Not all spin moves are the same

By Charles Hallman
Contributing Writer

Coaches hope officials will make more consistent calls

Basketball Hall of Famer Earl “The Pearl” Monroe perfected the spin move into an art form during the 1960s. Two decades later, Allen Iverson took it to another level, but too many over-copied it to the point that, when not executed properly, the move constitutes a traveling violation.

The spin move became a point of emphasis in women’s college basketball last season. During a November 10 women’s college basketball media conference call in which the MSR was a participant, ESPN Analysts Carolyn Peck and Kara Lawson both agreed that, if taught correctly and then executed properly, the spin move is legal.

“Last season, whenever there was a spin move, more times than not it was called for traveling,” noted Peck, who is the first and only Black coach to win a Division I women’s basketball title (Purdue, 1999). “There were times when it was a legal move.”

Added Lawson, who also plays in the WNBA, officials actually started a couple of seasons ago “to look more intently at the spin move and make sure that they are being executed legally. There have been different variations of the spin move, but honestly, speaking as a player, you adjust to what the refs are going to call.

“If you are taught correctly, then it can be a great move for an offensive player,” continued Lawson. “I think players have been going a little too far and taking it and using it to their advantage too much, and were traveling while they were doing it.”

“Like Kara said, if it’s executed correctly, it is a good move for the game,” Peck agreed.

When asked if officials are confused with the spin move, Peck responded, “A lot of times with the spin move, players are taking an extra step, picking up the ball and then taking some steps to finish their move. I think it is a matter of establishing a pivot foot, but I think it still is going to be a judgment call for the officials.”

“I think it just comes down to are you traveling or not traveling,” said Lawson. “Are you picking up your foot before you put the basketball down? I don’t think it too much matters where an effective spin move appears on the court.”

Minnesota Women’s Basketball Coach Pam Borton told me recently that last season, as she recalled, the spin move was being called on an inconsistent basis. “I think it should be consistent across the board: high school, men’s game, women’s game, NBA or WNBA,” she pointed out. “We have players who actually can do spin moves.”

It isn’t that controversial, because it is a legal move. And it shouldn’t be a Shakespearean question either — to spin or not to spin. As both Peck and Lawson among others can attest, not all spin moves are traveling violations.

“We complain about our attendance and not getting people to our games.

I think [the spin move] takes away from it if it is not [being called] consistently across the board,” Borton said.

Other 2010-11 women’s basketball storylines

Can UConn repeat this year?

Although the Huskies lost Tina Charles to graduation and five of this year’s squad are freshmen, “They still have [senior] Maya [Moore],” Lawson pointed out.

Peck added, “One of the things that have been able to allow Maya to have the versatility [on the perimeter] was the attention that had to be paid to Tina Charles [who got double- and triple-teamed last season]. This allowed Maya to do a lot of different things, whether shoot the three, drive to the basket, or use her midrange [jump] shot.”

Moore is the predicted number-one overall pick in next spring’s WNBA Draft. The Minnesota Lynx have the top pick thus far; they had the same pick a year ago, but traded it away.

Who has the best conference in the nation?

Seven Big Ten teams were mentioned when the national polls were released last week: Iowa, Michigan State and defending league champs Ohio State all ranked in the top 25, with Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Purdue all receiving votes as well.

Ohio State “still has a stacked team,” noted Peck, who also likes her former team, Purdue.
Lawson added that until the Pac-10 schools start scheduling tougher non-conference slates, the West Coast league can’t boast like their Midwestern counterparts. “They got to come out of conference” to make a better case to the NCAA selection committee for more post-season bids, she believes.

Peck also pointed out that there are at least five teams in the Big 12, paced by Baylor, that make it a strong conference.

Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to