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A

ACB
The top professional league in Spain; often regarded as the second-strongest domestic
league in the world, behind the NBA. Initialism for the Spanish Asociacin de Clubes de
Baloncesto ("Association of Basketball Clubs").
advance step
A step in which the defender's lead foot steps toward their man and the back foot slides
forward.
Anthony morales
is what happens when you pull your back in the middle of the game. Ex: Ah damn I think I
pulled an Anthony
air ball
An unblocked shot that fails to hit the rim or backboard.
alley oop
An offensive play in which a player throws the ball up near the basket to a teammate (or,
more rarely, to himself) who jumps, catches the ball in mid air and immediately scores a
basket, usually with a slam dunk.
and-one
The free throw awarded to a shooter who is fouled while scoring.
assist
A pass to a teammate who scores a basket immediately or after one dribble.

B
backdoor cut
An offensive play in which a player on the perimeter steps away from the basket, drawing
the defender along, then suddenly cuts to the basket behind the defender for a pass. The
opposite of a V cut.
ball hog
A player who does not pass the ball
backboard
The rectangular platform behind the rim that supports it
backcourt

1. The half of the court a team is defending. The opposite of the frontcourt.

2. A team's guards.

backcourt violation

1. Touching the ball in the backcourt after it has entered the frontcourt and was not last touched
by the other team.

2. Failure to bring the ball from the backcourt into the frontcourt within the allotted time of 8
seconds in the NBA or FIBA (previously 10) and 10 seconds in NCAA play for both men
and women (this violation was not part of the NCAA women's game until the 2013-14
season).
back screen
An offensive play in which a player comes from the low post to set a screen for a player on
the perimeter.
ball fake
A sudden movement by the player with the ball intended to cause the defender to move in
one direction, allowing the passer to pass in another direction. Also called "pass fake."
ball reversal
Passing of the ball from one side of the court to the other.
ball screen
An offensive play in which a player sets a screen on the defender guarding the player with
the ball.
ball side
The half of the court (divided lengthwise) that the ball is on. Also called the "strong side."
The opposite of the help side.
banana cut
A wide, curving cut, as opposed to a cut that is a straight line. Also known as a 'C' cut
bank shot
A shot that hits the backboard before hitting the rim or going through the net.
baseball pass
Passing the basketball using an overhand throw with one hand similar to a baseball pitch.
baseline
The line that marks the playing boundary at either end of the court. Also called the "end
line."
baseline out-of-bounds play
The play used to return the ball to the court from outside the baseline along the opponent's
basket.
basket cut
A cut toward the basket.
BEEF
Balance, Eyes, Elbow, Follow Through A mnemonic used to teach proper shooting form.
bench

1. Substitutes sitting on the sideline

2. The bench or chairs they sit on

benchwarmer
A player who sits on the bench for most if not all of the game.
big man
A low post player who is typically physically large for a basketball player and generally
either a center or power forward.[1]
blindside screen
A screen set directly behind a defender where the player can't see it.
block

1. A violation in which a defender steps in front of a dribbler but is still moving when they
collide. Also called a "blocking foul."

2. To tip or deflect a shooter's shot, altering its flight so the shot misses.

3. The small painted square on the floor next to the basket just outside the lane.
block out
To maintain better rebounding position than an opposing player by widening your stance
and arms and using your body as a barrier. Also called "box out."
board
A rebound
bonus
Under NCAA men's and NFHS rules, a team is "in the bonus" when its opponent has seven,
eight or nine team fouls in a half and so gains a one and one opportunity on each non-
shooting foul. The opposing team is "over the limit." Under NCAA women's rules, the
bonus takes effect on the fifth team foul in a quarter, but the "one and one" no longer exists;
all subsequent non-shooting fouls result in two free throws. In the NCAA rule book, free
throws in this situation are officially called bonus free throws. See also double bonus and
penalty.
bounce pass
A pass that bounces once before reaching the receiver.
box-and-one
A combination defense in which four defenders play zone in a box formation and the fifth
defender guards one player man-to-man.
box out
See block out.
box set
A formation in which four players align themselves as the four corners of a box. Often used
for baseline out-of-bounds plays.
brick
A shot attempt that hits the rim and bounces off.
bricklayer
One who repeatedly shoots bricks.
bump the cutter
To step in the way of a player who is trying to cut to the ball for a pass.
buzzer beater
A basket in the final seconds of a game (right before the buzzer sounds) that in itself results
in a win or overtime.

