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Three-Point Shot Hot Topic With Media
Media, Fans Are Crazy About Bonus Baby
When I was a youngster growing up, I was a die-hard fan of the old American Basketball Association. Mainly because I loved the Kentucky Colonels, the red, white and blue "beach" ball and the three-point bombs.
Well, the Colonels are gone. So are the beach balls.
But the three-point field goal is still around. The National Basketball Association started to use it several years ago and finally the three-point shot has reached college basketball from coast to coast for the first time this season. (Of course, some conferences earlier had already employed the three-pointer on an experimental basis.)
^ 1 Jamie Vaught Cats' Pause Columnist
And, today you are fully aware that the new 19-foot, 9-inch three-point goal used in collegiate circles has become one of the hottest topics during morning coffee breaks. The distance of the three-pointer in college is four feet shorter than the line used in the NBA.
Some coaches are crying foul about this new rule.
But the fans and the news media, on the other hand, seem to love
Recently at Louisville's Freedom Hall, where Kentucky faced Georgia. I took an opportunity to find out if the sportscasters and sportswriters who cover the Wildcats on a regular basis really like the three-point downtown bombs.
Nine media representatives who happened to be available were interviewed, and not surprisingly, they all were overwhelmingly
NBA, College Three-Point Distances
in favor of the three-point baskets. But some suggested that the distance be moved back somewhat.
I would have liked to interview more journalists from around the state, but that would be an almost impossible task because of space limitations. So here are the nine responses:
Larry Vaught, sports editor of Danville Advocate-Messenger: " I think the three-point goal is the greatest thing to happen in years. And I hope it comes into the high schools. So, maybe the players will learn to shoot from the outside again instead of just dribble the ball, throw inside and fall back and play defense."
Bob Watkins, sports editor of Elizabethtown News-Enterprise: "I like the three-point shot, too, but it is too cheap at 19-feet, 9-inches. I think it is good to get away from brutal ball like we have been seeing for years from the inside. It (three-pointer) has made the game very exciting."
Oscar Combs, publisher and editor of The Cats' Pause: "1 think the three-point goal is the most innovative change in college basketball since the center jump. I like it. I don't think they should move it back. It has had a great impact but not as much as most people think. The people who watched the Kentucky-Louisville game will say it is too close. But that is one exception.
I think you have to look at the overall percentage over a given period of time, like say, a whole season. I think when you see that, you'll see that the percentage will probably be somewhere around 34-37 (percent). What it does is to bring the defense out and open up the inside game. It's going to create less injuries and it is going to allow the big people to play their game more than they have in the past.
"As far as people saying you don't deserve three points for a two-point shot that is an inch further back, well there may be some validity to that. But I think people are forgetting that the intent of the three-point goal is to make the teams play man-to-man defense.
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Bromley Says It Adds "Excitement"
More important than anything else, it has put finesse back into the game. That is the way the game was meant to be played."
Rob Bromely, sports director for Lexington's WKYT-TV:
"I think it has added a lot of excitement to the college game, And certainly the teams that have the good shooting guards are going to like it a lot more than those who don't. The thing I don't like about it, if I had to put my finger on one thing, it probably takes some of the coaching out of the game. I really hate to see that. But I think it is exciting. It's probably here to stay. They might move it out just a little bit."
Jim Kurk, sports editor of Somerset Commonwealth-Journal: "I think the three-pointer is great. It makes the game more exciting. It gives the team that is behind a better chance to catch up. At first, I thought it was too short, but I have changed my mind. If the line was moved out, I think the teams would be tempted to lay back into the zone. The intent of the rule was to open up the paint area. With the 19-foot, 9-inch line, the team will have to bring defense out or they'll get burned."
John McGill, sports columnist for Lexington Herald-Leaden "I like the three-point play, particularly with Rex Chapman playing the game these days, because it surely makes a lot more exciting games. I do agree that it should probably be moved back a little bit by next year, although I wouldn't move it back much. You don't want to get back to NBA distance, because then it won't be a factor at all. It is nice for it to be a factor. Maybe, it's a little too easy now. But maybe a foot more would be enough."
