Basketball Referee

Basketball Referee


20 Years Experience

Chicago, IL

Male, 60

For twenty years I officiated high school, AAU and park district basketball games, retiring recently. For a few officiating is the focus of their occupation, while for most working as an umpire or basketball referee is an avocation. I started ref'ing to earn beer money during college, but it became a great way to stay connected to the best sports game in the universe. As a spinoff, I wrote a sports-thriller novel loosely based on my referee experiences titled, Advantage Disadvantage

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651 Questions


Last Answer on September 20, 2019

Best Rated

does it matter what side of the player the referee stands when inbounding ball

Asked by rookieref almost 10 years ago

Yes it matters.  On sideline throw-ins, the referee inbounding the ball should between the player and the opponent's basket, so the ref is behind the most likely foreward movement of the play.

In 2 man officiating the referees are to be opposite of each other and the throw in will occur to the inside of the ref.

In 3 man crew, I have worked with some officials who position themselves between the basket and the throw in player on the baseline, but I think this positioning should only be used when the throw in on the baseline is near the sideline.

These postions have developed out of the objective to put the ref in the best possible position to see the play. That is why referees are allowed to bounce the ball to the throw in player - you get to stand back and have a wider view.

These practices seem picky but doing them correctly is pre-requisite for advancing.  The evaluators I have encountered expect spot on mechanics.  Being out of position on a throw would lower your rating.

Yes, but I've NEVER see the intentional foul called, NEVER! The seems to be a TOTAL aversion on the part of refs to stop the fouling by the behind team in a close game. Why? Saying they are "going for the ball" is the coward's way out, isn't it?

Asked by daveb over 10 years ago

The rule is clear and everyone in the gym knows a foul is coming.  It is a real dilemma.  An intentional foul has a very severe penalty, but calling a common foul seems against the rule.  This can only be fixed by a rule change - perhaps the fouled team gets a choice of free throws OR the ball.  It is the coward's way out but I don't see a solution.

Has a player or coach ever accused you or a colleague of making racially-motivated calls?

Asked by Geoff about 12 years ago

Yes, a coach once said, "you wouldn't let it get so rough if the player wasn't black". I immediately blew my whistle and told the coach he was out of bounds. If he wants to say that it is getting rough in there, then say so. But to suggest that it is rough because the post player was black was an attack on my integrity. I gave him a chance to rescind his comment (remember, I rarely use technical fouls), and he immediately agreed that it was inappropriate and inaccurate - he apologized. More often in my experience there has been racial trash talk between players which must be immediately penalized. A few years ago a school's student body was taunting a black player with a racial chant. The referees failed to stop the game, warn the crowd, and if necessary start having them removed. The refs were sanctioned for lack of action.

1)Could you give a good description of proper boxing out technique.
2) can the player who is being boxed out(properly) push the boxing player from behind, under the rim in order to get the rebound. in either off. or Def. rebounding

Asked by Shorty over 10 years ago

The act of boxing out is properly executed when you occupy spaces on the floor by moving your feet and obtaining the verical rights to a space before your opponent can legally obtain that space.  Proper technique might include "sizing up the opponent" behind you (that is with light contact feeling where and when the opponent might try to get around you), and moving your feet to "block" him out from moving closer to the basket, most typically on a rebound. When you block out, you do not have the right to stick your rear end out and dislodge a player behind you.  Good refs will call a foul on the inside player for dislodging the player behind him, AND the same ref should call a foul on a player who pushes an opponent under the basket out of contention for a rebound.  Good defense, like proper rebounding is played with your feet (just my opinion).

I worked a summer league several years ago and for the first half of a couple games the coach made the players on defense lock their arms behind their backs.  They could not steal, swat or defend with their hands.  So what con you do?  MOVE YOUR FEET and try to legally deny offensive players spots on the floor.  Only when a shot went up could the players use their hands.  The players were certainly frustrated but it forced moving their feet.

Do you get the sense that teenage players are already focusing more on highlight-reel type stuff as opposed to fundamentals?

Asked by Former coach about 12 years ago

In most high schools (at least around Chicago) the coaches usually will not put up with such selfish play....BUT in AAU ball, where a lot of college recruiters have to go to get talent, the desire for the highlight reel is rampant and lessens the game. At the very elite level AAU players are better developed through rigorous training and coaching, but the street agent and coach-controlled hold on middle to upper players is horrible. Some AAU coaches encourage showboating because it is flashy and might increase the recruiting clout that they show, but it usually does not win games. It is a real dilemma.

Who do you think would win in a game - the best high school men's basketball team in the country or the best women's pro team?

Asked by RonMexico over 11 years ago

Just a speculative guess... I think the boys high school team beats the women's pro team because usually the best boys' team sends a player or two right into the NBA. Males peak physically around 19 or twenty, so I think physicality trumps maturity and practice. Who knows? This question reminds me of the tennis battle of the sexes in 1973 when Bobby Riggs gave Billie Jean King the doubles lines and was soundly trounced (but both made a lot money promoting it!).

Is it me, or does it seem like it's REALLY hard to get the charge call while on defense? I have no stats obviously, but it seems like the guy trying to take the charge gets it WAY too rarely. And this happens at all skill levels...

Asked by Lebron who? about 12 years ago

It is hard to get a charge because to play proper defense in order to get a charge is hard work. Remember, the defender must establish his position BEFORE the offensive player leaves his feet. And to further complicate things, the defender can be moving while taking a charge if the defender moves "obliquely" after establishing a position. Here's my opinion: the best referees get the block/charge correct most often because they "referee the defense". That means, for example, if you are the lead referee under the basket and a player begins to drive, shift your eyes immediately to watch the defender. By following the defender, you will know whether he got there in time. Refereeing the defense is hard to do because we always watch the offense (on TV and at games). Next time you watch a game, see if you can pick up the off-ball officials not looking at the offense. If they are looking away from the ball, they are probably good officials and they are "refereeing the defense".