C
carry
A penalty in formal play or slang for when an offensive player is deemed to have held the
ball excessively at the ball's apex while dribbling. Also referred to as palming. In formal
play this penalty is considered either a carry or a double dribble.
chest pass
The ball is passed from one player to another player's chest.
charge
An offensive foul when the person with the ball rushes into a non-moving defender. See also
offensive foul
center
One of the three standard player positions. Centers are generally the tallest players on the
floor, responsible mainly for scoring, rebounding, and defense near the basket.
chucker
A player who takes frequent, and often imprudent, shot attempts.[2] The term was
popularized by the television series Seinfeld.[3]
clear-path foul
A foul whenever a defender fouls an opponent when the opponent has nobody in front of
him. The foul results in 2 free-throws and possession.
cornerman
See stretch four.

D
dead-ball rebound
a rebound not credited towards either team's total rebounds, such as the rebound that
(technically) occurs after a miss on the first free throw of a two-shot foul. It ensures that
every missed shot has a corresponding rebound, and was introduced for the purposes of box
score statistical error detection.[4]
dime
See drop a dime.
dish
An assist.
disqualifying foul
(FIBA) an especially egregious foul, almost always involving violence or other excessive
physical contact, that is punished by immediate ejection. Equivalent to the NBA's flagrant-
2.
double bonus
(NCAA men's and NFHS) When a team accumulates 10 or more fouls in a half in NCAA
men's or NFHS play, the other team is "in the double bonus", earning two free throws on
each subsequent non-shooting foul by the defense. Before 201516, this rule was also part
of NCAA women's play, but the change from playing in halves to quarters resulted in the
elimination of the "one-and-one" free throw situation. The term "double bonus" is widely
used by the media and fans, but does not appear in any official rule book. See also bonus
and penalty.
double-double
Double-digit figures in two positive statistical categories (example: 12 points, 14 rebounds)
double dribble

1. To dribble the ball with two hands at the same time

2. To dribble, stop, and then begin to dribble again; Either act results in a loss of possession.

double nickel
To accumulate 55 points.
downtown
Well outside the three-point line.
dribble drive motion
An offense that spreads the players to open up the lane for driving player to make a layup or
kick out for a three-pointer.
dribble
To bounce the ball continuously with one hand. Required in order to take steps with the ball.
drop a dime
To make an assist without looking.
drop step
A post up move where the ballhandler picks up his dribble and at the same time extends a
leg back on one side of his defender and then turns toward the basket, using that leg as
leverage to get between his defender and the basket.
dunk
(v) To score by putting the ball directly through the basket with one or both hands. (n) A shot
made by dunking.

E
elbow

1. An attempted or actual elbow strike. Especially violent examples are typically called as
flagrant fouls.

2. The court area where the free-throw line meets the side of the 3-second lane.

end of quarter
when a quarter ends
Eurocup
Europe's second-level transnational club competition; the qualifying rounds are operated by
FIBA Europe, while the competition proper is operated by the Euroleague Basketball
Company. Analogous to the UEFA Europa League in football.
Euroleague
Europe's top transnational club competition, also operated by the Euroleague Basketball
Company. Analogous to the UEFA Champions League in football.
EuroBasket
European international tournament, held every two years for both men and women.
Analogous to the UEFA European Championship (men) and UEFA Women's Championship.

