Basketball Rules on Assists

Basketball Rules on Assists

In basketball, the player who passes the ball to a player prior to a successful shot is rewarded with an assist. There are slight variations in the wording of the college (NCAA) and professional (NBA) rules as to what constitutes an assist. In all types of basketball, however, only one assist can be awarded per field goal.

NCAA Rules

  • A player receives an assist when a pass is made that directly contributes to a made field goal
    • It does not matter if the field goal is a 2-pointer or 3-pointer, the passer is only credited with one assist.

In collegiate basketball, rulings on assists come from home statisticians, and they have room for interpretation on what is ruled an assist and what is not. For example, they can determine that the pass was too routine or too many dribbles were taken for a pass to count as an assist.

NBA Rules

  • An assist is defined as the "last pass to a teammate that leads directly to a field goal."

The NBA elaborates by saying that the player receiving the pass ​must move immediately toward the basket​ in a scoring motion.

NBA Assist Records

  • Most assists in an NBA game: 30, Scott Skiles, December 1990
  • Most assists in an NBA career: 15,806, John Stockton
  • Most assists in a single NBA season: 1,164, John Stockton, 1990-1991

NCAA Assist Records

  • Most assists in an NCAA game: 22, three different players
  • Most assists in an NCAA career: 1,076, Bobby Hurley, 1990-1993
  • Most assists in a single NCAA season: 406, Mark Wade, 1987
  • Most assists in a single NCAA women's career: 1,307, Suzie McConnell, 1984-1988