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November 28, 2013

RONN MOTT: Rule Changes

Watching the beginning of a new basketball season reminds me of my attempt to play basketball in high school. On the B-team, at a township high school my freshman and sophomore years, I fouled out of a great many basketball games.

I had very quick hands. While small, the quickness got me into a lot of trouble because I often touched my opponent I was guarding. I didn’t like it when someone had their hands all over me, but I was often guilty of the same sin and I’m sure the kids I were guarding didn’t like it, and the referees obviously didn’t like it either. Later, much older and just a spectator, I often thought, “Hey, the way those guys are pushing and shoving, I would never have fouled out of a game.”

Oh, but the whistle has turned. There’s no more hand-checking, no more holding your arm out as a stiff rod in front of you either to block somebody’s progress or to stick that arm up and block someone as you dribble around him/her.

Welcome back to the 1950s. It certainly is going to help some of the speedy guards who have great ball control and can drive like a streak of lightning through the defenses while going for a bucket. One thing is for sure in this basketball season, 2013-2014 … you better make your foul shots.

These rules affect high school and college, but the NBA will continue in their style of banging each other for three quarters and earnestly playing basketball in the fourth. (Oh, c’mon, you have surely noticed that.)

Now the only question is whether the men in the strange-looking shirts will actually blow the whistle when a guard like ISU’s Jake Odum gets smacked around while driving to the basket. It’s going to make for an interesting basketball season.  

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.

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