SportsBooks

Basketball Terminology

Air ball: A shot that misses the rim or backboard.

Alive: Offensive player who has the ball and has not dribbled.

Alternating Possession Rule: The possession arrow changes direction after each subsequent jump ball or held ball situation, alternating which team gets possession for the throw-in. The first possession after a held ball goes to the team who lost the opening jump ball to begin the game.

Assist: A pass to a teammate that results in a made basket.

Backboard: The flat surface directly behind the basket. The basket is connected to the backboard.

Backdoor: An offensive move where a player cuts behind the defenders and receives a pass for a field-goal attempt.

Ball Handler: The player with the ball. Usually the guard at the start of the play.

Bank Shot: A shot where the ball is first bounced or banked off the backboard at such an angle that it then drops into the basket.

Basket: Consists of the rim and the net, also known a the hoop.

Basketball: A round ball made of rubber, leather or synthetic leather. Comes in 3 different sizes (size 5, 6 or 7).

Blind Pass: A pass from a ball handler who does not see their receiver but is estimating where they should be.

Blocked Shot: The successful deflection of a shot by touching part of the ball on its way to the basket, and preventing a field goal.

Blocking: The use of a defender’s body position to legally prevent an opponents advance. It is the opposite of charging.

Boards: The backboard which the ring or basket is attached or slang for a rebound the act of a player grabbing the ball after a missed shot attempt.

Boxing out: The defensive player turns and faces the basket following a shot and with his or her back to the opponent, and ensures that the player being guarded can’ t rebound the ball.

Charging: An offensive foul, which occurs when an offensive player runs into a defender who has established position.

Court vision: A player’s ability to see everything on the court during play.

Crossover dribble: When a ball handler dribbles the ball across their body from one hand to the other.

Cut: A quick movement by an offensive player without the ball to gain an advantage over the defense usually directed towards the basket.

Dead: Offensive player has the ball and has already used their dribble. They must now either pass or shot the ball.

Dead Ball: Any player with the ball that is not live. This occurs after each successful field goal, free-throw attempt, after any official’s whistle or if the ball leaves the court, then play is stopped.

Defense: The act of preventing the offense from scoring. Defense is the team without the ball.

Down court: The direction a team on offense moves, from its backcourt to its frontcourt and towards its own basket.

Double Dribble: The act of dribbling the ball, stopping the dribble or motion of the ball and beginning to dribble again. Results in a violation and turnover.

Downtown: Referred to as a shot that was considered to distant for the normal shooter to take or in the 3-point area.

Dribble: The act of bouncing the ball up and down. The offensive player with the ball uses the dribble to move the ball around the court.

Drive: The movement of an offensive player while aggressively dribbling towards the basket in an attempt to score.

Dunk: A shot in which a jumping player slams the ball down into the opponent s basket from above.

Established Position: When a defensive player has both feet firmly planted on the floor before an offensive player’s head and shoulder gets past them. The offensive player who runs into such a defender is charging.

Exhibition Game: The act of playing another team and the outcome not being counted in any league standings.

Fake: A movement made with the aim of deceiving an opponent. This can be done with either a pass or a shot fake.

Fastbreak: The act of moving the ball quickly down court by an offensive team in hopes of getting ahead of the defense to score.

Feed: To pass the ball to a teammate who is in a scoring position.

Field Goal: When the ball enters the basket from above the rim during play. It is worth two points.

Flagrant Foul: This is unnecessary or excessive contact against an opponent.

Floor: The area of the court within the end lines and the sidelines.

Floor Violation: A player’s action that violates rules but does not prevent an opponent’ s movement (traveling, double dribble, etc.). They are penalized by a loss in possession.

Foul: Actions by players, which break the rules but are not floor violations. They are penalized by a change in possession or free throw opportunities.

Fouled Out: A player having to leave the game because they have committed five fouls.

Foul Shot or Free Throw: An unguarded shot taken from the foul line by a player whose opponent committed a personal or technical foul, which is worth one point.

Free Ball: A ball, which is in play but is not in the possession of either team, also called a loose ball.

Free Throw: The act of shooting the ball from the marked free throw line (ranging 10-15 feet from the basket) while the remaining players line up down the key . Shot is taken at the result of a foul or technical foul being called.

