Roundtable: Slashers start impressively

Through the first month of the college season, we've seen an extraordinary of fouls due to the new officiating emphasis on cleaning up rough play. In particular, players attacking off the dribble are enjoying frequent trips to the foul line.

That said, going forward should coaches and scouts place more value on athletic, slashing guards and wings, or will the game reach a new equilibrium and slashers' current advantages dissipate?

We inquired with the national recruiting team to find out:

Brian Snow: First of all. I would argue that fouls aren't what they appear. Teams always foul more at the beginning of the season than they do at the end of the season. and guys such as Kemba Walker and Tu Holloway made a living by initiating contact with a defender, flailing, and then getting to the foul line. Now we just happen to be paying attention to it more because of the rule changes and enforcement of existing rules. That said. the fact that defenders can't play "tackle basketball" on the perimeter is a very good thing and once coaches quit complaining and players start adjusting it will be a big positive for the game.

With that said, I honestly don't think that it changes who I would recruit on the perimeter very much. What I think it does is put more of a premium on shot blocking. Now that you aren't allowed to slide over and allegedly be in legal guarding position .00001 seconds before a guy leaves the floor and earn a charge like somehow you were playing defense, being able to come over, make a play on the ball, and block a shot has become far more important. Also since we are seeing more drives to the rim now from guards, having rim-protecting bigs is more important. Because of fewer charges being awarded and more drives to the rim, I feel that shot blocking should be put at a premium.

Josh Gershon: I think some coaches will adjust to the rule changes by maybe having an extra shot blocker or slasher on the roster than before, but really the biggest adjustment will be made in how coaches teach their teams to defend, whether that be individual instruction and/or maybe a little more zone. It definitely makes athletes and shot blockers even more valuable than before, but coaches and players will ultimately adapt to the new rules. A year from now, I don't think they'll be nearly as controversial as they are today.

Rob Harrington: To me, the primary issue is how coaches respond to the changes. If they begin to show more zone — which in and of itself would be conceding that they don't belive they can defend the way they'd prefer — then I think shooters, not slashers, will become more valuable. On the other hand, if coaches insist on man to man and try to merely tweak their current defensive styles, then yes I think those guys will regain some of their lost luster after years of overly physical play.

And all this assumes officials won't wilt on the new points of emphasis. In the end, coaches and players will adapt in some fashion or another. I do think it's possible that slashers will gain some permanent value, but from a recruiting standpoint I suspect the usual priorities will remain in place roughly as they are. It's going to take more than officiating changes to separate established head coaches from their long-held philosophies.

Evan Daniels: I think a premium could certainly be placed on more attacking, physical guards. Early on, we have seen quite a few more fouls called. In the end, I think teams will adjust. They really don't have a choice. But I do think it does give the physical guards/wings that are always in attack mode and able to play through contact an advantage. Right now defenders are still learning how to play defense with the new emphasis. Once guys fully adjust it won't be as big of a factor. But that could take some time.

Brian Snow, Josh Gershon, Rob Harrington and Evan Daniels contributed to this report.

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