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Chuck McGill: Rule change highlights laid-back teleconference

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Basketball in June is typically reserved for the NBA and blacktops.

LeBron had his moment, and the most talked about blacktop-like surface is UCF's newly painted home hoops floor.

But, thanks to the Big 12 summer coaches teleconference, the league's head coaches (minus Oklahoma State's Travis Ford) were available for some laid-back questioning on a summer morning.  

Heck, West Virginia Coach Bob Huggins ended his portion of the call by letting everyone know he was going back to fishing.

There were a few oft-mentioned topics during the call:

First, can someone - lookin' at you Oklahoma State and Baylor - unseat Kansas for a change? The Jayhawks can win their 10th consecutive Big 12 regular season championship in 2013-14.

Second, including KU Coach Bill Self, there are a plethora of coaches in this league with 500-plus wins (five) and a Final Four appearance (six).

We're still a half-year away from a conference game, so let's table those talks until there's snow on the ground. And it's admirable and notable that there are successful coaches with longevity in the Big 12, but only three of the aforementioned six coaches went to a Final Four with their current team, and only two have made it to the national semifinals in the past eight seasons.

Of more immediate attention of the coaches is this week's vote by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which amended the block/charge rule.

The new rule states: "Under the revised block/charge call in men's basketball, a defensive player is not permitted to move into the path of an offensive player once he has started his upward motion with the ball to attempt a field goal or pass. If the defensive player is not in legal guarding position by this time, it is a blocking foul. Previously, a defender had to be in legal guarding position when the offensive player lifted off the floor."

Contrary to the opinion being spread on social media, this does not make it easier on officials. The subjectivity alleviated by last year's implementation of the arc under the basket has been replaced by the revision of this rule.

The official must keep an eye on the defender's feet while determining what constitutes a player's upward motion.

The idea, however, is that the rule change will favor the offense. College basketball is in dire need of any advantages that can be tailored to generating more offense.

This past season, scoring was at its lowest in 61 years - since the 1951-52 season. Teams averaged 67.5 points per game. Three-point percentage was at its lowest mark ever, foul calls were at an all-time low and fewer free throws were shot than any season since 1976.

TCU Coach Trent Johnson said "in terms of the offensive numbers I just think sometimes we overreact to things and I think scores were down because teams were better defensively and there's a lot of parity."

He added, however, that he thinks the rule change is "going to help the in-between game."

Oklahoma Coach Lon Kruger seemed to shrug off the block/charge change.

"As compared to the holding and contact and denying cutters and all those things, when we start addressing those issues and freeing up movement away from the ball and with the ball, that will free up scoring," he said.

The rule change has been nicknamed the Aaron Craft rule after the Ohio State guard positioned himself to take a charge in the final minutes of the Buckeyes' win over Iowa State in the Round of 32 this March.

"We'll see how it's impacted once the games start," Cyclones Coach Fred Hoiberg said. "It's, in my opinion, the toughest call in the game, as far as the block or the charge.

"I think now it's going to benefit the offensive player; they go up to make that move and the center can't slide underneath and get the call.

"I think it's a good rule change and we'll see how it's called."

* * *

SPEAKING OF the unofficial Mayor of Ames, Iowa, Hoiberg likes the latest in a long transfers he's welcomed to town the last three years.

Former Marshall star DeAndre Kane, who is immediately eligible at Iowa State as a graduate transfer, has been working out with the Cyclones.

"The great thing about DeAndre is he brings us a lot of experience, much-needed experience with everything we lost on the perimeter from last year's team," Hoiberg said. "He's proven that he can put up big numbers.

"I think the way that we play getting up and down the floor, with being able to space the floor with shooters, I think that fits in perfectly with how DeAndre plays."

WVU's Huggins also praised Kane.

"He's got great size to play on the perimeter and he's very, very good at attacking the rim," Huggins said. "He's probably as good a guy as there's going to be in our league at attacking the rim with size and athleticism."

Kane and Huggins will see each other at least twice this season.

At Marshall, Kane averaged 16.7 points in 35.3 meetings against the Mountaineers.

Contact sports editor Chuck McGill at or 304-348-7949. Follow him on Twitter @chuckmcgill.


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