What Does “And One” Mean In Basketball?

The game is close, your center picks up the ball, he goes for a basket—foul—but the ball finds its way into the net anyways!

Suddenly the players are shouting at the ref. The crowd is calling out, "And one!" It's a common phrase in basketball, and you'll hear commentators use it all the time.

Anyone that is an avid watcher of the sport has definitely heard it before. But not everyone knows what it means. 

So what does "and one" mean in basketball? Basically, it means the points from the basket and the possibility of one additional point from a free throw. Hence, "and one." Let's get into the specifics of this foul call and when it occurs.  

When is an And One Foul Called?

If there is a foul on an offensive player during shooting, there is the possibility of "and one" being called.

When a ref calls for "And one," it essentially means the fouled player gets a free throw.

If the shot has already gone in, then the offensive team will get the points for that basket. In addition, the fouled player is given a free throw. Providing the free throw finds the basket, the team finds themselves with an additional point. 

Why is it Called And One?

The reason behind the name 'and one' is the number of foul shots awarded. The term is "and one" because they get the points from the basket and one extra.

Comparatively, a fouled player is often awarded two or even three shots in other situations. And one is one of the few fouls which carries the penalty of only one foul shot.

There are no restrictions for how many times, "and one" situations can happen. A ref may make the call as many times as necessary during the game, and the penalties are the same each time.

How To Draw an And One Foul

When two teams are neck in neck, an and one foul can be a big boost for the offensive team. Thus, many often search for methods to draw a foul in hopes of an extra point.

As a player, you don't want to appear too obviously trying to draw a foul. Instead, you should try to subtly force contact with the defender.

One technique is to fake a shot right before you take a real shot. You can place your hands on the ball as if you are about to take a shot.


If a defender is nearby, they are likely to attempt to block you. If you're smart about it, you can ensure contact as the defender is descending and get your real shot off. 

How to Score the Extra Point

Just because the ref has called for "and one" doesn't mean your team automatically receives an additional point. There is still the small matter of actually bagging the free throw.

Shaquille O'Neal was notorious for missing free throws. His shot percentage from the free throw line teetered around 50% for most of his career.

Dwight Howard is another NBA star with a bad track record for taking free throws. So it's not always guaranteed that an and one foul will result in an extra point. 

You don't have to be anxious about sinking your next free throw to make sure you get your team that extra "and one" point. Here are five steps to improving your shot from the free throw line. 

and one-free-throw
  1. Get Your Head in the Game

Establishing some kind of routine that lets your body know its free throw time can be a great trick.

Often, lining up to take a shot right after a foul can be a bit disorienting. Come up with a series of steps you can quickly go through to prep your body for the shot. 

You'll notice lots of pros have their own little ritual that they go through before taking a shot.

Kevin Durant does a little shoulder shimmy to get himself ready. Karl Malone had a quick mantra he used to say to the ball before bending his knees twice to take the shot.

  1. Balance

Don't underestimate the power of your core. A good shot requires balance. The power should come from your legs, but you'll need to engage your core to keep your body well-balanced.

Bend your legs and keep your weight on your toes. Use your hands to control the ball. 

  1. Elbows

Once you've taken enough shots, elbow placement becomes second nature.

If you're up at the free throw line, take the extra second to make yourself conscious of your elbow and keep it pointed at the rim. In addition, your elbow should always be straight under the ball for good shooting form. 

  1. Eyes

Use your eyes to focus directly on the backboard. Look at your target and direct your ball. 

  1. Flick Your Wrist

Also known as "follow through," right at the end of your shot, the second before the ball leaves your hand, you want to flick your wrist.

This will provide a bit of a backspin on the ball and help it find its target. 

Final Thoughts

An and one foul is hardly a rare occurrence in basketball. Nonetheless, it can be an exciting development in the game, especially when two teams are fighting for the lead. 

A ref can call for and one when a defensive player fouls an offensive player during shooting. If the shot goes in, then the team gets the points from the basket plus one free throw.

If the free throw also goes in, the offensive team receives an additional point. 

The benefit of an and one foul for the offensive team hinges on a player's ability to take a free throw.

There are some steps that you can take to improve your free throw percentage to ensure that whenever an and one opportunity arises, you can sink the ball.

Related: What does a Bonus Mean in the NBA?

Joshua Bast

My name is Joshua Bast and I have been playing basketball ever since I was 7 years old. I love the game play, I love the feeling whenever I score a basket, but what made me fell in love was the camaraderie with my team mates. This blog is dedicated to help any up-and-coming basketball players maximize their potential.

Joshua Bast