Rebound Shove - Common Foul Or Intentional Foul
FEBRUARY 27, 2018 - The local men's league tournament is drawing near to an end with each outcome sending teams home to think about their finished season. Tempers are flaring and it has been interesting watching games go from peaceful and competitive to angry and near blows within seconds. Staying focused as an official on the court has been tedious, at best. The players are men and most are very tired by the last 10 minutes of the game. They look fine and then all the sudden lose all normal composure. This is usually because their bodies are incapable of performing as they had in earlier years.
In the following play there is a simple inbound pass, a shot, and then two big men suddenly losing their focus. As officials, we should have a zero tolerance for poor sportsmanship, and the calling official quickly has to use their judgment in making a single common foul call, a double foul call, and then whether or not to upgrade to an intentional foul. All of these have their specific use and it all comes back to game management. With multiple officials on the floor, if the calling official feels the need for partner input, then a quick huddle can take place and come out of it with the final rulings.
Take a look at the all too common rebound shoving foul in this video...
LINK TO VIDEO: https://youtu.be/46mPNr5u1p0
For learning purposes, let's look at the three officials. Some of their actions are commendable, while other actions could use improvement as a crew.
LEAD - Aaron was spot on in his inbounding mechanics and then concentrating on his primary coverage area. When the 3-pointer goes up, he is concentrating on the players in the key and on the rebounding action. I was impressed with his lack of ball watching, yet the two offenders seem to be a bit to the right of his focus. His concentration looks to be over the entire key, as if he was working in a 2-man crew instead of 3-man crew. This is where suddenly being in a 3-man crew after a season of 2-man games can be hard. Had Aaron taken just half the key and the area where the two rebounders came from, then this push/shove would have been in his primary view. But to do this requires extensive 3-man crew work and trust that the "C" and trail officials have the other portions of the key and court covered. As it was, Aaron blew his whistle quickly with a sure call, and then came into the group of players to help break up the follow-up shove action. Without hesitation Aaron went and reported his call. He had no desire for outside input. His game management judgment was accurate and the game was only temporarily derailed and quickly got back on track.
TRAIL - Michael (me) marked the 3-point shot while closing down a step to stay engaged. The rebound came off high and when it came down into the black team's possession he turns to start down to the new lead. I can see that focus remained on the players above the free throw line extended, yet direct focus on the two rebounders in the mid-key area were not directly a top priority. Looking back, I wish I had focused on the rebounders, but my top priority was the shooter up and to the ground, and then to signal if a 3-point shot was made. Since it was a high rebound away, I still had to determine the direction the ball would be going. In reality, after my shooter came to the ground, should I have picked up the arc of the ball? Or should I have trusted "C"? And if I trusted him, then what area should I have been helping with?... Good question! I am kicking myself because I could have and should have been more help on this play.
CENTER - Mike was in a good position. Keep in mind that this is the position new to our rec league staff as we just started to use three officials for the men's tournament. This is where the least experience is exhibited. Mike marks the three and follows the ball to the rim and to the black team's rebounder clearly in his primary coverage area. Yes, it would be nice is he also picked up the rebounding shove action, but his primary coverage was on the action around the ball clearly in his area. Had the rebound gone the other direction, then as the "C" he would have had the clearest view of the fouling action. As the whistle blows and the body flies his decision to move down the court was not the best. Aaron's whistle is clear and the body flies. Mike's non-reaction to go towards the action could have been detrimental, yet his actions are natural. if I have learned anything, I am finding that it takes a conscious effort to get me to move towards the action. As "C" on this play there is no hurry to get down the court. Mike acted as though we were in 2-man, not fully realizing how much help he could have offered Aaron.
IN CONCLUSION - The majority of us officials with the local rec league are learning to work 3-man together and learning to trust our rather inexperienced partners when it comes to 3-man coverage. The "C" position offers an incredible added view of on court action, but the trail and lead need to switch from 2-man view to 3-man view and trust the 3rd "C" official. It takes time to learn the responsibilities and then implement them. On the court, we struggle with simple items like who marks the 3 pointer, who signals the made 3 pointer, who watches the 3 point shot through the basket, who signals the 10-count on a free throw, etc. etc.. And while we struggle with the physical mechanics, then there are the primary coverage areas and the overlapping areas for 3-man mechanics that are happening real time. It is no wonder why some of the plays are officiated a bit odd. But there is one fact, and that is we are better off catching the poor sportsmanship action with 6 eyes than we are with just four.
Make it a great game! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah