ROSSINI: Kenny, there are always side effects of a rule change that you can't see at the time it's made. If we have a time limit, you're going to find the kids tensing up in the last few seconds. As a coach I really feel deeply about this. I don't want a youngster to say to me, "Coach, I know that was a bad shot. But I felt the time was running out and that's the reason I took it." I don't see any excuse for a bad shot. But that's what will happen with your rule.
NORTON: But the statistics show that they're already shooting within 12 seconds....
ROSSINI: Yes, but there's nothing rushing them to shoot, now.
NORTON: Lou, I think it's a weak argument. Look, I was so much in favor of a time limit that the coaches asked me to try it in one of our games. O.K. I brought the 24-second clock up to our gym to prove to my boys they had plenty of time to do what they'd always done within 24 seconds. That's a long time if you go about your business and try to score. We tried patterns and they had no trouble. Now the game itself. The record shows there were only two or three 24-second violations. Now here's what I will go along with. I did find that when my boys went through a play pattern and it didn't work, they didn't think they had time to start over again and they took some bad shots. But, don't forget, it was the first game they played under the rule.
ROSSINI: I'm always ready to admit the possibility of new rules to better the game. But we have to ask do we really need this one and what will be its effect. Don't forget we now have rules that may solve the problem. For example, say my team is playing Manhattan. My team is ahead and has the ball. If Manhattan doesn't come out and try to get the ball, the referee will warn them, and if that doesn't work he'll call a technical foul against them. And if my team doesn't make the initial thrust, the referee will take the ball away and give it to Manhattan.
NORTON: Yes, we are just one step short of a time limit now. But those rules aren't enough. You can still put two teams in a telephone booth, and if they don't want to play ball, the rules permit them to do just that. Those new rules may work, and I hope they do. But how is the official going to judge? Suppose a team takes the technical foul and then drops back again? Some coaches tell youngsters it's better to get beat without playing than to go out and try to beat the other guys. That's the philosophy in a lot of cases.
ROSSINI: I just don't think that a team will say, "Go ahead and call a technical foul." The coach won't let them do that. The defensive team will become a little more aggressive and the offensive team will be forced to circulate.
NORTON: Well, they tried that technical-foul rule in the high schools of Illinois last year and it worked. But I wonder whether the problem with the college coaches is going to be as easily solved as it was with the high schools. I can't see any other real answer than the time limit.
ROSSINI: Here's another thing. With a time limit, ideas on defense will change. You could see the zone defense in every game. And in coaching, I'm not going to say we will change in every area, but we'll have to spend a great deal more time on shooting and fast breaks and less on pattern play. In the limited time I have for coaching, that's what I'd have to do.
NORTON: What difference does it make whether you fast-break or zone or spend more time on the things you mention?