F
fadeaway
A fadeaway or fall-away in basketball is a jump shot taken while jumping backwards, away
from the basket but still facing it. The goal is to create space between the shooter and the
defender, making the shot much harder to block.
fast break
An offensive tactic in which a team attempts to advance the ball and score as quickly as
possible, giving the other team no time to defend effectively. Often the result of a steal or
blocked shot. See also secondary break.
FIBA
The International Basketball Federation, known as FIBA from its French name
Fdration Internationale de Basketball. An association of national organizations which
governs international competitions.
FIBA 33
The original name of what is now called 3x3.
field goal
A shot made from anywhere on the court, does not include free throws.
Finger roll
A specialized type of layup shot where the ball is rolled off the tips of the player's fingers
using the momentum of the jump. The advantage of the finger roll is that the ball can travel
in a higher arc over a defender that might otherwise block the shot.
flagrant foul
An unsportsmanlike foul in which there is no serious attempt to play the ball. The NBA
classifies these types of fouls as flagrant-1 and flagrant-2; NFHS (high school) uses
flagrant personal foul and flagrant technical foul; the NCAA uses both sets of terms
interchangeably. At all North American levels, the latter type of foul results in the immediate
ejection of the offender. FIBA does not use the term "flagrant foul", instead using
unsportsmanlike foul and disqualifying foul (which roughly correspond to the two North
American subcategories).
floater
A type of shot typically utilized by smaller guards. It is characterized by shooting the ball
with an extremely high arc in order to prevent taller defenders from blocking the shot.
flop
An intentional fall by a player after little or no physical contact from an opponent, with the
goal of drawing a personal foul call against the opponent.
forward
One of the three standard player positions. Forwards are primarily responsible for scoring
and rebounding. See Small forward and Power forward. An individual capable of playing
both types of forward is often called a cornerman or stretch four.
foul
Violations of the rules other than floor violations, generally attempts to gain advantage by
physical contact; penalized by a change in possession or free-throw opportunities; see
personal foul, technical foul, flagrant foul, unsportsmanlike foul, and disqualifying foul.
four-point play
A rare play in which a player is fouled while making a three-point shot and then makes the
resulting free throw.
free throw
An unopposed attempt to score a basket, worth one point, from the free throw line.
Generally, two attempts are awarded when the player is fouled in the act of shooting (three
attempts are awarded in the case of three-point shot), fouled flagrantly, or when the
opposing team fouls while over the foul limit. For technical fouls, one free throw is awarded
under FIBA rules; the NBA and NFHS award two free throws for all technical fouls; and
NCAA rules award either one or two free throws, depending on the specific type of technical
foul. In 3x3, where regular baskets are worth 1 point and shots from behind the arc worth
2 points, one attempt is normally awarded. Two attempts are awarded when a player is
fouled on a missed shot from behind the arc, the opposing team has committed more than
six fouls in a game, and on any technical foul.

G
granny shot
An underhand shot taken using only one hand, usually thrown by older women.
Grinnell System
A combined offensive and defensive system created by David Arseneault, head coach at
Grinnell College. A variation of the run-and-gun style, its most unusual feature is that entire
five-player units are usually substituted every 45 to 90 seconds, as in an ice hockey shift.
guard
One of the three standard player positions. Today, guards are typically classified in two
broad categories. Point guards have strong ballhandling and passing skills and are typically
used to run the offense. Shooting guards, as the name implies, are generally the team's best
shooters, and are very often the leading scorers on their teams. Some players, often referred
to as combo guards, combine the features of both.
gunner
Someone who shoots the ball too many times.
get back
To retreat back across the halfcourt line after either a made or missed shot attempt. Usually
called out by players or coaches to let team know to hustle back and set up on defense.

H
halfcourt defense
The portion of a team's defensive play conducted with both teams having established
positions. See also transition defense.
halfcourt offense
The portion of a team's offensive play conducted with both teams having established
positions. See also transition offense.
Halftime

1. The end of the first half of play

2. The interval between the two halves.

Hand-check foul
A kind of foul wherein a player used his hands illegally to impede or slow the movement of
his opponent.
Heating Up
When a player starts to make the majority of their shots and takes over the game.

I
in-n-out
A shot that appears to be going in, but instead goes back out.

2. A dribble where the offensive player dribbles in an inward motion then back out to fake out a
player

index rating
See Performance Index Rating.
I got back
to be in the back of the court ready to block or shoot.

