How Many Players are on A Basketball Court? [The Best Answer]

Basketball Court

Do you really want to know How Many Players are on A Basketball Court? Basketball is among the most popular sports all over the world. The game rules are easy to understand, but the game seems difficult to play. The number of players in basketball is relatively less than in football or soccer.

During the basketball game, 5 players from each team are allowed inside the court. It means 10 players are allowed on a court at a time. However, there are many formats of basketball where 1 to 5 players are allowed on each team inside the court.

How Many Players Are Allowed On the Basketball Court for Each Team?

According to National Basketball Association (NBA) rules, 10 players are allowed on the basketball court simultaneously. 5 players are allowed per team and take different positions inside the court according to their skill and strength. However, sometimes due to mistakes and a shortage of players, the game is played with 4 or fewer members per team. Though it still enacts some rules of basketball, it is under practice.

Playing With More Than Five Players

According to Section 2 Article 6 of NCAA Basketball rules, a team should not have more than 5 players playing on the court. If a team violates this rule and lets 6 or more players on the court, the opponent is rewarded two free throws, and gameplay is resumed.

Playing With Four Players

5 players are allowed on a team if a player gets injured during the gameplay. However, it is allowed to continue the game until the end with only 4 players. In January 2010, Seattle players finished the game with only 4 players in a basketball encounter versus UCLA. The same thing happened to a women’s team when Red Storm finished with only 4 players against St. John’s basketball team.

Playing With Three Players

In rare conditions, a basketball game can be finished with 3 players on the court. Teams playing with 4 players keep the game as low scoring as possible and drop the ball back into the defensive shell. However, the game is played more conservatively in the case of 3 players.

In 1988, a game between North Dakota University and United Tribes technical college ended with 3 players on the court for the United Tribes’ sides. Luckily, United Tribes, with 3 players, won the game.

How Many Players On A College Basketball Team?

A collegiate basketball team can have 15 players, but only 13 out of them are allowed to suit up and sit on the bench. The rest of the 2 players sit behind the bench. Some colleges have less budget, so they keep the number of players limited to 11 to 13. However, just 5 are allowed to play at a time on the court. The rest are for replacement as a result of injuries or other issues.

How Many Players On A High School Basketball Team?

High school basketball teams have 12 members, which is enough to practice to play for the tournaments. Less number of players is beneficial because all the players get ample playing time, less drama is created, and enough bodies are here to avoid posing conflict during practice.

Some high schools have more players on basketball teams. They do not show up for practice at the same time. Having at least 12 members on the team provides flexibility and enhances the availability of players. Many of them could be absent during practice sessions due to injuries, appointments, or school work.

Therefore, having a large number of teams has many pros. However, there are lots of cons too. Extra players cost heavily and can burden the school’s budget, especially when the school arranges a trip for the teams. Moreover, every person cannot get enough practice time if the number of players is large, so you cannot create a strong team this way.

What Happens When There Are Too Many Players On The Basketball Court?

Sometimes miscommunication arises during a basketball game in which players who need to be deputized off the court take the place of the actual players. It can lead to teams with less than 5 players on the court. If the referee catches this in time, he may consider it a violation and give a technical foul. So the opponent team is given 2 free throws.

If there are fewer than 5 players on the court, then the next whistle after being noticed will allow you on the Basketball Court. 

Basketball Rules For Number Of Players

According to the rules, a basketball team has 12 players, of which 5 are allowed inside the court during gameplay. However, substitutions are permissible in case of injuries and emergencies. 5 players take different positions inside the court, including:

Point Guard

The primary role of the point guard is to coordinate both defensive and offensive players and make scoring chances. The players with the best vision and ball-handling skills are appointed as pointed guards.

Shooting Guard

The player that keeps changing position during gameplay is appointed a shooting guard. This player is the superb mid-range and long-range shooter on the team.

Small Forward

The most powerful and heightened player with excellent dribbling abilities is appointed at this position. Small forward requires excellent skills, so short-range and mid-range shooting abilities are essential.

Power Forward

The most crucial position on which the team depends is a power forward. A player with a good physique is appointed here.


The team’s tallest player is appointed at the center because it requires space occupation near the basket. The center player blocks the opposition shooter and shields defenders to allow the teammates access to a basket for the goal. 


  • Only 5 players are allowed inside the court during basketball gameplay. 
  • A team can have 12 players. However, if the school or college can afford more players, they can add up to 15 players to their team. 
  • The ideal team size for basketball is 15. 

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