Should prep basketball have a shot clock?
January 26, 2016
In a recent article by Trevor Phibbs of the Salt Lake Tribune, 81 percent of Utah high school basketball coaches said they are in favor of implementing a shot clock.
In 3A, the division in which Park City High School plays, 12 of 13 boys’ coaches and seven of 10 girls’ coaches who responded to the poll were in favor of having a shot clock. In 2A, where North and South Summit play, seven of 13 boys’ coaches and 10 of 11 girls’ coaches were in favor of the change.
Park City Boys’ Coach Caleb Fine said he voted in favor of a shot clock because basketball is naturally trending toward faster offense anyway.
"The biggest reason I voted yes is that’s where the game has evolved to," he said. "I realize the shot clock probably benefits more talented teams, but it’s the brand of basketball that’s being played. The game has evolved and the shot clock is part of the game. No one wants to watch a team stall — I don’t blame anyone for that."
South Summit Boys’ Coach Dusty Hatch said he’d like to see a shot clock implemented, too, in order to keep games more competitive.
"One thing I think it would change is I don’t think you’d see as many blowouts," he said. "Teams couldn’t get a 20-point lead and then hold the ball and take two minutes off the clock every possession. If you were behind, you’d have a better opportunity to get back in the game."
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Hatch’s Wildcats and Coach Sam White’s PCHS girls’ squad both play up-tempo styles offensively. White said he’d have no problem with a shot clock and Hatch agreed.
"We’d have to put in a 10-second shot clock for it to do anything for us," he joked. "I think it’s a good idea. I just keep waiting for it to happen."
As for how much time should be on the clock, both Hatch and Fine agreed — 35 seconds.
"That’s what college used to be," Hatch said. (College clocks are now set at 30 seconds.) "In our practices, when we do defensive drills, we have a drill where we have to defend for 35 seconds. That’s an awfully long time to try to defend."
Fine also has implemented 35-second drills in practice.
"I think 35 seconds makes a lot of sense, especially early on," he said. "It’s a lot easier to lower it as teams adjust. I think it’s something high school kids can handle, especially as college moves to a 30-second clock. I love the motivational aspect on the defensive end of having a set time teams need to defend."
According to the article in the Salt Lake Tribune, shot clocks have not been discussed by the Utah High School Activities Association. But, Fine said, he’d love to see PCHS Activities Director Jamie Sheetz initiate a discussion if no one else does at the group’s next rules meeting.
Fine thinks a 35-second shot clock would not only make games more entertaining to watch, but also benefit players by forcing them to be quicker and crisper on the offensive end.
"With a 35-second shot clock, both coaches have a strategy that can be implemented," he said. "It brings a lot of strategy into the game, but gives a high-school level team time to set up an offense and run it through."
Overall, Fine sees shot clocks as part of the future of high school basketball. He said Utah has a chance to be among the first states to implement the change. Currently, only eight states use shot clocks at the prep level.
"More and more states will utilize a shot clock," Fine said. "It’s only a matter of time."