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Hometown: Greensboro, N.C.
Experience: Started officiating at the college level in 1998 and entered the D-I ranks in 2003. Currently works in the Atlantic 10, Atlantic Coast, Atlantic Sun, American Athletic, Big East, Big South, Conference USA, Colonial, Patriot and Southern

REFEREE: True or false? Double whistles are bad.

PREATO: False. When it is points of intersection, it’s a confirmation that the officials have the same call. We’re tuned in to own our primary and call our primary. If you want to come fishing all the way over from the trail into the C’s area, come on over, but you’re responsible for that. But I can make that call. When you have areas of intersection, you have a quick second on the court. You can’t look at the floor and say, “Oh, is that the lead’s or is that mine?” I think it’s instinct that you know where the play is, that you understand that it’s an area of intersection. You’re going to have a double whistle at times.

REFEREE: What effect does trusting the system and your partners play?

PREATO: It kind of goes back to fishing in the pond. It’s a regular job. People go to work as accountants, as doctors, as dentists, they have a job to do. So do officials. I know that if I’m in my area and you’re in the C, I’m in the trail. I know you have a job to do and you’re going to do it. The reason why you may not do something is because you couldn’t see it. Or there’s been times when a player pushes an official while chasing a loose ball, and all of a sudden it’s an obvious foul. I now know I need to go and help. So I trust him or her to give that official the opportunity, but I’m doing what’s best for the game. It’s not for the official, it’s for the players. It’s the right call. Trust your partners and work the system; plays are going to call themselves. Sometimes the official just can’t get to where he or she needs to be and somebody else can see it better.

REFEREE: What are common areas for double whistles to occur?

PREATO: The free-throw line, transition, screens, sometimes the top of the key when you’ve got the screen coming off the dribbler, maybe leaving the trail going to the C, and on a screen down in the blocks, the paint.

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REFEREE: Art versus science. Can it be all science?

PREATO: You cannot get every play. You can’t. People put plays up and they say they want that called. OK, I can do that. Well, sometimes it is different when you’re on the floor. Sometimes you think you have the right call on the floor and you go back and you’re like, “Oh, we missed that little hold first. We couldn’t see this, but we could see everything else.” Is it really the art or science? You can’t get there. We joke about if they put robots on the floor and every time they see it, bam, bam, bam. You can just sit up in the stands, like video. Foul, foul, foul, foul.

REFEREE: What is more important: play-calling, mechanics or rules knowledge?

PREATO: Most definitely rules. I need to know what was illegal about the contact or the violation that I just put a whistle on, because now I’m penalizing the team for a violation or I’m penalizing a player and giving them a foul. I need to know if they established legal guarding position to draw that charge. Were they vertical to block a shot? Did they come through the shooter? I need to understand the definitions or the rules in order to enforce what I’m calling on the floor. If I call a push on the spot and now I come to the table and I report a hit, that’s bad mechanics, right? Now the coach can say to me, “Karen, what did you really see on that play? You called a push. At the table you just said you got a hit.” I’ll say, “Well Coach, she pushed.” I think sometimes we all get caught up in mechanics. We might have forgotten to close our fist for a foul. But I can give them the rule interpretation of what I called on the floor. Most of the time coaches see the play. They know how that girl got to that floor when it’s obvious. When there’s a questionable one, that’s when knowing the rules or applying the definition of why you’re calling a foul is important.

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Note: This article is archival in nature. Rules, interpretations, mechanics, philosophies and other information may or may not be correct for the current year.

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