After reading the many posts and responses to posts on MBR about technical fouls being called on high school players in the last week’s 140 tournament games I thought I would jump in as a former player, coach, official. radio/TV color analyst and now writer and fan.
The rule is very simple. A player cannot grasp or grip if you prefer the basket rim at any time unless it is to prevent injury to himself or another player(s). If those 2 factors are not present then it is a technical foul and it should be called because it is a rule. It should be called for the safety issue. The second is damage to the equipment which could result in a long delay or event postponement of the game if the equipment cannot be repaired or replaced.
As a basketball person in general my biggest concern is the injury factor when players attempt to dunk and bad things happen. When officiating I have seen broken, sprained arms, wrists. concussions and even saw once when a player caught his middle finger in one if the phalanges or little enclosed hooks on the rim that holds the net in place and as blood poured down on this face as he looked up to see the tip of that finger caught in the phlange (not found in Webster’s) of the rim. Now that is what I call seeing red as it dropped down onto the players face.
My very first concern about dunking today and yesterday when I coached and officiated was how dangerous it can be in trying to dunk a ball on the move when you could easily just lay the ball in the basket as it counts only 2 points whether it is a dunk or a regular layup.
When coaching I had a rule that if any of my players where going to dunk the ball they had to come to a two foot stop and jump from off both feet and dunk with both hands. They also had to show me in practice that they could do that correctly and I only had 3 players in the 29 years I coached that could do that so we didn’t dunk much. If they didn’t or they did and if they missed the dunk they came right of the game and sat for the rest of the game.Next day they practiced a few correct methods of the way I wanted them to dunk. it was like a review practice.
Many involved with the game today think high school basketball in Maine is entertainment when it should be “To teach the life lessons that cannot be learned or taught in the academic classrooms or because many parents do not teach these important “life lessons”. This is a written objective of the National Federation of High School Interscholastic Athletics which oversees the countries high school athletic programs.
If people want to be entertained at a basketball game then they should go and watch the Globetrotters, Top D-1 college teams or the NBA (Not Basketball Anymore or Nothing But Athleticism) not at a Maine high school basketball game.
All of the people complaining about the calling of technicals for grasping the rim must either just want to be entertained, don’t know the rule, or seen or concerned about the possible other negatives things that I mentioned like serious injuries or delay or postponement of games because of broken equipment.
It takes little skill to dunk a basketball if you are 6’6″ or taller. Now when 5’9″ players in the NBA could/can dunk that was some serious athletic hops. But the NBA and the NCAA’s college game and it’s March Madness is all about the money and it is entertainment so if they want to risk injury to these millionaire or to be college millionaire players by allowing them to dunk then that is on the NBA and D-1 college NCAA basketball committee, the colleges, the coaches, and the players themselves.
If people don’t like the high school dunking rule which also does not allow the teams even to dunk in pre-game warmups as it is a technical foul to do do and it is charged to the coach and the coach loses the coaching box and has to sit the remainder of the game to coach then instead of complaining work to change the rule.
I have often wondered is this rule to protect players from injury or to protect the rim and the backboard from damage that could delay or postpone the game? There is no written answer in the rule book to that question. It is just the written rule players cannot dunk in pre-game warmups.
It is very odd to me that a skill or action that is allowed in the game if done legally is not allowed in pre-game warmups?
What happens if a player in a game on the opening tap gets the ball and immediately goes in an dunks the ball and then is inured seriously in the act of dunking rather legal or illegal do you think a smart injury lawyer might not have a case when representing the player and his parents that because he was not allowed to practice the skill of dunking he was not prepared to dunk in a game?
Just a question to think about and remember that Lew Alcinder or known as Kareem Abdul Jabber said that because he could not dunk in college because there was a rule of no dunking in college games the four years he played, that he would not have developed his famous and very effective “Sky Hook” he developed as an offensive weapon that was virtually almost impossible to block or stop him from shooting it all because because he could not dunk.
Heck, back when I was playing in college at 6’1″ in the 50’s I would have needed a small jumping trampoline to jump from in order to dunk. I could barely touch the rim so I never was concerned about dunking as a player. Maybe that is why I am still so anti-dunking today some 60 years later.