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Athletics: Doubling down on Scotty K's terrible takes and basketball knowledge

One thing that makes Scott Kimman a valuable prep basketball official is he can take a verbal beating. He does it every week as a contributor to a local sports podcast known as Rube Sports Radio. The 42-year-old Pierz High School and Central Lake...

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Scott Kimman works to get a better angle during a Brainerd Warriors girls basketball game this season. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

One thing that makes Scott Kimman a valuable prep basketball official is he can take a verbal beating.

He does it every week as a contributor to a local sports podcast known as Rube Sports Radio. The 42-year-old Pierz High School and Central Lakes College graduate enjoys this time of year more than anything.

The husband of Sara and father of Jessa, 14, and Josephine, 12; and stepfather of Spencer, 17, and Audrey, 14, broke away from the sports books to talk a little March Madness and basketball in general.

 

Q: As a basketball official do you agree or disagree with the push for a shot clock in high school basketball and why?

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Scott Kimman: I 100 percent agree there should be a shot clock in high school basketball. I would like to see a 40-45 second shot clock. It would allow teams to play different styles. A few years back, Hopkins was in the state championship game that went into double overtime. Hopkins won the jump ball and held the ball for the whole overtime. Nobody wants to watch that. It does nothing for the fans or players. You see a number of teams holding the ball throughout the season.

 

Q: What's the one rule you wish the average fan knew more about?

 

SK: Probably traveling. A player can slide the length of the gym and it's not traveling. A kid dribbling goes to pick up the ball and fumbles it. He or she is allowed to go and get the ball. That also is not traveling. These are just a couple of examples of fans not knowing the rules.

 

Q: The number of officials is dwindling. There's a high demand for new, younger people to step up. Sell the readers on becoming a high school sports official?

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SK: Anyone who loves being involved in the game of basketball, but doesn't want to coach should become a ref. Being an official is a great way to stay involved. You get to be part of every game. We at Mid-Minnesota Officials Association enjoy training new officials from the area. I believe we have had 14 different officials ref in the state tournament. We also helped 10 guys become college ready and have worked at some level of college basketball.

Mary Waytashek is the first woman to join the group this season. She did underclass games the last few years in Pierz. I was able to talk her into attending our training session in the fall. By the end of the season, she had a few varsity games under her belt and did a great job. Everyone has different goals when they decide to become an official, whether it's doing junior high or trying to become a college official. We will help you try to achieve your goals.

 

Q: What's the best/funniest conversation you've had with a coach during a game?

 

SK: I have a couple of situations that were kind of funny. One was when a partner of mine called a foul on a girl. She went to the bench. The coach was not very happy with the call and he was upset because he thought it wasn't a foul. He wouldn't stop yelling at the official who was standing right next to him. The official was explaining to the coach what he saw and after a few minutes of back and forth, the girl sitting at the end of the bench loudly yells, 'Coach. Coach. I fouled her!' We all got a little chuckle and the coach sat down.

The other situation was in the middle of the game. A coach wasn't very happy with the way his team was playing. He asked me to stop sending one of our younger, good-looking officials to ref his girls' games because the players were too busy staring at him and couldn't focus on the game. We both got a kick out of that one. He was joking.

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Q: One of the drawbacks to being a prep official is the verbal abuse from fans. How bad is it really?

 

SK: It's more of an issue at the youth level. This is where we lose our young officials because it is where they start out and some end up quitting because of verbal abuse from fans and coaches. At the varsity level, there are a few bad apples where officials have been chased down the hallways after games.

Overall, I think it's starting to get better because schools are starting to put emphasis on positive fan and coach behavior. They realize there is starting to be a shortage of officials.

 

Q: If you could quickly jump up the ranks, what's the one sport, one event, one league you would love to officiate for?

 

SK: Great question. I would have to say the Final Four in basketball. That would be a dream come true. To see the best of the best on that stage. The energy, passion, effort and the school spirit of college sports is electric. It doesn't get any better than that.

At the high school level, I would have to say a section final in a small-packed gym where the whole town is there trying to get a team to a state final, sometimes for the first time ever, is a great experience for everyone involved.

 

Q: Lots of people argue the NBA is the worst officiated game. Do you agree or disagree with that and why?

 

SK: I do agree with that. This is one of the many reasons I do not watch the NBA. We are taught at all levels of officiating to match calls. In the NBA, this is the furthest from the truth. In other words, a foul is called on a rookie, but the exact same play for LeBron James is a no call simply because of his player status. Not calling a travel when a player takes four or five steps is a common occurrence. The refs seem to make up their own rules and I have no time for that. It compromises the integrity of the game.

