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Simmons Says - A few tips for local basketball
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No season pulls me more directions than during basketball season. If you grabbed Friday’s paper – and I hope you did – you would’ve noticed there were 49 teams in the basketball tab. During any given week, like this last one, almost all of them are in action.

I’m just one guy and, as I’ve been telling parents for 10 years, I can only be in one place at one time. Therefore, each night I’m usually trying to pick out 2-3 gyms within close driving distance of one another so I can catch 3-4 games.

Don’t get me wrong – I love it. I enjoy being in gyms on a nightly basis, especially now because I can start sending Pioneer coach Matt Turner new names to be recruiting for football (A quick side note: kids should start playing football. Not only is the program on an upswing, I’ve seen what it’s done for the guys who played this year and are going to other sports – the benefit is massive).

With that being said, each year I start thinking of things I think we should be doing in Warren County to make the action better and more appealing to the massive amount of fans who show up at our local gyms. This year is no different. 

Here are a few things I’ve already started kicking around as we’ve just dipped our toes in what will be three more months filled of bouncing balls and squeaking shoes all around Warren County:

players should be able to try out at WCMS

Any 6-8 grade kid going to school at any Warren County school needs to be able to play for the Pioneers or Lady Pioneers if they have the talent to make the team.

I know people want their elementary league banners to hang, but I  think the biggest thing kids should be doing in grades 6-8 is seeing the talent they'll face at WCHS.

The best 12-15 kids should be representing our county from the time they are in sixth grade instead of waiting until they are freshmen.

Stop the 1-and-1's

Although this is primarily for 5-6 grade, it could really apply to all elementary leagues. I think they should stop doing 1-and-1 free throws at a team’s seventh foul of the half and instead just start shooting two free throws on the 10th foul.

It will help speed up some of the nights when elementary games – with six-minute quarters – last 3-4 hours.

Update the mercy rule

The current rule is a running clock at 30 points and it only applies to the second half. I think it should be 20 points in the second half and 30 points at any point in the game. I’ve been to elementary games for a full decade - no team is coming back from 20 points down.

Don’t disparage refs, even if they’re bad

This isn’t easy for me either – I do it from time-to-time, though I usually just try to think it instead of saying it. One example was Friday for the WCMS-DeKalb County games – the refs were really bad, but I don’t even think they needed me to tell them that.

In general, just realize the zebras are probably doing their best and 9 times out of 10, you couldn’t do better.