As the NFHS has increased the focus on post play, it’s important to make sure there is an understanding of “Freedom of Movement.”
The NFHS points-of-emphasis is focused on several different aspects of post play, trying to clean it up. In this discussion, most of the guidance is provided in how to referee post players who have already obtained a legal position, or have already obtained player-control of the ball.
However, not much has been said about players who have yet to obtain their position. Anyone who has played the game of basketball knows that much of the success of an offense is in it’s ability to be in the right place at the right time. Freedom of Movement is critical to most offenses. There are two rules that apply to the following play concerning the freedom of movement of the post player. He begins at the top of the lane and as he is moving down to obtain a post position he is met by a defender who disrupts his freedom of movement.
Rule 10.7, article 3 states, “A player shall not use his/her hands on an opponent in any way that inhibits the freedom of movement…” Article 11 states, “a player shall adhere to the rules pertaining to illegal contact, including but not limited to, guarding as in 4-23…” When you take a look at rule 4.23,art. 5, Guarding a moving opponent without the ball, it states, “Time and distance are factors required to obtain an initial legal position.”
This last point is interesting because in the Guarding rule, the only article that requires “time and distance” on a defender is Article 5, guarding an opponent without the ball. If the offensive player’s freedom of movement is inhibited by a defender who didn’t give them time to change direction, the contact that results is the fault of the defender. In applying either of these 3 rules, the defender in the following video should be charged with a foul.