For example, a point guard that passes to a small forward who is cutting to the basket... that forward takes one step and hits a layup... the guard is credited with an assist.
In this video clip of the UCLA Bruins, Darren Collison draws the attention of several Stanford defenders, then passes to teammate Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who dunks. Collison gets an assist on the play.
The record for assists in a single Division I game is 22, held by Sherman Douglas of Syracuse, Avery Johnson of Southern and Tony Fairley of Charleston Southern.
Duke's Bobby Hurley holds the career record with 1,076.
Judgment CallThe problem with assists is that, like errors in baseball, there's a human element in assigning credit. The last pass before a basket isn't automatically an assist... a pass to a guard standing out on the three-point line who fakes seven times before shooting might not get credit in the eyes of one scorer, but might in the eyes of another.
This Ain't HockeyOnly one assist can be credited for each made basket. (In hockey, there can be two assists on a goal.)
Assists can only be credited on made baskets -- foul shots don't count.