Rezball, short for reservation ball, is the term used to describe the avid Native American following of basketball and in some areas the style of play of their Native American teams.

tyle of Play

Rezball is transition-based basketball that forces tempo with aggressive play, quick scoring (or at least shooting) and assertive defense that looks to force turnovers through pressing or half-court traps. There are slight variations from program to program. Keys to a good rezball offense are sound fundamentals and being in very good condition.


The Apache and Navajo tribes in northeastern Arizona and northwesthern New Mexico are home to several high schools. In these areas basketball reigns supreme, and towns come to a standstill during basketball season. In Arizona, 3 of the top six largest crowds at a boys basketball game are rezball games (regardless of school size), with the second highest ever being a game between an Apache powerhouse and a Navajo powerhouse.

1. 16,010 Phoenix Shadow Mountain 81, Tempe Corona del Sol 56 1996 (America West Arena)
2. 16,010 Tuba City 66, Whiteriver Alchesay 60 2000 (America West Arena)
3. 15,379 Phoenix Shadow Mountain 79, Centrallia, Illinois 76 1995 (Kiel Center / St. Louis)
4. 14,270 Tuba City 69, Coolidge 57 2001 (America West Arena)
5. 14,219 Tuba City 65, Winslow 62 2001 (America West Arena)
6. 14,123 Tempe McClintock 71, Phoenix Brophy Prep 67 1986 (Arizona State University) []

Also the top three largest crowds for a girl's game were reservation teams.

16,010 Winslow 40, Monument Valley 39 2000 (America West Arena / Semifinals)
10,588 Window Rock 53, Winslow 47 1992 (Walkup Skydome)
10,000 Winslow 76, Monument Valley 69 2004 (America West Arena) []


Every year the Ak-Chin Indian Community, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community host the Native American Basketball Invitational, an all native tournament sponsored by the Phoenix Suns and Nike. In its third year, it has become recognized as the premier all-native tournament in North America. It hosts 60+ teams from all over the U.S. and Canada, and is instrumental in showcasing the talent of Native American teams to college recruiters, most of whom would not travel to the remote reservation towns to watch them play. []

Modern Reservation Teams

East Fork High School, Whiteriver, Arizona

Magdalena High School, Magdalena, New Mexico

Tsé Yí Gai High School, Smith Lake, New Mexico

Cibecue High School, Cibecue, Arizona

Shonto Preparatory, Shonto, Arizona

Jemez Valley High School, Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico

St. Michael High School, St. Michaels, Arizona
Pine Hill High School, Pinehill, New Mexico

Ft. Thomas High School, Fort Thomas, Arizona

Pima High School, Pima, Arizona

Salt River High School, Scottsdale, Arizona

Navajo Pine High School, Navajo, New Mexico

Dulce High School, Dulce, New Mexico

Ramah High School, Ramah, New Mexico

Rough Rock High School, Rough Rock, Arizona

Baboquivari High School, Sells, Arizona

Newcomb High School, Newcomb, New Mexico

Red Mesa High School, Teec Nos Pos, Arizona

San Carlos High School, San Carlos, Arizona

Piñon High School, Piñon, Arizona

Valley High School, Sanders, Arizona

Cuba High School, Cuba, New Mexico

Crownpoint High School, Crownpoint, New Mexico

Zuni High School, Zuni, New Mexico

Rehoboth High School, Rehoboth, New Mexico

Many Farms High School, Many Farms, Arizona

Tohatchi High School, Tohatchi, New Mexico

Greyhills Academy, Tuba City, Arizona

Hopi High School, Keams Canyon, Arizona

Parker High School, Parker, Arizona

Thoreau High School, Thoreau, New Mexico

Alchesay High School, Whiteriver, Arizona

Ganado High School, Ganado, Arizona

Holbrook High School, Holbrook, Arizona

Winslow High School, Winslow, Arizona

Window Rock High School, Ft. Defiance, Arizona

Bloomfield High School, Bloomfield, New Mexico

River Valley High School, Mojave Valley, Arizona

Tuba City High School, Tuba City, Arizona

Bernalillo High School, Bernalillo, New Mexico

Monument Valley High School, Monument Valley, Arizona

Shiprock High School, Shiprock, New Mexico

Central High School, Kirtland, New Mexico

Chinle High School, Chinle, Arizona

Page High School, Page, Arizona

Coconino High School, Flagstaff, Arizona

Gallup High School, Gallup, New Mexico

Farmington High School, Farmington, New Mexico


Jerry Stackhouse saw rezball when he was a senior in high school and he said he had never seen basketball played the way they played it, and that it was by far the quickest, most entertaining style he had ever seen.

External links

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