J
jump shot
An overhead shot taken while jumping, sometimes abbreviated as J.[5]
jump ball
The jump ball is what starts every basketball game. Takes place in the center of the court.

K
key
The free-throw lane and free-throw circle together (originally, the lane was narrower than
the circle's diameter, giving the area the appearance of a skeleton key hole)
kicking
A violation called when a player intentionally uses his or her foot or leg to contact the ball.
Play is stopped and the ball is given to the non-violating team to inbound.

L
lane
The free-throw lane.
lay-in
A close-range shot using one hand to tip the ball over the rim
layup
A close-range shot using one hand to bank the ball off the backboard

M
Man-to-man defense
A defense in which each player guards a single opposing player. See also zone defense.
Memphis Attack
Another name for dribble drive motion; the offense was popularized in the early 2000s at the
University of Memphis under their then-head coach, John Calipari.
mid-range
Describes a shot taken from outside the paint but inside the three-point arc.
motion offense
Offense created through a series of cuts and screens to create the best possible shot, with
most or all offensive players moving simultaneously.
moving violation
a traveling violation

N
NBA
The National Basketball Association, the largest professional league in the United States,
also with one team in Canada.
NCAA
The National Collegiate Athletic Association, the primary governing body for
intercollegiate sports in the United States. Also used to describe national tournaments
operated by this body, especially the Division I men's and women's tournaments. An
unrelated body with the same name exists in the Philippines.
Nellie Ball
An unconventional offensive strategy developed by NBA head coach Don Nelson. It is an
offense that relies on 2 things: 1. Smaller, more athletic players who can create mismatches
by outrunning their opponents. 2. A strong emphasis on three-point shooting, which is
generally a staple of the offense. A true center is not needed to run Nellie Ball, although this
strategy is most effective against teams that do not have the athleticism or shooting ability to
keep up with the fast pace of the offense.
NFHS
The National Federation of State High School Associations, the body that sets rules for
high school sports in the U.S., including basketball.
NIT
The National Invitation Tournament, a postseason tournament for NCAA Division I men's
basketball teams that do not qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Founded in 1938, a year
before the NCAA Tournament, it is closely identified with New York City; all games were
originally held at the third Madison Square Garden, and to this day the semifinals and final
are held at today's Madison Square Garden. In its early years, it was considered more
prestigious than the NCAA Tournament, but this changed starting in the 1950s. The
tournament has been directly operated by the NCAA since 2006.

O
offensive foul
A foul committed by a member of the team playing offense.
one-and-one
(NCAA men's and NFHS) A free-throw attempt which, if made, allows the player a second
free-throw attempt. This also existed in NCAA women's play, but was removed starting with
the 201516 season. See also bonus.
one trillion
A box score showing one minute played and zero for all other statistics, resulting in a one
followed by twelve zeros the conventional American rendering of "one trillion."
outlet pass
A pass thrown by a rebounder to start a fast break.
over-and-back
See backcourt violation (1).
over the back
a foul committed by a player who tries to rebound the ball by pushing, moving or climbing
on a player's back who is already in position to rebound the ball.
overtime
when the score is tied at the end of regulation play, the teams play a five-minute overtime
period.

