published Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

New rules impacting 'Chaos' at both ends of the floor

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    University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men’s basketball coach Will Wade.
    Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Will Wade has been teaching both players and coaches since his first days as the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball coach back in May.

The NCAA is dictating that he tweak a few teaching techniques based on major changes in officiating that impact Wade's plan for "Chaos" with the Mocs.

The major rule changes affect -- in little ways -- how UTC will defend when trapping in the full court. The guidelines will have a greater impact in one-on-one defense situations.

And they already have nudged Wade's offensive philosophy because he's witnessed an increased opportunity to score layups or from the free-throw line with new perimeter rules and a change to the block-charge rule.

"We want to get the ball going downhill at the rim and draw a lot of fouls," Wade said. "It's not just on defense; we're going to be attacking on offense. 'Chaos' is based on being the attacking team all the time.

"We're going to get the ball out quick, attack the rim and put pressure on the other team's defense."

A large section of Wade's offensive system is named after Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, who is adept at driving the lane.

"It is all based off the angles of our screener and where the ball gets to," Wade said. "A lot of it can be taught. Some is natural ability."

The new emphasis on major rule changes and intended outcomes increase the ability of UTC's perimeter players, or even power forwards, to drive to the rim and score or get two free throws because the ratio of blocks to charges is sure to increase. Coaches across the country are concerned that a block will become a default call on anything close.

"We have guys who can drive the ball, and that will also give us easier 3s and put pressure on the defense, and get and-ones," Wade said. "We're going to keep our style the same and keep attacking. We'll let the officiating take effect how it may."

The NCAA voted in four guidelines as rules for the 2013-14 season, which begins Friday. UTC will play Covenant at 5:30 in McKenzie Arena, the first time fans will see "Chaos" in action.

The offending tactics, according to the NCAA, are: (1) placing and keeping a hand/forearm on an opponent; (2) putting two hands on an opponent; (3) continually jabbing by placing a hand or forearm on an opponent, and (4) using an arm-bar to impede the progress of the dribbler.

The block/charge call states that the defender must now be in legal guarding position when the offensive player begins -- key word is "begins" -- his upward motion to pass or shoot.

The intended outcomes, an NCAA release explains, are that defenders need to move their feet more to negate an offensive opportunity. The increased emphasis, the NCAA stated, will create a less physical game and enhance freedom-of-movement principles for a smoother game.

"The coaches have to adjust, the players have to adjust, and the officials have to adjust," Southern Conference coordinator of officials Mike Wood said. "They have to coach it a little different, and we have to referee it more in tune to the rules of basketball."

"Players have to adjust, or they will foul out."

Coaches across the country are adjusting to the new rules after having referees work closed scrimmages and other practices.

"They're calling it very tight," said UNC Greensboro coach Wes Miller, a friend of Wade. "Every coach I've talked to said the same thing. We adjust it ourselves by calling it tighter in practice. We've been trying to get their hands off. We've made it aware that you can't have your hands on them."

The Mocs ranked No. 11 out of 12 SoCon school in free-throw shooting last year by hitting just 66.5 percent of their freebies. The returning UTC players expected to play significant minutes this season -- not including injured junior guard Ronrico White -- shot 63.3 percent from the stripe last year. Players have been known to spend hours on their "off days" in the practice facility improving their form at the line and the 3-point line.

"We've spent a lot of time trying to install a new system and a new way of doing things," Wade said. "We spent a vast majority of our time establishing our style of play as well as shoring up some of our issues in the half court."

Everybody involved in college basketball from fast-paced powers such as Kentucky and Louisville to the teams in the one-bid leagues are expected to have issues during the early part of the season. But SoCon commissioner John Iamarino said it will be worth it by March.

"We need to show that the game will be more fluid and that we will have more pace," Iamarino said. "It's going to require a buy-in from everybody's part."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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