The First Televised Game with 11-Foot Hoops!

Thank You for Being Part of History! Please join us in thanking the players and coaches who volunteered to be part of our experiment with hoops at 11-feet. Players and coaches were not paid for their appearances today and are willing to play today and put themselves on public display to examine the challenges of playing with an elevated basket. They played to be a part of history, to test their athletic abilities, and For the Love of the Game...

11-Foot Hoop Discussion

Scott Rerucha from the Legacy Group discusses his company's work to build legacies, their sponsorship of "For the Love of the Game", and what we might learn from the exhibition on June 16th.

Pete Newell Interview

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Family Sports Life Today, a Bellevue-based sports website, announces an exhibition basketball game at the University of Washington, Hec Edmundson Pavilion, June 16, 2007, with the game beginning at 1 pm.  Former local intercollegiate student athletes from the Pac 10, WCC, Big Sky and local colleges will demonstrate their adaptive basketball skills playing on a basketball hoop that is 11 feet high. This feature is more of a "science" experiment, presented by former NBA/WNBA Coach Tom Newell, a longtime Northwest native. 

As part of the announcement, Coach Tom Newell interviews his father, legendary coach Pete Newell.  The upcoming "For the Love of the Game" exhibition follows on to a similar exhibition with raised baskets that Coach Pete Newell did in 1961. 

Also, Coach Tom Newell and Coach Guy Perry discuss the NBA game and whether it is time for a change in our podcast episode "The NBA Game:  Time for a Change?"

The NBA Game: Time for a Change?

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Coach Tom Newell announces an exhibition, "For the Love of the Game", featuring professional and college players playing with an 11-foot hoop.  He and Coach Guy Perry discuss the change, what they expect for this exhibition, and for the pro game.

The exhibition and follow-up panel discussions will be held in June in the Seattle area.  Admission will be free with a can of food for donation to Northwest Harvest.  The event is sponsored by Family SportsLife Today, Coaches Who Care, Intl., and Best Effort Camps and Clinics.

Update:  The game will be at 1:PM on Saturday, June 16th, 2007 at UW's Hec Edmundson Pavilion.  Admission is free, but we are asking for a canned food donation to Northwest Harvest.  Join and become an official observer.

News Coverage

From the June 25th Issue:

The ratings for the Spurs' NBA Finals sweep suggest otherwise, but former NBA assistant coach Tom Newell beleives there are people who want to watch fundamentally sound, team-based basketball.  That's why last Saturday in Seattle, Newell staged a game with rims raised to 11 feet.  The idea:  Foot-higher baskets would cut down on dunking and three-pointers, leading to more passing.  Says Newell, who called in 20 college and overseas players.  "The game has been distorted so players don't use skills other than jumping."


Seattle Times sports columnist Jerry Brewer analyzes the "For the Love of the Game" exposition...

To be a purist now, you have to be a futurist. To show people the right way, you have to accept they'll first consider it wrong.

Newell scared the dunks right out of basketball with his higher rims, and it was boring at first glance. To be honest, it was boring at second and third and fourth glance, too. But after thinking it over, the purpose of this day outshined my pre-programmed beliefs.

Players who had practiced together for about 10 hours were sharing the ball. Fans were cheering passes. Big men were getting the ball during an exhibition game! It took only one hand to count the number of bad shots.

Yes, the dunk was missed. At halftime, I was hoping Nate Robinson and Josh Smith would magically appear and put on an impromptu dunk contest at 11 feet. It didn't happen. Oh, well. At least players weren't tossing up foolish fadeaway jumpers all game.

"If you did see any fadeaways, they were short," joked forward Ryan Rourke, a Bothell native who scored 11 points.

When asked if the height of the goal made the players take better shots, Rourke said: "You don't second guess yourself as you take shots, but it's in the back of your mind. You're more focused on getting good looks. I don't think players were shooting the ball just to shoot it."

It's weird watching 6-foot-8 players not be able to elevate and dunk. You start thinking it's gimmick basketball. But upon reflection, you realize the game was never meant for great athletes to cheat it.

That's the problem with United States hoops right now. The U.S. doesn't thrive in international competition, even with NBA stars, because it values individual brilliance over crafty team play.

For the last few years, those who love American basketball have pondered one question: How do we change?

Read the full story here and additional commentary in Jerry's blog.  Jerry originally started to write his column about how he missed the dunk.  He eventually concluded "I really think raising the goal to 11-feet is a good idea that I'd like to see more of."

Bob Condotta's article in Sunday's Seattle Times article complained about the lack of drama of the game, but does discuss the quick adjustment required to the raised rim...

[UW Men's Basketball Coach Lorenzo] Romar was curious enough to shoot around himself for a while and said, "If you practice long enough, it's not that big of a change. You could adjust to it if you are a shooter. If you are not a shooter, it's going to become more evident that you are not a shooter.

"I think the shots around the basket require more of an adjustment. People say it takes the athlete out of the game, but I disagree. I think if you are an athlete, you are still going to be faster and quicker to the ball than other guys."

The game's stats yielded some mixed results. Newell said he thought the rule changes would mean more passing and teamwork to get the ball inside.

Former Husky Brandon Burmeister, a member of the Black team, said that did indeed occur. "There was more of an emphasis to get it in there," he said.


"It's definitely been an interesting experience," Burmeister said. "I think we'd have to see some NBA players test it out over a longer period of time. I think if you experiment with them, it would be a better gauge if this is the right thing to do."

