In the mid-1950s, the NBA had the novel idea of putting in a 24-second shot clock. It sped up the game, there was more scoring, and arenas started to fill up.
It led to the Showtime Lakers and everything that makes basketball great.
College basketball got with the times in the mid-1980s with a 45-second shot clock that was reduced to 35 seconds in 1993.
More than 20 years later, high school basketball in Arizona still is stuck in the past, and, to me, it is not good for the progression of the game, especially for fans (and even players) who had to sit through the third quarter of Wednesday night’s Division II sectional game between Tempe and Chandler Seton Catholic.
Tempe held the ball from the 6:30 mark to 1:15 in the third period, trying to get Seton to come out of its zone.
“They had two of their kids that actually sat down on the floor,” Tempe coach Tom Saltzstein said. “It may have been a stupid move on my part. I just wanted to see if they would come and guard us.”
Only three shots were taken in the third quarter, and Tempe, despite turning the ball over 11 times in the first half, won 50-49.
“We were having trouble playing fundamentally sound against their 2-3 zone defense,” Saltzstein said. “I am in favor of a shot clock. You have seen us play. We like to play up-tempo.”
School districts and the Arizona Interscholastic Association always point to money and a lack of a man-power for the lack of a shot clock.
There has to be ways to raise money and get more man-power. If more and more football teams are traveling out of state for games in August and September, and basketball teams are going to Canada for games, the resources can be had to get this done.
The game’s integrity needs to be protected, and stall ball just isn’t any fun for anybody – fans, players, media.
It also allows a team that is leading in the game (even in the first quarter) to just hold onto the ball, then everybody has to watch parades to the free-throw line.
I do not buy into the argument that it gives less-talented teams a chance. To do what? Just hold the ball and not compete?
If there wasn’t a play clock in football, it would allow an inferior opponent to remain in the huddle for the entire quarter. Is this how basketball is meant to be played, passively?
And if there was a shot clock, it would have forced Tempe to attack Seton’s zone.
“We at Shadow Mountain are all for a shot clock,” Shadow Mountain Athletic Director and assistant boys basketball coach Mike Warren said. “I think it would be good for our high school game.”
Glendale Deer Valley coach Jed Dunn said he enjoyed having his team play with a shot clock in a Christmas tournament in San Diego.
“I would be in favor of it,” he said. “I was surprised how many times in the games in San Diego we were calling a quick hitter with 10 seconds remaining.”