound towards, the answer is No. Same philosophy, this displacement or push is also a foul.
One of the more common areas for rebounding fouls occurs during free‐throw attempts. A few years ago the rules committee moved the bottom lane position up one space higher to give the bottom block defensive team player a better opportunity to rebound a missed free‐throw. The common theory of why this rule change was made is because as officials when the defending team player was on the lowest block we didn’t do a good job of calling fouls on the offensive team for gradually moving (pushing) the defensive team player to a position which greatly reduced their odds of rebounding a missed free‐throw. The team that should be in the most advantageous position to rebound was being put in a position of noticeable disadvantage. Focus on all players but be even more aware of the players in the second block position.
On all rebounding play here are a few key points to remember:
- If there is contact created by a player in the least advantageous position on his opponent but that opponent still secures the rebound cleanly and is allowed to return to the floor in a normal position and continue play, then this is a no‐call.
- Anytime there is obvious contact that completely takes an opponent (either offensive or defensive) out of the play moving him several feet or many times knocking them to the floor, regardless of which team gains control of the rebound, this type of play needs to be called a foul. Ignoring these obvious fouls only leads to a more physical game.
- Anytime a rebounding player turns and faces his opponent and puts both hands on him in a reverse box‐out scenario to push or fend off his rebounding opponent, this is a foul. The player not facing the basket is making no legitimate attempt to rebound the ball. You will often see this when you have a distinct size advantage and the smaller player will use this tactic (guard against a center or forward).