A rule concept that manifests itself both during the “testing season” as well as during the playing season involves when there is team control.

At the core of the team control concept is that illegal contact by the team in control does not translate into free throws to the opposition unless there was a shooter involved.

There are only two instances when the ball is “live” that there isn’t a team in control.

The first is immediately after the ball leaves the official’s hand on the jump and continues until a player of either team gains control of the ball. We usually only have one jump ball a game, so this situation rarely comes into play.

The second situation occurs multiple times during the game. Once the ball leaves the shooter’s hand and until the shot is either successful or until any player gains control of the rebound after an errant shot, there is no team control.

Those are the only two times that a live ball is not in team control, during the jump ball, and during a try for goal.
At all other times, a live ball is in Team Control.

Therefore, the ball is in Team A’s control after the free thrower has the ball at their disposal.

Team A has control after the ball is at the disposal of the thrower for the throw-in.

Remember, the ball becomes live when it is at the disposal of the free thrower or the player making a throw-in.

Disposal means that the free thrower or the player throwing the ball in from out of bounds has the ball in their hands after it has been bounced or handed to them. The officials may also declare the ball at the disposal of a Team after a made goal or free throw when he/she feels that it is available to them for a throw-in.

Team A still has control if A-1’s dribble is batted away by B1. A-1’s dribble has ended but Team A still has control.

Team A still has control when A-1’s pass is deflected by B1.

Team A still has control during A-1’s interrupted dribble. A-1 no longer has player control but Team A still has Team Control.

Team A has control until a Team B player gains control.

Team A has control until it shoots the ball.

So, anytime a ball that was in team control is subsequently fumbled, muffed, batted or deflected and is loose rolling on the floor it is STILL in Team A’s control until a player on Team B gains control or the ball becomes dead.

Here is the test question in one of its simplest forms.

A-3’s pass is deflected by B-1 and is loose on the floor.

While A-1 and B-2 are moving to recover the ball A-1 undercuts B-2.

Team B is in the bonus.

The official awards B-2 a bonus free throw. Is the official correct?


No! Team A remains in team control. The foul by A-1 is a team control foul and no shots are awarded to Team B.

Below is a video clip showing a play where Team A makes a bad pass and the ball becomes loose on the floor. Just before Team B gains control of the ball A-5 fouls B-1 Even though Team B was in the bonus no shots are awarded.

Note the crewmate offering information to the calling official to ensure that a Team Control foul was ruled. Also, watch the offended Teams coach lobby for free throws.

ray lutz

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