"I love it that Ivy League coaches are coming to our camp and Big Ten coaches are coming to our camp. South Florida is coming. We've got about 70 schools that are coming to our camp."
John Walters' latest Campus Blitz discusses timeouts in basketball a bit and allows me to open fire on one of my favorite sports rules to despise: the live-action timeout. No sport except basketball allows this monstrosity to occur. Quarterbacks cannot politely request a stop in play immediately after they hurl a wounded duck skyward. Defensemen cannot demand the referee put a stop to things if they are pressured by a heavy forecheck and have no place to put the puck. Baseball has no live action. Only in basketball can you get trapped in a corner by good defensive play and simply ask the referee to correct your screwup for you.
I hate all basketball timeouts, actually. And not just because of the infamous Webber Incident, though that certainly didn't help. Timeouts are one of the reasons I can't get as into basketball as, say, hockey or football (primary reason: watching my team lose a basketball game almost always makes me seriously consider buying a shotgun and a permit for Ref season). The end of a tight basketball game is almost always frantic action alternating with boring trips to the free-throw line and commercials for OxyClean. Frantic action, yes. Free-throws and STAIN FIGHTING POWER, no. Coaches use timeouts as a crutch for players who can't think. We're down three with 40 seconds to go. What do you do? Call timeout, ask coach.
Wouldn't basketball be better if teams had a single timeout? Coaches would have to wonder whether they should halt their opponent's run or save the Precious for a critical late-game situation. The decision would be akin to the decision to take a timeout in hockey... it happens every once in a while early in a game, it's infrequent and not terribly important, and no one minds. Occasionally the mid-game timeout dramatically tilts the ice in favor of one team or another. Michigan trailed DU 3-0 in an NCAA tournament game five or so years back when Berenson called his timeout. Michigan scored 5 straight goals in a game that burned itself into my head. Drama!
There's no drama when timeouts are as disposable as Indonesian Nike employees or top-100 defensive ends at USC, so the answer to that question is "I'll take a timeout BOTH times!" That's great if you're a control freak of a coach, but bad if you're anyone else. Timeouts should disappear from basketball.
If you're really patient with maniacs, I can also describe to you why I think hockey should get rid of offsides. Entirely. But maybe another time.