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Basketball Rules Expert Podcast – Ep. 1 – A Better Official

Show Notes

Basketball Rules Expert Podcast takes the rules off the printed page, breathes life into them, so officials can have them on the court where it’s most important.

Twice weekly episodes focused on NFHS National Federation of High Schools Basketball Rules.
We take the rules off of the printed page, breath life into them, and give them to officials so they can take them with them onto the court where it it most important.

Special thanks to:
Hair & Makeup: Rosie
Best Boy: Grace
Sound Tech: Gus

Theme music: Parasail/ Silent Witness

Show Transcript

Basketball Rules Expert Show – Episode 1

Hello and welcome to the show basketball rules expert where we explore the ins and outs of high school basketball rules. Our discussions lift the rules off of the printed page through your ears and firmly into your brain so that you too can become a basketball rules expert. Hello, again my name is Greg Austin with a I’ve been officiating high school basketball for over a decade and i’m a basketball rules expert. Our goal here is to give you rules discussion and instruction in an audio/visual format to bring the rules off of the printed page and breathe life into them so that you could take them with you onto the court with the confidence that you can adjudicate any situation that arises on the court correctly by rule. Let’s get started.

Basketball Rules Expert Question 1

Traveling Question

This is a pretty simple question but it’s a great way to start here at Basketball Rules Expert Show because it forces us to go to the most important rule in the rules book and that is rule four definitions. 

Rule 4 – Definitions is a high priority for all basketball officials it’s the starting point it gives you the fundamental building blocks upon which other rules will refer to and be built so a high priority for new officials or officials wanting to become basketball rules experts okay so our options our options on the question are pass the ball shoot the ball begin a dribble or drop the ball to the floor let’s go to rule 4 section 44 and have a look the important article is Article 3 which reads 

  1. after coming to a stop and establishing a pivot foot a the pivot foot may be lifted but not returned to the floor before the ball is released on a pass or a try for goal 

our first two options in the question were to pass the ball which has clearly been defined as legal or shoot the ball which has clearly been defined as legal 

  1. if the player jumps neither foot may be returned to the floor before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal that’s not relevant to the question we’re answering or 
  2. the pivot foot may not be lifted before the ball is released to start a dribble so our definition clearly defines that it is illegal to release the ball for a dribble after lifting the pivot foot so c in our question is obviously the correct answer but what about option d drop the ball to the floor that is not addressed by the rule this is an important point to recognize is that not all the things that can happen on the basketball court will be addressed by the rules book so it’s really a great piece of advice to understand that everything is legal until the rules book says it’s not legal everything is legal till the rules book says it’s not legal the rules book may say yes indeed that is a legal thing it may say that is definitely illegal or it may not address it at all and if it doesn’t address it at all it’s legal right that’s a super important concept to understand as we get started in becoming a basketball rules expert all right 


So, for our first question we go directly to Rule 4 (the highest priority rule in the rules book) and we learn a basic concept about applying the rules and that if it’s not expressly illegal then treat it by rule as legal.

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Basketball Rules Expert Question 2

Rules Question

i bounce the ball to the thrower bounces off their leg one of the opponents of the thrower immediately requests a timeout while the ball is in the free throw semicircle but before A1 has picked it up what are we to do great question what this question brings up are a couple of important points and that is exactly how this show is going to work we have a simple question what are the things that we can what can of worms can we open up about the rules involved in this situation first of all let’s recognize that what we have in a free throw is a way to make the ball live after the ball is dead.

in this situation obviously a foul has occurred and the player is going to the line to attempt free throws. the ball became dead at some point when the foul occurred and now we are going to use this restart as a way to make the ball live.

Restarts in the Game of Basketball

there are 3 restarts in the game of basketball: there is a jump ball, there is a throw in, and there are free throws. Those are our three ways to make the ball live. the fundamental question on this play is when can a player request a timeout and have those conditions been met so when can a player or a head coach request the timeout. let’s take a look at rule 5 section 8 and the rule reads

timeout occurs and the clock if it’s running shall be stopped when an official article 3 grants and signals a players slash head coaches oral or visual request for a timeout such request being granted only when a the ball is at the disposal or in control of a player of his or her team or b the ball is dead unless replacement of a disqualified or injured players or player directed to leave the game is pending and they substitute is available and required so let’s let’s take that second part of b the ball is dead unless and we’re going to set that aside for now.

what it’s talking about is a situation where let’s say we have a disqualified player. coach that player has five fouls they’re disqualified i need a substitute. we have a short period (15 seconds) where the coach needs to supply a substitute. If the coach requests a timeout we say,  “no. by rule you can’t have a timeout in this situation where we need to replace a player even though the ball is dead. every other dead ball scenario you can always request a timeout but in this one special instance: no.

so, let’s set that aside for now. Our options are:

a. the ball is at the disposal or in control of a player of his or her team or

b. the ball is dead plus that special circumstance so those are our two options we can grant that so when the ball is dead.

