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High School Basketball Needs A Shot Clock, Here’s Why

We’ve all been there before.

You’re at a local high school basketball game where a team is up 6 points with around 2 minutes left. Suddenly, the offense stops trying to score and instead holds the ball.

Dribble up half court, and hold the ball. If the defense comes to take the ball, the player with the ball passes it out, and repeat the process.

This process continues until the other team fouls, and allows the offense to win the game at the free throw line.

The Final Score to this game was 20-16.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) does not mandate shot clocks for boys and girls basketball games. Only 10 U.S. states require the use of a shot clock of 30 or 35 seconds in high school basketball games: California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Washington. However, the argument for implementing a shot clock has risen.

SO WHY A SHOT CLOCK? WHAT DOES THE SHOT CLOCK RULE DO?

It’s a rule used to increase the pace of a basketball game.

The shot clock is a defined number of seconds (24 for NBA, 30 for college) that the offense may possess the ball, once a possession starts. The clock is reset when the ball touches the rim or goes into the basket, and when possession of the ball switches to the other team, such as on a rebound, steal, or violation.

If a player is unable to get a shot off within that time or hit the rim on a shot attempt before the shot-clock buzzer that will result in a turnover.

ORIGIN OF THE SHOT CLOCK

The shot clock was first implemented in the 1954-1955 NBA season because of the reason we mentioned earlier. Teams were taking a reasonable lead, and then stalled/held the ball the rest of the game.

NBA fans were not happy, and game attendance lowered as the game of basketball became boring.

After that, the NBA implemented the 24 second shot clock rule.

Why 24 seconds? The NBA analyzed fast paced games and noted that teams take an average of 60 shots a game.

So the NBA took 2,880 seconds (48 minutes in a game) divided by 120 (total shots in a game) = 24 seconds.

Ever since that, we have the fast-paced NBA we all love. Thanks to the shot clock, the NBA was saved from extinction.

David Dow/Getty Images

HOW CAN THIS BE IMPLEMENTED TO HIGH SCHOOL B-BALL?

I want to give my $0.02 now and then go into the pros and cons (not many) of the shot clock.

My Recommendation: 35 Second Shot Clock.

Both boys and girls high school basketball games should implement a 35 second shot clock.

35 seconds is enough time to run a set, and set up your offense, before having to get a shot off. A fundamentally sound basketball team should have no problem getting a shot off in 35 seconds.

I wouldn’t mind a 30 second shot clock, or a 40. As long as stalling is removed from the game of basketball.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of adding the shot clock.

PROS

1. STOPS STALLING

Who wouldn’t want to watch two rivals go back and forth, battling until the end to crown a winner.

As simple as that. Add a shot clock, and teams won’t hold the ball for an eternity.

2. FAST PACE OFFENSE

Nobody wants to spend their night watching a slow, boring basketball game. Speeding up the pace of the game will make players, coaches, and fans feel much more engaged to the game.

High school players love to play in front of big crowds, but the crowds won’t come out if the games going to be slow and boring.

3. PLAYERS GET BETTER

With a shot clock, the game gets harder. There’s no hiding that. But at the same time, what’s wrong with that?

Basketball isn’t supposed to be easy, and stalling/holding the ball is.

No player is going to improve if his or the opposing team is standing in one spot, holding the ball.

Faster pace of the game= more opportunities on offense and defense.

And for those who have dreams of playing at the next level, a high school shot clock will prepare players for a college shot clock, just like a college shot clock prepares players for the NBA shot clock.

CONS

1. FINANCES

Shot clocks range from $2,000 for a basic model mounted to the backboards to $5,000 for one attached to the scoreboards, according to a Columbus Dispatch report in August 2013.

The primary reason for there still not being a shot clock in high school basketball is paying for it. Many schools do not have the funds to afford the shot clock.

However, here’s my take. There are 10 states that have already added a shot clock. Meaning all the teams in those states have payed for it.

This is a one time payment that will have a very positive impact to the school’s basketball team.

2. SHOT CLOCK OPERATOR

Who’s going to manage the shot clock?

Many claim that this could become an issue for finding the right personnel, or having to pay somebody to manage the shot clock.

But how hard could it be? The school’s athletic department could offer volunteer hours to those who manage the shot clock.

It also takes less than 5 minutes to learn how to use the clock. Look here:

3. A SHOT CLOCK MAKES IT HARDER FOR THE ‘UNDERDOG’ TO COMPETE

When an underdog, many teams prepare to slow down the game, which means less possessions. With less possessions, the underdog has a higher chance of upsetting their opponent.

It’s been done thousands of times, teams run a spread offense and stall in order to prevent the more skilled team from having the ball in their hands.

With a shot clock, this isn’t possible.

Who wants to watch this?

CONCLUSION

High school basketball players, coaches, and fans have been asking for a shot clock for over years, and it’s time to add it.

I listed many of the positives and negatives. And the pros clearly outweigh the cons.

All that is left is to turn the Dream into a reality…

Born and raised in Miami, Anthony is the Editor-In-Chief of Immaculata-La Salle High School’s student newspaper. As the Founder and Owner of 305Sports, Anthony covers all Miami Sports.

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