‘Flopping’ rule change will help Wyoming’s cause, says Jeff Linder
LARAMIE -- An NCAA rules change last June could pay major dividends for this current version of the Wyoming basketball team.
A proposal in May turned into a reality a month later when a college basketball oversight panel approved a directive allowing officials to assess an immediate Class B technical foul for players who fake the act of being fouled.
You might know it better by its unofficial title -- flopping.
Jeff Linder thinks that can serve as a big boost to his inside game this season, of course, referring to newly crowned Mountain West Preseason Player of the Year, Graham Ike.
"We had to adjust to the officiating," Wyoming's third-year head coach said Wednesday at Mountain West Media Day. "I do think the rule change with the flopping being a technical foul, you know, I think that's going to help our cause a lot. I think we saw a lot of teams as the season went on, not just with Graham and (Hunter Maldonado), they just decided to, hey, the best way to get these guys in foul trouble is just to act like they put their shoulder through their chest and just flop and go down."
When that did happen, a warning was issued. Not anymore. Now the opposing team will shoot one free throw. A similar proposal was made by the game's governing body in 2021, but was voted down because it may not have had the "desired effect."
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Ike, the Cowboys' 6-foot-9, 255-pound junior, fouled out in just three games last year, one of which was in the dying seconds of a critical meeting with Orlando Robinson and Fresno State in the regular season finale.
He also had an early exit in Wyoming's 84-78 overtime victory over Border War rival Colorado State and in a 77-72 road win at Washington.
Ike finished with four fouls 12 times in 33 outings. He ranked 26th in the nation last season, averaging 3.33 fouls per game, according to teamrankings.com. That's the most in the Mountain West Conference.
Maldonado was also forced to the bench twice, the last coming in a semifinals loss to Boise State in the Mountain West Tournament. The senior picked up at least four fouls 14 times during the 2021-22 campaign.
Ike shared his thoughts on the rule change Wednesday.
"You know, I've just just been thinking about taking more of my time when in the post and seeing things," he said. "The game has become a lot slower, especially over the summer as we've been, you know, just simulating these situations. But just understanding when defenders might want to try and take that next bump or learning how to use my body more, my hips more than my shoulders when hitting another guy.
"So, you know, it's just been a lot of film work and a lot of work on the court just trying to, you know, work some of those kinks out."