One-and-one free throws done for prep hoops

The 1-and-1 free throw is going away on the high school level starting in 2023-24. (photo by Darrell James)

By T. Scott Boatright

Prep basketball coaching strategies will see some changes starting next fall after rule changes made by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) were announced earlier this week. 

The one-and-one free throw has been eliminated and foul limits will reset after each, the NFHS said in a Monday press release. 

Starting next season, high school teams will always shoot two free throws for common fouls in “bonus” situations. Teams will reach the bonus when their opponent commits five fouls in each quarter rather than seven in a half. Team fouls will reset at the end of each period.

“The rules committee studied data that showed higher injury rates on rebounding situations and saw this as an opportunity to reduce opportunities for rough play during rebounds,” Lindsey Atkinson, NFHS Director of Sports and liaison to the Basketball Rules Committee, said in the release. “Additionally, resetting the fouls each quarter will improve game flow and allow teams to adjust their play by not carrying foul totals to quarters two and four.”

The rules changes were approved by the NFHS Basketball Rules Committee in late April. The recommendations were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Choudrant athletics director and boys basketball coach Ryan Smith said the changes will take some getting accustomed to.

“Hopefully we’ll make these changes in our league and camp games this summer to get a feel for what it’s like,” Smith said. “I can see it going both ways. Teams will now be able to foul more with less consequence.  So will it lead to more fouls or less fouls? I just don’t know.”

Ruston High School boys basketball coach Ryan Bond said he likes the idea of the consistency it will add to all levels of the game.

“I like it – the college game is going to be the same, the professional game is going to be the same,” Bond said. “It’s just going to be more consistent across the board. I mean the U.S. and international ball, it’s all going to be the same now. So I like that aspect of it.

“Fouls will reset each quarter now. So you start the second quarter, or the fourth quarter, and you don’t have to worry about being sent to the foul line early on, because no one will be in the bonus yet. Hopefully that will make for smoother play – it won’t be as chopped up.”

Lady Bearcats coach Meredith Graf also likes the idea of more consistency with college rules.

“That’s a good thing,” Graf said. “It has its good and bad. High school can be round sometimes because people will play a certain style where when there’s not as athletic or as skilled a team, it can get ugly sometimes.”

Graf said the change could be advantageous, depending on ability at the charity stripe.

“For me, to get to the line more with those earlier fouls, in a perfect world you should be able to take advantage of that,” Graf said. “But in the same breath, remember that layups and free throws are the two hardest shots in basketball.

“The thing is, are you going to be able to take advantage of more chances when you get them? And I think we’ll get more of them, obviously. But I think there’s a lot of positives to it. Hopefully it will encourage people to foul less.”

Like Smith, Graf said one of her biggest concerns at this point is making sure her players are aware of the changes.

“They’re going to have to process how the game will be played differently because of the changes,” Graf said. “We have to make them conscious of that.

“And honestly, sometimes I don’t really know if a kid really knows the rules and how they can affect the game. Sometimes they’re just out there with ability but don’t understand all the rules. So I think it might take some time to adjust in that way. But overall, I think it should be a positive. It works on the college level so I can’t see how it couldn’t be beneficial on the high school level as well.”

Another rule change comes for the throw-in procedure for front-court violations. Now, when the ball is in team control in the offensive team’s frontcourt and the defensive team commits a violation, a common foul prior to the bonus, or the ball becomes dead, the corresponding throw-in by the offensive team will be at one of four designated spots determined by where the infraction took place.

The designated spots are either the nearest 28-foot mark along each sideline or the nearest spot 3 feet outside the lane line on the end line. The one exception is when the defensive team causes a ball to be out of bounds, the throw-in shall be the spot where the ball went out of bounds.

Another change is that.when an official administers a throw-in to the wrong team, the error can be fixed before the first dead ball after the ball becomes live unless there has been a change in possession.

Other approved rules changes include:

• Rule 2-1-3 establishes the official placement of a shot clock operator at the scorer’s table for those states utilizing the shot clock.

• Rule 3-4-5 clarifies that multiple styles of uniform bottoms may be worn by teammates, but they must all be like-colored and adhere to uniform rules outlined in Rule 3-6-2 regarding logos and trademarks,

• Rule 3-5-6 addresses undershirts and allows teams to wear a single solid color or solid black for visiting teams with dark jerseys. This provides an opportunity for schools with hard-to-find colors to have all players wear a black undershirt.

• Rule 9-3-3 was amended to allow a player to step out of bounds and return to the court if they gain no advantage. A player is penalized only if, after returning inbounds, the player is the first to touch the ball or avoids a violation.