Now is the time for a nationwide shot clock

You ask your players to bust their tails on defense. You talk incessantly about your defensive philosophy. You preach defense wins championships. But, if you are not in favor of a shot clock, then most of what you say is idle chatter.

The great equalizer in basketball games where there is a significant talent gap, is not standing on the perimeter with the ball on the hip of your point guard – it’s playing hardnosed, aggressive defense to stifle the competition.

It’s reasonable to believe if a defense contains an offense for 35 seconds, it should be rewarded. Yet, for high school players in 42 states in this country, defense is not rewarded.

Teams in these 42 states have to defend until they eventually break down, which then allows the offense to make its move if it so chooses.

That’s not basketball to me. Basketball is intensity. It’s excitement. It’s energy. Basketball is a game moving quickly over 94 feet of hardwood. It certainly is not standing and watching.

And, let’s face it, if you can’t run an offense in 35 seconds, which is more than enough time for your initial, secondary and sometimes tertiary options to fail, then maybe it’s time to head back to the drawing board.

When you do, think back to what you taught during those first weeks of practice. I bet players weren’t standing around killing time.

It’s funny that as today’s high school coaches become more prepared than any generation before them, the shot clock still isn’t a part of the game at this level. Almost every practice I attend these days is planned down to the minute, yet when it comes to playing games, an offense can stall for an entire quarter with no repercussions.

One legitimate argument against installing shot clocks in every school is the cost. I get it. School and athletics budgets are stripped bare these days and setting aside a couple of thousand dollars (on average) to buy a pair of shot clocks isn’t a priority.

But, when is it a priority? Consider that California is one of the eight states using a shot clock and that state’s budget shortfalls have been well documented. If schools in California can make it happen, chances are your school can get it done as well.

I’ve had my say, now I want to hear from you. Email me at and let me know your thoughts for or against a shot clock in high school basketball. I’ll use the comments in an upcoming issue to further the discussion.

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