Read the full article here...

From the Everett Herald...

SEATTLE - Can an extra foot save basketball?   Tom Newell thinks so.

Newell, a former NBA and WNBA assistant coach, doesn't like what he sees happening to the game he loves, which explains why on Saturday a game was being played at Hec Edmundson Pavilion with the hoops raised from 10 to 11 feet.

"We're in a crisis situation right now in North America with basketball," said Newell, the son of Hall of Fame coach Pete Newell. "It's not a fun game to watch, I don't think."

Newell's answer was to stage a game, dubbed "For the Love of the Game," with modified rules that would put an emphasis on team play and fundamentals.


The game, which was played mostly by former college players, was not radically different from a normal basketball game, but it did produce a lot of what Newell was hoping for.

"I really enjoyed watching my team play today because they played the correct way," said former UCLA coach Jim Harrick, who coached the Gold team. "They shared the ball, they passed the ball, they hit the open man, they got good open looks at the basket."

Harrick, who wears all the basketball credibility he'll ever need on his left hand in the form of the NCAA championship ring he won at UCLA in 1995, thinks an 11-foot hoop is worth considering.

"Every year I've ever been in the game, guys have gotten bigger, faster and stronger," he said. "I don't see them lengthening or widening the floor. The logical thing is to raise the basket. I don't think that high school and college will do that, but I think this will open the professional league's eyes to the point where they may experiment with it and give it some serious thought."


"I thought it was awesome," said the Gold team's Brayden Billbe, a 6-foot-10 forward who played at Mercer Island High School and American University. "We hadn't played together before and everyone was out there passing the ball and getting open shots. No one was trying to show off for the cameras. I loved it, I absolutely loved it."

Billbe, who finished with a game-high 20 points and 14 rebounds, might want to consider campaigning for the 11-foot hoop to become more common.

"I'm definitely for it," he said.


During the game, fans used hand held devices made by Quizdom to answer questions that appeared on the jumbotron.

Of the approximately 850 participants, 65 percent said the NBA should raise the hoops to 11 feet, and 68 percent said men's college and professional basketball should consider moving the basket up.

"This will happen again, I will predict that," said Newell. "I think this experiment will happen again."

Sunday's Tacoma News Tribune says that the "11-foot rim eliminates dunks, puts emphasis on fundamentals..."

Tom Newell took a step forward in spreading his gospel of a return to basketball fundamentals Saturday afternoon at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

Newell - a former NBA assistant and son of former big-man coach Pete Newell - organized a basketball exhibition game played with 11-foot rims by current and former college players to focus on what Newell considers an erosion of fundamentals.

He believes the modern emphasis on dunking and outside shooting has resulted in basketball straying from the way the game's inventor, James Naismith, intended it to be.

"We are in a crisis situation in North America right now with basketball," Newell said. "It's not a fun game to watch, I don't think. ... I really think television has diluted the value of the game."


Newell hopes the exhibition sparks renewed interest in taking a serious look at raising the hoops.

Seattle Pacific graduate and Enumclaw native Ton Binetti said it's still basketball.

"I think as a whole the game of basketball is an athletic game, and it's still going to favor the more athletic player," Binetti said. "But I think at 11 feet it's a much more skilled game, especially for the big men."

Read the full story here...

Team Rosters

Players and coaches were not paid for their appearances today and are willing to play today and put themselves on public display to examine the challenges of playing with an elevated basket. They played to be a part of history, to test their athletic abilities, and for the Love of the Game...

Gold TeamBlack Team
Coach Jim Harrick
Coach J. Jay Davis
Coach Andy Nelson
Coach Paul Woolpert
Coach James Edwards
Coach David Stone
1Tony Binetti: Italian League Pro
Seattle Pacific University
Hometown: Enumclaw, WA
6’ 1” 1Ryan Webb
Seattle University
Hometown: Mountlake Terrace, WA
6’ 1”
2Tygann Billow
Evergreen State College
Hometown: Bellevue
6’ 2” 2Alex Hartman: IBL Vancouver
Concordia University
6’ 8”
3Sterling Brown
University of Washington
Hometown: Woodinville
6’ 4” 3Tyler Besecker
Stanford University
6’ 7”
4Ryan Coldren
Hometown: Fall Creek, Oregon
6’ 8” 4David Rengo
Northwest University
Seattle Community College
6’ 4”
5Kendrick Holley
Northwest University, Kirkland
Hometown: Tacoma
6’ 6” 5Rob Diedrichs
Seattle Pacific University
Hometown: Seattle
6’ 9”
6Ryan Rourke: European Pro
Cornell University
Hometown: Bothell, WA
6’ 8” 6David White
Seattle University,
Bellevue Community College
6’ 10”
7Brayden Billbe
American University
Hometown: Mercer Island, WA
6’ 11” 7Brandon Burmeister
University of Washington
Hometown: Mercer Island, WA
6’ 11”
8Dontay Harris: IBL Tacoma
Drake University
Hometown: Tacoma, WA
6’ 8” 8Eric Sandarin: European Pro
Seattle Pacific University
6’ 8”
9Ryan McDade: European Pro
University of Northern Arizona
Hometown: Tacoma, WA
6’ 8” 9Andrew Zahn: Japan Pro
University of San Diego
Hometown: Redondo Beach
6’ 8”
10Jay Anderson: IBL / European Pro
University of Oregon
6’ 8” 10Adam Zahn
University of Oregon
Hometown: Redondo Beach
6’ 8”