Men’s basketball rules committee announces recommended rules changes

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To say the least the block/charge call and freedom of movement were two hot-button topics throughout the 2012-13 season. More often than not there were complaints from fans and media alike regarding the current state of the game, and what should be done to clean things up.

With that in mind both the men’s basketball rules committee announced their recommended rules changes on Thursday afternoon, with the block/charge call and the administration of the “elbow rule” being two areas of interest.

In regard to the block/charge call in men’s basketball, the committee is proposing that a defensive player is not permitted to move into the path of an offensive player once he has started his upward motion with the ball to attempt a field goal or pass. If the defensive player is not in legal guarding position by this time, it is a blocking foul.

The current rule calls for a defender to be in legal guarding position before the offensive player lifted off the floor.

Far too often last season it seemed as if where the defender was on the floor (inside or outside of the restricted area in the lane) was the sole determining factor used by officials when making the call.

According to the committee the recommended rules change will provide the officials with more clarity when it comes to making the call while also improving freedom of movement, which is exactly what all involved with the game want to see.

As for the “elbow rule,” the committee has recommended that officials be allowed to use their judgement when reviewing such situations on a monitor. Previously the rules didn’t give the officials much leeway, which ultimately led to the calling of flagrant fouls that were anything but.

“The intent of the elbow rule has always been to protect the student-athletes and eliminate the rip move in men’s basketball,” committee chair and Saint Peter’s head coach John Dunne said.

“There was a strong feeling in the men’s community that some other types of elbow contact didn’t deserve a flagrant 1, so we are allowing the limited use of the monitor to appropriately manage this play.”

Also of note is the fact that the committee is recommending that officials be allowed to check the monitor in the final two minutes of regulation and overtime to review situations such as shot clock violations and determining who knocked the ball out of bounds in situations involving two or more players.

Officials will also be able to immediately review made baskets in the final four minutes to determine whether  the shot was worth two or three points. During other points in the game officials would be able to signal to the scorers’ table that they will look at the play in question during the next media timeout.

Frankly any move to make sure the officials get the call right, whether it’s “crunch time” or not, is a good move. With the recommendations now made, the Playing Rules Oversight Panel will decide whether or not to approve the proposed rules changes on June 18.

And while there are no recommended changes in regards to the shot clock Thursday’s moves are a step in the right direction. Will the changes cut down on physical play and lead to an increase in scoring? That will ultimately be determined by the players and coaches themselves.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

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Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

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Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

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Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

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Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

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Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.