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MSU coach Rick Ray on new officiating policies: 'I'm concerned'



Mississippi State coach Rick Ray addresses questions Thursday at the 2013 Southeastern Conference media day in Birmingham, Ala.


Matt Stevens


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Count Mississippi State men's basketball coach Rick Ray in the group of coaches that is concerned about the newly emphasized rule changes coming to the game.  


A video was sent out to all Division I coaches last week with all the rules changes. Art Hyland, the secretary rules editor of the NCAA men's basketball rules committee, highlighted the proper enforcement of hand-checking rules, which has been moved from a guideline into the official rule book. 


Immediately Ray has begun teaching his players to play a bit differently because of these new rules changes coming from the officiating crews for the 2013-14 season.  


"I tell you what, I'm concerned about it because we pick up the point guard 94 feet and they've told us any kind of hand check is a foul," Ray said. "It's going to be similar to the transition the NBA went through when they were calling all those fouls and there was 50 to 60 free throws in a game." 


These rules include the following being illegal and will be whistled immediately: 




· Keeping a consistent hand or forearm on a opposing player. 




· Putting two hands on an opposing player. 




· Continually jamming an opponent by extending an arm or placing a hand or forearm on the opponent. 




· Using an arm bar to impede the progress of a dribbler. 




"They're going to be unrelenting on this," Ray said Thursday at Southeastern Conference media day in Birmingham, Ala. "This is not a point of emphasis any longer, this is a foul. I get concerned because I have to ask myself 'am I exposing my good point guard to fouls because they're out there on a island guarding a really good player?'. You have to think about what you want to do and what you want to teach going forward." 


With only nine scholarship players to start the season with and three forwards to mix and match with in the frontcourt, Ray is concerned the new rules may cause some early season foul trouble for his team.  


"Is this going to help a team like Syracuse stay out of foul trouble because they play so much zone?," Ray said. "Will this help a team like VCU that traps in the backcourt and they're not on that island?" 




Another rule that will come into effect this season will be a newly formed look on the block-charge call. The rule now states that a defensive player is not permitted to move into the path of an offensive player once he has begun his upward motion with the ball to attempt a field goal or a pass. Previously, the player had to be in legal guarding position when the offensive player lifted off the floor. 


"We teach jump stops at Mississippi State and now you have to wonder will everybody stop teaching the skill of jump stops because it's now almost impossible to take a charge," Ray said. "Do you teach bad habits now and just tell players to go barrel in there because it's probably not going to be a charge." 




Ray said Thursday the block-charge call could even change the way his post players are taught to work near the low block because a charge has become an extinct call. 


"Here's the one thing I concern myself with - are you teaching your guys the old Shaquille O'Neal move to get the ball in the post and just drop your shoulder as hard as you can into somebody's chest?," Ray said. "They would never call that a foul. So now on the perimeter, because of the hand-checking and the refs watching the physicality of the game, are you better served with a guy like Craig Sword, who is a really good penetrator, to just having him drop your shoulder without a recourse because you know that's no longer a foul?" 




All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.



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