A regulation basketball hoop consists of a rim 18 inches (45.7 cm) in diameter and 10 feet (3.05 m) high mounted to a backboard. A team can score a field goal by shooting the ball through the hoop during regular play. A field goal scores two points for the shooting team if a player is touching or closer to the hoop than the three-point line, and three points (a "3 pointer") if the player is "outside" the three-point line. The team with more points at the end of the game wins, but additional time (overtime) may be issued when the game ends with a tie. The ball can be advanced on the court by bouncing it while walking or running (dribbling) or passing it to a teammate. It is a violation (traveling) to walk with the ball, carry it, or to double dribble (to hold the ball and then resume dribbling).
Various violations are generally called "fouls". Disruptive physical contact (a personal foul) is penalized, and a free throw is usually awarded to an offensive player if he is fouled while shooting the ball. A technical foul may also be issued when certain infractions occur, most commonly for unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of a player or coach. A technical foul gives the opposing team a free throw.
Basketball has evolved many commonly used techniques of shooting, passing, and dribbling, as well as specialized player positions and offensive and defensive structures (player positioning) and techniques. Typically, the tallest members of a team will play "center", "power forward", or "small forward" positions, while shorter players or those who possess the best ball handling skills and speed play "point guard" or "shooting guard".
While competitive basketball is carefully regulated, numerous variations of basketball have developed for casual play. Competitive basketball is primarily an indoor sport played on carefully marked and maintained basketball courts, but less regulated variations are often played outdoors in both inner city and rural areas.
Although the rules do not specify any positions whatsoever, they have evolved as part of basketball. During the first five decades of basketball's evolution, one guard, two forwards, and two centers or two guards, two forwards, and one center were used. Since the 1980s, more specific positions have evolved, namely:
- Point guard: usually the fastest player on the team, organizes the team's offense by controlling the ball and making sure that it gets to the right player at the right time. Notable PGs are Seijūrō Akashi, Shun Izuki, Makoto Hanamiya, Shoichi Imayoshi, Yukio Kasamatsu and Kazunari Takao.
- Shooting guard: creates a high volume of shots on offense, mainly long-ranged; and guards the opponent's best perimeter player on defense. Shintarō Midorima, Junpei Hyūga, Tatsuya Himuro, Reo Mibuchi, Yoshitaka Moriyama and Ryō Sakurai are SGs.
- Small forward: often primarily responsible for scoring points via cuts to the basket and dribble penetration; on defense seeks rebounds and steals, but sometimes plays more actively. Examples of small forwards are Ryōta Kise, Shōgo Haizaki, Kotarō Hayama and Kiyoshi Miyaji. Even though Kuroko's position is noted as a question mark, his assumed positions would be closest to small forward out of the five.
- Power forward: plays offensively often with their back to the basket; on defense, plays under the basket (in a zone defense) or against the opposing power forward (in man-to-man defense). Daiki Aomine, Taiga Kagami and Mitsuhiro Hayakawa are examples of PFs.
- Center: uses height and size to score (on offense), to protect the basket closely (on defense), or to rebound. Some centers are Atsushi Murasakibara, Teppei Kiyoshi, Eikichi Nebuya, Taisuke Ōtsubo and Kōsuke Wakamatsu.
The above descriptions are flexible. On some occasions, teams will choose to use a three guard offense, replacing one of the forwards or the center with a third guard. The most commonly interchanged positions are point guard and shooting guard, especially if both players have good leadership and ball handling skills.
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In Kuroko no BasukeEdit
Basketball plays an important role in Kuroko no Basuke, as it is the main theme. All the characters that have appeared either play basketball, are coaches or are managers. The manga only focuses on high school basketball, with teams from different schools competing against each other. These teams compete in tournaments, like the Interhigh, the Winter Cup and the Nationals. This basketball scene mainly takes place in Tokyo.