Grant McCaslan

Playing International

North Texas Prepares For International Rules In Practice

DENTON – As the North Texas men's basketball team is less than a week away from its trip to Italy, the Mean Green have been scrimmaging daily with unfamiliar rules and even a different basketball.
While in Italy, UNT will play at least three exhibitions against international competition and use International Basketball Federation (FIBA) rules and a FIBA basketball.
FIBA is constantly making various changes to its rules and slowly making their rules more similar to America's. However, the differences between FIBA's rules and the NCAA and NBA's rules might be slight they of course can have a big impact on the game and furthermore are foreign to many of the Mean Green players who have never played under FIBA rules. Only four of the 14 guys have any experience in FIBA rules, Gillette College transfer Abdul Muhammad being one of them as he was raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, where FIBA rules are the standard.

"In the United States the game is more physical. FIBA is more of a space game and not as physical. The three-point line is further back but the game is a lot about skill."

"I don't really know the exact rules but it's different. The ball feels different and the rules seem as if they make the game faster and more skillful."

"It's been a little different and weird scrimmaging with different rules and we're still figuring it out and I'm sure we won't know all of them by the time we get there but it's interesting. At the end of the day, it's still basketball. The skills translate and we need to play as a team."

                NCAA men's basketball is the only basketball league in the world that uses halves. FIBA, similar to the NBA, uses quarters. Each quarter in FIBA is 10 minutes so the total length of the game will be 40 minutes, like in college.

                NCAA men's basketball uses a 30-second shot clock that restarts after every rebound. In FIBA, the shot clock is only 24 seconds and on an offensive rebound is only restarted to 14 seconds.

                North Texas was a deadly three-point shooting team in 2017-18 and was led by Roosevelt Smart's program-best 133 3-pointers. The three-point line in FIBA games are .50m further than in the NCAA and about halfway between the NCAA's three-point line and the NBA's.

                From 1956 through 2010, FIBA was known for using a trapezoid shaped key that did not have a restricted area in the paint. However, since the 2010 World Championships, FIBA has adopted a key that is the exact same dimensions as the NBA's and a restricted area that is slightly larger. The only other difference between the NBA and FIBA's key are aesthetics.

                FIBA is similar to the NBA where a player has only 8 seconds to get across the backcourt. In NCAA they have 10 seconds.

                In the NCAA and NBA a player can't ever touch the ball if it is above the rim or what is referred to as an imaginary cylinder that extends up from the rim. However in FIBA, once the ball touches the rim or the backboard it is free game, no matter if it's still above cylinder. This allows for more shot blocking opportunities and/or put-back layups and dunks.

                Like in the NBA, FIBA does not have one-and-one free throws once you enter the bonus. In college, once you commit your seventh foul of the half and are in the bonus, the opponent is given at least one free throw no matter the type of foul with a chance for a second free throw if they are successful on the first attempt. In FIBA, the bonus is triggered once you commit your fifth foul of the quarter and is a normal two free throw attempt.

                In FIBA games during a free throw, a player lined up in the key doesn't have to be set in their spot until the free throw shooter takes their shot. This is something that is not allowed in the NBA or in the NCAA.

                The actual size of a FIBA basketball is not much different than an NBA or men's college basketball, though, it can be inflated up to 30 inches, which is half an inch larger than what the NCAA allows. The biggest difference the Mean Green have noticed is that it's made by a company (Molten) that Americans would not be familiar with and has a slightly different grip on the ball.
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