As you've probably heard, the NCAA is instituting a no-charge zone underneath the basket, which is a fine idea, but there isn't going to be anything actually on the court to mark this area. A telling anecdote from a columnist at the Cavalier Daily:
The most humorous part of this rule for me was that many players didn’t know about it. Clougherty said Sunday that the ACC had only visited six of the 12 schools to explain the new rule changes at that point. Miami was one such school — here is one exchange I had with Malcolm Grant and James Dews of the Hurricanes.
Me: "I guess you probably know what the rule changes are."
Grant: "I’ve heard something about celebration."
Me: "Well, the big one is that they have a box for where you can’t take a charge."
Dews: "Oh, really?"
I took out a pen and paper, drew a diagram of the basket, drew in the box and explained what it meant. They looked at me, dumbfounded.
"Wow," Dews said. "That’s gonna be tough."
By the time I had finished interviewing players, I had drawn out this no-charge area three times. The season starts in fewer than three weeks. Does anyone else see something wrong with that?
We're a few weeks from the season and the ACC has only visited half of the league to explain the new rule? This is going to go very well.
Coach: Remember you gotta keep that box in mind.
Player 1: What box?
Coach: That box. *points to lane*
Player 2: The lane?
Coach: No, the box IN the lane.
Player 1: There's no box in the lane.
Coach: Yeah, no, no. You have to imagine it. Draw it with your mind.
Player 1: You been drinking before practice again, coach?
Player 2: Imagine it, huh. Hey, coach, is it a square that can't be a rectangle or a rectangle that can't be a square? I can never keep that straight.
Player 1: I think a square is also technically a rhombus.
Player 2: I need to sit down.
Coach: I think I'm getting a headache.
Player 1: The booze, coach. Lay off the booze.
More from the article:
Point of emphasis: Distracting the free-throw shooter
Apparently, this has always been a rule but it’s never been enforced.
After a free-throw shooter gets the ball from the referee, players and coaches will not be allowed to distract the shooter in any way. If a player’s hands are down, they must stay down; if they’re up, they must stay up. No more yelling, "Box out!" as a player shoots or having the point guard yell out plays from the three-point line. Do any of that and it’s the equivalent of a lane violation — on a miss, the shooter gets another shot.
This rule has a good intent but there is some gray area. If Virginia coachhappens to be occupied when the opposing team lines up for free throws, what is he supposed to do if he honestly wants to call out instructions? Act it out on the sideline? During the shooting motion, I understand, but Clougherty said that it’s as the player gets ready to shoot — i.e., after he gets the ball. I think that’s taking it a bit far.
"You’ve got to understand, people have been playing this way for 50, 60 years," N.C. State guard Farnold Degand said. "It’s going to take a while to get used to."
Awesome. I can not wait to watch the Wolfpack take it up the butt repeatedly on this one. Given Eight Opportunities To Sink Game-Winning Free Throw, Lawal Leads Jackets Past Wolfpack, 75-74.
But I do like the idea of coaches acting out instructions from the sideline. With props, ideally. When Sidney Lowe is dressed like Patti LaBelle, that'll be the guys' clue that he wants them to press on the next defensive possession.
Hoops, y'all. Let's do this thing!