When the NCAA men’s basketball rules committee announced its proposed rule changes earlier this month, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski liked what he saw.
"I liked everything," Krzyzewski told reporters Wednesday. "In fact, I called (rules committee chair) Coach (Rick) Byrd that afternoon when I heard. I said, ‘you did more in one session than our game has done in 30 years.’ Whatever you did—I don't think it's still enough—but, wow, what they did, everything was right on.
The rules committee proposed major and minor tweaks to the rules, with the reduction of the shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds gaining the most attention. Krzyzewski is an advocate of the 24-second clock, used in the NBA and in international competition, but he acknowledged that a reduction to 30 seconds was a step in the right direction.
The reduced shot clock is part of a packaged of proposed changes to speed up the pace of play, which is reached such a crawl in some games that the sport borders on unwatchable. Scoring is down as a result—last year, teams averaged 67.6 points per game. That was tied for the second-lowest average in the past 50 years.
Krzyzewski specifically praised another rule change under the pace of play umbrella—no longer allowing a coach to call timeout when the ball is live. So, for example, if a player gets trapped in the corner, his coach can’t bail him out with a timeout.
"It puts more on players," Krzyzewski said.
The full proposal of rule changes is detailed on the NCAA website, and the changes need to be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which plans to discuss them on June 8th. That’s expected to be more of a formality than a contested vote.
If Krzyzewski was the college basketball rules czar (or had the ear of the college basketball commissioner he has wanted for years), the Duke coach would take more steps to bring the college rules in lane with the international rules—moving the 3-point line out further, widening the lane and, of course, going to a 24-second shot clock. The United States is the only country that participates in international competition that doesn’t have standardized basketball rules across all age groups—a fact Krzyzewski is quick to point out as absurdly nonsensical.
Still, any progress is good progress.
"Overall," Krzyzewski said of the proposals, "I thought just a huge push in the right direction."