When the 3-point shot was adopted for high school basketball decades ago many thought it would only be a few short years until there would be a shot clock.
Those “few short years” have turned into decades.
That could be changing, however.
Beginning with the 2022-23 season, a 35-second shot clock will be permitted in high school basketball nationwide.
The shot clock rule was was approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Basketball Rules Committed at its recent annual meeting.
While a proposal for a national rule mandating a shot clock be used was not approved, it allows for each state’s association to decide for themselves, sort of a “state’s rights” for athletics.
The WVSSAC is mulling whether to use the shot clock or not and Executive Director Bernie Dolan is reportedly beginning to get input from the state’s high school basketball coaches.
There will be time to have the debate and to decide.
The shot clock debate is certainly not a new one.
It’s been going on for years and there are many pros and cons.
Faster paced teams will benefit from having it, while slower teams will have to alter the way they play.
Chapmanville Regional High School coach Brad Napier said he’s in favor of having the shot clock.
During the 2019-20 season this Tigers played Wheeling Park at Wheeling’s WesBanco Arena in the Cancer Research Classic. A 35-second shot clock was used during the game in the Tigers’ 61-48 win.
“I would certainly be in favor of this,” Napier said. “I think it’s way over due. It will improve the game and make it more up and down. It also rewards teams for playing good defense. We played with a 35 second shot clock last year when we played in the cancer research classic tournament in wheeling and It was great.”
College basketball operates with a 30-second shot clock. The NBA and WNBA use a 24-second shot clock.
Logan High School coach Zach Green said he’s OK with having a shot clock. His Wildcats, like Chapmanville and the Man Hillbillies, often play at a quicker pace already and it probably would not hurt any of those teams.
“The shot clock debate is one that has been going on for years,” Green said. “Personally, I’m OK with it either way. I see both sides of the argument. Obviously, not having a shot clock adds more of a competitive balance as less talented teams can slow it down and shrink the possessions in a game. On the other side, having a shot clock prevents that and is a much faster pace and more exciting game to watch. With our style of play, having a shot clock would benefit us but there are a lot of things that go into a sweeping rule change like that. As always, I think the WVSSAC will take their time and make the right decision for our kids.”
While many coaches and fans seem to like the idea of having a shot clock, many have mixed feelings.
There is also the financial aspect.
Simply put, some high school gyms across the country still do not have shot clocks. Not a problem, however, in Logan County as Logan’s Willie Akers Arena, the Billies’ Man Memorial Fieldhouse and Chapmanville’s Danny Godby Gymnasium, all have shot clock boxes. One other issue is that an extra official would be needed to run the shot clock.
“I am mixed about it,” Chapmanville girls’ basketball coach Kristina Gore said. “There’s a lot of different angles to look at it from. Logistically, if the WVSSAC decides to adopt the rule, I believe they need to give schools at least a year in advance to prepare. This will be an expensive rule change for programs that don’t have the equipment in place already. Hopefully, some financial assistance can be provided to programs that need it.”
Gore said having the shot clock also takes away some of the strategy of the game.
“From a strategic perspective, I have coached teams that would’ve benefited from this rule, and I’ve also coached teams that would’ve been hurt by it,” Gore said. “When I was an assistant under David Williamson, we knew to have a shot at beating Logan during Shayna Gore’s senior year, we had to slow the game down. I believe we ended up losing 31-30. We literally held the ball at one point in the third quarter for over two minutes. Just stood there with it. Some people don’t like to see the game played that way, but it is within the rules of the game. There is no rule that stops the defense from coming out and applying pressure to stop teams from being able to do that.”
Chapmanville native Greg Dalton also chimed in on Twitter.
“It would be an excuse for terrible shots,” Dalton said in a Tweet. “Players all the time watching the shot clock and wrong guys taking shots. De-emphasizes defense too and too much clock consciousness by officials instead of watching the game, constant arguing of whether they beat the shot clock or not.”
Last year, the debate surfaced as the NFHS rejected a proposal to establish the 35-second shot clock.
The shot clock rule would presumably hurt slower paced teams that like to run a more deliberate style of offense.
With only 35 seconds, that does not leave much time for walking the ball up court.
“You can’t really walk it across the half court line,” Napier said.
Napier also said having a shot clock would help eventual college bound players.
“It would help them,” he said. “It just make the game a whole lot better. You don’t have to worry about teams holding the ball.”
Unbeknownst to many, nine states across the national already use shot clocks for high school basketball. Those states are Georgia, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Washington, California, Maryland, North Dakota and South Dakota.
“If it is added, we’ll adjust to it,” Gore said. “Defensively, it would benefit us greatly. Especially the style we want to play in the coming years. It’s a huge mental advantage to know that I can go all out on defense for 35 seconds, then we can either get the rebound, force a turnover or violation, and go. I believe you’ll see coaches be able to get more out of their players on that end of the floor. It would be easier to break the game down, possession by possession.”