Jeff Haws’ Top 10 List

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.

5 comments Add your comment

nate from detroit

January 30th, 2013
1:34 pm

Jeff, agree with the charging circle, cutting out the AAU influence and would love to experiment with the ideas of halves instead of quarters and a shot clock. The jump ball idea won’t fly. In the refs eyes it would make the games last too long.
The epidemic this year of charge happy refs and flopping players is enough to make Bill Laimbeer happy.

Hubert Green

January 30th, 2013
5:16 pm

Given that there are so many transfers even though it may appear that it only happenes at Milton, why not have players committ to a school in the Spring of their 8th grade year? Then all transfers would have to sit out a year after that. Even an out of state transfer. You would be allowed to attend any school of your choosing in the 8th grade. BTW Wesleyan’s girls have been doing this for years. They invite them in the 7th grade to come visit; show them around, and presto chango, 8 state titles in 9 years.


January 30th, 2013
8:40 pm

Sorry people but AAU is not going anywhere. When you go to an exposure tournament in July and see hundreds of college coaches, you tell me what should a parent put the most emphasis on? Go to school to get a good education, play for your school but that’s usually not where you are going to get noticed. (I’m speaking from the girls side of the game)

Metro Coach

January 31st, 2013
3:21 pm

Along with going to halves and adding a shot clock, they should extend the game times by 4 minutes. 2 18 minute halves would prepare players better for ther next level. 18 minute halves with a 45 second shot clock sounds like a good idea to me. The NFHS should also move the boy’s 3 point like back to the college distance. As for AAU, the easy answer is to give HS coaches year ’round access to their players. Let the high schools take them to the “exposure” tournaments. That way college coaches deal with HS coaches and not these sleazy hangers on that call themselves AAU coaches. I like the charge arc as well.


February 2nd, 2013
10:22 am

Metro Coach. I know of a few high school coaches who don’t want to spend their summers in gyms all over the country. They have expressed the fact that they want to spend time with their families. Can we please stop painting the picture that EVERY AAU coach is some sleazy snake. This is a horrible generalization.