Basketball Officiating

This is a thread to discuss basketball officiating. I recently watched a training video, and I was surprised by some of the correct calls. I wanted to get some feedback from Don and anyone else. (I’ll post the clip in the first post.)

9 thoughts on “Basketball Officiating

  1. Go to 13:33. If this is a traveling, a lot of back-to-the-basket moves or turnaround shots will be negated, and I’m not sure fans, players, and coaches would be happy.

    Additionally, I think calling this–seeing the traveling–is really difficult. The official has to watch the feet and determine when the player picks up the ball. I think it is traveling, though–but it doesn’t look like it initially. Officials, coaches, and players should really decide if they want to make this type of move illegal.

    By the way, when the player establishes his pivot foot (the right foot) and then steps with his left, if his right foot, the pivot foot, doesn’t come down on the ground, that’s a legal play right. (For example, suppose he went into a hook shot.) Basically, he would have taken two steps after the dribble, which is legal move.

    Now, suppose the player landed on two feet initially, like a jump stop, when he held the ball–and then pivoted. Would that have been traveling as well? According to the video, I think it would be.

    Go to 12:20. The guy says after a jump stop, the player can’t pivot. Is that right? Man, did I forget this?

    One last one. 9:40. This is weird move. I can’t recall seeing this before. I think it is traveling.

    By the way, Bobby Knight called out these two officiating mistakes below:

    What’s interesting is that, on first glance, the first example doesn’t look like a travel. But when you look at the feet, the player lifts his pivot off the ground. If he doesn’t do that, it doesn’t seem like a travel to me.

    The second one doesn’t look like traveling to me, unless the player lifted his pivot foot.

    1. Here’s another traveling situation in the post (go to 1:13)

      Initially this doesn’t look like a travel to me. But watch when she picks up the ball and count the steps afterward. She takes four steps–and, yeah, that does seem like traveling. But again, I don’t think this is ever called. If it were Dream would be screwed.

  2. I didn’t know the rule that the first foot that lands is your pivot foot. But if that is a true statement, then I guess the move at the 13.33 mark is technically traveling. I wouldn’t have called that though. I always thought your pivot foot was only established when you actually pivot. So if I pivot on one foot, I cannot pivot on the opposite foot for example. I’m guessing the first foot rule is only when you pick up your dribble? What is rule if I jump and catch a pass from another player. That doesn’t mean the first foot that lands would be my pivot foot right?

    I also didn’t know the rule in which after a jump stop a player cannot pivot. You rarely see that though, so it’s not hard to believe that I wouldn’t know that rule. But again, I always thought the pivot foot wasn’t established until you actually pivot, so I would have thought a jump stop and then pivot would be okay.

    The one at 9:40 didn’t look like traveling to me. It looked a little awkward, but it’s pretty much what you always see in a jump stop move. The player jump stops and continues with a lay up type move in which the player jumps off one leg (I guess you also see guys after a jump stop go back up and do another jump off both legs.). But the player on 9:40 just did a jump stop and jumped again (a little awkwardly I guess), but he passed the ball before he landed. That wouldn’t be a travel.

    The two that Knight called out didn’t look like traveling to me too, but like you said the first guy did sort of slide that pivot foot so I’m guessing that could be called.

  3. I didn’t know the rule that the first foot that lands is your pivot foot. But if that is a true statement, then I guess the move at the 13.33 mark is technically traveling. I wouldn’t have called that though. I always thought your pivot foot was only established when you actually pivot.

    Put aside whether the first foot that lands when you hold the ball is the pivot foot. When a player holds the ball, after a dribbling, the first foot on the ground is the first step. They can only take one more step after that–and if the foot that hit the ground first touches the ground, that should be a walking violation, right? (After the first step, the player could also land on two feet. But the rule, which I don’t think I realized fully, is that the player cannot pivot. They can only pass or jump at that point.

    What’s confusing here is that if a player does a jump stop on a catch, I’m pretty sure they they can pivot. But in this case they would be in the process of catching the ball and then hopping onto two feet. Now, if they caught the ball, took one step and then landed on two feet, I don’t think they can pivot. I think there are times when this play can look similar.

