A reach around pass (also known as wrap around pass) in basketball is when a player passes the ball around a defender in order to get it to a teammate. This can be accomplished either through the air or with a bounce pass.
Bounce passes allow the offensive player to take advantage of passing lanes that are in most cases left undefended. It is hard for a defender to get down to the floor to block the pass. With that being said, that makes them perfect for reach around passes. When it is needed to get the ball around the defender and offensive player can bounce the ball underneath the arms of the defender.
The air pass is the more difficult of the two and requires pin point accuracy as well as extreme hand eye coordination. The bounce pass is the easier of the two because in most cases it is done with two hands on the ball. When the air pass is attempted the offensive player is slinging the ball as if they were a side arm pitcher in baseball. The image below shows what that would look like.
If a taller defender is guarding an offensive player who has picked up their dribble the pass becomes the most useful. The ball handler is unable to dribble and is facing pressure from the defender, which combined limit the passing lanes of the player. To combat that, the offensive player can pivot and reach around the defender with their arms outstretched to find a new passing lane.
Reach around steals are most commonly seen when the defender is positioned behind the offensive player. That occurs either in a fastbreak situation where a defender catches up to the ball handler or when an offensive player dribbles past the defender. In both instances the reach around steal is a recovery action a defender can perform to regain their positioning.
One factor that defenders must be weary of when attempting the reach around steal is that they might be called for a reach in foul. If they make contact with the offensive player that is enough to alter the play then there will be a whistle blown. That will negate the potential steal as well as possibly send the offense to the free throw line.