There’s an ancient idiom that says a man is known by the company he keeps.
That idea can be applied to other things, too, and it’s at the center of my ongoing argument against North Carolina high school basketball adding a shot clock to the game.
Langston Wertz, veteran high school writer for The Charlotte Observer, has long been a proponent of the shot clock and recently wrote a story about how the clock is going to go through a couple of trials in season-opening tournaments this year in North Carolina.
One is the Carmel Christian Tip Off Classic in Charlotte Nov. 9-10. The other is in Greensboro in the National High School Showcase Nov. 16-17.
Both tournaments will feature some top teams, the Charlotte tournament in particular drawing the famed program from Oak Hill, Virginia.
But here’s the interesting part. Both tournaments are being sponsored by a regional scouting service that, according to Wertz’s story, is footing the $3,000 bill for two wireless shot clocks.
Who are some other proponents of the clock? Well, there’s Bobby Lutz, former head coach at Charlotte and assistant at North Carolina State University.
Another backer is Sue Doran, director of athletics for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
Paul Biancardi, a recruiting analyst for ESPN, is also in favor.
Do you see a pattern here? I certainly do. Scouts. College coaches. People from metropolitan areas.
All of these folks have a common ground. They focus on metropolitan areas with bigger schools, more talent to draw from and more college prospects.
These folks need to drive out of the city and attend some games in rural areas and at smaller schools where the number of college prospects is considerably smaller.
My point has been and remains that the push for the shot clock in high schools is coming from one group, the group that only sees big-time prospects play on a consistent basis and has no appreciation for the vast number of schools in North Carolina that don’t have a four- or five-star athlete on the roster and aren’t likely to in the near future.
I hope you checked that price tag for shot
clocks for these two tournaments in November.
It was $1,500 per clock. We’ve got teachers buying supplies for their students on a regular basis in North Carolina. I don’t think we need to strap athletic budgets any further by tacking on the cost of a $1,500 shot clock and then finding the money to pay someone to run it.
By the way, I ran a scoreboard clock in my high school days at West Rowan, and it was a pain to monitor. I can only imagine the headaches involved with a shot clock and getting it right every Tuesday and Friday night.
I agree totally with one person quoted in the Langston Wertz article, Kevin Garner of the Missouri State High School Activities Association.Wertz said of the nearly 1 million athletes who play boys and girls high school basketball in this country in 2017, 3.4 percent of boys and 3.9 percent of girls play in the Collegiate Athletic Association
As Garner put it, “Should we make the high school game like the college game to help less than four percent of the players?”
My reply remains a resounding no.