Friday, March 23, 2012

Game Changer

I usually watch "Charlie Rose" on PBS to gain some insights on politics, world events, the economy, the arts, and other interesting and timely topics.

I was mildly surprised this week when I turned on his program and watched an interview with ESPN basketball analysis Jay Bilas about this year's NCAA basketball tournament.

Bilas is one of the best commentators on the sport. He's a former player at Duke (played on the NCAA runner-up squad in 1986), played professionally overseas, served as an assistant coach to Mike Krzyewski (including 1992 championship team), and has been with ESPN since 1995. He also earned a law degree during his years as a Duke assistant.

Bilas believes the NCAA needs to make some adjustments to the game because "the product on the floor is not what it should be."

He mentioned "clutch and grab" defenses and charges being "handed out like Halloween candy." He asserted that the college game is more physical than what you see in the National Basketball Association.

He said the NCAA needs to put someone in charge of the sport and that officials need "to be mandated on what to call" in games. He pointed out that college basketball has the shot clock and 3-point shot and scoring keeps going down.

Bilas also defended players leaving after one season to play in the NBA.  He said players should encouraged to "chase that (NBA) dream...being an athlete is a noble thing."

Click here to listen to the entire interview.

Two changes I always thought to improve the game -- and they've been mentioned by several coaches --- are to raise the goal to 12-feet and widen the foul lane to international dimensions to relieve the congestion and rough play under the basket.

I believe it was Coach Marv Harshman who said years ago that the only reason the goal was 10-feet high was because that was the highest spot on an elevated track where James Naismith could nail the peach basket. If it had been at 12 feet, or some other height, that's where it would be today. Players have simply outgrown the 10-foot standard.

One other thing, be sure and check out the "Charlie Rose" because you'll hear people discussing all kinds of interesting things.

Until the next time...

1 comment:

  1. Mike,

    I have to agree that college basketball isn't what it use to be. In fact, I watched a U of K game a few months back and I didn't recognise it as the same game I grew up with. Not nearly as smooth and flowing and there doesn't seem to be much of a strategy other than run and gun.