With Veteran Official Skip Yutzler
Ask The Ref !
2019-2020 SEASON
Now that we are into the basketball season for real, it's time to get everybody up to speed on some of our more common questions. Those of you who have been with us for years can just consider this a quick review of basketball fundamentals. We will do this in the form of a little 5 question quiz (answers and explanations below).  
Note: NFHS (high school) rules apply in all cases.

1. Offensive player A-4 drives the baseline, stops and pops a short jumper over his defender, B-4. The shot is well short of the basket, failing to hit the goal (air ball), but A-4 quickly runs around B-4 and grabs the ball as it comes down. He shoots again and scores. The opposing fans are screaming for a violation but the official allows the goal. Is the official correct? (Yes/No)

2. Defender B-4 sees dribbler A-1 driving hard down the lane and steps in to try to draw a charge. He clearly obtains a legal guarding position on the dribbler but A-1 does a nifty little "Euro-step" and moves off to the left to try to avoid the charge. B-4 slides to maintain his position and gets to a spot on the floor before A-1 takes off for his shot. A-1 releases his shot and then crashes into B-4 and the two bodies end up on the floor. The ball does not go in the goal. The official under the basket blows his whistle and calls a blocking foul on B-4 and signals a 2 shot foul. Is the official correct? (Yes/No)

3. Offensive player A-1 is breaking down the sideline trying to catch a pass thrown by a teammate. The ball hits A-1 in the hands and is headed out of bounds while A-1's momentum carries him out of bounds. A-1, who now has both feet out of bounds, quickly regains his balance, jumps back in bounds with his left foot hitting the floor and his right foot still in the air (no longer in contact with the floor out of bounds). He then catches the ball before it goes out of bounds. Is all of this legal? (Yes/No)

4. Offensive player A-3 at the wing drives toward the lane. As he nears the goal and in stride, he catches the ball, lands on his left foot, steps in an exaggerated Euro-step to his right foot and then back to his left, completely faking out his nearest defender and then takes a wide open shot at the goal. As the crowd gasps in delight at what they've just seen, the official blows his whistle and calls a traveling violation on A-3. Is the official correct? (Yes/No)

5. A shot is taken by Team A. Defender B-4 turns to block out offensive rebounder A-4. The ball caroms off in the direction of B-4 who has a nice inside position. But A-4 rises from behind B-4 and snatches the ball above the hands of B-4. There is slight contact as a result of the two competitors jumping to grab the rebound, but the official rules this to be a legal play and does not call a foul. The crowd is irate and is yelling for "over the back." Is the official correct? (Yes/No)


ANSWERS (and explanations)

1. YES. This play illustrates one of the great "urban myths" in basketball......that is, that a shooter cannot catch his own shot. That is absolutely incorrect. By rule, once a "shot" is released, team control ends. The missed shot is like any other missed shot. There is NO requirement for the ball to hit the goal or the backboard. Any player (including the original shooter) may attempt to grab the missed shot and play will continue as normal. In this case, A-4 has done nothing wrong and the goal will count.
2. NO, it is not a blocking foul! There are two principles involved here. One is that any player is entitled to any space on the floor provided he gets there first and gets there legally. The second one is that once a defender obtains a legal guarding position (which he did in this situation) he is permitted to move to keep that legal guarding position. It's all good and the official should not have called a blocking foul on B-4.
3. YES, all legal. By rule, a player who is out of bounds may re-enter the court and is considered to be legally in bounds once he has one foot on the floor and no other part of his body touching the floor (or anything else) that is out of bounds. He is clearly eligible to save that errant pass before it goes out of bounds in this play.
4. YES. By rule, the first foot that touches the floor after the catch is made is considered to be the pivot foot. In this case, the left foot becomes the pivot. Taking TWO steps after the pivot foot is established is illegal no matter what the crowd thinks.
5. YES. There is no such thing as "OVER the back." But there is such a thing as "ON the back" which would be a foul except that's not what happened here. The official recognizes that the contact was "incidental" and had no effect on either player. Therefore there is no foul in this situation, even if it looks bad.  

How did you do? Stay tuned for more questions as the season moves into high gear.​

Do you have a question?
 Have you seen a play you didn't understand? Was there a controversy you'd like clarified? Send your questions in and I'll do my best to get you an answer!

49 Years High School and Junior College Official. Selected 5 times to officiate at the New York State High School Championships