5 players from Team A, 5 players from Team B, Team A coach, Team B coach, can all request a timeout when the ball is dead when Team A has the ball at their disposal or have team control in that instance only the five players from Team A or the Team A head coach can request a timeout so basically when the ball is dead everybody can when the ball is in possession of a team only that team can obviously the defensive team can’t call a timeout when the other team has the ball.

so that’s the fundamental rule in our play scenario was the ball live the official bounced the ball to the thrower had the ball become live that’s our fundamental question when does it become when does the ball become live on a free throw? that’s a simple question and that’s something we have to know let’s take a look at art at rule six live ball and we’ll take a look at article two the ball becomes live when on a jump ball the tossed ball leaves the official’s hand 

b on a throw in it is at the disposal of a thrower or 

c on a free throw is that it is at the disposal of the free thrower so the ball will become live when it’s at the disposal of the free thrower but the ball’s right there they can pick it up right is by rule is the ball at their disposal in our play scenario where i bounce the ball i hit the player in the leg sorry man the ball is bounced at their feet and before they pick it up a time-out request has the ball become live we can answer this question if we refer back to our good friend 

rule 4 section 4 fall location at the disposal at the disposal is defined in rule 4 that’s why rule 4 is so important 

article 7 the ball is at the disposal of a player when it is 

a handed to a thrower or free thrower 

b caught by a thrower or free thrower after it is bounced to him 

c placed on the floor at the spot or 

d available to a player after a goal and the official begins their throw-in count so if we look at 

d this sounds really familiar the ball is at their disposal but it does not apply here because we are administering a throw in our nothing starts until that player is holding the ball so the ball becomes at the disposal when it is caught by a fur or free thrower after it is bounced to him.

i bounced the ball to the thrower it hit them in the leg they never caught it therefore it’s not at their disposal therefore it’s not live if it’s not live it’s dead during a dead ball who can request a timeout five players from Team A five players from Team B head coach from Team A head coach from Team B any of those can request a timeout this is our scenario B3 has requested a timeout while the ball is dead that is legal and we should grant the timeout we go back our answer is 

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c grant B3’s request for a timeout at that point all right let’s go to our next question

Basketball Rules Expert question 3

When does a free throw start?

when does a free throw start after the session we just had with the previous question this should be pretty obvious when does a free throw start?

The answer is C when the ball is placed at the disposal of the free thrower, as we learned in the previous question

Basketball Rules Expert question 4

simple question we’re going to find the answer in rule 8 section 3 attempting technical foul free throws. wow this is a simple rule. the free throws awarded because of a technical foul may be attempted by any player of the offended team including an eligible substitute or designated starter the coach or captains shall designate the free thrower. so it’s clearly defined — may be attempted by any player of the offended team. remember at any given time we only have five players those are the players who are in the game

including an eligible substitute a team member who’s on the bench and eligible to participate or designated starter and that’s included there because we have a let’s say a pregame dunk by the opponent we’re going to start the game with the attempt of technical foul free throws that may include a designated starter because they’re not yet a player any uh if the game had started any player or in either scenario an eligible substitute

if you think about this in uh to absurdum you know what you sort of think this through this rule through let’s say there were multiple technical vowels and this team is going to shoot six attempt six free throws related to technical fouls they could

have substitute number one come off and shoot the first one

substitute number two come off and shoot the second one

number three the third one f

our the fourth one

five you know

the player at the end of the bench who never gets to play the coach say hey i want that guy to shoot my free throws

all of that is feasible because any player or eligible substitute.

that’s the key takeaway:

Who can attempt a technical foul free throw? Any player or eligible substitute.

simple clear concise you want to take that with you onto the court you want to have that available to you at any given time somebody asks you in the middle of a game who can shoot the technical foul free throws any player or eligible substitute right that should be just like coming off your lips as soon as the question is asked.

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 thanks for joining me for this episode of basketball rules expert remember that you could take a quick quiz about what we’ve discussed today the link is in the show notes over at

special thanks today to our sponsor… wait a minute… we don’t have a sponsor! if you’d like to support the show you can buy us a coffee at our Any feedback on today’s episode tweet us @BetterOfficials or email we’d love to hear from you. join us next time for more high school basketball rules discussion. thanks for listening

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