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Instant Replay: Breaking down basketball rules

("Instant Replay" s a new weekly column which will appear in Sunday's Detroit Lakes Tribune. It will be written and be headed by Terry Eiter, the President and Assigner of the Referee Association. Each week, he will write out a real occurrence during a sporting event and explain the ruling. Also included at times will be new rules and "point of emphasis" in sports.

This column is for readers to grasp a better understanding of the rules of their favorite sports. Readers can ask Eiter questions about certain rules or about a play which occurred during a prep athletic event by emailing him at

This week will cover questions that were either asked directly or e-mailed to me recently. They all relate to high school basketball. Remember that Team A is on offense and Team B is the defensive team.

Dear Instant Replay Guy: Although I am beyond my glory days I still participate in our "Over the Hill "basketball league.

I had a small disagreement with someone at one of our games and thought I'd ask about it.

Admittedly, I played at a high school (Alexandria) with less superior athletes than those in Detroit Lakes, I still think I know a bit about the game.

I've even went on to be a coach.

My question is this: If a basketball player is on defense, and extends his leg to try and stop a pass, and it hits only his knee, is this "kicking the ball?"



Dear Keith:

That is a fairly intelligent question - you must have been in the Advanced Placement courses in Alex.

This is a judgment call.

If the Team A player simply throws the ball and it hits the Team B player's leg (knee) it is NOT kicking. If in the judgment of the official the Team B player is using his leg to block the ball it is kicking.

It is a judgment call by the official.

The intent of the rule is to prevent players from kicking the ball during the game and stress deflecting the pass with their hands.

Thanks for the question and Good Luck with the team. You've got a great bunch of young boys to coach!


Dear Instant Replay Guy (again): Sorry to bother you, one more question came up last night at open gym about the kicking the ball rule. 

You see we don't have much of a life so when we are done playing we sit around and talk about situations and crazy stuff in games.

It's what we do. Thanks much for your earlier reply. So, anyway I had one more question. If a player's leg is extended, but remains on the floor and the pass hits his foot, is it a kicking the ball violation? 

Can't wait for your reply - the boys and I got a bet on this one.

Thanks again.


Dear Keith:

I'm guessing you are a Concordia graduate - you ask very good questions and spend your time wisely.

It's nice to see that Cobber education pay off.

What you are describing would NOT be kicking the ball.

The fact that the leg is "on the floor" has no bearing. You said the ball "hit" the foot. If the Team A player throws the ball into a Team B's player foot - it is NOT kicking the ball.

The official has to determine, by using their judgment, if it was the intent of the defensive player to use his foot to intentionally stop or deflect the ball with their foot, regardless of where their foot is at.

Apparently, the basketball Gods want the game played with the hands, not the feet.

Good luck Keith - let me know if you won the bet.


Dear Instant Replay Guy:

Good information in the newspaper, thanks.

In the future would you explain a few situations?

Why, when there is a loose ball by either team, that when the coach who yells "time out" first gets the possession after the time out. 

I know a red-headed coach who has done this for years, but I was under the impression that this year it was to change to only the team in possession could call the time out. 

I was at a tournament and it was the worst example of this that I have seen.  The ball was rolling around and a time out was called by the other coach resulting in their possession two separate times. 

Were the officials picking on our coach(es) because they are Cobber graduates?


Gene, Nevis, MN

Dear Gene:

I appreciate the question all the way from Nevis.

I officiated a game there recently and toured the Hall of Fame - congratulations on your induction.

Regarding your questions - there needs to be some clarification(s) made. First of all, there was not a rule change this year regarding this situation.

This situation became muddied a few years ago when the rules were changed to allow coaches to call a time out. Previous to the change, a coach would have to tell his players that were participating on the court to call a time out.

Coaches could not request a time out directly to the official. This presents a few problems for officials who are trained to keep their eyes and attention on the court.

Officials have been told to error on NOT granting a time out during a "loose ball" and to wait until one team secures possession and then to make eye contact with the coach (if possible) before you grant a time out.

If the coach is behind you that is difficult to do. If what happened in your description actually occurred, the officials made a mistake.

That happens - I remember blowing a call back in 1994.

You are correct that only the team in possession can call the time out.

That team that is awarded the time out will be given the ball at the end of the time out. That is the correct ruling - whether they were picking on Concordia graduates?

Well, I'll let you be the judge. Thanks again for the question Gene - go Tigers!