Friday, April 10, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street #224, April 13, 2009

After Further Review … March Madness concluded last week with the University of North Carolina easily defeating Michigan State at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. A record crowd of 72,000+ attended. For a number of college basketball fans, they wished the season would go on and on and on!

For others, they now move on to the National Basketball Association playoffs ending in a couple of months. NBA games are played (almost) every day of the week and with players moving from team to team, player fan base and team loyalty is dubious. Some have suggested that a pro basketball game really doesn’t start until the last 2 minutes of the 4th quarter – meaning that NBA players don’t play at their top pro level ability until then.

The reason for the above mention of the pro game is because it has influenced the college game – in the wrong direction. Today’s college game has few seniors. If you are unfamiliar with the meaning of “one and done” in relation to college basketball, read on. Most top college players leave school after their junior year, some after their sophomore year and a few even after their freshman year – thus “one and done.”

As you watch the style of play in today’s college game, you’ll notice how much it emulates the pro game of violent collisions – e.g. charging/blocking, hard contact on a shooting player, etc. Player size has created constant contact. One can’t legislate size, but size has brought bruteness, which seems to bring about the lack of finesse, legal screens, pick & roll, etc. Today, it’s all about slam dunks.

However, what is even more bothersome is the palming of the ball (carrying) and the permissiveness of traveling. Watching the final four, as well as the entire March madness, I couldn’t help but think how much greater Bob Cousy, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird could have been in their college playing days, if they could “carry” and “travel” with the ball as players do today.

I have played, coached, and officiated basketball over 4 decades, but with the pros influencing the college players and they, in turn, influencing the kids’ game, I am disappointed that the game of basketball is not played as it was intended. Change doesn’t always bring growth for betterment.

Will you agree that today’s basketball should be about agility, speed and finesse and not about brute force?

For more information about Jim Tunney, please visit his website:, or if you would like to respond to this message, please send your email to

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