I think we would all agree that it is to our benefit to get the game started correctly and without controversy. It is usually easy, throw it up and go, but from time to time things go awry.

Every season we see and hear of confusion and mistakes in getting the game started. The most common mistake when starting the game is to allow the jumpers to face the wrong direction. This happens more than we would like to admit.

Here is a tip. Take a moment to observe the jumpers. They should be located in the same side of the jump circle where their team bench Is located.


If by mistake the officials permit a team to go the wrong ­direction, when discovered all points scored, fouls committed, and time consumed shall count as if each team had gone the proper direction. Play shall resume with each team going the proper direction based on bench location.

Letting the jumpers face the wrong direction happens more often when starting overtime than when beginning the game. For some reason, players and maybe some officials think overtime is like starting a new half. Overtime is an extension of the fourth quarter. Jumpers face the basket that their team was shooting at in the second half. Jumpers should be in the half of the jump circle where their opponents bench is located.

Then, there are jump ball violations to contend with at the beginning of the game.

Question 1

Jumper A1 taps the ball and non jumper B2 taps it back to jumper A1 who catches the ball in the air. The official rules this a jump ball violation. Is the official correct?

Question 2

Jumper A1 taps the tossed ball directly to the floor. Jumper A1 then recovers the ball. The official rules this a jump ball violation. Is the official correct.

Answer: No! The jump ends when the ball touches a non jumper or the floor.

Then, sometimes the ball goes out of bounds without either team gaining possession.

Question 3

Jumpers A1 and B1 tap the ball toward the sideline where A2 and B2 simultaneously touch it and it goes immediately out of bounds.. The official rules that original jumpers A1 and B1 re jump. Is the official correct?

Answer: No! A2 and B2 would participate in the re-jump.

Here is some philosophy for you. If the tapped ball to start the game goes directly out of bounds or the play above happens where A2 and B2 simultaneously touch the tapped ball before going out of bounds and you are in doubt as to who caused the ball to go out of bounds, give it to the visitors rather than re jumping.

To start the game it doesn’t make any difference who gets the ball because the AP arrow is going to even things out. However, to start overtime, re jump as their may not be another held ball in overtime and if there is a second overtime it is started with another jump ball not by going to the AP arrow.

Below is an interesting jump ball clip to begin the game. I think A2 gets possession and then throws it to B2. The arrow should go to Team B because Team A got possession first even if it was for a brief second. However it looks to me like they gave the arrow to Tam A.

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