Kansas City, Mo. The NCAA’s outlawing of handchecking and using one’s forearm to impede an offensive player are new points of emphasis designed to help increase scoring in men’s basketball this season.
Kansas University coach Bill Self acknowledges these changes in the game will likely have that effect, with quality of play a bit sporadic, at least early on in 2013-14, he said Tuesday at Big 12 Media Day in Sprint Center.
“My initial thought was that scoring is going to go up and good play is going to go down. That was my initial thought. Because the reason scoring will go up is because we’re shooting more free throws. It won’t be because of artistic play,” Self said.
“I’ve always thought the way to improve our game was to try to create a situation where you get more shots. I don’t know if this is going to create more shots. I think it’s going to create more free throws, which I’m not saying is bad. But when you watch a game — early in the season we may have some games where you can’t go up and down twice without having stoppage because it’s going to be a broken game in large part.
“But I think players will adjust, coaches will adjust,” Self continued, noting his players figure to drive the ball a lot this season. “I think over time it will be good. I’m a little concerned early on that, to get to where we need it, it’s going to be some pretty fragmented games.”
Other changes: A foul will be called when a defender places two hands on an opponent. Also, a defensive player cannot move into the path of an offensive player once he starts an upward movement on the block/charge issue.
“It’s really hard for the defense. In the last two weeks we’ve had to really think long and hard about how we’re going to play without fouling, because we’ve worked hard at trying to get fouled,” said Texas coach Rick Barnes. “Drive the ball, put pressure on the rim. It’s going to be really difficult to pick up a charge. So with the defense being there, I wish they’d put the rule in where you cannot go up and take it off the rim.”
Barnes believes scoring will go up.
“I think it’s going to be a lot more you’re going to have to move. You’re going to have to move the ball. You’re going to have to move people. I think zone can make a big comeback,” Barnes said. “For a lot of people there are going to be a lot of teams that will go back to the pack line defense. Because if they call the rule the way it’s going to be called, it’s going to eliminate contact on the perimeter.”
Tyler hurt: KU walk-on Tyler Self is out three to four weeks with a torn ligament in the top of his foot, Bill Self said. Tyler, a sophomore guard, was injured in Saturday’s scrimmage.
More on OSU flap: Self recently told the Journal-World that Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford’s comment that Andrew Wiggins “is from what I understand, the best player to ever play,” was a “failed attempt to be humorous.”
On Tuesday at Media Day, Self added to Kansas City’s Sports Radio 810: “I don’t think it’s right at all for another coach to sarcastically talk about somebody else’s players. I can do it with my guys. He can do it with his. I don’t think it’s right to do it with anybody else’s. I’m not sure he meant it in a negative way toward Andrew. I think it was said, sort of taken out of context. I think it’s the kind of stuff Andrew loves. He likes being challenged in ways like that. I think it’ll be good for him.”
OSU’s Marcus Smart said: “If he’s the best player, fine. I’m going to go out there. We’re gonna play. He’s got to put his shorts on like me and we’re going to take it one game at a time.”
Self on freshman center Joel Embiid: “I think Joel has a chance to be about as talented a big guy as I’ve ever had. He’s only been playing ball for two years. He’s just starting his third. He’s made a lot of progress in a short amount of time since he’s been with us. If he continues to improve at this rate, he could be a guy that could not only really impact our league, but impact the landscape nationally a little bit.
“He’s young and green and doesn’t really know what he’s doing, but there is obviously a skillset there that few seven-footers have,” Self added, noting when KU first started recruiting Embiid he was the “fourth best player on his AAU team.”
Jewelry: KU junior Naadir Tharpe wore his Big 12 title/NCAA tourney ring to Media Day. “I keep it in my room. When I first got it, I wore it two days. That’s about it. I wore it today, why not? A lot of people (say), ‘Let me see; let me see.’ I don’t mind showing it.”
Tidbits: KU coach Self said Andrew White III has impressed and might be the first guard off the bench. “He’s worked his butt off. He may be the hardest worker we have,” Self said. ... Self said Tharpe is the most improved player since the end of last season. “Perry (Ellis) is much improved also,” Self said ... Self said if a game was to be played right now between last year’s team and this year’s team, last year’s team would definitely win. “By the end of the year, I think this team has a chance to be really good,” he noted. ... Self said frosh Wayne Selden has been “one of our best players since Day One. Period.” He said he probably won’t be a backup point guard early in the season. “Could he do it in time? Absolutely,” Self said. ... KU’s coach said six to 10 NBA scouts have been at nearly every practice. ... Self said KU could play with four guards this year, but he’s more inclined to play his best players, and right now, the big men have been as consistent as anyone. It’s going to be hard to take more than two big men out at a time.
— Jesse Newell contributed to this report