We at Dave Hall Officiating believe that freedom of movement is critical to the game of basketball. We also believe that freedom of movement is just as important to the defensive team as it is to the offensive team.
In the past couple of seasons, the emphasis as far as FOM is concerned has focused on illegal contact by the defense. We want to remind you that the offensive team can commit illegal acts that hinder defensive FOM as well. Specifically, I refer to illegal screens.
Below are the two big concepts to remember when officiating the vast majority of screen plays.
• Screeners must be stationary when contact occurs.
• Screeners must allow for time and distance when moving opponents are involved.
Below is content from Rule 4-40
When screening a moving opponent, the screener must allow the opponent time and distance to avoid contact by stopping or changing direction. The speed of the player to be screened will determine where the screener may take his/her stationary position. The position will vary and may be one to two normal steps or strides from the opponent.
A player who is screened within his/her visual field is expected to avoid contact by going around the screener. In cases of screens outside the visual field, the opponent may make inadvertent contact with the screener and if the opponent is running rapidly, the contact may be severe. Such a case is to be ruled as incidental contact provided the opponent stops or attempts to stop on contact and moves around the screen, and provided the screener is not displaced if he/she has the ball.
Below is a clip with two separate screening plays that I got from the 52nd Annual Lamar Colorado Chamber of Commerce Holliday Basketball Tournament in Lamar Colorado. This is one of the best holliday tournaments you will find in the entire country. It is professionally run, highly organized with very good small school play and excellent officiating.
In the first, the screener gives ample time and distance to the defender and the defender chooses to run through the screen anyway rather than stopping or going around or even trying to mitigate the severity of the contact.
In the second, the screener does not allow for any time and distance when setting a screen on a moving opponent outside of her visual field.
In both instances the covering officials do a nice job of looking in front of the ball handler to see the screen.