Difference Between College & Pro Basketball Courts

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While the basic rules of basketball are the same at the pro and college levels, the courts on which the games are played have some minor but important differences.

3-point Line

  • The most glaring difference is the distance of the 3-point line. The NCAA line is 20 feet, 9 inches all the way around. The NBA line varies between 22 feet in the corners to 23 feet, 9 inches at the top of the key.

The Lane

  • The area inside of the free throw line is known as the lane or the paint. On a NBA court the lane is 16 feet wide, while it is 12 feet wide on college courts.

Restraining Circle

  • A NBA court has a restraining circle in the lane underneath the basket. This 4-foot circle was implemented to keep defensive players from standing under the basket to draw offensive fouls. The NCAA does not have this rule or the circle.

Substitution Area

  • A NBA court has lines designating where substitutes wait to check into the game. It's directly in front of the timekeeper. NCAA courts do not have a marked area for substitutions.

Women's Game

  • The 3-point line is 20 feet, 6 inches in the professional WNBA and 19 feet, 9 inches for the NCAA women. The key is 16 feet wide in the WNBA and 12 feet wide in the NCAA.

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