P
pack
To roughly hit down a ball that an opposing player has just released for a shot. (See also,
swat.)
pack-line defense
A man-to-man defensive system in which one player pressures the ball and the other four
"pack" down within an imaginary "line" extending to about 2 feet (60 cm) inside the three-
point arc, with the intent of preventing dribble penetration. The system, derived from a
number of other man-to-man systems, was developed by Dick Bennett, and has been
popularized in the 21st century by coaches including his son Tony, Chris Mack, and Sean
Miller.[6]
paint
the key.
palming
Specifically referring to the habit of an offensive player to hold the ball at the apex of its
bounce while dribbling, usually by gripping the ball firmly in the dribbling hand. In
organized play this is always considered a dribbling penalty, often called a carry or double
dribble. In non-organized play this is typically considered rude and is generally discouraged
by the defensive players.
pass
(v) To throw the ball to a teammate. (n) The act of passing to an open teammate
penalty
once a team reaches a set number of team fouls in a playing period, varying by governing
body, the fouled team gets free throws instead of possession of the ball. The fouling team is
"over the limit." See also bonus and double bonus.
Performance Index Rating
A player rating originally used by Liga ACB to determine weekly and season MVPs; later
adopted by the Euroleague Company to determine the same awards in the Euroleague and
Eurocup. No longer used to determine season MVPs in the Euroleague and Eurocup, but still
used for weekly awards, and also used by many other European domestic leagues. It is
calculated from statistics available in standard European box scores as follows:
Add the following statisticspoints, assists, rebounds, blocks, steals, fouls drawn, free
throws made, 2-point field goals made, 3-point field goals made.
Subtract turnovers, own shots blocked, fouls committed, free throw attempts, 2-point field
goal attempts, and 3-point field goal attempts.
perimeter
the area outside the key but well inside the three-point arc.
Philippine Basketball Association
or colloquially known as PBA is a basketball league in the Philippines. It is the second
oldest professional basketball league in the world after NBA.
pick
see "screen"
pick and roll
an offensive play in which a player sets a screen (pick) for a teammate handling the ball and
then slips behind the defender (rolls) to accept a pass.
pivot
The pivot center.
pivot foot
The foot that must remain touching the floor to avoid traveling
player control foul
player with the ball crashes into a defender; incorrectly referred to as a charge
point forward
A forward with strong ballhandling and passing skills who can be called on to direct the
team's offense.
points in the paint
Field goals made in the painted area below the free-throw line
post up
To go in or near the key, turn so that you are facing away from the basket but towards a
teammate who has the ball, and try to establish position to receive a pass.
prayer
A shot that has very little probability of being made.
Princeton offense
an offensive basketball strategy which emphasizes constant motion, passing, back-door cuts,
picks on and off the ball, and disciplined teamwork. Used and perfected at Princeton
University, it's an offense designed for a unit of 5 players who can each pass, shoot and
dribble at an above average level.
Q
quadruple-double
Double-digit figures in four positive statistical categories (example: 10 points, 11 rebounds,
12 assists, 13 steals)

R
Rainbow
A perfect high shot arc on a shot that goes in, usually resulting from a fluent shooting
motion and usually on a long shot attempt.
Rebound
(v) To obtain the ball after a missed field goal attempt (n) An act of rebounding.
Rejected
To have one's shot blocked.
Rimshot
a toss in which the ball hits the rim of the basket [7][8]
Rip a C
A motion used while chinning the ball to create space during a pivot between an offensive
player and a defensive player. Pivot towards the defender and rips the ball in a C-shape
away from the pressure to create a passing lane.
Run
An interval in which one team heavily outscores the other.
Rock
the ball
Run and Gun
A combined offensive and defensive system devoted to increasing the pace of the game. On
offense, the ball is moved upcourt as fast as possible, with the goal of taking the first shot
available (often a three-pointer). The defense uses full-court pressure in an attempt to cause
turnovers. See also Grinnell System.

S
screen, set a screen
(v) To attempt to prevent a defender from guarding a teammate by standing in the defender's
way. The screening player must remain stationary; a moving screen is an offensive foul. (n)
The tactic of setting a screen. Also called a "pick".
secondary break
An offensive phase after a fast break is initially stopped, but before the opponent can enter
into its set defense.
set shot
A shot taken without leaving the floor.
shot clock
A timer designed to increase the pace (and subsequently, the score) by requiring a shot to be
released before the timer expires; if the ball does not touch the rim or enter the basket, it
results in a loss of possession for the shooting team. The time limit is 24 seconds in the
NBA, WNBA, and FIBA play, and 30 in NCAA play for both sexes. See also airball.
sixth man (or sixth woman)
1. A player who does not start, but is generally the first person off the bench, and often has
statistics comparable to those of starters.

