There may come a time – will come a time – when high school basketball looks different from the way it looks now. A shot clock above every backboard and an additional person at each scorer’s table monitoring the clock.
It might take some time. Eight states now use a shot clock at the high school level. Wisconsin was on track to be the ninth for the 2019-20 season, but rescinded its state association vote. Currently, the National Federation of State High School Associations does not allow the use of a shot clock, meaning the eight states using a clock give up a seat on the NFHS rules committee.
The IHSAA has said it will abide by whatever the NFHS decides.
On Monday, I asked the coaches from the eight teams that will participate in Saturday’s state finals how they would feel about a shot clock in Indiana high school basketball. Six of the eight were in favor, one was against and one was down the middle. A sampling of the responses, which includes comments on both sides of the discussion:
Andrean coach Brad Stangel (Class 2A): “I think a shot clock would be great. I think the biggest issue the shot clock presents is having qualified people at the table. I think the refs would adjust, the kids and coaches would be just fine. But it’s harder to run than the game clock and the scorebook. There is some training to it. I coached in the college game for 10 years. That person running the shot clock has to be the most qualified person at the table. The money and cost I think would get figured out, but I think getting a qualified person to do it would be the issue. I would love to have a shot clock, though, because game management is important.”
Carmel coach Ryan Osborn (Class 4A): “I don’t prefer it either way. I’ve never sat and watched a game to determine how long the possessions are. If you go anything less than a 40-second clock I think you are taking away from player development and team development. It would change coaching. I like that part of it. The strategy would be exciting. But I would be surprised if many of our possessions were longer than 30 seconds. I feel like they are five seconds sometimes. But I would be curious to see what our time of possession looked like because I haven’t looked at that.”
Marc Davidson, Fort Wayne Blackhawk (Class A): “I’ve voted yes for it (on surveys). I’d like to see it. I played in Europe for a number of years so I’d gotten used to it. I kind of feel like it’s headed that direction where I’d like to see the international rules adopted across the board. It will be some time before that happens, but I would like to see it happen.”
Don Carlisle, Ben Davis (Class 4A): “I would vote for it. I would definitely vote for it. Granted, at some point in the season, all of us have used the clock to our advantage. But at every level outside of high school, you have a shot clock. I think it would only make it better as they transition to higher levels. As a coach and as a fan, it will be a better game. We saw it a lot this year, even in the (Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference). In the Warren game, they jumped out quick and held the ball. As a coach, I would do the same thing. But if you are forced to play, maybe the game is different. I don’t think it’s anyone’s intention to hold the ball for four or five minutes, but it makes for a bad game to watch and be a part of if no one is playing basketball.”
Josh Thompson, Barr-Reeve (Class A): “I think it is inevitable, just like class basketball. People fought it for a long time and then it came to fruition. Once it gets here it will change the game a little bit. You’ll have to run the end of the clock situations and see more dribble hand-off stuff get incorporated into the high school game. That stuff is already here anyway, but you’ll see more of it. I’m not a big fan of it. If you watch most high school games, possessions are within 35 to 40 seconds. I don’t know how much it will change the flow of the game, but it will impact teams like Bloomfield a lot. I just feel like defensively you have to be smart enough to figure out how to keep teams from (holding the ball). I think it’s inevitable. I don’t like it. But I didn’t like class basketball either, but we’re not going back. Once we get that shot clock, we’re not going back.”
Noah Hawkins, Linton-Stockton assistant (Class 2A): “We’re not against it. The game evolves and rules change. Obviously the shot clock is something that has been a hot topic lately and we’ve talked about it. We are in favor of it and would accept it with open arms. I think the change it would have on the game is overrated. I don’t think it would have that big of an impact. I think some people would be up in arms about it, but I don’t think it would have that big of an impact.”
Mark Galloway, Culver Academy (Class 3A): “I’m a traditionalist for Indiana basketball. But I got to coach with a shot clock against La Lumiere last year and that game was 56-50. Shooting percentages are shooting percentages and defense is defense. But a shot clock cleans it up and makes it a more enjoyable game. Kids have to think more and perform under pressure a little more. I think that’s good. For us in Indiana, are we helping our kids get better and prepare them for college basketball? I would say if you have the opportunity to help them get ready for the next step and that’s a positive.”
Brandon Hoffman, Silver Creek (Class 3A): “I’ve been on both sides of the argument. Of course when you have lesser talent, you want to control the tempo. We’ve had teams that were better and want as many possessions as possible. I’d be OK with a 45-second shot clock. You could still control the tempo with a 45-second clock. There will be a lot of opposition for it, but I’d be OK with a 45-second clock. I think if it ever came to fruition, we’d adjust to it. I figure it is a matter of time.”
Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.
Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Class A: Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian (27-2) vs. Barr-Reeve (26-2), 10:30 a.m.
Class 2A: Andrean (20-8) vs. Linton-Stockton (27-3), 12:45 p.m.
Class 3A: Culver Academy (24-3) vs. Silver Creek (24-3), 6 p.m.
Class 4A: Carmel (25-1) vs. Ben Davis (20-7), 8:15 p.m.