KNOCKING THE STUFFING OUT
The National Basketball Committee of the U.S. and Canada, which regulates the college game, met in Louisville last week and banned dunking or stuffing the ball. Its reasons: 1) there is no defense against the dunk, which upsets the balance between offense and defense, 2) players injure themselves trying it and 3) break backboards and bend rims.
There is no defense against the 25-foot jumper, either. What the committee is upset about is Lew Alcindor. Gentlemen, it isn't going to work. In fact, Alcindor will now have an even greater advantage—on defense. You had little chance of getting a layup under Alcindor; the onliest hope was to go right at him and try a dunk. Moreover, the Alcindors and Elvin Hayeses can just as easily drop the ball in from a foot or two off. It's the shorter men in the game who are going to be hurt by the rule.
The dunk is the most flamboyant play in basketball, and as its master, Wilt Chamberlain, says, "It takes a lot of moves, agility, timing, coordination—it's not just a big man's tool." Indeed, it's a shame the fans won't have the thrill of seeing Calvin Murphy stuff some. Murphy, Niagara's 5'10" freshman, spent two years practicing with weights on his ankles to develop enough spring to dunk the ball with two hands.
Another fault with the new rule is that it gives the officials yet another judgment call. How are they going to decide if a man's hand is six inches, eight inches or 12 inches from the basket when he releases the ball?
We don't have the statistics on dunking injuries, but as Ray Meyer, the De Paul coach, points out, "Backboards aren't broken and rims aren't bent in games. It happens in pregame warmups. And it isn't the tall players who do the damage. It's the player that's 6'1" or 6'2". He'll never dunk in a game, but he gets out there in a warmup and that's all he really wants to do."
As Tex Winter, the Kansas State coach says: "It's one thing to dunk the ball in a warmup, but it takes an exceptional player to do it in a game. Why don't they just outlaw it in the warmups?"
And what about Pete Newell's idea of raising the basket to 12 feet?
The following item appeared in The Student, the Amherst College newspaper: