When we talk about officiating block-charge situations we are actually talking about legal guarding position. (LGP) There are two main aspects of the legal guarding position rule (4-23) that apply to block-charge situations. They focus on “obtaining” legal guarding position and “maintaining” LGP.
Obtaining LGP is pretty well understood by officials and coaches for that matter. A defender must initially be facing his offensive opponent with both feet touching the playing floor in-bounds. Please note the word initially because once LGP is established the defender no longer has to have two feet on the floor nor does he/she have to continue facing the opponent.
The defender may “maintain” legal guarding position by moving laterally, straight backwards or obliquely backwards. Obliquely means at an angle, slanted or not forward.
Rule 4-7-2 tells us once a defender obtains a legal guarding position the offensive player must get his/her head and shoulders past the “torso” of the defender. If contact by the offensive player occurs on the torso of the defender the offensive player has fouled
b. If a guard has obtained a legal guarding position, the player with the ball must get his/her head and shoulders past the torso of the defensive player. If contact occurs on the torso of the defensive player, the dribbler is responsible for the contact.
In the video clip below the defender clearly obtains LGP on the dribble driver. The dribble driver tries to defeat the LGP by going around the defender. The defender moves obliquely backwards to maintain his LGP and there is contact clearly on the defenders torso. The official rules this play a block! THE DEFENDER HAS DONE EVERYTHING REQUIRED OF HIM BUT STILL GETS CALLED FOR A “BLOCK.”
Guarding is the act of legally placing the body in the path of an offensive opponent. There is no minimum distance required between the guard and opponent, but the maximum is 6 feet when closely guarded. Every player is entitled to a spot on the playing court provided such player gets there first without illegally contacting an opponent. A player who extends an arm, shoulder, hip or leg into the path of an opponent is not considered to have a legal position if contact occurs.
To obtain an initial legal guarding position:
a. The guard must have both feet touching the playing court.
b. The front of the guard’s torso must be facing the opponent.
After the initial legal guarding position is obtained:
a. The guard may have one or both feet on the playing court or be airborne, provided he/she has inbound status.
b. The guard is not required to continue facing the opponent.
c. The guard may move laterally or obliquely to maintain position, provided it is not toward the opponent when contact occurs.
d. The guard may raise hands or jump within his/her own vertical plane.
e. The guard may turn or duck to absorb the shock of imminent contact.
B1 jumps in front of dribbler A1 and obtains a legal guarding position with both feet touching the court and facing A1. Dribbler A1 contacts B1’s torso.
RULING: Player control foul on A1. (4-7-2)
4.23.3 SITUATION A:
B1 has obtained a legal guarding position on A1 and moves to maintain it. A1 moves laterally and contacts defender B1 but does not get his/her head and shoulders past the torso of B1. Contact occurs on the side of B1’s torso.
RULING: Player-control foul by A1. (4-7-2)