Can You Score From A Throw In? | Basketball Rule Explained!


There are so many rules in basketball that can confuse the average player, from violations to foul calls it can leave us scratching our heads. A common question that often comes up is the throw-in, what is legal and what’s not.

Can you score a basket from the throw-in? In basketball, the out-of-bounds is an area where after a score or turnover in possession of the ball, it is inbounded or thrown in by a player. The ball is dead in play until it is touched by another player on the court. Based on this rule you may not score from a throw-in unless it touched by another player before it goes into the basket.

 When in-bounding the ball the player may not cross over or step over on the line as the ball is still in his hands this is considered a violation and a turnover in possession to the other team will be the result. Still, confused? Keep reading.

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What Does The Official Rule Say?

In-bound and out of bounds is one and the same, you inbound the ball to put the ball in play, You have 5 seconds to make a  pass to a teammate. It is a violation if you pass the ball and your foot is on the line before releasing the ball to a teammate which means it will be turnover on possession and the other team’s ball. You may not inbound the ball yourself, you may also not step over the line re-establish behind the line and make a pass attempt again. This is a violation also. If you are underneath the basket and throw the ball and it hits the backboard it is also a turnover on possession.

The lines that make up the inbound and out of bounds on the court is the perimeter, this is the area of the basketball court everything inside the lines is in bounds, everything outside is out of bounds.

Section III—The Throw-In ( You can see this and other rules on the website click the link).

  1. The throw-in starts when the ball is given to the player entitled to the throw-in. He shall release the ball within 5 seconds from the time he receives the ball and controls it. Until the passed ball has crossed the plane of the boundary, no player shall have any part of his person over the boundary line and teammates shall not occupy positions parallel or adjacent to the baseline if an opponent desires one of those positions. The defensive man shall have the right to be between his man and the basket.
  2. On a throw-in which goes out of bounds and is not touched by a player in the game, the ball is returned to the original throw-in spot.
  3. After a score, field goal or free throw, the latter coming as the result of a personal foul, any player of the team not credited with the score shall put the ball into play from any point out-of-bounds at the endline of the court where the point(s) were scored. He may pass the ball to a teammate behind the endline; however, the five-second throw-in rule This rule also applies to the player of the team with possession at the start of the second, third and fourth periods.
  4. After a free throw violation by the shooter or his teammate, the throw-in is made from out-of-bounds on either side of the free throw line extended.
  5. Any ball out-of-bounds in a team’s frontcourt or at the midcourt line cannot be passed into the backcourt. On all backcourt and midcourt violations, the ball shall be awarded to the opposing team at the midcourt line, and must be passed into the frontcourt.
    1. EXCEPTION: During the last two minutes of the fourth period and the last two minutes of any overtime period, the ball may be passed anywhere (frontcourt or backcourt) on the court. However, if the ball is thrown into the frontcourt and an offensive player on the court fails to control the ball and causes it to go into the backcourt, his team may not be the first to touch the ball.
  6. A throw-in which touches the floor, or any object on or outside the boundary line, or touches anything above the playing surface is a violation. The ball must be thrown directly inbounds.
    1. EXCEPTION: Rule 8—Section III—c.
    2. PENALTY: Violation of this rule is loss of possession, and the ball must be inbounded at the previous spot of the throw-in.



Types of In-Bounds

There are a few types of in-bound passes that happen in a basketball game. The most common one is after a basket or scoring of the ball, the ball is taken after entering the hoop by the defense out of bounds underneath the basket behind the baseline. It is then in-bounded or thrown-in to a teammate on offense, the player may move the length of the baseline from corner to corner but must remain behind the line before throwing it in. They do not need to remain stationary, this is only after a score.

In some cases, the referee blows their whistle and a foul is called, the ball is then in-bounded on the side out or sideline. After half time or the start of the third quarter, the team who gets possession of the basketball will receive the ball at the half-court line on the sideline or side out to start the game.

In-Bounds Plays

Often time a whistle is blown and the ball is inbounded by the team on offense from underneath the net, many coaches like to run inbounds plays with their teams to get a quick easy score or open shot.

Again same rules apply as after a score. The only difference is the referee will hand you the ball to signal the count.


Tricky In-Bounds Play

There are many in-bounds plays to get a quick score, you may or may have not seen this play before, a player who is in-bounding the ball who’s defender is facing the basket helping the defend the big men, it off the points back and pick it up and dribble this is legal as long as the player has both feet on the court before  grabbing the ball

This usually happens underneath the basket when inbounding the ball on offense the player defending the in-bounds has his back turned to help play defense on the big man


Q & A

Can the in-bounder run the baseline?

Only after a score, he may run the baseline to make a pass. Anytime the ref blows in the whistle and hands you the ball and it’s not after a score the in-bounder needs to be stationary.

Can you pass to yourself as the in-bounder?

No, it’s a violation unless someone touches it.

Can you dribble while in-bounding the ball?

No, this will result in a violation. The moment the ball leaves the inbounder’s hands it is considered a violation.

Can you step over the line but release the ball when you in-bound?

When in-bounding the ball as long as your foot does not make contact with the court or out of bounds line before releasing the ball, it is safe to do so. But you want to make sure that you have a clear pass as if you step over the line and still have the ball in hand and re-establish it is a violation.

Is it legal to pass to another teammate out of bounds?

This is actually legal, when the defensive has you covered coaches in college basketball run a play where another player will step out of bounds and the ball will be passed along the baseline to that player. Then the player who just passed the ball will step on to the court, this will leave the player to be open on the court. That player will then get the ball from the new in-bounder.


This concludes the article hope that clears up some of the rules on in-bounding just remember you are not allowed to score trying to inbound the pass unless a player touches it first. If you enjoyed the content check back regularly every week, I publish content weekly.

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