On Friday teams will see the full effect of the new NCAA rules in action, rule changes that prohibit hand checking and that will open up the offensive flow of the game.
MAAC head coaches said that they have seen the new rules enforced in their scrimmages and exhibition games and are interested in how the rules will help scoring. In particular the rule changes that will stop hand checking and no longer allow a defensive player to slide into the path of a player who has “started his upward motion.”
Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello saw three of his players foul out in their most recent exhibition game, including MAAC defensive player of the year Rhamel Brown who played only nine minutes. Masiello said that he is not sure the large foul totals will help scoring.
“I do think the game needs to be cleaned up,” Maisello said. “There’s too much physical contact off the basketball. I think bigger stronger teams are going to be rewarded versus speed, but that being said, it can’t just go from zero to 10. There has to be a middle ground as you gradually change because coaches have been teaching a certain way for 15-20 years, you can’t just go from being a man team to a zone team in seven months and it’s almost as if they’re forcing you to do that.”
Iona head coach Tim Cluess said he has seen the fouls called during his scrimmages over the last two weeks and that the new rules might actually hurt scoring with excessive fouling.
“I think the new rules are going to hinder a lot of teams because what they didn’t think about was if everyone is in foul trouble, you are going to your second and third teams,” Cluess said. “It’s really going to adversely effect scoring instead of positively effecting scoring.”
Cluess said that had the games not been scrimmages, where players cannot foul out, he would have had a lot of decisions to make with foul trouble for his players.
Fairfield head coach Sydney Johnson said the new rules have forced his players to adjust, though he believes they have made that adjustment.
“The hand checking I think is significant, but as soon as those first few whistles go and the guys know refs aren’t messing around with it, they’re serious about it, I think they’ll make the adjustment,” Johnson said. “I think we have smart guys. We may have a couple of guys who are younger so they’ve got to learn.”
The Stags drew 18 fouls and no player fouled out in their most recent exhibition game, a 63-59 loss to Bridgeport.
Masiello said that with the rule changes, they will watch how much they press and pick their spots on when they press. Since the Jaspers play a lot of zone they should stay out of foul trouble, but Masiello said he’s afraid the new block-charge rule will cost any aggressive defenders.
“What they’re almost saying is don’t play defense,” Masiello said. “With the new block charge rule, the charges have been taken out of the game. It’s almost impossible to take a charge in the half court with the new rules. They’re really trying to reward offense, which is going to change a lot of teaching philosophy. I understand they want to get scoring up, they want to get numbers up, but that doesn’t mean it’s always good for the game.”
Ryan Restivo covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.