Hung Up On The Ring

A defensive tipped ball that quickly develops into what appears to be a routine breakaway dunk suddenly turns into an ugly-looking play that has B-4 trying to tap his missed dunk attempt into the basket while hanging on the ring.

You are the Trail official transitioning to be the new Lead and ‘button hook’ to get a better look at the play.

B-4’s momentum causes his legs to swing out from under him while his tap of the missed dunk falls to the floor.

Sheer instinct, or rule knowledge, causes you to blow the whistle.

So what do you have?

  • Is this a violation?
  • Is this a technical foul?
  • Is this legal and you have an inadvertent whistle?


A good official, like a good detective, has to know what the critical pieces of evidence need to be examined in order to determine if a ‘crime’ has actually been committed.

In this case the key factors are:

  • Was the ball inside or outside of the cylinder when B-4 tapped it?
  • Was B-4 hanging on the ring to avoid being injured?

If the ball was inside the cylinder when B-4 tapped/touched it, then the ruling would be offensive basket interference.

If the ball was outside the cylinder when B-4 tapped/touched it, the contact was legal.

The second issue of B-4 hanging on the ring is a more subjective matter.

If in your judgment, B-4 was hanging on the ring to prevent injury because his  legs swung out from under him, then you could rule that his actions were legal and did not warrant a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Safety is always a paramount concern and you can find a measure of comfort in making this ruling from the inevitable storm of criticism that is sure to rain down on you and your crew from Team A’s head coach and faithful followers.

But if the radar in your gut tells you that B-4’s primary interest was in minimizing his embarrassment for missing the dunk and that he gained a distinct unfair advantage by grabbing the ring to defy gravity and attempt to score high above his opponents, then you would be on solid ground to rule this a technical foul.

The battle cry at 60 Seconds on Officiating is, “rule competency breeds calmness and confidence in chaos” and the above scenario would certainly benefit from knowing the rules pertaining to basket interference and for hanging on the ring to quickly assemble your ruling.

                                                                                               NFHS Rule reference
                                                                                         Case Book 9-11-1B and 10-4-3      

About Tim Malloy

Tim is the co-founder of "60 Seconds on Officiating" and has over 40 years of basketball referee experience with IAABO Camden New Jersey Board 34. Tim lives in West Deptford, NJ . More Posts

2 Comments on Hung Up On The Ring

  1. Tim, Great one.

  2.' Bill Siedling IAABO BOARD 214 A longtime IAABO Interpreter // January 11, 2018 at 11:47 pm // Reply

    Just imagine, you ruled the hanging on the rim as legal and now the player who taps his missed dunk (which is entirely outside the basket cylinder) gets fouled (wacked across the arm by the defense). Free throws dependent upon whether the ball entered the basket or not, OR do you rule basket interference, if he player is still touching the rim when the ball touches the rim or is in the basket, in which case a basket can not be scored, but free throws will be awarded because of the foul? Better stay connected!

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