What happens when I bounce-pass the ball into the basket, like in a circus shot? Does this count as a successful basket?

1 Answer 1


Yes, a bounce that goes into the basket would count as a successful goal. Anytime (except on a throw-in) a live ball goes through the basket, it is a goal, and it doesn't matter who, if anyone, threw the ball.

From the NCAA Men's Basketball 2013-14 and 2014-15 Rules, Rule 5 (Scoring and Timing Regulations), Section 1, Article 2:

Art. 2. A goal is made when:

a. A live ball that is not a throw-in enters the basket from above and remains in or passes through the basket; or

b. A free throw enters the basket from above and remains in or passes through the basket.

After a player bounces the ball, the ball is still live, meaning that any player could theoretically grab the ball and continue playing. So if the ball goes in the basket, the goal would count.

Kicking the ball in, even if it is easier for you, is not allowed (NCAA Rule 9, Section 7; NBA Rule 10, Section 4).

  • 3
    @waxeagle Good question. Goaltending is defined in Rule 9, Section 17, and can only happen during a "field goal try." Rule 5, Section 1 defines a try, and includes language about the ball leaving the hand. Therefore, I don't believe that they should call a goaltending penalty on a ball that was bounced or kicked in.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 16:53
  • 4
    If you bounced the ball inside the 3 point line, while standing outside of the 3-pt line, would it be a 3 or a 2 pointer? :)
    – Nick
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 17:25
  • 1
    @NicholasV. At this point, I think we are speculating, but I would say that it would be a 2-pointer. The language in Rule 5, Section 1 suggests to me that a field-goal try or a three-point try requires that the ball leave the hand and go to the basket. The basket would count, but would probably not be officially credited to the player in the stats.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 17:30
  • 2
    @Yaitzme Not convinced? :) You won't find any explicit rules in any rulebook on these situations, because these situations never actually happen in real games. But if they did, I believe the existing rules I cited should apply as I have discussed. The bottom line is, if a live ball goes into a basket, it's a goal.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 4:41
  • 3
    @Yaitzme To answer your question, if you attempt a shot from outside the 3-point line, you miss the rim, the ball bounces off the floor, goes back up and then goes down through the hoop, I would give your team 2 points, and you would not be credited with the basket. But you would probably go viral on YouTube the next day.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 4:43

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