Trent Tucker discusses rule that saved Bulls
In the wake of USF's double-overtime win against Florida Gulf Coast, the guy who may have been most responsible for the Bulls' 68-66 escape -- albeit indirectly -- spoke on local talk radio Wednesday.
Former NBA shooting guard Trent Tucker, whose last-gasp winner against the Chicago Bulls in 1990 prompted the creation of the rule that saved USF on Tuesday, spoke the next afternoon with WDAE 620-AM guest host Todd Wright.
Prompting the appearance: FGCU senior Chase Fieler's disallowed catch-and-shoot basket off a pinpoint inbounds throw from the opposite baseline at the second overtime buzzer. Photos showed Fieler got the shot off before the clock light illuminated atop the backboard.
NCAA Rule 5 (Article 4) says when three-tenths or less remain on the game clock -- the time remaining when Jamail Jones made the inbounds throw -- a player can't gain possession and try for the field goal. In such a scenario, a tip-in is the only allowable basket.
No such guideline existed 23 years ago, when Tucker's New York Knicks topped Michael Jordan's team. In that case, one-tenth of a second remained.
"We had the ball out of bounds," Tucker told Wright.
"We were going to run a lob pass for Patrick Ewing, but Michael Jordan -- being the smart player that he was -- read the play. And I knew that Mark Jackson (who made the inbounds throw) was up against the five-second count. ... I was a decoy to empty out the backside but Michael didn't go along with me as a decoy.
"So I went up the sideline knowing that Mark Jackson was up against the five-second count. He gave me a little flip pass. I tried to shoot the ball as fast as I could. The ball goes in, the game's over and we run off the floor to make sure they had no time to bring us back in to re-play that (second)."
The Bulls filed an official protest, to no avail. The Trent Tucker Rule was installed in time for the following season.
Its interpretations vary only slightly from college to pro to FIBA play. In the NBA, for instance, only a tip-in is allowed if a field goal is made with two-tenths of a second or less to play.
"From that point on, they ran stop clock, stopwatches, every major sports outlet at that time...had a clock on how fast a person could get the shot off," Tucker said. "And they came up with the rule that said it has to be three-tenths or more for a guy who could catch and shoot."