Can You Dunk in High School Basketball?

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Dunking is one of the most exciting shots in basketball, and NBA players include the dunk in their repertoire of skills. Dunks have the same tally as a two-pointer, but the intangible effect that it brings to the game is unparalleled. The value is psychological as it shows superiority over an opponent.

But can you dunk in high school basketball?

No, from 1967 to 1976, the dunk shot was banned in college and high school basketball games. But it was lifted after 1976, and dunks are allowed up to present. In high school games, players are prohibited from dunking during warmups when referees are around, or the dunker(s) will get a technical foul.

Discover more about dunking in this material we prepared.

A Brief History of Basketball DunkingA Brief History of Basketball Dunking

The first official dunk was executed by Joe Fortenberry in 1936 at the Madison Square Garden while playing for the McPherson Globe Refiners. His teammate Willard Schmidt followed his lead instead of the traditional layup, both players threw the ball down into the rim, like dipping Oreo in a glass of milk.

In the 40s, 7-footer Bob Kurland’s regular shot was a dunk. Defenders felt offended, they would run under the dunker to force him to land awkwardly and take him out of the game.

In the 50s, centers Jim Pollard and Wilt Chamberlain were poor free-throw shooters. Instead of shooting, they would take off from the foul circle on a standing vertical and dunk the ball.

The NCAA revised the rule in 1956 requiring shooters to have both feet planted behind the line during free throws. Further, a rule was introduced to prevent Bill Russel from interfering with the flight of the ball, offenders were called with a goaltending or basket interference violation.

Lew Alcindor (a.k.a. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) was a “Tower of Power” for the UCLA Bruins, leading the team to the 1966 NCAA title. Alcindor was so dominant with his dunks, the league created a rule to level the playing field. After the season, the Alcindor Rule took effect, banning dunking in a game and revoked in the 1976-77 season.

The first slam dunk competition took place during the halftime break of the ABA All-Star Game in 1976 at Denver. Dr. J was the first Slam Dunk King besting Thompson, Artis Gilmore, and George Gervin.

The ABA and NBA merged in 1976 to form the NBA, and the first slam dunk competition was in 1977. Since then, the slam dunk competition had been a part of All-Star Games played during the halftime break.

Is Dunking Allowed in High School BasketballIs Dunking Allowed in High School Basketball?

The artistry of dunking makes the NBA an enjoyable sport to watch. For some time, the dunk was banned in basketball.

Is dunking allowed in high school basketball?

The Alcindor Rule took effect in 1967 and was overturned in 1976. After the Alcindor Rule was revoked the slam dunk was allowed in high school basketball under the following conditions:

Number of Steps

Two steps before dunking the ball is legal, and beyond that, you’ll be called for a traveling violation.

You have to gain control when catching the ball with a step, and the next two steps will be to maneuver and gain momentum for your throw down.

Ball Position on the Rim

A putback slam is allowed if the ball is snatched outside the rim. It is a violation if the ball is caught while it is above or touching any part of the cylinder.

A slammer merits two points, a bonus shot is awarded if fouled.

Dead Ball Situations

Dunking is allowed when the game is going on. Players are not allowed to dunk during dead ball situations like timeouts, or the ball is out of bounds,  a technical foul will be called.


A defender who undercuts a dunker will be slapped with a flagrant foul and ejected. Two points will be counted for a successful dunk, plus two foul shots and ball possession.

The offended player will not be slapped with a technical if he hangs on the ring to protect himself.

Can You Dunk in High School Basketball WarmupsCan You Dunk in High School Basketball Warmups?

The NFHS rule prohibits dunking during warmups when referees are on the court. Aside from the two free throws from the technical foul, there’s more to it.

  • All dunking players are assessed with a technical foul.
  • The dunking player gets a personal foul.
  • The technical foul is counted as a team foul.
  • The opposing team gets the ball when the game starts.
  • The coach loses the coach’s box and sits.

Is Dunking Allowed in College BasketballIs Dunking Allowed in College Basketball?

Yes, dunking is allowed in college basketball. Dunking makes the games more thrilling, the fans get excited, players are motivated to do more, and it intimidates the opposition.

Players were not allowed to dunk for ten years (1967-1977). Blame it to a dominant guy named Lew Alcindor. The 7-foot-1-inch phenom’s regular shot is the high percentage dunk. The NCAA banned the dunk shot in games to level the playing field. You can never outwit smart players like Alcindor, he invented the patented skyhook.

College players are free to dunk all they want during the game. However, there are rules and regulations in dunking.

  • Points will not count if the dunker commits an offensive foul.
  • The shot should be made before the time (30 seconds) expires.
  • A player can stay in the paint for only three seconds.
  • Offensive goaltending and basket interference are not allowed
  • Offensive players cannot rebound over their opponent’s back and dunk.
  • Dunks after the referee blows his whistle are not allowed.
  • Hanging on the rim is not allowed unless it is for safety reasons.

Are Players Allowed to Dunk in the NBA and Other LeaguesAre Players Allowed to Dunk in the NBA and Other Leagues

Yes, players can dunk in the NBA and other leagues. The level of difficulty by NBA dunkers is high than other leagues. A dunk by NBA players involves showboating for a poster play.

Dunking a ball is the same for all leagues, it can be done with one or two hands with the ball stuffed inside the hoop. It is a good percentage shot, and no matter how it’s done, the tally is two points, except if the dunker is fouled. Players cannot hang on the rim after a dunk, unless they are trying to avoid injury, otherwise a technical foul will be called. The rim or the backboard must not be used when dunking.

Except for high school basketball, players can dunk any time during the game. In April 2021, a Forest Hills Northern player shot two free throws before the game started, putting them ahead by two. A player from Zeeland East team dunked during warmup, and the referee slapped a technical foul against the dunker.

NFHS rules state that dunking during warmups is not allowed when referees are around, and a technical foul will be called on any player dunking.

Wrapping Things Up: Can You Dunk in High School Basketball?

In a high school basketball game, you’ll notice players flaunting their impressive handles and shooting during warmups, but there’s something missing.

Is dunking allowed in high school basketball?

NHFS rules prohibit dunking by players during warmups, a violation results in a technical foul. Even if it sucks, it was created for a reason. Showboating intimidates, teams can warm up without any psychological stress. Not all players have the skill to dunk safely. Not all facilities are built to withstand the impact from constant dunking.

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Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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