Cherry Picking Basketball

What is Cherry Picking in Basketball?

Basketball Cherry Picking

Cherry picking in basketball is when a player is away from the ball and is closer to the offensive hoop rather than the defensive hoop. Usually, a person cherry picks at the halfcourt line or underneath the opponent's basket and hopes for their teammates to get the ball in order for them to pass it to the cherry picker.

Cherry picking most often occurs when the player at the top of the zone or the furthest man to man defender chooses to leave their assignment early and head to the basket.


The obvious benefit of cherry picking is that it is easier to score points in transition if there is already a player all the way down the court. If a team continually cherry picks, it will force their opponent to modify their offense so that they can have someone back to guard the player.


A cherry picking player has no chance of getting a defensive rebound or preventing the player they are guarding from scoring or creating a scoring opportunity. This also means that if they are unable to secure the rebound, the team will have to play 4-on-5 until the cherry picker returns to help, giving their opponents an easier chance to score.

Another possible detriment is that completing long court passes with precision can be difficult, and throwing the ball too high over their head or too low and getting hit by a defender is common.

Cherry picking is also considered to be unsportsmanlike behavior because it takes away from the integrity of the game.