Former Arizona head coach and Hall of Famer Lute Olson has formally joined the group of coaches who have expressed their displeasure with the new rule changes this season in college basketball.
Hand-checking rules were changed this season to allow more player movement, which in return has increased scoring something that was down from a season ago. Although John Adams, the NCAA’s men’s basketball national officiating coordinator, told USA Today he believes the rules help the game become more graceful, Olson told Eric Prisbell that it hurts the rhythm of the games for teams.
“Frankly, I really don’t like it that much,” Olson said. “I think it takes teams out of their rhythm,” Olson told USA Today by phone. “It seems like there is a whistle stopping play so many times. I can understand if they are arm-barring a kid and keeping him from where he wants to go.
“I just hope we can get back to some common sense and let the kids play more and let the fans enjoy the game,” Olson later added. “For the kids, it has to be frustrating, you have your hands straight up in the air and if the offensive player jumps into you, 90 percent of the time I think it is going to be called a block. I don’t think it’s good for the game, frankly.”
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.