“The hand handoff goes to Kelly Oubre, Jr. He tucks the ball and plows ahead, up the middle towards the goal line. Oubre scores! Touchdown!”
As strange as that might sound for a KU fan, Oubre is not going to play football for the Jayhawks and new coach David Beaty. At least I don’t think he will. My bewilderment stems from the fact that basketball officials everywhere seem to have no problem these days letting players tuck the ball, just like a football player, and drive the lane to their goal line, the rim, without bothering to dribble.
Take a look at the sequence of photographs I shot during Saturday’s KU game against Utah in Kansas City’s Sprint Center. Oubre starts his move to the basket from just outside the free throw line with the ball clearly wrapped up in his arms the way a football coach would teach. The sequence’s images are all there and none show any sign of a dribble.
Laura and I have noticed this in many of the games we have photographed this season. I mentioned this to fellow photographer Rich Sugg from the Kansas City Star. Sugg is a real basketball and KU aficionado. He admitted to seeing more of these football-like drives this season than he can remember. He believes traveling was supposed to be a major point of emphasis for officials this season.
Every year at the Big 12 basketball media day, a conference official will use video to review and clarify the changes implemented in the game’s rules for the upcoming season to the gathered media. It takes a serious basketball minutiae devotee to sit through that droll session. I admit I rarely pay attention. Guess I missed the change on driving without dribbling, or the officials skipped the session stating dribbling is still part of driving to the basket.
As intense and far-reaching as football recruiting has become, it makes me wonder how long before a football coach again convinces a basketball player to give football a try? Oubre seems quick enough, and has the moves, to replace fleet senior Tony Pierson in Memorial Stadium.