So, does anyone else get the terrible feeling of frustration that makes you want to rip your hair from your skull and throw remotes/dogs/children at the television when a Wildcat player is called for a charge?
I thought so.
It’s quite aggravating, even when it is rightfully called. When a UK guy (and this happens often under Coach Cal teams due to the offensive philosophy) ducks his head and drives wildly at the rim and gets whistled for a foul, I’m pretty perturbed. When the referee gets it wrong, I’m also upset of course, but I try to brush it off as one of the ten bad calls I expect from officials per game. Apparently, we, along with Calipari, may have been judging the referees’s calls wrong the entire time. This LHL article quotes the NCAA National Men’s Basketball Officiating Coordinator on the increasing amount of charge whistle against Kentucky. That man is John Adams (no, not the Paul Giamatti version), and he had this to say:
“To draw a charge, all a defender has to do is face his opponent (and) have both feet on the floor for an instant,” Adams said. “After which, he can move to maintain legal guarding position.”
“Most people will tell you, ‘He was moving!’” Adams said. “It’s irrelevant. … There’s no standard of being set at the time of contact.”
The Wildcats have racked up 39 charge calls against the compared to drawing a mere 9. This large discrepancy is occurring for two reasons:
1) The amount of charges drawn is low because this Kentucky team goes for the block instead of setting up for charges in the paint. Davis and Jones go immediately for blocks, and they are often successful. As Beez has pointed out, the unsuccessful block attempts have led to garbage buckets fro the other team often (Auburn’s Chubb, for example).
2) The amount of charges whistled against Kentucky is due to Calipari’s insistence on driving the basketball – repeatedly and hard. That’s a good philosophy when done correctly. Normally, you draw a ton of fouls on the other team and you can get closer shots/dunks. Unfortunately for these Cats, it’s turned into a lot of sloppy half-court ball and offensive fouls.
I, myself, am I fan of pulling up for the midrange jumper, but Coach Cal wants his guys going all the way to the rim and drawing contact. The midrange game is a lost art that both Darius Miller and Doron Lamb are quite skilled at. Teague is, as well, but for some reason he struggles to hit that shot in the game (partially due to him second guess the shot because he’s been told to drive the ball, I’d bet). Apparently Coach Cal was wrong about the charge rule, too. When notified that he had been mistaken about what is a legal defender in the lane and what is not, Calipari said this:
“If I’m in motion to shoot and (the defender) slides under me, but I haven’t left my feet yet, that is a charge?” Calipari said. “Maybe that clears it up a little bit with all of us, me included. …
“Then, all right, then we’ll slip in there (also).”
So the mystery of the charge calls against Kentucky has been solved…sorta. Plenty of the calls have been atrocious this year and plenty have been deserved by reckless play. Even if Adams’ explanation was still a bit vague and not how the refs are calling it, at least we know we were a bit wrong about the rule.