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Basketball Out Of Bounds

What happens when a player steps out of bounds? Can that player come back inbounds to play? Get ready to revisit the rules of out-of-bounds in basketball.

Basketball Boundary Lines

The sidelines and baselines make up the boundary lines on a basketball court. A player is out-of-bounds if he steps on or crosses the boundary lines with his feet or touches any object that is out of play.

Basketball Boundary Lines

Basketball Out Of Bounds Rules

The rules of out-of-bounds and the boundary lines in basketball can be confusing, but are similar at all three levels of play (high school basketball, college basketball, and the NBA). We've simplified the rules for beginners below with this complete list. If you're ever in doubt, read these rules.

  • You are out-of-bounds if you step on or cross the boundary lines
  • You are out-of-bounds if you touch an object out of bounds
  • You can jump in the air out-of-bounds to keep the ball inbounds as long as your feet don't touch the floor
  • The ball is out-of-bounds if it is contact with a player, object, or part of the floor that is out-of-bounds
  • The ball is out-of-bounds if it goes behind the backboard
  • You caused the ball to go out-of-bounds if you touched it last
  • You caused the ball to go out-of-bounds even if a player on the other team pushed any part of your body into it

High School Basketball Out Of Bounds Rules

In high school basketball, referees can sometimes make mistakes on calling players or the ball out of bounds. High school players can always return inbounds after saving the ball from going out of bounds. The fastest way to get back inbounds is to bring one foot past the boundary lines and then lift the other off the floor.

PRO TIP: It is only a violation if a player steps out of bounds and then is the first player to touch it after coming back inbounds.

What happens if a player steps out of bounds with the ball?

If a player has the ball and steps out of bounds, it's a turnover and the other team gets the ball.

What happens if a player steps out of bounds without the ball? Can they return to play?

If a player steps out of bounds without the ball, he can step back inbounds at any point. However, he cannot touch the ball or impact the game until he has legally returned inbounds by having both feet within the boundary lines. If a player interferes with the ball while out-of-bounds, the other team gets possession.

Basketball Throw-ins

Throw-ins, also known as inbound passes, are used to put the ball into play after the ball goes out of bounds. The referee will award the ball to a team at the nearest sideline spot. On a throw-in, the thrower stands out of bounds and passes the ball to a teammate who is inbounds.

Basketball Throw-In

Basketball Jump Balls

If the referee has any doubt which team caused the ball to go out-of-bounds, a jump ball will be used to put the ball into play.

Basketball Jump Ball

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