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A Really Bad Idea in High School Basketball

Elsa
Getty Images Sport

I enjoy basketball. But, there are things that annoy me.

Tops on that list right now are discussions of a shot clock in high school basketball.
The shot clock is a horrible idea from several angles and there is no rational argument in favor of it in my book at the high school level.

First, and most importantly, the clock eliminates a good strategic option for a team with limited athletic ability. A smallish, slow-footed team is placed at a disadvantage against a bigger, quicker opponent if they cannot reduce the number of possessions in a game.

Spreading the floor and shortening the game isn’t easy. Ever notice how often an eight or ten point lead disappears when a team tries to hold the ball in the third or fourth quarter?  If a bigger, quicker opponent can’t defend, cause turnovers, five second calls and other disruptions to get the smaller, slower team out of the delay game, they obviously not the best basketball team on the floor and they deserve to lose the game.

Basketball is a team game after all. The five second call is all the “clock” you need.  Besides, the clock can encourage passive, lazy defense.

Second is the cost of the equipment. The additional equipment doesn’t come cheap and most high school athletic departments aren’t exactly swimming in extra money these days.

Third is the issue of finding someone who can run the thing correctly. I can think of places I’ve been to call high school and college games where they have enough trouble finding good scorekeepers, game clock operators and scoreboard operators.  Asking for a good shot clock operator would be asking a lot in some locations.

I have no problem with the shot clock in college and elsewhere because the coach has sufficient control over his or her talent pool.  That is not the case in high school.

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