 

Q: Since you're a high school official, we can talk a little NCAA March Madness, brackets and gambling. You have a tradition of going to Las Vegas for the first week of the men's tournament. What's that like?

 

SK: I love March Madness. Opening weekend is my favorite time of the year. I have either taken off work or skipped school on Thursday and Friday of the tournament since I was 18 years old. I believe this will be my eighth consecutive year in Las Vegas for the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament. This year I'm going with my wife, Sara; brother, Steve; and cousin Allen.

The atmosphere in the sports books is electric. It's standing room only from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Many have some sort of wager on the game. Half the crowd is cheering one way and half the other. Big plays erupt the room with loud cheers and high fives from complete strangers. My favorite spot is the Westgate Sports Book. It's the best one in Las Vegas-a hidden gem. Every basketball junkie should experience the tournament in Vegas at least once.

 

Q: I won't ask how much you put down, but do you have a strategy you incorporate when filling out your bracket?

 

SK: I don't really have a strategy because I'm not very good at filling out brackets, to be honest. I always try to take a couple of 12 seeds in the tournament to win a couple games in my bracket. Your best chance to win is have your kids fill them out.

 

Q: Without knowing the seeds and who is even in the tournament or not (Kimman was asked these questions before he left for Vegas and before the brackets were announced), who are you picking to win it this year?

 

SK: Here are a few teams that I like: Gonzaga, Virginia, North Carolina and Duke (if Zion Williams plays). Auburn and Iowa State are sleeper teams that could make a deep run in the tournament. But I will take Virginia to win it all. They have great three-point shooting and post players to get the job done. They are also one of the best defensive teams in the country.

Teams you should avoid putting deep in your brackets: Washington, Kansas, Wisconsin and Villanova. Just remember, I am known for Scotty's terrible sports takes so probably do the opposite.

 

Q: Do the Minnesota Gophers have a chance to make some noise this season if they make the tournament?

 

SK: Probably not. This is a Jekyll and Hyde team. They can beat anyone in the country, but they can also lose to anyone in the country. I've never seen a Gopher team that is so inconsistent more than this year's team. I believe they will make the NCAA tournament.

 

Q: I did a Q&A with Dean Grillo talking about Minnesota being the "State of Hockey" but do you believe this is the best time of the year with the state boys basketball coming up, March Madness upon us and baseball starting soon?

 

SK: This is a great time of the year. We have state tournaments, March Madness, baseball starting and of course not too far away from the golf season.

 

Q: You and a few of your officiating cohorts are part of a sports podcast called Rube Sports Radio. Lance Nelson and Mike Paulus are the co-hosts, but you are a frequent contributor with what is called "Scott's Terrible Takes." How did this come about-your terrible take?

 

SK: Mike and Lance and a few others are part of our group text, and it seems that I am always taking a side that most don't agree with on sports takes. One of the examples is that I'm a big Teddy Bridgewater fan and believe he should still be the starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. These guys do not agree with that and they think it's a "terrible take." It's a lot of fun. Every week on the show they find someone from Twitter, TV, Facebook, friends that have said something outlandish and give them the terrible take of the week.

 

Q: What's the worst Scott's Terrible Take to date?

 

SK: I have to go with Lance's take of ... Once New England traded their backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo he said the Bills will now win the division. Then Lance doubled down and said that Jimmy Garoppolo would have more Super Bowl appearances than Tom Brady. Well since then, Tom Brady leads 2-0.

 

Q: There's a lot of infighting between the three of you and a number of your fans on social media, who is the worst at being wrong?

 

SK: That is a tough one. There are so many outlandish things being said on social media that makes no sense it's tough to pick on one guy. I mean Lance probably leads this category because he forgets almost everything he says. Screen shots have done wonders for his memory. The back and fourths with all these great guys and laughs we have at each other's expense is priceless. The needling never ends.

 

Q: Where can people find Rube Sports Radio and how do they become a fan of the show?

 

SK: Rubesportsradio.com, Facebook, Twitter @rubesportsradio you can listen to the show on iHeartRadio, iTunes, Spotify. They had Christian Laettner on last week's show. Dean Grillo, Joe Schmidt of Channel 5, Darren Wolfson on an upcoming show. Also the legend Greg Snow, the great Jeremy Millsop, Rick Aulie, Drew Boland, Morgan Shepherd just to name a few who have made appearances on the show. Tuesday the 19th they are doing a live show 6 p.m. from BWW. Lance and Mike do a great job with banter back and forth. Lance is the Minnesota homer and Mike, being from Arizona, he comes off as anti Minnesota sports. It is a great balance and entertaining to say the least.

There is a podcast recorded and downloaded every Wednesday.

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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