In talking with UALR Coach Steve Shields this week, he believes the new block/charge rule change is going to have a significant effect on the way college basketball is played.
In the past, the defensive player could slide over in front of an offensive player driving to the basket and take the charge. As long as the defensive player was outside of the no-charge circle, he had a very good chance of getting that call.
This year, the defender has to be set before the offensive player goes into his motion to shoot the ball.
Shields believes 90 percent of charge calls from previous seasons would now be called blocks.
"It will be interesting to see how it goes the first few weeks of the season," said Shields, who has had officials at practice several times over the past couple of weeks to try and prepare his players for the changes. There's also a new rule preventing hand checking. "We want to have as many days with officials in practice as we can so our guys are ready for the new rules when the season starts."
But that's only if officials call it that way. We've seen some rule changes in the past where officials are all over them in November. Then they start to slack in December and January. And by the time February and March arrives, it seems like we're right back where we started.
But this change means offensive players who can slash to the basket should be at a major advantage. Think about the quickness of a guy like sophomore guard Josh Hagins for UALR. Hagins, who is also a very good free throw shooter, should be able to use his quickness to get to the lane. Getting Hagins to have the driving mindset as opposed to a jump shooting mindset has been a focus in practice.
The new rule should also allow offensive players who have perfected that Euro step to thrive.