It’s rare that we get to see a play so outlandish a new rule might have to be established to stop it, but that occurred on Friday night in a Division III basketball game between Baruch College and Staten Island in the CUNYAC Championship game.
With 4.7 seconds left in the game Baruch was set to inbounds the ball when all five players stood out of bounds. The move confused the the Staten Island press, making it impossible to know who would receive the ball. Then, just as the pass was called all four potential receivers ran onto the court at once — meaning that everyone was eligible to receive the pass off the inbounds.
It’s an idea the team stole from football, according to the Washington Post.
Taking a concept from football schemes, he had four “receivers” bunched up at the right end of the baseline and had them run routes across the floor in a staggered pattern, thereby not allowing the defense to pressure the length of the floor.
The move worked, and caused the man covering center Benjamin Boateng to break off his man and double team the dribbler, point guard Jack Sixsmith. It allowed him to find Boateng on the break, who made the shot and the rest is history.
This isn’t the first time the bunch inbound has made an appearance in college basketball this season either.
The idea rules would have to be adjusted for such a trivial edge case seems weird and unnecessary, but there’s precedent for it in basketball. In 2013 then-Nuggets coach George Karl used an inbounds trick of his own to open up the floor for his scorers in close games. He positioned Kosta Koufos and Kenneth Faried out of bounds to confuse the defense, causing them to be unsure of who to cover. The NBA changed the rule in 2014 to make it illegal.