I believe we have done ourselves a disservice by putting so much emphasis on primary coverage areas. Yes, obviously we need to division of the court that should be primary for the different officials.
But, more important than whether a play happens in my primary area is whether or not I have the open or best look at the play or whether one of my partners has the better look. Lots of plays may happen in my primary that I have a closed look on and I would be guessing if I filled my whistle.
A classic example is the ‘curl play.” The post gets the ball on the low block and the lead is right there with a beautiful “open” look. Then the post “curls away’ from the lead toward the middle of the lane. Now the lead who just a second ago had a great open look is closed. However, the ball is still in the leads primary area of coverage but is now “open” to the center official or even the trail official if it is a full curl.
Lead officials have to learn to stay off of the “curl” and give it up to the center and the center has to know that the lead is now closed and it has “opened” up to him or her.
Often trail officials have the open look on the dribble drive that began in their PCA, but has now traveled into the leads primary. On these plays the lead is often straight lined even though the ball is in his or her primary. In these situations the trail needs to realize that he/she has the open look.
If the ball is not in your primary, but you have the open look it is almost certain then that the “primary” official is closed or straight lined. Wait a heartbeat for the primary official to blow on the play (right of first refusal) but then come get the foul if it is there and needs to be called.
We need to get away from the days when we told our partners to “stay the hell out of my primary.”
Below is a play that originates in the trails area and goes to the bucket culminating in the leads primary. You will see that the lead has a closed look on the contact. The trail has an almost perfect open look but does not blow on the play. I would bet that the trail didn’t fill his whistle because the play was right in front of the lead and in the leads primary.
This play happens 15 times a game or more. If you have the open look and the contact needs to be called, come get it. Close down on the play after the whistle as it will make your call much more believable.
Here is another clip where the play starts in the trails primary and then goes to the rack culminating in the leads primary. there is an obvious arm bar on the shooter that appears to be completely open to the trail and he doesn’t ring it up. Note that the lead may be closed to this forearm.
And here is yet another clip of a drive to the hole and the defender rides the driver with his forearm and the trail has a wide open look but doesn’t blow on the play. I think the lead is closed and the trail is open. It may be in the leads PCA but the lead is closed and the trail is open. Stay engaged as the trail all the way to the basket.