North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball trying to avoid technical fouls

Men’s basketball trying to avoid technical fouls

Men’s basketball trying to avoid technical fouls
January 27
00:05 2015

Scott Sidway / Staff Writer

In the game of basketball, fouls called by a referee can be extremely subjective.  As a result, players sometimes tend to voice their opinions on the court with the officials.

With more vocal athletes comes more technical fouls, or violations of the rules that typically involve unsportsmanlike conduct outside the basic rules of the game.

In its last four games, the Mean Green men’s basketball team was charged with four technical fouls. That is as many as the team was charged in the previous 15 games combined.

Technical fouls come in a variety of ways, but the biggest culprit for North Texas over the last two weeks has been a lack of composure on the court.

“It’s going to be emotional,” head coach Tony Benford said. “I’ve been a player and I’ve played the game, so I understand. But you’ve got to compete the right way.”

Sophomore guard DeAndre Harris has been the biggest offender in the Mean Green’s technical foul trouble this season, committing three of the team’s eight all season. Two of them came in one game against the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a game North Texas led at halftime but eventually lost.

On top of the technical fouls sparking a 31-8 Charlotte run, Harris was ejected from the game and suspended for the following two games by the team.

“Either I’m going to keep my mouth closed, or I’m not going to play,” Harris said. “And I’d rather play.”

Harris did see 11 minutes of limited action in the Mean Green’s last game against the University of Southern Mississippi on Saturday, but it was still less time than he played prior to the Charlotte outburst. Benford said the team still has faith in Harris and his ability to control his passion for the game.

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Senior forward Colin Voss tries to score on a layup against Louisiana Tech University on Jan. 22.

“We’re trying to help him with his emotions,” Benford said. “He’s a great kid, and it’s part of the game sometimes for emotions to be your weakness or your strength. And it’s been our weakness.”

Harris said he is taking the punishment in stride in order to again contribute to the team.

“It’s just a learning process,” Harris said. “I learned my lesson and I’ve just got to be quiet. It’s as simple as that.”

While Harris has had the most trouble with technicals this season, he is not the only guilty party. Senior forward Colin Voss has committed two technical fouls this year, with one of them coming in the aforementioned Charlotte game.

Voss, who has a more even-keel personality, came off the bench in the team’s next game against Old Dominion University, snapping a streak of 32 straight games in the starting lineup. He said it is a player’s responsibility to know where the line should be drawn when it comes to expressing frustrations with the officials.

“Obviously you get passionate about it and sometimes you get too into it and you might lose your head a little bit,” Voss said. “But you’ve just got to stay mature and just know what’s right and what’s wrong and know where that line is.”

The line Voss is referencing describes the gamesmanship that occurs between players and referees on the court. He said the amount of communication that occurs between players and officials varies from game to game.

“There’s some refs out there, I can just say, that will talk to you more and allow you to talk to them more. And then there’s some refs out there that don’t want to talk to you at all. They don’t want to hear anything you have to say,” Voss said. “So you can pick up the vibe, and once you pick it up, then you have to go off of that from there.”

Coaches also interact with officials on the court, careful of their own gamesmanship. Benford said his focus is primarily on making sure his players are executing the gameplan.

“I don’t berate the officials on the sideline like some of the other coaches in this league,” Benford said. “I’m just worrying about making sure my guys go out and play hard and perform to the best of their abilities every time we step on the floor.”

Benford said keeping emotions in check is a responsibility that players have to not just themselves, but their teammates as well.

“What I always try to do is just focus what we have to do as a team,” Benford said. “Think about your teammates. Think about, ‘Hey we’re trying to compete, we’re competing hard and we’re going to do it the right way.’”

Featured Image: NCAA referee Kipp Kissinger calls a foul on senior guard Jordan Williams. Williams walked away with only one personal foul and scored 16 points against LA Tech. Photos by Ryan Vance – Senior Staff Photographer

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