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Growing Interest for Restricted Circle in High School Basketball

Officials say adding a restricted circle would make officiating the game easier (Photo by VYPE Media's Bradley Collier).

SAN ANTONIO – While the current debate in high school basketball is whether or not to add a shot clock to add more excitement to the game, there is a growing interest for something else not in high school… the restricted circle.

If you are unfamiliar with it, the restricted circle is a semi-circle found in the paint near the hoop in men’s and women’s college and pro basketball. Added a few years ago, the restricted circle defines where a defender can draw a charge and where it cannot. If the defender’s foot is touching or inside the circle, or any part of its body is on/inside the circle, the official cannot call a charge. It can only call a block on the defender, or not make a call at all.

This was put in years ago, so that defenders couldn’t just stand under the hoop and take a late charge. It also was put in to make it easier for officials to decide what to call, especially in a late game scenario, or at least what not to call.

I spoke with several officials who have worked UIL basketball title games in the last couple years and each said it would be a good thing so that officials don’t have to deal with a gray area. One official who worked a state title game on Saturday was in the stands watching the Wagner-Timberview 5A final. I had dinner with him and he said that game showed why the restricted circle would be a great addition.

“There were a couple of close block-charge calls,” he said. “If the restricted circle were used in high school, it would have taken some of the gray area out and allowed the crew to better determine whether to call a block, a charge, or nothing.”

Had the restricted circle been in use at the UIL basketball finals, officials could have had an extra tool in whether to call a block, charge, or nothing on some plays (Photo by VYPE Media's Bradley Collier).

In the photo above, had the restricted circle been in use, it would have given the officials another tool to determine whether to call a block, a charge, or nothing. The defender's feet in relation to the restricted circle would have given crews an aid on if he could legally take a charge. If his feet where on or in the circle, then a charge could not be called.

He added that since college and professional levels use it, it would be another way to prepare a high school player for college. Plus, it would be a lot cheaper to add the restricted circle than a shot clock. The circle could be painted in or shown by temporary tape. Also, since many high school officials work college basketball, they are already trained on the circle and what to look for.

Greg Sherman covers high school sports for Vype SA and can be reached at

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