What is a Center in Basketball?

The center in basketball is also known as the five-man. The position of the five-man is to play offensively at one end of the court while playing defense at the other end of the court. 

Their main goal is to score points but they are not the only player on their team that can score. The players around them will also be scoring. Of course, players like the point guard, shooting guard, and power forward will be scoring as well.

The center is typically the tallest player on the team which means that in the NBA, they are usually around seven feet tall. This height advantage means that the Center is normally taller than other players so they can shoot over them. The larger you are in basketball the harder it is to move quickly so this also plays a big role in choosing players for this position.

In addition, the center is normally the strongest player on the team so they are usually double-teamed by an opposing team’s center and power forward. This does not mean they are able to score 100% of their points on fast-break plays or alley-oops like some would like to think. The center in basketball is normally the second-best player on their team and has a well-balanced game.

Getting Rebounds in the Game

The center in basketball also needs to rebound the ball well which means they need to be able to get many rebounds. If there’s one thing that separates power forwards from centers it would be their rebounding ability. Centers normally rebound much better than power forwards do because they are taller and have a better chance of getting the rebound (since they are naturally closer to the ball when it comes off the hoop).

The Five-Man Must Have Length & Rebounding Abilities

Moreover, the center in basketball is one of the most important players on their team. They must be able to do many tasks such as score, rebound, play defense, and take getting double-teamed consistently. 

Sometimes there isn’t much more that separates centers from other players besides height and rebounding abilities. 

The five-man is the most important of all the players on basketball teams because of their length and rebounding abilities. No other position has quite an epic combination like this one does.

Where is the Center Position on a Basketball Court?

The center position in basketball is located on the block of the court, which is within the free-throw line. This position is very important during play because they are able to score lots of points and also get many rebounds. It’s common for this player to be double teamed and this is why it’s one of the most important positions on a basketball team.

Furthermore, the center is also normally the strongest player and in most cases, they are very tall which plays a big role in their gameplay. Tall players like this find it much easier to finish with authority when playing against smaller, less athletic opponents. 

There aren’t many things that separate centers from other players because most all professional players have a well-balanced game. They need to be tall and strong, and they need to rebound the basketball extremely well.

As mentioned, the center in basketball is a very important player on the team. There are many tasks that they must accomplish during play including:

  • scoring
  • getting rebounds
  • blocking players
  • making plays to help their team win

Centers are normally much taller than other players on the court because they play near the basket which plays a big role in why they are so important. Their physicality helps them get away with many fouls that other basketball players cannot do — we’ve seen that time and time again with the great centers over the past decades.

Apart from that, centers are normally between 6’6 to 7 ft, which is why they are much taller than other players. 

Because the basket in college and professional basketball is 10ft high. This makes it easier for a center to shoot over defenders when they are defending them during play. 

Centers must be able to rebound the ball very well because they will need the second-chance opportunities in which they can score. Rebounding is a very important skill in the game of basketball and without a good rebounder, a team will have many problems trying to win games.

Some Basic Rules of the Basketball Game and how a Star Center can Help…

1) Time and Movement

The professional basketball game consists of four 12 minute quarters, with the clock stopping play during the last 2 minutes of each half and when any team has possession or a basket is scored. The center can help slow down a game if their team is ahead and wants regulation time to finish soon.

2) Teams

There are five players on the court at one time from each team. There’s only one Center who is key at that position — although sometimes there can be overlap of roles with a taller Power Forward. The Center can be the key player for rebounds being closest to the basket. 

3) Positions

Each basket is scored by a player (shooting guard, point guard, or small forward). Each rebound and assist is credited to a player (power forward or center). Centers will often have several points and rebounds and blocks. 

4) Violations

When players break the rule and play stops. Fouls often come from shooting guards and point guards and the forwards in order to protect the Center from the possibility of fouling out. 

5) Fouls

When rules are broken but play continues; free throws may result. Centers can be very good at making free throws, considering their physical height puts them closer to the basket.

6) Scores & Limits

Each team gets 24 seconds to attempt a shot. If the ball hits the rim it is considered alive until it hits the floor. The point value of each made basket is 2 points, except for shots taken behind the three-point arc which yield 3 points if successful. Often the center will be the leading scorer on the team. 

7) Off-Ball Movement

Players not in possession of the ball must remain behind the 3-point arc. Players (including centers) need to remember to be moving around and not stand still long enough to cause a 3 second “lane violation” near the rim in the foul lane. 

8) Basic Offensive Skills

Players may dribble, pass or shoot at any time they have possession of the ball.

9) Zone Defenses

Zone defenses were not allowed in the NBA until 2001. 

10) Technical Fouls

If a player is fouled by an opponent and does not shoot free throws then a technical foul is given to that player.

11) Bonus

A team earns a bonus of 2 points if they have not committed more than 5 fouls in a half. If the team has 6 or more fouls then it gets 1 point and play continues.

12) Time-Outs

Each team receives three time-outs per half.


In conclusion, the center is one of the most important positions in basketball because with their natural abilities they can be big and strong, and can shoot well. 

Rebounding is one of their specialties and they must be able to score, pass, rebound, and make plays for their team during play. Centers are normally 7ft tall which helps them considerably when playing against smaller players.

There aren’t many things that separate centers from other basketball players because most of them have a well-balanced game. Furthermore, centers are normally taller than other players and they must be able to play near the basket which helps them score more often during play.

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