High school basketball: Do we need a shot clock?

Football season is winding down and we are two weeks away from a champion being crowned in Class AAAA. However, basketball season is gearing up, so as we transition, Tuesday blogs will be dedicated to basketball for the remainder of the football state playoffs.

By David Purdum / For the AJC

After the scoring plummeted to a 30-year low last season, college basketball revised how the game was officiated.

This season’s points of emphasis included: reducing hand-checking; limiting how post-defenders are allowed to use their arms, and giving offensive players the benefit of the doubt on block/charge calls. The early results have been higher-scoring games with many more fouls.

Should high school basketball follow the college game’s lead?

Chestatee girls coach Web Daniel believes so.

“In every officiating rules clinic, they say they’re going to call it more,” said Daniel. “But I don’t think they call it enough. Truthfully, they could call it every play. If you watch games, they can tend to be played more like football. They’re just so physical. I know they want to let the kids play, especially in the tournament, but I think basketball should be more of a finesse game.”

In last season’s boys AAAA state playoffs, Eagle’s Landing beat Albany 39-13 in a first-round game. It was the lowest-scoring game in the state playoffs in 65 years, according to Becky Taylor of the Georgia Basketball Project, and prompted calls for a shot clock to be added to the high school game.

Eight states have implemented shot clocks at the high school level. Coaches see both sides of the shot-clock debate. Adding one would certainly force the action, but it also would eliminate some of the strategy used by under-manned teams attempting to stay in games by slowing them down.

Daniel would like to see a shot clock implemented, but also admits that he takes advantage of not having one currently.

“We’ll stall the ball a lot against better teams, when we’re up,” Daniel said. “It’s one of our strategies.”

In addition to the impact on strategy, cost is another thing preventing a shot clock to being added. In addition to the cost of the actual clock and installation, it would require another trained official or volunteer  to operate it.

Columbia boys coach Kerry Sandifer isn’t for adding a shot clock.

“Obviously, if you have a lot of talent—and we’ve been blessed—it can be favorable for you,” Sandifer said. “But without it, I think it gives other teams a chance to strategize and be competitive.”

Sandifer says he believes officials have done a good job of reducing hand-checking. He added that he would like to see the 3-point line moved back a few feet. It is currently at 19 feet, 9 inches. At the college level, the line was pushed back to 20 feet, six inches in 2007.

“To me, the game is too perimeter-oriented,” said Sandifer. “I’d like to see more inside play. Even the big guys, they all want step out and get behind that 3-point line.”


–The Chestatee girls are off to an impressive start, with a win over AAAAAA power Collins Hill and a one-point loss to another big perennial power in Mill Creek.

“This is the best offensive team we’ve had,” said Daniel, who has led the War Eagles to the Sweet 16 four of the last five years. “We’ve changed our philosophy to become more guard-oriented, because I think when it comes to the state tournament, it’s about guard play.”

–Crisp County forward Nasheema Oliver signed her letter-of-intent with the University of Georgia on Nov. 17. “Nasheema defies logic,” UGA coach Andy Landers said during a November press conference announcing the signings. “You look at her and wouldn’t think that she’s as mobile or even as graceful as she is. But she is. She can play you inside. She can play you outside. She can score. She’s an excellent rebounder. To say that she could be a presence inside is somewhat of an understatement.”

8 comments Add your comment


December 3rd, 2013
12:16 pm

re: shot clock — Not just no but hell no. If we’re honest about it, many high school games are a comedy of errors as it is, there are a lot more nowhere-near-elite teams than their are elite teams. Having them jack up more shots (or more likely just commit more turnovers) from a higher pace does nothing to improve the game at all afaic.

Chuck Miller

December 3rd, 2013
1:19 pm

If I have a less talented team, because of genes or I do not recruit, why should we be forced to shoot ? We are not in the entertainment business. My responsibility, as coach, is to devise a plan to give our players the best chance to compete & possibly upset some of the more talented teams. Why do most teams slow the game down @ the end ? They want to hold onto the ball as long as they can. Unless we can all recruit( colleges),NO SHOT CLOCK !!

Max Sizemore

December 3rd, 2013
1:34 pm

The game has become so physical, I simply don’t watch it any more. And I used to be a big fan.


December 3rd, 2013
1:54 pm

Shot clock! 45 seconds… take the game away from the unskilled fatties and put it back with the skilled athletes. Coach skills and teach 5 out or the Princeton or stay home and suck on a pacifier!

Benjamin E. Mays Raider for Life.

December 4th, 2013
10:56 am

Yes, please. Georgia needs to become number nine. For once Georgia, become an innovator a Leader. Currently, eight U.S. states require the use of a shot clock of either 30 or 35 seconds in high school competition: California, Maryland (girls only), Massachusetts, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Washington.[15]


December 4th, 2013
11:29 am

@ Benjamin E. Mays Raider for life: I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m a huge high school basketball fan, and have been saying for years that a shot clock should be introduced to the game. Too many times do you see teams just hold the ball, it will force the action, and make coaches have to coach. Holding the ball requires no skill at all. If you can play then the team’s game will show it, don’t punish the game of basketball by making it a game of keep away. Let’s go with a 35 second shot clock just like in college. It needs to happen ASAP!!!

Coach Que

December 4th, 2013
1:43 pm

It’s time for a shot clock to be implemented into the HS game of basketball. As the game has evolved so should the rules. We even now are preparing kids to compete at the next level. So why not add a 45sec shot clock.

Shot Clock Please

December 5th, 2013
11:11 pm

Yes it is time for a shot clock. The pace of the game is too slow.