Basketball was first created by Dr. James Naismith in December of 1891 at the Springfield YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. Dr. Naismith made the first developments of his newly created sport by nailing a peach basket 10 feet above the gym floor and using a soccer ball to attempt baskets. Basketball has come a long way since then, as have the rules used to play the game.
Dimensions of the Court - A standard basketball court is 94 feet long and 50 feet wide. The free-throw line measures 15 feet from the basket. The lane that connects the free-throw line to each baseline is known as the key or the "paint", which measures 15 feet long by 12 feet wide. The three-point arc in the professional leagues measures 23 feet, 9 inches from the basket, and 19 feet, 9 inches in college and high school gyms. Another important court marking is the arc located 4 feet from the center of the basket. This is commonly used to determine charging and blocking calls during the course of the game.
Scoring - A player may be awarded three different values of points in a game. A free throw is worth one point. A shot inside of the three-point arc is worth two points. A shot beyond the three-point arc is worth three points.
Timing - The length of quarters or halves differ for different levels of play. The NBA uses four 12-minute quarters. College basketball uses two halves lasting 20 minutes each. A five-minute overtime is used if the game is tied at the end of regulation. Basketball uses shot clocks when on the offensive end. A team is given six full time outs (60-100 seconds) and two additional 20-second timeouts during the course of the game.
Fouls - A personal foul is called when a player either hits, pushes, slaps, holds, or illegally picks an opposing player. A player is allowed a maximum of six fouls in the NBA and five in college. A player fouled when shooting is awarded two free throws. However, if the player makes the initial shot, he is awarded only one additional shot. If a player is fouled beyond the three-point arc, he is awarded three free throws. Team fouls are kept during each half in any level of play. If a team commits under seven fouls in a given half, the opposing team is awarded a restart by passing the ball inbounds from the sideline. If a team commits seven to nine fouls, their opponents are awarded a one-and-one situation, meaning if they make the first free throw, they are awarded a second. However, if they miss the first free throw, the ball is live. If a team commits more than ten fouls, their opponents are automatically awarded two free throws. A technical foul is assessed if an official feels a player or coach's conduct is out of line. The opposing team will be awarded two free throws and possession. A player can receive a maximum of two technical fouls per game before being disqualified. A flagrant foul happens if a player makes violent contact with an opponent, including punching, hitting, or kicking. The opposing team will be awarded two free throws plus possession. An intentional foul is called if a player makes contact with an opponent with no intention to steal the ball. Charging occurs when an offensive player runs over a defender who has his feet planted on the ground outside of the arc located four feet from the basket. This is an offensive foul resulting in a loss of possession. Blocking is when a defensive player does not establish foot position in time when stepping in front of a driving offensive player.
Violations - Traveling is called when a player takes more than a step and a half once picking up their dribble or pivoting a foot. Carrying is when a player dribbles the ball with their hand too far under the ball. Double dribble is called when a player dribbles with both of their hands at the same time or dribbles, picks up the ball, and immediately dribbles again. Goaltending occurs when a defensive player interferes with a shot that is on its way down to the basket. The offensive team is awarded an automatic two points. A backcourt violation is when an offensive team crosses over the midcourt line then crosses back over the line again. An inbound infraction is called when a team can not successfully inbound the ball within five seconds. Referees will call a shot clock violation when an offensive team can not successfully hit the rim or score a basket within the allowed time frame (24 seconds for NBA, 35 seconds in college)