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Dribble, dribble, dribble doesn’t excite former UK All-Americans Jack Givens, Kyle Macy

Shelby Valley coach Jim Hicks holds his daughter after meeting Kyle Macy and Jack Givens. (Larry Vaught Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Considering the athleticism of today’s college basketball players, why is the pace of play often still slower than it was 30 or 40 years ago even with the shot clock now in play?

That’s the question I posed to former Kentucky All-American Jack Givens, the Final Four MVP in 1978 when UK beat Duke in the national championship game.

“I think one of the reasons why is that we understood the ball passed up the floor gets there quicker than the ball dribbled up the floor, so we passed the ball and shared it,” said Givens. “Seems like today the game is a whole lot about showing you can dribble the basketball. We learned the old-fashioned way and I still think that is the best way to play.”

Givens says he gets frustrated at times watching today’s game.

“I am not real excited about an offense where one guy makes a pass and then you dribble, dribble, dribble and then make a move,” Givens said. “I like to see passes and guys sharing the basketball.”

Kyle Macy was Givens’ teammate on the 1978 national title team and UK’s point guard. He says there was another reason for more passing than dribbling 40 years ago.

“When we played you couldn’t carry the ball and make the moves you do now,” Macy said. “Probably more of a team game than the individual game now.

“Players are bigger and faster now but I am not sure they have the same mentality for knowing how to help a teammate get a shot because they don’t understand the game as well.”

Macy jokes that today’s inflated NBA salaries can put more pressure on players to think more about individual play than team play in hopes of landing a mega contract.

“We didn’t know what the minimum salary in the NBA was,” Macy said. “We just focused on winning. We didn’t care who scored. It was not about I had to get mine so I could get my contract.”

 

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  1. IMHO, no team in Kentucky’s history exemplified more of what these former greats are talking about than Rupp’s Runts…never enjoyed listening to a Kentucky game more than Caywood ‘s call of a Runts’ fast break. The ball usually never hit the floor-WRITE IT DOWN!

  2. Well, for good or bad, the game has changed dramatically in this era. The players are being coached a lot different too in the way the game is played today, thus the dribble drive. Teams are becoming more guard oriented. Games are far more physical IMO out on the floor. There are muggings today, with no calls. Macy touched on one facet of the game today in his comment about carrying the ball. You see that a lot. The AAU circuit has made players far more NBA ready, and the OAD scene has changed players into nothing but NBA hopefuls after one year at the major college level. I do believe the quality of athlete being developed in this day and time has improved dramatically because of the AAU play, and the almost year round coaching talented players receive now . The game is still exciting to me, but is frustrating at the same time.

    1. Sometimes change is great, sometimes not so good. I kind of miss that passing too

  3. OAD combined with AAU play have ruined the college game. It used to be about student athletes playing as a team, now its all about who is going to be the next Michael Jordan and money. CBS, ABC, NBC and ESPN have thrown money at college presidents and the college presidents have caved in to whoring out the game for the sake of revenue. OAD will come to an end in 2022. That will result in fewer mega stars, but will also result in better team play. Will TV still pay big money for a team oriented game with fewer pro prospects? I hope so, as I feel it will be a better product for the fans and the universities that are being represented. I really miss the game that Caywood used to call. Maybe it will come back before long.

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