Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

In New Bedford, there’s another attempt to improve the game

November 13, 2013 Columns No Comments

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – If you watch basketball these days at any level, you know that the game leaves something to be desired. Today’s players are more athletic but less skilled and the feel for the game is often lacking. Scoring has been down in recent years for a variety of reasons, to the point where the NCAA is now mandating that referees call the game tighter in part to increase scoring. The merits of that can and will be debated, but that’s not the only way to try to improve scoring.

Camps devote time to skill development, and plenty of players spend time with trainers. Nowadays trainers are seemingly a dime a dozen, and while most do a good job, the end product can still be improved.

Enter TrueBounce and its attempt to improve the game.

Eric Britto is no stranger to basketball. He’s been a referee at various levels for over a quarter of a century. In New Bedford, an area richer in basketball talent than most even in New England know, he’s now pushing forward with three aspects of it that have been in work for about 11 years as the principal of TrueBounce: the backboard, the ball and the game.

The backboard will stand out the most, mainly because it’s the most visible aspect and also because the ball isn’t really different from any other basketball. The backboard is made of the same basic material as a glass backboard in a college or NBA arena, but it has many perforations in it. That has the effect of taking energy from the ball when a shot goes off the backboard, and thus it comes off differently. That means it’s harder for a player to go up too strong, and deep rebounds off missed jumpers don’t happen quite so naturally.


The TrueBounce backboard, with perforations to take energy out of a ball striking it (Photo by Phil Kasiecki)


That can have two effects: more balls go in in the former case, and post players deal more with rebounding because there are more balls in the low block area to grab. Nowadays post players love to wander away from the basket to a maddening degree at times, but if more balls could come their way that can start to change mindsets.

The game will take more to change because as the saying goes, old habits die hard. But in today’s game there are seemingly two kinds of players: ones who try to score on the break and ones who stand on the three-point line. College coaches know that the three-point shot has become a big part of the game, as it can be a great equalizer for smaller and/or less athletic teams. Players tend to fall in love with the shot, however, and it’s most frustrating with big guys who fancy themselves to be small forwards and don’t realize that there’s a lot more to transitioning out of the post to the wing than three-point shots.

To that end, Britto runs events like the one he ran on Veteran’s Day at the Boys & Girls Club of New Bedford. Along with the backboards, a smaller court is set up that is 50 feet long, which means athletic advantages are somewhat minimized. What also works to try to change mindsets is the line that’s a few feet from the basket. In an attempt to encourage attacking the basket, whether by driving or finding a way to get it to a post player inside, players get two points for a shot inside the line and one for a shot made outside the line. It also encourages them to take jumpers from mid-range, as they can step just inside the line for more points instead of less.


Inside the dividing line, players score two points, and outside they score one. (Photo by Phil Kasiecki)


In Monday’s event, the first three games of the day gave us a look at this. The players took to it, as there was much more action close to the basket, more ball movement, more aggressive offense, and in the end more scoring. Some of the added scoring came from the shorter court and less-than-stellar defense, but that only accounts for some of it.

The player who took to it the most was Ryan Carney (Jr., Mattapoisett (MA) Old Rochester Regional HS), who scored 24 points in a 15-minute half. He was always around the ball finding ways to score. Teammate Evan Santos (6’0″ So. PG-SG, Mattapoisett (MA) Old Rochester Regional HS) impressed as well from the perimeter, as did Jaleel Massey (5’9 Sr. PG, New Bedford (MA) High), who had a couple of double-digit outings. Massey’s teammate, Derek Amaral (5’11” Sr. SG, New Bedford (MA) High) also posted a coulple of double-digit outings and impressed by talking to his teammates on defense and keeping in the game when he rested.

There’s a long way to go to change the game to something better. Rule changes or calling the game more tightly won’t have that effect, and changing the culture of a game doesn’t happen overnight. The game didn’t change to what it is now overnight. But this is potentially a step in that direction.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Coaching Changes

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 26, 2018

April 27, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we spend a lot of time looking at what the Commission on College Basketball came up with, as their report was just produced. We also look at the NBA Draft and transfers, which have many rosters potentially in flux for next season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 6, 2018

April 6, 2018 by

In our first podcast in the postseason, we look back one more time on the NCAA Tournament, which was just what we needed at this time. We also look at the NIT, CBI and CIT, as well as important transactions with players leaving early for the NBA Draft and coaching changes.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 3, 2018

April 3, 2018 by

The 2018 national championship is in the books, and with it another season of college basketball. We break down the national championship game and some of its implications to wrap up the season.

College Basketball Tonight – April 1, 2018

April 2, 2018 by

Welcome to our Final Four edition of College Basketball Tonight. In this edition, we look ahead to Monday’s national championship game, and bring on two guests – long-time Villanova radio play-by-play broadcaster Ryan Fannon and Radford head coach Mike Jones – to get their thoughts and insights on the game.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 1, 2018

April 1, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we break d own the national semifinals, where one game went back and forth while the other was never really a ballgame thanks to an impressive performance for the ages by the winning team.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.