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Guido: New rule makes free throws more physical

With the emphasis on safety in recent years, at least one of the high school basketball rules changes for the upcoming season is curious.

Starting this season, players lined up along the lane can now enter the key as soon as a foul shot leaves the shooter’s hand.

That could cause some rough play even before it’s determined whether the shot has been made.

Changes over the past few seasons have been focused on player safety, particularly at the high school level.

Previously, players couldn’t enter the key until the foul shot hit the rim.

Another rule change centers around hand checking.

Now, a foul occurs when:

• A defender places two hands on the ball handler/dribbler.

• Placing an extended arm bar on the player.

• Placing and keeping a hand on the player.

• Contacting the player more than once with the same hand or alternating hands.

Intentional fouls also have been re-evaluated over the offseason.

Now, excessive contact committed while the ball is live or until an airborne shooter returns to the floor will be considered an intentional foul.

It also conforms with the international rule that a foul call should be made against any player, not just the person playing the ball.

Also, apparel was on the list for the rulesmakers.

Anything worn on the arm or leg is now considered a sleeve — except for knee braces.

All sleeves shall be the same solid color for each individual player.

The sleeves can be black, white, beige or the color of the predominant uniform.

For instance, if a player wears a white arm sleeve, the leg sleeve must also be white.

Also, the rule mandating medical verification to wear sleeves has been discontinued.

Razor sharp ‘D’

What a past two games it has been for Leechburg graduate Robb Smith.

Smith is the defensive coordinator for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

The hogs have shut out their past two SEC opponents — LSU, 17-0, on Nov. 15, then Mississippi, 30-0, on Saturday.

Up to that point, Arkansas had lost 17 consecutive conference games.

Earlier this season, the Razorbacks held Alabama to 14 points in a one-point setback and lost to former No. 1 Mississippi State, 17-10.

Smith was linebackers coach at Tampa Bay last season after a lengthy coaching stint at Rutgers.

Arkansas (6-5) will play at No. 17 Missouri this week and could receive a bowl bid when invitations are issued Dec. 7.

Smith is a 1993 Leechburg graduate and started three seasons in the secondary at Allegheny College.

Leechburg alumni

Speaking of Leechburg football, the Leechburg Alumni Football Association is selling holiday raffle tickets to benefit the alumni scholarship program.

The winner will receive a Jack Lambert autographed football, and other prizes include two tickets to a 2015 Penn State football home game of the winner’s choice and a Taylor sand wedge.

Donation is $2 per ticket or 3 for $5.

Winning tickets will be drawn Dec. 19 and are available at Pappy’s, Happy Days, Chuck Smith Flooring, Leechburg Pharmacy, Leechburg Floral and Fox’s Pizza.

George Guido is a Valley News Dispatch scholastic sports correspondent. His column appears Wednesdays.


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