The Duncan Banner


October 20, 2013

Thanks to NCAA for getting serious about scoring

DUNCAN — Nobody comes out looking good in the government shutdown, and it’s left many of us with a headache. So, I’m relieving some of the throbbing by making a poultice from  the sticky notes that act as my memory:

As a basketball lover, here are some props to the NCAA Rules Committee and the directors of officiating in the NCAA conferences. After years of making fans watch as college hoops sunk to a streetball level and scoring dropped annually, the NCAA is finally returning finesse and shooting skill to the game.

Scoring in Div. I has slipped for many years, bottoming out in the 2012-13 season, when the typical scoring average for a major college team dipped to 67.4 percent, the lowest since 1982. Three-point shooting percentages withered to 34 percent, the lowest percentage since the trey was initiated in 1986. And even more important, ratings for the NCAA Men’s Tournament, which used to be a “crown jewel,” are in a six- or seven-year free fall.

Meanwhile, hand-checking in the backcourt has thrived, along with defenders using armbars, forearm shivers, pushing and shoving and other ... uh ... techniques coaches have taught defenders for the past couple decades. Physically-oriented defensive concepts like “This is my space and I’ll protect it any way possible,” allow coaches to control a game, but they also stifle scoring.

All Div. I coaches have to protect big-dollar salaries by winning. If stressing muscle-up defense and turning the game into a low-scoring mixed martial arts bout produces victory, most coaches will go that route. Heck, a lot of basketball coaches can live with a 1-0 score, as long as their team has the 1!

By passing new rules that favor offense and with officials instructed to call infractions, the NCAA is making coaches change.

Rest assured, coaches will whine, whine, whine about the new rules, and for a while fans will have to adjust to rules that open the game to more offense. Ultimately, though, fans will dig it; after all, more scoring is more fun for fans and for players.

Instead of offenses built solely on 3-point shots and dunks, perimeter players will again learn to shoot mid-range jumpers and drive to the hole. Interior players will develop moves and find ways to score other than just jamming and shooting lay-ups.

Finesse, skills and creativity are returning to college thumps — and somewhere, Billy Tubbs is smiling.

• After watching an old friend go through a messy job action, here’s something to remember: “Forced retirement” is just another way of saying, “You’re fired.”

• A Pew Poll out last week showed 13 percent of Democrats view the Tea Party favorably, which won’t bother the Tea Partyists at all. But the poll also reveals only 51 percent of Republicans view the Tea Party favorably and the number sinks to 30 percent among Independents, who are the swing voters in most national elections.

• Prediction: Within the next decade, the Tea Party and far right Republicans will form a third party that will turn our elections into a whole new ballgame.

• “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposite ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote it.

• Today’s sport media is far too sanctimonious, so forget all the off-field intrigue the kid has created on his own and the faux-drama the press creates to fill talk shows and 24-hour sports news cycles. If Johnny Manziel is the best player in the country — which I believe he is — then he should become the first Heisman Trophy repeater since Archie Griffin.

• I’m far from being a trained art critic, but I know what I like. To me, troubled genius Vincent Van Gogh is the greatest painter to pick up a brush.

n What’s the deal with how quickly fingernails grow as you age?

• Back to college hoops for a sec. Nice to see former Houston skipper Guy Lewis and UNLV’s Jerry Tarkanian enter the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame back in September. Now, those are two coaches who put teams on the floor that knew how to score.

• If you love guitar playing, check out the work of the late Roy Buchanan, who was a master of several styles. Never a “pop” artist, Buchanan was one of those musicians who are revered by their peers.

• George Carlin once asked: “Before they invented drawing boards, what did they go back to?”

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  • Governor, state Legislature have misplaced priorities

    If the Oklahoma State Legislators and our Governor spent less time interfering in women’s rights to manage their bodies, creating ways to lay more taxes and fees on the middle class in order to generate more tax breaks which benefit only the wealthy while also conceiving methods with which to fill Oklahoma’s for-profit prisons, they would be doing all of us a favor. Instead, why not work to enhance funding for our schools and wage increases for all school employees? While reforming the state’s educational budget, why don’t they approve wage increases for our Oklahoma State Troopers and enlarge their Academy to insure qualified individuals are ready to fill the upcoming vacancies as many of the older force retire?

