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Three reasons for — and against — Indiana high school basketball adding a shot clock


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Whenever the shot clock discussion in high school basketball begins, I feel like a bad sports-talk radio host. I can’t fake a strong take either way.

If you missed it, the shot clock became a hot topic again this week when the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) board of governors voted to permit a 35-second shot clock for state association adoption starting with the 2022-23 season.

It is important to keep in mind this is not a mandate. There are eight states that already have a shot clock in high school basketball (California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Washington; Georgia voted last June to add a shot clock for the 2022-23 season). Those states previously went against the NFHS by implementing a shot clock, giving up a position on the association’s basketball rules committee.

I think some, at least on Twitter, interpreted the shot-clock news Wednesday as “high school basketball is getting a shot clock.” That is not true, necessarily, unless your state votes to implement a shot clock. And judging by what Indiana High School Athletic Association commissioner Paul Neidig said Wednesday, I’m not sure we are headed in that direction.

“We have the best coaches and players in in the country,” Neidig said. “We have a tournament that every school in Indiana gets to play in. The object of the game is to put your team in the best possible position to win. Possession control is certainly a strategy utilized by many coaches in Indiana. I do not see a reason to take a strategy used to win from our coaches. But the debate will certainly be the center of conversation for a while.”

And this is where I find myself fighting my down-the-middle, lukewarm takes on a shot clock. Because when I hear what Neidig says, I agree. When I hear others say, “the game is better with a shot clock,” I also agree. In a decidedly unofficial poll, I put this question out on Twitter on Thursday: “Are you in favor of a shot clock in Indiana high school basketball?” The answers from 1,480 responses:

>> Yes it is a definite need: 49.4%

>> No it is not necessary: 22.8%

>> On fence but favor it: 20.5%

>> On fence but against it: 7.4%

Add that up and it is roughly 70% in favor, either totally in support or leaning in that direction. That is not necessarily surprising considering it is social media and skews to a younger audience. But I do sense the decision of the NFHS on Wednesday is another small step and a little more momentum in the direction of a shot clock. It may take another decade before it happens in Indiana, but I think it eventually will.

Because I’m still riding the fence, here are my three reasons for and against a shot clock:


I personally am against the shot clock being used in Indiana High School Basketball,  frankly it's not needed.   Would like to hear other opinions.....................


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  • 10 months later...

My opinion is to use a "timer on" concept like lacrosse used to have to prevent stalling. It eventually just went to a long shot clock. For the most part it is a non-factor as it's around 80 seconds now & resets when a shot on goal occurs (believe that's accurate but could be wrong). The timer on would be a great compromise. No official shot clock, but also prevents absurd stalling from occurring. 

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Stall ball is a great equalizer for team with fewer players.  But it is boring (speaking a fan and basketball official).

If it gets implemented, it affects the girls game too, something keep in mind.

It is immensely difficult to put the toothpaste back into the tube.  For some schools, 7 minute JV games are too much.  We are getting 4 more minutes of sloppy basketball for some teams.  I have hear no discussion of going back to a 6 minute JV game.  My point is, if a shot clock is passed, it will be incredibly hard to get rid of in the future.

All that being said, I am for a shot clock.  I think the 35 sec. proposal is good, but I think 40 is better.

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