Thursday, November 20, 2014

Should Toolson Have Taken That Last-Second Shot?

Jake Toolson hit 5 treys last night,
the last one of which is causin'
some controversy...
You know you're unhealthily obsessed with BYU basketball when you're still stewing about what happened at the very end of a 53-point win almost 24-hours ago.

We were up by 50 points. Literally 50 points. The shot clock was off. The crowd wanted to hit 100 points, but we were 2 points shy of that mark. Jake Toolson had the ball and passed up an open shot. The crowd groaned, and then continued to lobby for one more shot. Jordan Ellis had the ball, then Ryan Andrus, who gave it back to Toolson. Everyone in the crowd was yelling "SHOOT IT!" I thought, "Give it up, guys. They never shoot in the last seconds of an easy win." But then Toolson did the unthinkable-- he pulled up and knocked down a 3, his 5th of the night, and the crowd went wild.

My first thought: "Woah, I can't believe he did it! That was awesome!"
My second thought: "Dang, Coach Rose is gonna kill him..."

Things got awkward pretty fast. Some of these post-game interview comments make me cringe. Since last night, I've been vacillating back and forth in my head about whether that was a good idea for Jake to shoot that shot. I think I've finally concluded my opinion: There was absolutely nothing wrong with taking that shot.

Hear me out. I read this article by Dave Noriega this morning that really gives an interesting perspective, and for the most part, I agree.

If the players had gone crazy and started celebrating excessively after the shot, yes, that's totally unsportsmanlike conduct. If they had done any taunting or trash-talking, that would be a no-no. But just sinking a basketball shot in a basketball game? Nothing wrong with that.

Coaches should start encouraging their players to play every second of every game, no matter what the score is. It wouldn't be taboo to take last-second shots in easy wins if everyone started doing it. I don't see anything wrong with playing hard and playing til the end, no matter what. What kind of coach tells their players to stop trying? I'm sure in Coach Rose's head, that's not what he's doing, but his comment about Jake needing to "learn" implies that he definitely didn't want him to take that shot, which implies that Coach Rose thinks Jake should have given up trying and not done what he's supposed to do-- play basketball.

Obviously, he did it for the fans. But is that a bad thing? They wouldn't be playing without the fans. The fans don't want to just sit there as they pass the ball around in a circle. They want to see shots, they want to see points.

Was Josh Sharp's monster alley-oop dunk (my favorite moment of the night) necessary with 5 mins left when they were already up by 47 points? Nope. BYU could have just stopped and handed the ball to someone on SVU, and we still would have won that game. But no one is criticizing Josh for doing what he does best.

Is it rubbing salt in the wound? Yeah, kind of.
Is it rough to be on the opposing side, sitting with a bad loss that gets made even worse with a last-second shot? Yes.
Is it tacky? Yes . . . But it really shouldn't be.

I'm certainly not angry with or upset about Coach Rose. I love that guy. But it's an interesting thing to think about. The majority of coaches (in any sport) are of the opinion that you shouldn't take last-second attempts at scoring when you're already way ahead. But what if all those coaches suddenly stopped believing that? Would it really be a bad thing? I don't think it's gonna happen, but I think that'd be great if things changed. Then it wouldn't sting so much for the losing team (because it would be expected that they're still supposed to play defense), and it would help the players learn tenacity and, for lack of a better term, enduring to the end. Maybe Jake's shot will get some people thinking about that . . . in just about any sport, every second counts! Let's start playing like it!

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