ILLEGAL SCREENS “OFF BALL”

When it comes to ruling on illegal screens, and especially screens away from the ball, there seems to be three groups of officials.

One group calls a lot of illegal screens and are often in my judgment way to “pure” in their approach. Each season I get two or three video clips from coaches showing fouls called on allegedly illegal screens that I can honestly say I have a hard time defending. There just isn’t much there that could be ruled illegal contact in my view. Remember the old officiating saying, “ Don’t go looking for trouble, trouble will find you soon enough.”

The other group seldom calls illegal screens and probably are way to lenient is what they often do not call. I always receive a clip or two that resembles a 30 car pile up on the interstate and there is no whistle on the play.

The third group is probably where we all should be. This group doesn’t knit pick technically illegal screens that do not affect freedom of movement to any appreciable degree. This group of officials does, however, do a great job of calling illegal screens that do infringe the defenders freedom of movement. This mind set is just where we as basketball officials want to be when it comes to ruling on illegal screens.

The clip below is a good example of the type of illegal screen away from the ball that we want to have a whistle on. The offensive post initially is in good position but at the last second widens his stance (Watch his left foot) to pick off the defender. There is a lot of contact, the defender is taken out of the mix and the offense would have had an open shot at the hoop. I see this call as a “good get.”

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