Do Fouls Count as Missed Field Goals in Basketball?
Covering basketball represents a statistical challenge for media members and the official scorekeeper, who must keep track of points scored, shots taken, shots made and fouls. In some cases, a field goal attempt is also a field goal made when the shot goes through the hoop. But there are times when a missed shot may not appear in the statistical notes.
Shooting Foul -- The Process
A shooting foul occurs any time a player is in the process of shooting the ball and a member of the opposing team makes contact with him. This does not mean the basketball has just left the player's fingertips and the ball is flying toward the rim. For example, if a player has just picked up his dribble and is raising the ball to bring it into the shooting position, this is considered a shooting foul. After the basketball has left the shooter's hand and he is in the process of following through on his shot, this is still considered a shooting foul.
If a player is taking a shot and is fouled while shooting and the ball goes through the hoop, she gets credited with a shot made and charged with a shot attempt, according to the NCAA. However, if that shot is not successful, the player does not get charged with a shooting attempt.
Sometimes an offensive foul occurs away from the ball. In this case, a player may take a shot and the result of the shot does not count, because a teammate away from the ball fouls an opponent at the same moment or before the shot is taken. In this case, no shot attempt is charged to the player who released the ball. In other cases, however, the referee may rule that the foul occurred after the shot was released: The result of the shot does count, and the foul is assessed after the shot is successful or fails. If the shot goes in, the shooter is credited with a shot made and charged with a shot attempt. However, if the shot is not successful, the player is not charged with a shot attempt.
Field Goal Made Without Attempt
There are times a player can score a field goal while being fouled and that player will not be charged with a field goal attempt. For example, offensive player A and defensive player B are battling for a rebound. As player A is about to gain control of the ball, player B makes contact with player A and fouls him, knocking him backwards. Instead of gaining possession of the ball, the fouled player makes contact with the ball and it inadvertently goes into the basket. The referee blows his whistle, a foul is charged and the basket counts. However, no shot was attempted. This development is handled with a note in the official stats explaining what happened.
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.