(By Peter Webb, Former IAABO President)
As we reach the height of the season, when teams are working hard to achieve playoff positions, let’s take pause and review some of the situations and issues that have been brought to our attention by interpreters, coaches, and fellow officials. Personal rules, most of which you won’t find in any rule book or case book
- To educate players on the principles and techniques of setting legal screens must be a most difficult task for coaches to achieve. There are still too many screens being set while the screener is moving. If the screener is moving when contact occurs a foul should be called on the screener. There is no such animal as an illegal moving screen unless there is contact.
- Players moving without the ball cannot be impeded illegally. They must be given an opportunity to stop, and or change direction without being chucked, pushed, or held. Officials should concentrate, look off the ball, watch the play develop, and call fouls when needed.
- You must permit the defender the opportunity to jump and play defense. By rule, a defensive player has the right to jump straight into the air, maintain a vertical plane and be considered in legal guarding position. Let’s try hard not to penalize the defense; better to pass on the call if you are not sure.
- Officials who officiate both high school and college have an obligation to honor, respect and carry out the mandate of the different rule books, points of emphasis and manuals. The two games are coached and played differently, and played for different reasons. To apply the same rulings, mechanics, to both levels does not speak well for the individual official or officiating.
- Rules and casebooks are in place for a reason. They are designed to assure fair play. Officials must enforce the rules and mechanics as part of the educational experience. If we spent as much time on these principles as our concern over who was working which game, the leagues that contract us would be much better served.
- In closely guarded situations, apply the rule! A closely guarded count does not require "in-your-face" defense. The rule does not require the defender to get so close to the opponent who has control of the ball that he/she can be easily beaten to the basket. It is a point of emphasis that still needs a lot of attention.
- Apply the rule concerning the illegality of creating a pivot foot after a legal jump stop. A player, in control of the ball, who jumps off one foot and lands simultaneously on both feet has no pivot foot. To lift one of those feet and replace it on the floor, while still in control of the ball, is a traveling violation. This often occurs when a player attempts to gain a better position to pass, shoot, or get out of trouble.
- "Kick" must be an intentional kicking of the ball. A ball that strikes a player’s foot, or the player’s foot striking the ball is not a kick!
- When administering a technical foul, make sure each partner knows what is going on. There has been a tendency for the calling official to do everything while the free official(s) watches.
- If you share information with your partner(s) please be thorough. It gets embarrassing when you choose the wrong free throw shooter or shoot free throws when not warranted. There is nothing wrong with brevity, but be succinct.
- If shirts are out of the pants, remove the player after one warning. Why continually warn throughout the game? If you see a player pull their shirt out of their pants, have the coach substitute for them.
- Be certain to report technical fouls and/or ejections to the appropriate parties. Complete game reports when player(s) are ejected.
- During pre-game while on the court, take advantage of court side observation time. Identify the pivot foot of each player as well as their size and speed.
- Be thorough with table instruction, even if the crew has been constant for the past 50 years.
- Don’t be straight-lined by laziness; be prepared for sudden passes and unusual plays.