This year, the NCAA introduced a new rule to cut down on flopping. Unfortunately, even though the rule book specifies how to identify a flop, the calls have been all across the board. Today, John Calipari called for consistency in officiating, specifically when it comes to flops.
“The whole thing is, my point, if you’re going to call it, call it or let it all go. When your post player gets it and he turns and flops, let it go. If you’re going to let a guy come off a screen and throw his head back, let it all go. If you’re going to let a guy kick his foot out and fall down and you don’t call it, I’m fine. Just don’t call any. Just leave it. I really don’t care what the rules are. I don’t care. Whatever it is, just make it consistent.”
A few weeks ago, Calipari was thrown out of the Arkansas game for challenging a moving screen call on EJ Montgomery that he believed was a flop. Cal’s initial beef was with Anthony Jordan, who made the call, but he got his second technical when Patrick Evans and Brian Shey tried to usher him back to his coach’s box.
“And you should never say, ‘I didn’t make [the call],'” Cal said of the officials. “You’re a team too. There are three of you. You’re a team. You saw what he’s doing. You do the same. You’re a team. It’s not one guy. ‘I didn’t call it, I was here.’ Well, why’d you call that one from thirty [yards away]? ‘Well, I’m not in the position.’ That’s my whole thing. I don’t care what they do. They’re not going to have an effect on the game if [hand motions]. There’s no effect on the game. If there’s an effect on the game, 15 fouls to 1, then you’ve kind of got to say something, I think.”
The inconsistency in officiating this season has made staying out of foul trouble even more important for players like Nick Richards. Right now, Richards is averaging 3.1 fouls per game, but as we saw on Wednesday night, when he’s out, the Cats suffer. Ahead of what will be another war on the road at Auburn, Calipari said he and his staff are going to brief the team on how to be physical without drawing a whistle.
“We’re going to talk about some of it today. If you’re their coach, what do you think you’re trying to do? [“Get Nick in foul trouble.”] So, you guys understand this isn’t brain surgery, what I’m doing here. The other guy, how do I get him out? How do I flop around? How do I tell my guy to, ‘Flop, flop, flop!’ How do I get him to do that to draw fouls? Do we post him 12 straight times? We’ve got to be prepared as a staff.”
Same goes for Ashton Hagans, another key ingredient to Kentucky’s success.
“He can’t have dumb fouls,” Cal said of Hagans. “You can’t foul 72 feet from the basket. You can’t foul. I keep telling these guys, this isn’t football. It’s not a touchdown. It’s two points that we’ll score in eight seconds. Calm down. We’re fine. But they take it personal and they get embarrassed. ‘I got beat and I got embarrassed, so I’m going to grab a guy.’ You can’t be in that mode. You’ve got to learn, okay, I got embarrassed, I’m not going to be embarrassed next time. I’m going to force him a different way. But it’s stuff we’ve got to talk about and address.”
“One thing I’ll tell you, where these kids want to go, the best players up there don’t foul out. They understand. ‘I am not fouling out.’ You’ve just got to be alert and you’ve got to be aware and you’ve got to be focused.”