Wichita State interrupted its usual full-contact basketball practices on Tuesday to let officials call fouls.
“An eye-opener,” coach Gregg Marshall said. “I think Eric (Hamilton) led us in fouls —and he wasn’t alone — he led us with eight.”
The NCAA’s emphasis on allowing “freedom of movement” for offensive players will continue, with officials whistling defenders who bump dribblers or hold up cutters.
In short, hands off. Again. Marshall expects lots of whistles, especially early in the season when officials try to set the tone for style of play. The officials told the Shockers to think of offensive players in protected space.
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“You’ve got a cylinder around you now, where you can’t break the cylinder,” Marshall said. “It reminded me of an episode of the Jetsons, where they shoot up in the cylinder.”
The Shockers, especially the newcomers, appreciated the instruction.
“In practice, the coaches can’t call all the fouls,” junior guard Daishon Smith said. “They were able to limit us and tell us what we can and can’t do for the rest of the year. As far as boxing out, you can’t lead with your elbows. They’re trying to keep an eye on keeping two hands off the offensive player.”
The Shockers scrimmaged and watched a video with the officials. At the end of practice, the officials demonstrated on the court. J.D. Collins, NCAA National Coordinator of Officiating, spoke in a 23-minute video made available to schools and media where he detailed changes for the season.
“Arguably the more-than-25 rule changes and the directive to reduce physicality to create freedom of movement may have been the biggest set of changes the game has ever experienced,” Collins said.
Officials will scrutinize box-outs, screens, cutters and more in their quest to take some of the physical play out of the game.
We’ve had a foul issue in practice lately,” freshman guard C.J. Keyser said. “It was a great teaching point. You try to keep your hands off and stay ahead of the ball, try to play defense with your body, not your hands.”
Worth noting — WSU starts to wrap up its fall baseball schedule with its Halloween scrimmage at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Eck Stadium. Admission is free. The best-of-3 fall scrimmage series begins Nov. 3. … Evansville is adding men’s and women’s track and field for the 2017-18 season. That will give the MVC 10 women’s and nine men’s track teams. The Aces already sponsor cross country teams.