Give and Go: An offensive play in which a player passes the ball to a teammate and cuts towards the basket for a return pass to score.

Goaltending: Interference with a shot by touching the ball or basket while the ball is on, over, or within the rim. Also touching the ball on its downward flight to the basket before it hits the rim.

Guarding: The act of following an opponent around the court to prevent them from getting close to the basket, taking an open short or making easy passes.

Half time: The rest period between two halves of the game. Usually 5 minutes in length.

Hand checking: Illegal use of hands, usually on the back or hips of the offensive player.

High percentage shot: A shot that is likely to go in the basket, typically taken near the hoop.

High post: A player who is stationed in or near the free throw semicircle on offense.

Hoop: The basketball rim and backboard players shoot the ball towards in attempt to score points. Also referred to as the basket .

In the Paint: Being in the large rectangle area under each basket or the foul lane area, which is painted a different color. AKA the key .

Inbounds: The area within the end lines and sidelines of the court.

Incidental Contact: Minor contact usually overlooked by officials which does not give the opposing team an unfair advantage or affect the outcome of the game.

Inside Shooting: Shots taken by a player near or under the basket.

Jump shot: Field-goal attempt by a player with both feet off the floor, enabling the player to shoot over the defender.

Lay-up or Lay in: A shot taken after driving to the basket by leaping up under the basket and using one hand to shoot the ball off the backboard.

Loose Ball: A ball that is alive but not in the possession of either team.

Lower Percentage shot: A shot that is less likely to go in the basket, usually taken further way from the hoop.

Match-ups: Any pairing of players on opposing teams who guard each other.

Outlet Pass: The first pass made after a defensive rebound to a teammate to start a fastbreak.

Outside Shooting: Shots taken from the perimeter, further away from the hoop.

Pass: When a player throws the ball to a teammate to advance the ball during a possession.

Personal Foul: Contact between players, which may result in excessive physical contact or provide one team with an unfair advantage. Players may not push, hold, trip, hack, elbow, restrain or charge into an opponent. These are also counted as team fouls.

Pivot: A center, also the foot that must remain touching the floor until a ball handler who has stopped dribbling is ready to pass or shoot.

Possession: To be holding or in control of the ball.

Post Position: The position of a player standing in the low post or high post in the key area near the hoop.

Rebound: A term used to describe the actual retrieving of the ball as it rebounds from the backboard or the ring after a missed shot.

Receiver: The player who receives a pass from the ball handler.

Referee: The person(s) assigned to the game to maintain the flow and integrity of the game. Duties are to call violations, fouls and maintain the game within the limits of the rules. Also referred to as an official.

Sag: When a defender moves away from their opponent toward the basket they are defending.

Screen or screener: The offensive player who stands between a teammate and a defender to give their teammate the chance to take an open shot or drive to the basket.

Scrimmage: Practice play between squads of one team.

Shooter: A player who takes a shot at the basket in attempts to score.

Shooter’ s roll: This is the ability to get even an inaccurate shot to bounce lightly off the rim and into the basket.

Shooting Range: The distance from which a player is likely to make their shots.

Squaring up: When a player’ s shoulders are facing the basket as they release the ball for a shot. This is considered good shooting position.

Steal: To take the ball away from an opponent.

Strong Side/Weak Side: Whichever side of the key that the ball is on when on offense is called the strong side. The other side is the weak side. If the ball changes sides, the weak side is now the strong side.

Substitute: A player who comes into the game to replace a player on the court.

Switch: Two defensive players change checks during live play.

Technical Foul: A special violation called at the discretion of the referee towards players, coaches or the team. Infractions include an intentional or flagrant contact foul, unsportsmanlike conduct or other actions detrimental to the spirit of the game.

Throw-in: The method by which a team with possession inbounds the ball.

Time-out: A period of sixty seconds during which the play is stopped and teams discuss strategy and a moment to allow players to rest.

Tip-off: The initial jump ball that starts the game.

Trailer: An offensive player that follows behind the ball-handler.

Violation: An infringement of the rules, which does not involve contact. The opposing team is awarded the ball for a throw-in from out of bounds.