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Most misunderstood basketball rules explained

We consulted game officials to explain some of the most misunderstood rules in basketball.

Misunderstood Basketball Rules

1. Traveling (or is it)? It is impossible to travel if you do not have control of the ball. Judgement determines whether or not a player has control of the ball or not. However, if the ball is fumbled then the player may not be in control.

2. Traveling  (part 2): Player dives across the floor to gather in a loose ball and slides several feet once control of the ball is attained. By rule, this is not a travel. There are restrictions on what the player can and cannot do while in control and laying on the floor.

3. He can’t Dribble or can he? Several times a game, a player receives a ball, but does not control it i.e. the ball goes immediately to the floor as soon as it hits a player’s hands. One of two things happen: a) the player does not dribble even though he is entitled to do so or b) the player does dribble and the opposing coach or fans scream for a “double dribble.” Another play that occurs is when a player picks up his dribble, then fumbles the ball to the floor. Enter opposing coach with a call for a double dribble. Once again, the violation cannot be called when control is lost.

4.  All four corners of the backboard are alive and in play: Yes, a bad shot can carom off the side of the board and still be in play. In fact, a shot can carom off the rim and roll on top of the board. Unless it rolls over the top, it is live. However, a shot can never come from the backside of the board and go over the top and count.

5. Can I get my own air ball and score! Yes, you can! Fans will clamor for a travel as they believe the player has “passed it to himself.” Once a shot goes up, team control is lost. Therefore, a player may get his own rebound (air ball or not) and attempt to score.

6. That’s over and back! Another one that gets the fans fired up! Let’s talk player control first and the mid-court stripe. In order for a player to establish front court status, they must bring both of their feet and the ball into the front court. The line is always part of the back-court.

7. Three seconds! Keep a couple of things in mind. Three seconds does not begin for the offense until the ball enters the frontcourt. Secondly, three seconds actually “suspends” when an offensive player enters the lane is making an offensive move. Therefore, if a player is in the lane for two seconds, receives the ball and makes an offensive move, the violation should not be called and should be given the opportunity to score. If the player stops the move, then the three second “clock” should resume. Additionally, three seconds “resets” itself every time a shot goes up.

8. Closely Guarded – Five Seconds: A violation occurs when the ball handler is closely guarded (within six feet) by the same defensive player for five consecutive seconds while the ball is being held OR while the ball is being dribbled. A player who catches the ball and is being closely guarded may hold the ball for four seconds, then dribble the ball for four seconds, then hold the ball for another four seconds, then pass, will not be in violation of this rule. Anytime the defensive player goes farther than six feet from the ball handler, the five second count stops. Additionally, a five second count can be maintained by more than one person. If a defensive player gets cut off by a screen and a second defender is in immediate position to continue the count, the count may continue.

More about Three, Five And Ten Second Violations

An offensive player cannot stay within the free throw lane area for more than three seconds. 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. There is no three-second count after the release for a try for goal. A new 3-second count begins when the offensive player retrieves a missed attempt for goal.

The offensive team has ten seconds to move the ball from the back-court to the front-court area. A ten-second count continues in the back-court when the defense deflects or bats the ball in the back-court but does not control the ball. When a dribbler is advancing the ball into the front-court, the ball maintains back-court status until both feet and the ball touch entirely in the front-court.

The closely guarded rule is in effect in front-court only, when a defender is within six feet of the ball handler. The count continues even if defenders switch. The five-second count ends when a dribbler gets his/her head and shoulders ahead of the defender

9.Traveling Out of Bounds:  A. Any out of bounds play other than after a made basket – The person taking the ball out of bounds must stay within a three foot area of the place where the referee administers them the ball. The person inbounding the ball may move both feet, however, if they step beyond the three feet area, it is a violation.

B. After made baskets – When a basket is made, the opposing team may “run” the entire baseline when trying to inbound the ball. This includes returning from a time out. The ball may also be passed to a teammate who is positioned entirely out of bounds on the baseline and there is no violation.