We’re seven games into the season, and while Steve Fisher has led the Aztecs to a record good enough to be ranked in the top 25, he’s also watched his team amass as many technical fouls as they have wins: six.
Coming off of a season where his players had four, total, you can imagine that Fisher is nonplussed. Az-Techs, indeed. (I wish I could take credit for that, but alas, I cannot.)
One of them isn’t the player’s fault. Skylar Spencer was listed in the official score book with the wrong number against Missouri State. Unless Spencer stealthily changed his jersey prior to entering the game, the blame doesn’t fall on him.
The other five T’s?Winston Shepard has one, Chase Tapley has one and Jamaal Franklin has three, which is one more than he had in his first two season combined. Fisher is not amused, according to Mark Ziegler:
“The more (technicals) you get, the more of a reputation you get,” Fisher said, “and the refs start looking for it.”
Jamaal Franklin, in other words.
The junior already has three technicals this season -- Chase Tapley and Winston Shepard have the others -- after getting one as a freshman (against UConn in the NCAA Tournament) and one as a sophomore. His most recent T came midway through the second half Monday, by official Frank Harvey III for demonstratively reacting to a non-call.
“I want his reputation to be as a good player who competes hard, but he’s needs to just play and not try to wear a referee’s shirt and a whistle.”
Franklin’s as energetic as he is talented, and he’s talented enough to come a tenth of a point away from averaging 20 points and 10 boards per game in Mountain West play last season. While he spends much of the game flying all around the court, during any break in the action, you’ll likely see Franklin flapping his gums. He’s a talker, and unfortunately, sometimes that talk ends up in the referee’s direction. And when you get a reputation for being an arguer, sometimes the smallest things will earn you a technical foul.
Fisher’s frustration? According to the story linked above, all three games that have featured a player getting a tech have been refereed by Mountain West officials.
So not only are his guys earning themselves a reputation, they are doing it with the refs that will be calling their games come conference play.
If a player gets a technical foul, Fisher immediately pulls them from the game. But unless he plans on benching that player for the rest of the game, I’m not sure how much of an effect it will have if the kid knows he’ll be getting back in eventually.
The better option?
Run ‘em in practice. Run the whole team. In college, we used to have to do a drill called ’55' when someone got T’d up. A ’55' is sprinting the width of the court 16 times in 55 seconds. If you don’t make it, you have to run eight widths in 28 seconds. If you miss that goal, you have to run four widths in 15 seconds. No breaks in between.
If everyone on the team didn’t finish one of them in time, the whole team started over from the beginning.
Conditioning is a really good to motivate players to stop messing up.