Indiana Hoosiers' Victor Oladipo defends an inbounds pass.
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Tough defense is a pivotal component to winning a basketball game. There are fundamental rules applied to how aggressive defenders are able to pressure on plays like inbounds passes, though. Lights-out defense wears down the opposition, forcing ball-handlers into making bad decisions with the basketball. A good defender stands a chance to force a turnover when the opposition has possession from out of bounds, but must follow the rules.
Inbounds Passing Situations
An understanding of the different situations that demand inbounds passes is important for players at all levels of basketball. The ball must be inbounded after each basket is scored and whenever a non-shooting foul occurs. Inbounds pass attempts also happen when turnovers, like double-dribbling and traveling, are committed. A change in possession typically results in an inbounds pass, and the ball is also inbounded at the beginning of each quarter or half after the first. The rules for grabbing the ball from the inbounder in basketball are static across all levels of competition.
Executing the Pass
Inbounding the basketball is a pivotal component of all possessions. A successful inbounds pass avoids a turnover and sets up a scoring opportunity. Execution is subject to good defense, however. A defender will position himself in front of the inbounds passer with the objective of forcing an errant pass attempt that results in a turnover. Defensive players are not allowed to touch the basketball until the pass occurs though. In addition, defenders can't reach across the baseline or make contact with the ball or the inbounder. The passer must be allowed a chance to inbound the basketball.
The inbounding player has five seconds to unload a pass from the baseline before the referee blows the whistle to signal a violation. The passer can't be the first player to touch the ball, otherwise he could just put the ball down, step inside the baseline and pick it up. The passer is allowed to throw the ball off of an opponent, recover and score, however. The passer can move his feet within a 3-foot area along the baseline to avoid defensive pressure when inbounding after a stoppage in play. For inbounds passes after a made basket, the inbounder is allowed to move along the baseline in order to inbound the ball.
Rules for Pass Attempts
An inbounding passer is subject to specific rules when trying to get the ball to a teammate. He can't cross over the baseline in attempt to create a clear passing lane. In addition, he's not permitted to make a shot attempt from the baseline. Furthermore, an inbound passer can't force the ball out of bounds without it touching another player. He can't deliver a pass that makes contact with the backboard and recover the ball in bounds. The opposing team is awarded possession of the basketball at the spot of the initial inbound attempt whenever a rules violation occurs.