You know we love high school basketball here at The List HQ. But come on, nothing’s perfect.
Even with the things we love the most, we can nitpick and find some things we’d tinker with if we were suddenly elected to be King of All Things.
You may say that’s unlikely, and it would certainly be a poor decision by the people who elected us, but we all know voters have made bad decisions before.
So, in the interest of fantasy, we’re going to look at the top 10 changes we’d make to Georgia high school basketball if given that sort of golden opportunity.
10. Move fans back from baseline
Yeah, we love sitting there with the players just inches away too, but it sometimes becomes a little silly when players have to basically sit in a fan’s lap just to throw an inbounds pass. We’d set a standard that the first row has to be at least 6 feet back from the baseline, or face our wrath.
9. Straight to the NBA
OK, this isn’t exactly a problem with high school basketball per se, but it’s certainly related. Players should be able to go straight to the NBA out of high school, instead of being effectively forced to play-act as a college student for a semester before forgetting they have classes and spending all their time in the gym.
8. Halves instead of quarters
They do it in college. Why not in high school too? Hey, it’s not like they’re worried about TV breaks or anything. Play 16 and 16. Fewer stops in the action. Make the kids be a little better conditioned. If it’s good enough for the next level, it should be good enough at this one.
7. Outdoor games
Now, hear us out here. We’re not talking about all the time, or even often. It’d be akin to the NHL’s Midseason Classic, where they play one outdoor game each season. In high school, we’d like to see one or two special outdoor games, or maybe a little tournament somewhere around the metro area. It’d be a cool event and would bring a new element to the game.
6. Cut AAU out
This is a tough one and, well, we’re actually kind of open to suggestions on how to make it happen. Their influence seems to have become more pernicious as the years have gone on. One idea we had was potentially banning AAU coaches and high school staffs from having contact. Keep them completely separate. No visits to AAU tournaments for high school coaches either. Whether it would work – or be worthwhile either way – is entirely up for debate.
5. Sunday afternoon games
It just seems like a nice day to watch some basketball, doesn’t it? Again, we’re not talking about this happening constantly. Just some special instances here and there. Let the families head over from church and catch their high school heroes on the hardwood. Is there a better way to spend a Sunday?
4. All-Classification champ
Some old-timers may remember that the GHSA actually did this, though only for two years, in 1973 and 74. The champs of the four classifications were paired off and played to determine an overall champ. Southwest Macon won the first, and Southwest Atlanta took the second, and that was the end. You’d have to figure out which two teams would get a bye, but this would be a heck of a fun event if they could put it together.
3. Actual jump balls
Alternate possession is for the birds. This just in: In basketball, we have tall guys. Let’s put them to use. Possession is a darn big deal in basketball, and who gets it should be determined more by ability and athleticism than about who got it last time this happened, whenever that was. Do it like the NBA does it. Yes, we’re contradicting ourselves from No. 8. But we’re King, so we can do that.
2. Charging circle
We’re all for hustle, but defenders doing whatever they can to just stand in front of a ball handler driving toward the hoop has become an epidemic at all levels, and high school is no exception. Even putting aside the absurdity of players getting rewarded for basically defining “defense” as “plant your feet, put your arms across your chest and just stand there,” it’s just too easy to slide underneath a driving player as he jumps for a layup.
1. Shot clock
In a sense, this even goes against our own self interest. Trust us, there’s nobody who wants games to move more quickly than journalists who are covering them, and nothing ticks the clock away faster than players just passing the ball around the perimeter or standing there doing nothing for several minutes. On the other hand, as lovers of basketball, we pretty much can’t stand it, and we suspect you can’t either. We’d fund the clocks for all the schools, and let’s do this thing.
Now we want to know what you think. What would you change about high school basketball if you could? Are you OK with the lack of a shot clock? Have you ever taken a charge in your day-to-day life? Let us know in the comments here or on Twitter at @ajcprepsports.