When a center official finds herself/himself in back court and a contested dribble driver coming up the C’s sideline, she/he has a decision to make.
The decision involves either running fast to stay ahead of the play and looking back at the action until the play is well into front court or letting the action go on ahead and working the play as a temporary trail.
I suggest the second scenario. In the first example while the official is running fast and looking back at the contested dribble driver, he or she cannot see what is looming a head of the action. Often a collision occurs and the official is surprised and doesn’t know whether the defender established LGP or not because he/she was looking back at the action.
In the second scenario, when the official lets the play go ahead, he or she can see not only illegal contact by the defender but can also see if a defender waits up ahead and if an impending collision looms on the horizon. This techniques affords the official the opportunity to not be surprised when a train wreck ensues.
The clip below shows an extremely talented and athletic young official who chooses the first scenario and runs ahead of the play and looks back at the action, The play does not result in a full blown train wreck but does end in a tough block-charge situation.
I think this official got this play right, but only because of her really high basketball IQ, as she put herself in a difficult position to see the end of the action before contact.
Yes, the officials manual probably shows the center always being ahead of the play. Remember that the officials manual cannot possibly cover every possible scenario. It is a guideline. Put yourself in the best possible position to see the play now and what is going to happen next.