    Also, remember the step-and-a-half move? That’s actually a jump stop after a dribble–and then the player takes one step and pivots on that foot. But they have to shoot or pass before the non-pivot foot comes down. But in the video, the player picks up his dribble, takes one step and then lands on two feet. That’s why he can’t pivot at that point. Does that sound right to you?)

    What is rule if I jump and catch a pass from another player. That doesn’t mean the first foot that lands would be my pivot foot right?

    You mean you catch the ball and land on one foot followed by the other (rocker step)? I think the first foot that lands has to be the pivot foot. Picture pivoting with the second foot–does that seem right to you? It doesn’t to me. I think you could pivot with the second foot, but the first foot could not come down to the ground. (That would be an awkward move.)

    The one at 9:40 didn’t look like traveling to me. It looked a little awkward, but it’s pretty much what you always see in a jump stop move.

    It’s more like footwork on a layup then a jump-stop move. Also, he jumps off his left foot, and then lands on his left foot and jumps off of it again! So weird. Now, if you treat this as a jump stop, then it’s OK, as it’s the same thing as a jump stop except the player lands on one foot instead of two.

    But think about a layup. If you jumped off the first foot and then jumped off the second (like in a hop-skip-and-jump technique), that would be traveling right? That’s what the player does–but he passes the ball off instead of shooting it.

    For the clip in the Coach Knight clip–the second one wasn’t traveling right?

    Did you see the clip with the female post player? Man, if that has to be called, that kinda sucks.

    1. Put aside whether the first foot that lands when you hold the ball is the pivot foot. When a player holds the ball, after a dribbling, the first foot on the ground is the first step. They can only take one more step after that–and if the foot that hit the ground first touches the ground, that should be a walking violation, right?

      I thought that while picking up the dribble, that the “motion” didn’t stop until both feet touched the ground. Basically I didn’t think there is a difference while picking up the dribble between a jump stop and what you called a rocker step. I thought in either case the person could still do a step and a half off either foot. In both cases the player can still do a step and half more, but it then becomes really specific which foot is the step and which foot is the half. If you jump stop either foot can be the step foot, but in the rocker step only the second foot that lands can be the step foot. That’s what I meant when I said I didn’t think a pivot foot was established until a person actually pivots.

      You mean you catch the ball and land on one foot followed by the other (rocker step)? I think the first foot that lands has to be the pivot foot.

      Let’s say a player is running and catches the ball on the wing and comes to a stop. If the rule is that while catching the ball the first foot that lands is a pivot foot, then said player could only pivot one way. That seems absurd to me.

      But think about a layup. If you jumped off the first foot and then jumped off the second (like in a hop-skip-and-jump technique), that would be traveling right?

      No that would be a Euro-step and a great move by Don. 🙂

      Did you see the clip with the female post player? Man, if that has to be called, that kinda sucks.

      Yeah. But that’s exactly what the guy did in the 13.33 mark of the first video.

  4. I thought that while picking up the dribble, that the “motion” didn’t stop until both feet touched the ground.

    By “motion,” you’re talking about the player’s process to hold the ball? If so, my understanding is that the motion stops when the referee determines the player holds or has solid control of the ball. I think determining control is the reason this traveling calls are difficult.

    . If the rule is that while catching the ball the first foot that lands is a pivot foot, then said player could only pivot one way. That seems absurd to me.

    I feel this way, too. It sounds weird or wrong; but it’s not something I think about. I just pivot instinctively. I think the key is when the player holds the ball–versus gathering it (motion preceding actually controlling or holding the ball).

    No that would be a Euro-step and a great move by Don. 🙂

    You don’t even jump/hop off the first foot though. If you step and then cut in the opposite direction and take the second step, I wouldn’t call that jumping/hopping off the first foot.

    What’s weird is that the speed of the steps also seem to matter a lot, although I don’t think the rule book says anything explicit about this. I saw this youtube guy demonstrate a move where he almost comes to a stop on the first step, standing on that foot, and then taking another step with the other foot, and then jumping off. I would say that’s illegal, but I’m not sure why.

