Basketball team roster-featured image

It’s basketball season, and basketball teams are gearing up for their first game. But what about the number of players on a basketball team? What are the rules? How many professional basketball players can be on a team roster at one time? The answer to these questions is different depending on which level you’re playing at. This blog post will break down all of the basketball player and team roster rules. So that you have an idea before your next game!

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How Many Basketball Players Can Be on the Court?

The number of basketball players allowed to be on the court during a game is five. This includes four basketball players playing defense and one basketball player shooting or passing, known as “four out”. This basketball player can be one of the five basketball players on the court.

On-Court Players

basketball team roster

The basketball players on the court are also known as “on-court” basketball players. The substitutes that can come into play if one of these basketball players gets hurt, or are unable to continue playing, are called “off-the-bench” basketball players.

Off-The-Bench Players

Off-the-bench basketball players include subs and injured substitute basketball players (for example). One exception to this rule includes youth basketball leagues. Where only four out is allowed for games not to take too long. If a team has five out at any point during the game, they will be penalized with either loss of possession or two free throws. Depending on which violation occurred.

Who is Allowed to Play Basketball?

There are different basketball rules for each level. But in general – if you’re playing high school or college basketball, then it’s pretty standard that only students (and sometimes alumni) at a particular university are allowed to play on their team. However, there are not any restrictions when it comes to professional basketball teams!

Professional Basketball Teams

Professional basketball teams are composed of 15 players. At least eight of these players are typically active for each game. These basketball teams can have up to five inactive basketball players that will be listed on the team’s roster. But they cannot dress out or sit on the bench during games.

Regular/Association v. Restricted/Unrestricted

Professional basketball teams also have two different types of basketball players: “regular” and “association” (or “affiliated”) basketball players. Association basketball players can be either “restricted” or “unrestricted”. An association player is an individual basketball player that has been temporarily assigned to the roster of a professional basketball team. And he’s given certain rights, duties, and obligations by another basketball team (usually their current one). As part of an affiliation agreement between those two basketball teams.

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Professional Basketball Roster Rules

Many basketball rules govern how basketball players can be affiliated with basketball teams and transferred from one team to another. But we won’t go into them here. If you want an in-depth look at the different types of basketball player affiliations. And their related professional basketball player transfer restrictions, check out our other blog posts.

College Basketball Teams

College basketball teams include 13 players on the roster but can have up to 14 scholarship athletes listed. These basketball players are usually active for each game, but teams can have up to four inactive basketball players.

basketball team roster

Walk-On, Regular, and Redshirt Players

Basketball team rosters typically include three different types of basketball players: “walk-on” basketball players, “regular” basketball players, and “redshirt” basketball players. A walk-on is an individual that has joined a college basketball team without receiving an athletic scholarship. These basketball players are often high school basketball stars that join the college basketball team to improve their abilities and chances of getting recruited for a professional basketball contract.

Full or Partial Scholarship

A regular basketball player is given either a “full” or “partial” basketball scholarship to attend the college they’re playing at. While redshirt basketball players are basketball players that have joined the basketball team but not yet played in an actual game.

Recognized or Non-Recognized

These two types of basketball players can also be “recognized” or “non-recognized“.A recognized basketball player has met specific academic requirements set by their college for maintaining a full basketball scholarship, while non-recognized basketball players have not.

College Basketball Roster Rules

As previously stated, college basketball teams can only carry 13 total basketball players on their roster at one time. Those are either walk-ons or scholarship basketball players. This means that if there are 14 basketball players on a college basketball team’s active list for a game (including the two non-scholarship athletes), they will be forced to sit out of the game because more than half of them cannot play!

However, this rule does not apply during conference games. As long as all participants abide by it and both teams follow suit with how many basketball players they dress out for each game.

Youth Basketball Leagues

Youth basketball leagues typically need only 11 or 12 players for each team with no more than five per gender on a court at one time. This includes both boys’ and girls’ basketball teams. Youth basketball players are typically coached by the basketball team’s older members.

Youth basketball teams have no restrictions on how many basketball players can be in a game at once. But they must follow the minimum player requirements to compete. So that everyone plays an equal amount of time during games.

How Many Substitutes Can Be On A Basketball Team?

Professional Basketball Subs

In professional basketball, there are twelve basketball players in the game at once for each side. These include five on-court basketball players and seven off-the-bench basketball players.

basketball team roster

College Basketball Subs

In the college-level basketball team roster, ten students per team take part in a regulation NCAA match-up. That means only five of these athletes can be playing at one time. While the other half sits on the sidelines in case injury occurs or if someone needs to come out of the game due to fouls or bad behavior (for example).

Youth Basketball Subs

The youth league rules might seem confusing when you’re looking through all of them online. Because some leagues allow six substitutions while others only allow four basketball players to be on the court at once. It can get more confusing when counting basketball players who are sitting out during a match. But not subbed in, or if your team is down by two points with less than ten seconds left on the clock and you need that one extra basketball player so you don’t forfeit!

The rules for youth basketball teams across America will vary depending on which state they are playing within. The official website of USA Basketball has all of these regulations listed under their Youth Division Regulations page. If it’s still unclear whether there are six substitutions allowed or not. Check with your coach before arriving at practice today!

What About Substituting Individual Players?

Basketball matches do include timeouts that basketball teams can use to substitute basketball players. This is when a coach will take out one basketball player and replace them with another. So they have an opportunity to rest or get advice from the coaching staff during timeouts. If there are no substitutions allowed, then this means you either need to play through your fatigue or injuries. Which isn’t always possible depending on the severity of these problems!

Substitutions Resultin Loss of Possession!

According to NBA’s official website, substituting basketball players at any point during regulation play results in loss of possession for both sides. Substituting injured basketball players’ out-of-bounds also results in ball turnover. But if it happens within the team’s court boundaries, then that team receives two free throws against their opponent as a penalty.

Substitutions in Youth Basketball Can Vary

Youth basketball teams across America can substitute basketball players during timeouts. Even if they have used all of their allotted number of substitutions already! Any basketball player that is subbed in needs to be out by the next whistle though because otherwise, it results in a turnover for both sides.

Injured substitutes do not count as one of the allowed substitutions but must remain within team boundaries or else a technical foul will be called against them. And two free throws awarded to the opponent’s side. It also should be noted there are no “in bounds” injuries. So once your basketball player steps off court, he/she cannot return until play resumes again.


In conclusion, basketball team roster consist of several basketball players that have various roles and responsibilities on the basketball court. These basketball player types can be categorized in many different ways depending on what type of team they play for, their age group, etc.

We hope this blog post has helped you understand basketball teams a little better!

Please leave us feedback in the comments section if there are any other basketball player types or rules that should be included. Thanks so much for reading, basketball fans!

Here are Some of our Favourite Basketball Sneakers

Here we will be giving more of an opinion, rather than facts. Are the sneakers worth the price that they are being sold at? Should you upgrade from your current sneakers, depending on what boots you own? What features stand out on these sneakers? If any. Does it do the job? Speed, control, stability etc. Depending on your needs/preferences. We can also mention its durability, if we have collected enough data on the specific sneakers.

What did we expect vs. what we got. Is it maybe overrated/underrated?


Here’s our pick from the very best of the bunch.


On your way to the pro leagues? Here’s our pick.


Want something to start with? Have a look at our pick.

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