BACKING DOWN THE DEFENDING POST

For several years, the NFHS made illegal contact a point of emphasis. The Basketball Rules Committee thought it was time to create rules criteria for foul enforcement on the ball handler/dribbler and include it in the rules book in 2014-15. This year’s rule change emphasizes that that ball handling/dribbler changes are in effect for the post player as well, regardless of whether he/she is facing the basket or has his/her back to the basket.
The following acts constitute a foul when committed against a ball handler/dribbler. A player becomes a ball handler when he/she receives the ball. This would include a player in a post position.

 Placing two hands on the player.
 Placing an extended arm bar on the player.
 Placing and keeping a hand on the player.
 Contacting the player more than once with the same hand or alternating hands.

I ask you to take the above rule change information and focus it on the low block play where a bigger, stronger offensive post player “backs down” the defending post player. In years gone by the defending post could use a fore arm on the offensive players back to help him/her to hold his/her ground. Now, if the defender puts an extended arm bar on the back of the offensive post that has the ball it becomes an immediate foul.

My point is that officials need to be vigilant in not letting the offensive post “back down” or “muscle down” a defending post. Don’t allow the offensive post to dislodge or displace the defending post that has no way to leverage his position. The defending post does not have to be knocked to the ground before the play becomes a foul, merely dislodged or displaced enough that the offense has gained an advantage not intended by the rules.

The clip below shows a typical play where the offensive post may be right on the border or has indeed crossed the line in backing down the defense. Note that the offensive post begins to back down the defender even before he receives the ball. Also take note where the offensive player was located when he got the ball and where he was when he shot the ball.

I am not sure if this play is a foul or not by the offensive post, you are the judge of that, but this clip demonstrates a scenario that officials need to be aware of and be ready to rule on if the situation dictates.

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