    Yeah. But that’s exactly what the guy did in the 13.33 mark of the first video.

    Right. The basketball community has to decide if they really want to outlaw that move–and there should be strong consensus on this. Otherwise, I would let this go.

  5. “A player who gathers the ball while progressing may take (1) two steps in coming to a stop, passing or shooting the ball, or (2) if he has not yet dribbled, one step prior to releasing the ball. A player who gathers the ball while dribbling may take two steps in coming to a stop, passing, or shooting the ball.

    The first step occurs when a foot, or both feet, touch the floor after gaining control of the ball.
    The second step occurs after the first step when the other foot touches the floor, or both feet touch the floor simultaneously.
    A player who comes to a stop on step one when both feet are on the floor or touch the floor simultaneously may pivot using either foot as his pivot. If he jumps with both feet he must release the ball before either foot touches the floor.
    A player who lands with one foot first may only pivot using that foot.
    A progressing player who jumps off one foot on the first step may land with both feet simultaneously for the second step. In this situation, the player may not pivot with either foot and if one or both feet leave the floor the ball must be released before either returns to the floor.”

    The above is from the NBA rules. It says you can take two steps while you “gathers” the ball to gather yourself (note the first paragraph is the rule, and the statements after, are to elaborate that rule). I didn’t see anything in the traveling section of the rules about catching a passed ball. So I’m going to guess the same rules above, doesn’t apply to catching a pass, only to gathering the ball.

    It clearly states that the first foot that lands is determined to be the pivot foot. That is if you take two steps while gathering the ball. If you only take one, then you can pivot with either foot. These are part of the rules I didn’t know about, but these rules make those two moves (13.33 mark and the girls in the second video) traveling.

    1. It’s hard to understand and visualize the rules, particularly since gathering is vague.

      The first step occurs when a foot, or both feet, touch the floor after gaining control of the ball.

      I think the key here is “after gaining control.” Knowing that can be really tricky for a referee.

      These are part of the rules I didn’t know about, but these rules make those two moves (13.33 mark and the girls in the second video) traveling.

      Are you sure? I think that totally sucks. I mean, on some level I can understand this, but I would prefer they don’t call this.

      I find this topic really frustrating. When I think about this in the context of having to officiate this, I get a headache.

  6. To me, this is not really a close call. One of the defenders is not in position–she’s move forward, bodying the offensive player. That’s a foul right there. It looks like defenders’ arms hit the shooter, too.

    The best defenses I can come up for the officials:

    1. The lead and center officials don’t really have good angles on the play. From where they are, I can see how they don’t really see a foul–not clearly. The best angle on the replay is coming from a camera that is in left side of the baseline. The lead is on the right block. The center is watching the play from behind. (When I ref, if I’m the lead official, I would move to the left block to get a good angle on that play–expecting the other two to rotate–but I’m not sur that’s proper. But I also may not have had time to make that move.)

    2. The officials allowed a lot of contact throughout the game.

    I got irritated that this was a no call, but after focusing on the position of the officials, it’s very possible that if they blew the whistle, they would be guessing–that is, they would blow the whistle without actually seeing the foul.

    In any event, I think I would feel sick if I were officiating the game. Somehow they’ve got to see this.

    My question: Can they be blamed for not being in position? I feel like the lead official is the one that has to move to where he can see the space between the defender(s) and the driver. The trail should rotate to the center watching the weakside play, and then the center should move up to the trail.

    If they were in proper position, I would think missing this call could happen quite easily. In fact, I wonder if the UConn defenders were instructed to do what they did–wall up and lean into the driver. The two officials are not in a position to see if contact with the arms or body occurs. But the defenders have to be aware of where the officials are. Man, that would be something if UConn was this clever.

    Edit

    If this training video is correct, then the rotation I mentioned should have occurred (Go to 3:50 minute mark):

    Honestly though, I don’t notice the lead official hustling from the weak side to the strong side. I don’t close attention to this, so I could be wrong. But when I’m the lead official, I try to stay on the ball side, especially when it’s below the free throw line.

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