- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
In the past a college recruiter only had to find a 7-footer to plant under the basket to make a run at the national title. Now that same recruiter will have to find both a big man for the paint and a kid who can launch a field goal from the three-point line with consistency.
The three-point play at its present distance of 19'9" is college basketball's answer to the home run and the touchdown pass. Don't suggest spoiling it by moving the three-point line so far away from the basket that it becomes the come-from-behind desperation shot we see in the NBA.
I think the main reason coaches around the country don't want the three-point rule is that they don't want to lose. A "rules committee and a man with a paintbrush" didn't beat Baylor, as Baylor coach Gene Iba claimed, Oklahoma State did. The Cowboys saw what it would take to win and went with it. Just as Maine did against Michigan State. Just as Western Michigan did against Michigan. Just as UNLV did against Western Kentucky. Coaches who don't like losing should adapt to the situation. Charles Darwin would have loved the three-point field goal.
One thought: If 19'9" is too close and too easy for three points, what's a slam dunk worth? Half a point?
Figure it this way: A good-shooting ball club can make 50% of its shots from the two-point range, so that 50 shots will result in 25 baskets or 50 points. Now, by stepping out to 19'9", one need shoot only 34% (17 of 50) in order to get 51 points. Any guard who can't make one in three shots from the top of the key should be playing intramural basketball. Plus there is an added bonus in shooting from the three-point range, namely that the ball rebounds farther out and is more likely to end up in the hands of the offensive team for another opportunity.
If I were a college coach today, I would find myself five diminutive guards, place them in an arc around the three-point line and have them bomb away.
I applaud Jack McCallum for his proposal to extend the three-point line from 19'9" to 21 feet. While the 21-foot three-pointer would not be as long as the pros' 23'9", it would be long enough to make the shot a challenge.
McCallum has the right idea but the wrong solution. His proposal is a good one, but 21 feet is still too short. It's only 15 inches farther from the basket than the present line and only six inches farther out than the international three-point line (which McCallum admits is too close). I say increase the distance to the NBA's 23'9" and make the players earn their three points.