Hill Has Problems With Referees

Long-time Big 10 official and former Bobby Knight nemesis Ted Valentine was one of the referees working Arkansas' exhibition game against Texas A&M-Commerce on Saturday night.

He called two offensive fouls on Arkansas freshman center Steven Hill within 16 seconds of each other in the first half, sending the 7-footer from Branson, Mo., back to the bench after just 18 seconds of action.

Hill would end up fouling out with 11 minutes, 22 seconds to play after all five of his fouls came on the offensive end and none with him even holding the ball.

"They called me for a bunch of moving screens and they called me for a couple push-offs," Hill said. "Some of it was probably warranted, but it was hard because we practice a certain way and there's no whistles in practice. Carrying that over is a little tough.

"I have to learn how to make adjustments to the referees."

Arkansas coach Stan Heath is quite familiar with Valentine after serving as an assistant to Tom Izzo at Michigan State from 1997-2001.

Heath, who talked to Valentine frequently during the game, got Valentine to explain to Hill what he was doing wrong at one point, leading to the rare sight of an official physically demonstrating to a player how to get post position.

"Ted talked to him and quite a few guys," Heath said. "I appreciate that. I think some of those (calls) were legit and some of those aren't necessarily going to get called in the (Southeastern Conference).

"I don't want to totally back the big guys off. I don't want them to play tentative. I want them to play aggressive.

Valentine's advice didn't help much as Hill would be gone after just 9 minutes of action. Surprisingly, Hill somehow managed to block 4 shots without any fouls being called on those plays.

"(Valentine) was trying to tell me a little it about not extending my arms and he tried to give me a few pointers, but he still made those calls," Hill said, shaking his head and laughing.

Heath stressed Hill wasn't doing anything he hadn't been told to do in practice.

"I'm asking him to set good screens," Heath said. "I'm asking him to post up strong and get some position. That's not Steven's fault. We just have to look at the film and find out for sure if this is something we need to re-teach or once we get in the SEC, they're going to let the other post guys do the same thing."


Several experimental rules are in play this year in all games played before Jan. 1.

The 3-point line has been extended to 20 feet, 6 inches, nine inches deeper than the permanent stripe.

The free throw lane has also been widened by 18 inches on each side.

The rules had somewhat of an effect Saturday as Arkansas hit a few shots that would have been 3-pointers at the old stripe, but not from the deeper one.

Many times the Razorbacks had their toes right on the line when they shot.

"We knocked down a lot of 20 (feet), 4 (inch) ones and didn't get rewarded because we were on the line," Heath said.

He was surprised Arkansas didn't get called for a three-seconds violation in the expanded lane.

"I thought for sure we'd get stuck in that lane," he said. "I'm not sure if (the officials) were looking for it or not."


Lions point guard Jermart Miller got defended right out of his left shoe near the end of the game and played seven possessions with his shoe untied.

Eric Ferguson was getting after Miller so hard he stepped out of his shoe, then put it back on without tying it.

Miller shot two 3-pointers with his shoelaces dangling, then tied his sneaks up during the final media timeout.

With 1:21 to play and his shoe tied, Miller made the Lions' only 3-pointer on 20 attempts.

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