High school basketball needs a shot clock

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I have spent a lot of time in the past couple of months covering high school basketball games throughout the county. As a basketball lover and an avid sports fan, it has been a lot of fun watching these local games. Pearl River County has a number of talented athletes, and watching their enthusiasm on the court has been a genuine pleasure.

That being said, I can’t help but feel like we are doing these young basketball players a disservice by having them play without a shot clock.

For those unfamiliar with the rules, college basketball teams have 35-second possessions that start as soon as they touch the ball off the inbound pass. If the team has not made a shot, been fouled, or rebounded a shot that hit the rim within that 35 seconds, then a shot clock violation is called by the officials and the ball is turned over to their opponent. Similar to the play clock in football, the shot clock lasts throughout the game and is used on every possession.

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High school basketball in Mississippi does not use a shot clock, so possessions can potentially take an unlimited amount of time.

This is not a minor rule change. Without this rule, teams could build a lead and then play keep-away, forcing teams to either foul them or force a turnover in order to get the ball back. While that tactic may be strategically wise, it is a style of play that contradicts the nature of the game.

Using this slow-down strategy, two high schools in Alabama recently played a game that ended 2-0. That’s not fundamental basketball, and it’s not going to help a single player on that court who wants to play at the next level.

Even the students who are not looking to play basketball in college are at a disadvantage. Prep sports can be a memorable time in students’ lives, and they deserve to get the most out of their high school experience. Shot clocks encourage a structured and efficient style of play that will raise the overall quality of the game.

We wouldn’t consider playing high school basketball games with a 9-foot rim or without travelling violations, so why do we continue to play without a shot clock?