ray lutz

The alternating possession arrow and the rules surrounding it need to be thoroughly understood by all officials. Misapplying the rule or screwing up the administration of the AP arrow can send a game south very quickly.

Most games begin with a jump ball where the tapped ball is controlled by a non-jumper. If, for example, Team A controls the tap, Team B gets the arrow.

Once in a while the game begins in a funky manner. Here is an example. A1 and B1 jump and A1 taps the ball and before it touches a non-jumper or the floor, Jumper B1 catches the ball. This is a jump ball violation. Team A is awarded a throw-in for B1’s violation. Once the ball is handed to Team A for the throw-in the arrow is pointed to Team B.

Another example finds Team A charged with a Technical foul before the game begins for dunking. This game begins with Team B shooting two free throws for the technical foul, and when the ball is handed to Team B for the ensuing throw-in, the AP arrow is set toward Team A.

Another strange situation involving the AP arrow goes as follows. Between the first and second quarter, the coach of Team A is charged with a technical foul. The AP arrow is showing Team B’s arrow. The second quarter begins with the free throws for the technical foul. Then the official administers the throw-in at the division line, but the scorer reverses the arrow. The throw-in was for the technical foul on Team A and the arrow stays with Team B.

A Team who has an AP throw-in can only lose the arrow by completing the throw-in or by committing a throw-in violation. A foul by either team does not reverse the arrow. Here is the most common play for that scenario. Team A has the ball out of bounds for an AP throw in after a held ball. During the throw-in, Team A is charged with a Team Control Foul for an illegal screen. Team B is awarded the ball out of bounds nearest the foul for a throw-in and the scorer reverses the arrow on completion of the throw-in. Big mistake! The team control foul does not cause Team A to lose the arrow. The throw-in was a part of the penalty for the foul.

Once the tap to begin the game is controlled and the officials decide where they are to go, the tossing official should check to see if the arrow is set and if it is, is it set in the right direction.
I see four or five games a year where the score keeper forgets to set the arrow to start the game and the covering official neglects to check as well. The result is that several minutes go by without the arrow being set and then the crew calls the first held ball of the game and they have no arrow. Then, a discussion ensues where both coaches are adamant that their team should have the arrow. Not great game management.

The same mindset applies to all AP throw-ins. The administering official must check to make sure the arrow was reversed. It is harder to determine whose ball it should be well into the game if we screw up the arrow than it is at the start of the game.

Scorekeepers may not understand about reversing the arrow after plays where we don’t have a point of interruption or when the ball lodges between the rim and the backboard. These situations are ones where the officiating crew needs to do due diligence in seeing that the arrow is reversed.

Finally, two or three times a season I see the following situation. A held ball is called. The AP arrow belongs to Team A. Subsequently a timeout is granted and after the timeout the crew administers the throw-in but the scorer forgets that the crew was working an AP arrow before the time out and doesn’t reverse the arrow after the throw-in.


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