Dick Gabriel, sports manager of Lexington's WKYT-TV:
"I think it is too short. I don't mind the shot, but I think it is too cheap. It is so short that it has changed the flow of the game, the look of the game, and the feel of the game. I think the ideal length would be maybe 21-feet, 9-inches. The NBA is 23-9. This is 19-9. A good compromise would be 21-9. It would still be a factor, but it wouldn't be as prevalent in the game. It's an exciting play and it should be a part of the game, but not as big a part as now."
Jeff Neal, Sunday sports editor of Somerset Commonwealth-Journal: "I like it so far. It has put the outside player back into the game a little bit more. It's going to help the inside player also, because the defense will not be able to pack it in. I like it (the distance) where it is now."
Gene Abell, sports editor of Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer: "I like the three-point rule as a whole. As far as I can see, it adds excitement to the game and it has opened up the inside some. I "do wish it was about a foot or a foot and a half further back. I think it would be a lot more legitimate. A team that is hit ting 11 out of 17 such as Kentucky did (against Louisville) is somewhat of a farce. But that's to (UK coach Eddie) Sutton's credit that he knew how to take care of it or use the rule to his best advantage. But I do wish it was about 21 feet out. A real shooter would come out then."
UK Fans Have Class
In response to Denny Crum's allegation that UK fans were guilty of booing U of L and that U of L fans were not (booing UK), I say HOGWASH!!! Perhaps the fellow from California should have been at this year's Pegasus parade, and perhaps then he would have witnessed the fact that when the U of L players were paraded in front of the gathering, there was plenty of cheering from the U of L fans and some applause from UK fans, while only a few minutes later, he would have witnessed the UK cheerleaders being paraded, accompanied by cheering from the UK fans but also (and herein lies the difference) an unfortunate chorus of boos from the U of L fans.
That is the main difference between the fansclass, Mr. Crum, class!
This attitude is the reason why UK has so many more fans, which has to be considered an accurate measuring stick regarding the success of a program.
While I respect and cheer for the University of Cincinnati program (two NCAA championships), I don't believe theirs has stood the test of time to the same degree as UK's. Get the point, Mr. Crum?
I was raised to love UK like U of L a strong second; however, because of the immature behavior of many of it's fans, I no longer can cheer for the University of Second Street. I refer to them in that manner because they don't represent my hometown, the city that I love as much, if not more, than anyone.
In 1978, (UK's last NCAA championship) their celebration did not include any anti-U of L (or TU) banners or chants. IU conducted themselves in a similar manner at their last championship celebration because both programs show class. On the other hand, Mr. Crum, perhaps you forgot that in 1980, at U of L's celebration, one could hear many chants and see numerous banners saying "Big Blue where are you?" It reads here that that is bush league.
Mr. Crum also suggest that coach Sutton should study recent history. I suggest that Crum should realize that the whole history is more important than a portion of it; and in basketball vernacular, that means tradition. In that regard, I refer Mr. Crum to my earlier thoughts concerning Cincinnati.
Perhaps if Crum thinks that the whole of history is not important, then we can save the taxpayers a lot of money by firing the history teachers in our schools!
Mr. Crum thinks that we shouldn't have "all this verbal sparring" between the two schools. I suggest that while coach Sutton's pride in the most successful basketball program in the history of the game does not make him guilty of verbal sparring. At no time did he speak derogatorily of Crum's program. However, on the other hand, I submit that Crum is indeed guilty of verbal sparring simply from the mere fact that he inaccurately accused coach Sutton of verbal sparring. It was Crum who stated that he wouldn't have a midnight practice because he wanted his players in bed for studies. I wonder if Crum really thinks his players are in bed for studies. I wonder if Crum really thinks his players are in bed at midnight every night. Given the time zones of Alaska and Hawaii, I also wonder if Crum thinks his players were tucked in at midnight. Could it be that he is suffering from that old green-eyed monster?!!! But what would one expect from a person who said that Ricky Gallon was a better player than Mike Phillips and Rick Robey combined?
John P. Colson Louisville. Kentucky