Area coaches react to change in basketball bonus rules

Published 3:50 pm Wednesday, June 7, 2023

There will be major changes to high school basketball this season as the NFHS has made its rule changes for the upcoming season. 

The one and one is no more in high school basketball. Now, getting into the bonus for a team will result in two free throws. In the past, a team had to get seven fouls in a quarter before getting into the bonus. The team had to draw 10 total fouls before they would get into the double bonus and get two free throws. 

Fouls will still reset at the end of each quarter, but now a team will only need to draw five fouls before they enter the bonus. This should drastically increase the amount of free throws in a high school basketball game. 

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Many teams will likely have to change their defensive strategies completely. The rule changes could influence teams to go to more of a zone defense instead of man defense. 

“I think it’s a disadvantage for my team only because we played so aggressive on defense,” Lanett Head Coach Tay McCants said. “Dropping it down to five fouls, it really puts the other team at an advantage.” 

The rule changes should drastically increase the amount of scoring in a basketball game. However, it could also have negative effects on the pacing of the game. 

“I think it hurts the game, but we’re still going to play our pace of basketball,” McCants said. 

High School coaches will have to emphasize free throw shooting even more this year in practice. 

“You’re going to have to really be a great shooting free throw team to convert,” Valley Head Coach Marshon Harper said. “We gone shoot a lot of free throws.” 

Harper believes that these rule changes came due to high foul numbers in high school basketball. He believes that these changes were made in an effort to get rid of some of the rougher play in high school basketball. 

Many offenses will look to draw more fouls in order to get free points at the free throw line. Harper believes that this could lead to an older style of offense becoming more prevalent next season. 

“We might get back to where you see people pound the ball down the court and throw it back inside and try to shoot a layup instead of shooting all these threes,” Harper said. “It’s an advantage of people that can get to the hole and get fouled.”

The new rule changes will also be a major adjustment for officials. Harper believes that officials will have to be more lenient when it comes to calling certain fouls. 

“Officials gotta adjust too,” Harper said. Harper said that he hopes that officials will let a little bit of the bumping go. He also believes that some of the hand checks will have to not be called by the officials. 

According to Director of Officials Ken Washington, the rule changes will also affect girl’s basketball in the state of Alabama. 

Lanett’s girls basketball coach Charlie Williams thinks that these rule changes will help the flow of basketball in Alabama. 

“I think it’s going to speed the game up,” Williams said. Williams says that Georgia does something similar to this and it has helped shorten the games. 

Just like Harper, Williams believes that these rule changes will cause teams to look to get inside the paint more. 

“The three point shot is the most utilized weapon in basketball today on all levels,” Williams said. “I think now more teams are going to try to utilize attacking the basket more just to get in the bonus quicker.” 

Late game situations will be the biggest change next season with these rule changes. In the past, teams would look to foul and hope the other team missed one. These changes will make it easier for teams with the lead to close the game out. 

“You can easily ice games,” Harper said. “That’s an adjustment that could help a lot of opponents.” 

The issues with these rule changes will likely be seen in the earlier part of the season as teams try to adjust. 

“It’s gonna be a difficult transition,” Harper said.