Jeff Haws’ Top 10 List

So, with another high school football season safely in the books, we’ll admit a bit of depression begins to set in at The List HQ.

As exciting as finals weekend at the Georgia Dome is, it’s always a little bittersweet knowing those are the last games we’ll see for another year.

Fortunately, there is one cure for this post-football depression – high school basketball.

While we’ve been obsessing over football like the rest of you, basketball season is nearly two months old already, and attention turns fully to roundball in the new year.

As much as we love our pigskin, in many ways basketball is even better for the fans. And, of course, we’ve got a list of the top 10 reasons why.

10. No bands

OK, hear us out here. Yeah, we do love the sounds of a great high school band. But, especially for those who don’t, it can be great to just be able to concentrate on the sounds of the game without all the fight songs and such. If you love bands, we’ll now accept your hate mail.

9.  Halftime games

Not all places do this, but basketball offers opportunities to have anyone try the game. At halftime, you might get a couple of freshmen trying to shoot 3-pointers for a local gift card, or maybe a little mini game of HORSE. Yeah, it’s silly, but there’s also a reason you don’t see halftime games of touch football in the fall.

8. Squeaky shoes and bouncing balls

There’s just something about the distinctive sounds of a basketball game that we love. Shoes squeaking against the gym floor. Balls constantly bouncing, bouncing, bouncing. It’s unmistakable. A little annoying out of context, but unmistakable all the same.

7. Foreign stars

Unlike football, basketball is a truly global game. There are leagues in most every European country, and there are professional leagues on every continent – well, other than Antarctica, at least not that we know of. This means diversity and plenty of opportunity for good players. And even at the high school level in Georgia, we see kids from all over the world take the floor.

6. Interstate games

These happen occasionally in football, but it’s a pretty regular occurrence with the state’s marquee basketball programs. This week, we’ll see a bunch of holiday tournaments going on, some with Georgia teams traveling across the country to test themselves against some of the nation’s best. Sure, we know the best basketball is here in Georgia, but it’s nice to have that confirmed every now and then.

5. Small schools can compete

In basketball, land yourself one guy who’s a big enough star, and you can play with anybody in the state, regardless of classification. In football, you’ll almost never see a Class A school hang with one in AAAAAA, but a guy named Dwight Howard made Southwest Atlanta Christian nearly unbeatable in 2003-04. It happens.

4. Get closer

Even if you’re in the front row at a football game, you’ve still got a big sideline, a high railing and often a track between you and the field of play. On the other hand, if you’re in the front row at a basketball game, your feet are often sitting right on the court. You could steal the ball from a guy running down that side of the court, not that The List recommends such rogue actions.

3. The pros come sooner

There may be no more going straight to the pros from high school, a la the aforementioned Howard, but the infamous one-and-dones are still a fixture at the country’s best programs. Some recent ones from Georgia include Portland’s J.J. Hickson and Utah’s Derrick Favors. That awesome player you’re watching today might be passing it to LeBron James in just two years, while players have to wait three full years in football.

2. Heat

Talk tough all you want, but who really wants to sit out in 20-degree wind chills for hours at a time to do … well, anything at all, actually? Give us heated gyms all day long, and we’ll be quite happy, thank you very much.

1. Games more often

We admit it, we’re an impatient bunch. That wait between Fridays for football is nerve racking throughout the fall. So basketball is a nice change. Games Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and sometimes popping up elsewhere too. More games means more opportunities for awesome moments to watch, and we don’t have to drive ourselves stir crazy waiting for the next chance to see them.

Now we want to hear what you think. Why do you think high school hoops is better than football? Or are we just crazy? Don’t worry. We’ve been called worse. Let us know in the comments here or on Twitter at @ajcprepsports.

3 comments Add your comment

Brian

December 26th, 2012
10:09 am

It’s obvious you are a basketball fan rather than a football fan. To each his own…

Rev Al

December 26th, 2012
4:20 pm

The traveling AAU recruited teams have tarnished the high school basketball brand.

Jon P

December 26th, 2012
8:25 pm

High school football is superior to high school basketball. Let’s count the ways:

(1) More fans go to football games because more people enjoy football (especially in the south).

(2) The games are exposed to the weather (which makes it more exciting and can be an equalizer. Let’s face it, have you ever watched a game in the Georgia Dome? It stinks. You feel like you’re in a museum and not a football game. Plus artificial turf is awful.).

(3) At least 3 years of college football comes next to the best high school players (I wish it were a mandatory 4 years though as college sports are much more interesting than any form of pro ball).

(4) The time between games makes the anticipation of the upcoming game more intense.

(5) Less games makes each game more important.

(6) Louder crowds at a football game. With more people in attendance, it’s naturally louder without any echoes (except in domes, which, as stated above, stink.)

(7) You still get interstate games (thanks to ESPN) and some top teams from neighboring states are still in close enough proximity to play each other (plus you’ve got GA and FLA teams with many higly sought after recruits playing each other).

(8) Fans are more passionate about their football teams than their basketball teams (unless your football teams stink). No one at work talks trash concerning basketball games, but football? It’s always being talked about.

(9) School pride is higher for football than basketball. Where are basketball championships listed at? In the gym? Where are football championships listed at? On the stadium? On the school itself? It’s just more visible because it means more to the alumni and school.

(10) Basketball is boring and the squeeky shoe sounds are annoying.

(Bonus) Football makes more money than basketball and supports basketball. Nuff said.