You’d be amazed at what high school sports writers do with their free time over the holidays.
During the down week after the Cumberland County Holiday Classic, I got into a discussion on Twitter with several of my peers and a few coaches about a burning issue in high school basketball, the question of whether a shot clock is needed.
There are some who feel strongly the time has come to pull the high school game into the same arena with colleges and the NBA and add a shot clock to competition.
The arguments are pretty familiar. They think it will improve the pace of play, plus it will be a boon for those athletes who will be leaving the high school ranks to compete at the higher levels where the clock has been in use for years
But let’s just hold on for a second. I’m not sure if I’m in a minority or a majority on this because I haven’t conducted any polls, but I strongly disagree that the time for the shot clock has come in the high school game.
For one thing, I can count on zero fingers the number of times I’ve seen a team engage in a full-fledged stall to try and win a high school game. The reason for that is the majority of teams don’t have a player skilled enough to command possession of the ball and keep flipping it around the court to various teammates to force the clock to wind down.
So my biggest case is we’re trying to fix something that’s not broken, at least it’s not broken in the basketball I’ve seen.
The biggest argument against the change to a shot clock is the cost. Somebody’s got to buy a working clock, and you’ve got to set up satellite clocks at either end of the court that both teams can see.
I just did a quick Google search, and the first one I saw with the operating station and the two clocks came in at $1,375.
Another problem is you’ve got to train and pay someone to operate the clock. That’s an ongoing hit to already skimpy athletic budgets.
Finally, my biggest objection to a shot clock in high school is you’re going to make the game worse, not better, because only a fraction of the athletes at the high school level have the athletic ability and drive to advance to college and NBA basketball.
Far too many youngsters who play the high school game are out there simply for the love of it and don’t have either the aspiration or the chance to be on a team once high school is over.
To force players of limited skill to try and get off a shot every 30 or 45 or however many seconds we set a high school shot clock for would be painful and turn sloppy games into absolute train wrecks.
Let’s don’t rush to judgment on this and do something that will benefit a fraction of the players and a handful of teams who would dominate the opposition because of superior talent alone.
Let’s leave something to coaching and respect the talent level of every player in the game, from the stars to the kids that get in off the bench.