2. A superfan who believes that his fervent support of a team will have a direct influence on
the outcome of a game that that team may be involved in.

stretch four
a power forward ("4") capable of "stretching" a defense with his or her outside shooting
ability.
swingman
A player capable of playing either shooting guard or small forward.
swat
To hit a ball that an opposing player just shot off course so that it misses completely. (See
also, pack.)
swish
(n) A shot which goes through the net without hitting the rim. The backboard may be used so
long as the shot does not hit the rim. (v) To make a swish.
splash
Occurs when someone makes a Nothing-but-net, and the net hangs over the rim as a result

T
technical foul
A foul assessed for unsportsmanlike non-contact behavior and for some procedural
violations (for example, having too many players on the floor or calling timeout when none
remains). Penalized by loss of possession after a free throw which may be taken by any
member of the opposing team. Frequently abbreviated as "technical" or "T."
three-point field goal
A shot, worth three points, attempted with both feet behind the three-point line.
three-pointer
A three-point field goal
trey
A three-point field goal
three-point play

1. A play in which a shooter is fouled while making a two-point shot and then makes the
resulting free throw. See also and one.

2. (rarely) When a shooter is fouled while taking but missing a three-point shot and then makes
all three free throws.

toilet bowl
When the ball hits the rim on a certain angle and then circles around it, can go in or out.
transition defense
The portion of a team's defensive play conducted when the other team has first gained
possession and is moving up the court, before both teams have established positions.
Includes defense against fast breaks. See also halfcourt defense.
transition offense
The portion of a team's offensive play conducted when first obtaining possession from the
other team and moving up the court, before both teams have established positions. Includes
fast breaks. See also halfcourt offense.
travel
To move one's pivot foot illegally or to fall to the floor without maintaining a pivot foot
(exact rules vary see Traveling (basketball)) or takes 3 steps without dribbling the ball.
triangle offense
An offensive strategy with the goal of exchanging three (sometimes all five) positions,
creating spacing among players and allowing each one to pass to four teammates. The
triangle offense's most important feature is the sideline triangle created by the center, who
stands in the low post, the forward at the wing, and the guard at the corner. Meanwhile, the
other guard stands at the top of the key and the weak-side forward is on the weak-side high
post, together forming the "two-man game." Every pass and cut has a purpose, and
everything is dictated by the defense.
triple-double
Double-digit figures in three positive statistical categories (example: 12 points, 14 rebounds,
10 assists)
true road game
Term used in U.S. college basketball to refer to games played by a particular team on an
opponent's home court, or sometimes a larger venue in that opponent's home area in which
the opponent controls ticket sales. This distinction has been drawn in the 21st century
because of an increasing number of early-season eventsboth individual games and
tournamentsat neutral sites.
turnover
A loss of possession.

U
ULEB
The organization that operated the Euroleague and Eurocup before handing responsibility to
the Euroleague Basketball Company. It is a cooperative organization of European
professional basketball leagues; the name is a French acronym for "Union of European
Leagues of Basketball".
unsportsmanlike foul
(FIBA) an egregious foul, involving excessive physical contact, fouling with no intention to
make a play on the ball, or fouling an opponent on a breakaway from behind. Roughly
equivalent to the NBA's flagrant-1.
Up and down
A travelling violation when the ball carrier jumps vertically into the air and does not get rid
of it before landing.

V
violation
An infraction of the rules other than a foul, such as traveling or a three-second violation.
V-cut
A move where a player moves to the player defending him/her, then quickly turn and receive
the ball. Used to fake the defender.

W
wedgie
When the basketball gets stuck between the rim and backboard.

wing

1. An area located on either side of the court, outside the 3-second lane, along an imaginary
extension of the free-throw line.

2. A player, often a swingman, who mainly operates from said area while on offense.

WNBA
The Women's National Basketball Association, the largest professional basketball league
for women in the United States.
WNIT
The Women's National Invitation Tournament, a postseason tournament founded in 1998
for NCAA Division I women's basketball teams that do not qualify for the NCAA
Tournament. In its first year of operation, it was known as the National Women's Invitational
Tournament, inheriting the name of a similar event that operated from 1969 to 1996. Despite
the name, it has no relation to the men's NITit is not operated by the NCAA, and was
never under the control of any of the bodies that ran the men's NIT before 2006.

Z
zone defense
A defense in which each player is responsible for an area of the court. See also man-to-man
defense.