    April 9, 2014

  • Self government key to keeping politicians in check

    Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that federal campaign laws that limit the total amount of money donors can give to political parties, committees and candidates for federal office (U.S. House, Senate, and President) was unconstitutional. The ruling will not increase the current $2,600 limit on how much a donor can give to a federal candidate in each primary and general election or the $32,400 limit that can go to a national party committee. Those limits are still in place.  The ruling will instead remove the limit on how many candidates/committees to which a donor can contribute.

    April 9, 2014

  • Legislative goals crucial to priorities in education

    I am a member of several professional organizations where I attend regular meetings, network with colleagues, and stay abreast and informed on education best practices.  The Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, better known as CCOSA, is a nonprofit organization that establishes close and continuous communication and cooperation between educators, taxpayers, and legislators to improve the effectiveness of professional school administrators and to communicate the needs of schools. Attendance this time of year is especially critical because legislators are in session.

    March 28, 2014

  • An impressive ranking that could be better

    That Duncan was named one of the best 15 communities in Oklahoma by Movoto, a national Real Estate company, is news worth celebrating.
    Of 43 places with population of 10,000 or more, as determined by the U.S. Census data, Duncan finished 15th. Norman was first, Edmond second, Yukon and Moore tied for third and Bethany was fifth.

    March 9, 2014

  • Kids shouldn’t have to pay for having punster parents

    Friends and neighbors, I’ve been cloistered in my Thought Chamber for the past few days, contemplating many high-brow philosophies and haughty hypothesis that we who think on a different level use to exercise our finely-tuned minds and remain intellectually superior to the Great Unwashed.
    As you see, the time alone has been intellectually beneficial. I just composed an opening sentence (what we in the journalism dodge call a “lead”) that’s 46 words long.

    March 9, 2014

  • The blissful serenity of No-TV Land

    Life without TV is possible. Maybe you should try it. I did. It’s a do-able thing, I tell you. I’m still here, no worse the wear, no oozing wounds, no serious loss of brainwave activity except for the slow, inexorable downhill decline that already started when TV viewing was a daily occurrence.

    Granted, two months without the tube is quite likely not a scientifically acceptable sample from which is to hold forth. But it’s the best I can do, so deal with it.

    March 9, 2014

  • Cooper’s message is to remain active

    Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the Dallas physician who coined the phrase “aerobics” more than four decades ago, who has become a world leader in physical fitness and who has saved, literally, thousands of lives by promoting the value of an active lifestyle, shared his philosophy of life here last week.

    March 9, 2014

  • Time to take the “B” out of the “Three R’s”

    Our young folks are hitting the stretch drive toward the end of another school year, during which they’ve been taught “Three R’s”, which are not really “r’s” at all.
    In case you missed it, reading is the only one of the “Three R’s” that actually begins with the letter “r.” Writing starts with a “w” and arithmetic begins with the letter “a.” There are two reasons we drop the “w” from “writing” and the “a” from “arithmetic”: 1. For poetic flow in the age-old saying; and, 2. many people have a secret yen to talk like the Beverly Hillbillies.

    February 23, 2014

  • Thank you for lettin’ me be myself again

    Friends and neighbors, hope I don’t sound like the biggest egomaniac since Donald Trump, but you know, I am the most interesting person I’ve ever known.
    Forgive me if — on first blush — that sounds like the most totally self-aggrandizing statement you’ve ever heard. And if you’ve headed to the restroom to express an editorial opinion about the statement above, I’ll stop for a couple minutes.

    February 15, 2014

  • Buzz misfired in Vanity Fair body slam of Duncan

    As the new kid in town, I’m reluctant to leap atop the ramparts to defend the honor of Duncan, Okla., my new adopted hometown.
    But to heck with that. When an out-of-towner comes into your house and soils your rug, it’s on.
    I speak, of course, about the article in Vanity Fair magazine about Duncan and the  killing last year of Chris Lane, the Australian who was gunned down in August.

    January 24, 2014


Who do you favor for the U.S. Senate seat that Tom Coburn is giving up?

State Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton
U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Edmond
State Sen. Connie Johnson, D-Oklahoma City
Former State Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso
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