Director of Officiating Kevin Hetherington expounded on some of the differences between officiating the NBA and top-level college and high school basketball in last month's newsletter. This time around, with the NBA Playoffs getting down to the Conference Finals, we ask Kevin more about what sets the Association apart - and how younger players are following its lead.
Has anything specific taken place recently to erode the level of control that NBA refs have?
"One of the things that's happening is The Last Two Minute Reports they issue after every game. How can you critique someone on what happened in the last two minutes of the game without the context of what happened in the minutes prior to that? There's no context for what happens in the rest of the game in the Last Two Minute Reports. It's created friction."
Q. You said last month that you don't see a ton of combative behavior from NBA players toward officials rubbing off on top-level amateurs. But is there anything you've seen that you try to put a stop to?
Some of the stuff that does trickle down is players trying to fool referees. They know that referees can be fooled, so they do things in their game to literally try to fool us. It becomes a difficult thing to referee. I will tell players occasionally, 'Honestly, I can't tell when you're being fouled or when you're not being fouled, because you spend so much time trying to fool me, I don't know. I can't tell the difference. So I basically tell them to knock it off."