FARMINGTON -- Brad Blew witnessed substantial changes that revolutionized basketball during his tenure with Farmington athletics.
Blew, who will be inducted into the Arkansas Coaches Association Hall-of-Fame on Friday, July 13 at the Hot Springs Convention Center, is currently Farmington athletic director after retiring from coaching girls basketball from 1986-2009. He started out in old school basketball compiling a 464-146 record in 23 seasons.
Major changes to the rules generated an impact in various phases of the game: most notably maintaining game flow through alternate possession, empowering fourth quarter comeback opportunities with the addition of the 3-point field goal, and the unintended effect of setting up quality free-throw shooters to ice a game in the double-bonus.
During basketball season, the Enterprise-Leader asked Blew about differences between historical basketball, which he was a part of; and the modern version of the game under the new rules which he also experienced while coaching. Blew shared his insights, commenting on how these rule changes affected practice time and game-planning.
Blew remembers a junior high game that had 30 jump-balls, a common occurrence especially in girls basketball before a rule change that implemented the alternate-possession with teams taking turns in-bounding the ball instead of setting up in one of the three jump circles, at either free-throw line and mid-court as the game was originally played.
Prolific shot-blockers could cause numerous jump-balls as could scrappy defenders with quick hands or struggles to control rebounds. The constant game stoppage setting up for a jump-ball detracted from the flow of the game.
"It was a big part of the game back then," Blew said. "When they went to the alternate-possession it was a great change for high school athletics, certainly a speed-up factor in the game. We didn't spend as much time practicing it. It was only going to happen one time a game."
3-Point Field Goal
Blew feels the addition of the 3-point field goal created a new dynamic that improved basketball. A high-percentage of shots attempted in the fourth quarter now come from beyond the 3-point arc, especially for teams trailing on the scoreboard. If teams can get into a situation where the ball-club with the lead is struggling at the free-throw line and allow a 1-point free-throw, or missed free-throw, or even 2-of-2 made free-throws for a made 3-pointer that's a trade-off most coaches are willing to gamble on.
"That's what really has changed the game of basketball more than anything," Blew said. "It's a great rule. It brings a lot of different scenarios into the game both offensively and from a defensive perspective. That's how a lot of games are decided."
Like any smart coach, Blew's teams incorporated the added dimension of long-range 3-point shooting into the Lady Cardinal offense. The 3-pointer gives fans one more aspect of basketball to get excited about.
"Over the years we had some teams that were really good at the 3-point line," Blew said. "Boy, that's a nice thing."
Another rule that has been instituted is the double-bonus free throws once a team commits 10 fouls in a half the 1-and-1 goes away and the shooter is awarded two free throws. Prior to the rule change the 1-and-1 continued indefinitely until the end of the half or into overtime and even multiple overtimes. Once a team went over the limit and committed its seventh team foul of the half the shooter would only get a second free-throw if the first shot was good. Otherwise the rebound was up for grabs.
Implementation of the double-bonus was intended to discourage teams which are behind from fouling at the end of the game. That strategy hasn't reduced fouling because teams are trying to stop the clock, particularly if they are running low on time-outs or out of time-outs altogether. Blew tends to agree that the double-bonus hasn't affected basketball in the manner those who came up with the rule thought it might.
"The double bonus, I don't know that's a big deal," Blew said. "I don't know that's a game-changer."
From Blew's perspective, the double-bonus affects the free-throw shooter more than defensive strategy.
"You can literally extend the lead from the free-throw line," Blew said. "And when you got into a double-bonus it took some pressure off your free-throw shooters because they knew they were going to get that second shot."Sports on 07/11/2018
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