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Ready or Not, the Shot Clock is Coming: Hopes and Challenges With this Change for our Area Hoops Teams

By: Evan Jones

This isn't breaking news. You all know that the shot clock is coming to Classes C & D in Nebraska. Classes A & B have already had it implemented. In this blog post, I will share my opinions about it. Mine are mostly a positive outlook on it. You don't have to agree with it, and you can think I'm wrong which is fine. That's the beauty of having an opinion.

Derek Bantam, the Girl's Basketball Coach and Activities Director at Medicine Valley, and Kolby Hamilton, the Boy's Basketball Coach and Activities Director at Maywood-Hayes Center, were also kind enough to answer some of my questions about the positives, the burdens, and what has them excited about the shot clock.

First, my thoughts.

My Big Hope: Pace of Play, Player Movement, and Player Development

In general, teams in Nebraska don't run offense for more than 35 seconds. But, there are times that the offense runs offense forever, and the possession needs to come to a close. My hope is that there is more of a sense of urgency to find a good shot. Which ties into player movement. As that shot clock winds down, looking to cut, get open, set a screen, whatever it may be on offense, may be more of a priority. I'm not saying those things are not happening, but the shot clock adds an element of urgency.

On the player development side. My hope is that players become more multi-dimensional. Players will have to be able to dribble, pass, and shoot. As the shot clock winds down, gotta be able to make some plays. I hope that occurs too.

Reward the Defense

Playing defense is hard. I'm a junky for a 1-3-1 and zone concepts. Playing man-to-man defense is really, really hard. Especially as I have learned more about it from coaches. Why not credit the defense for putting the clamps on for 35 seconds? The saying "Just play more defense and force turnovers." Okay, sure. But night in and night out the game may be officiated differently. It may be more physical and you can force turnovers with steals and contact. Some nights it may be tighter. Why not have a consistent variable to credit the defense? Of course, the possession on defense doesn't end until you grab the rebound, but that's a whole different thing. But I have seen so many games, when it's tight and in the final minutes that a defense works their butt off all for a team to take two minutes off the clock. It's impressive for an offense to not turn it over for that long. That's hard. But, it's boring.

Again, my opinion you don't have to love it.

Is it a Need?

Need is such a strong word. Could we live without the shot clock in high school basketball? Absolutely. Am I excited to see it? Oh my gosh yes, I am. The strategy changes, and late in the games it gets interesting, I am thrilled to see it.

Now for the Schools and Making the Change

It is super important to mention the challenges for the schools. Just some that come to mind are: The cost, these things ain't cheap. And finding volunteers to help out with the shot clock. There's more but those for some reason are glaring to me. As mentioned, Derek Bantam of Medicine Valley and Kolby Hamilton of Maywood-Hayes Center were kind enough to answer some of my questions about the shot clock and the changes to come.

Time Spent/Research for Shot Clocks

Bantam: When we updated the gym in 2020 the scoreboards were capable of having a shot clock added to them so I just contacted them and purchased shot clocks from the same company.

Hamilton: "We researched several different companies and setups. Some places were selling "stand-alone" shot clocks meaning they are not "tied into" your current scoreboard set-up. We wanted shot clocks that were connected to scoreboards so that eliminated the stand-alone units. We then assessed the condition of our current scoreboards and decided that they are at the end of their life and so we started to research new scoreboards and shot clocks. We spent a lot of time figuring out exactly what we wanted and brought the issue up to our school board who helped us narrow it down even more. We eventually decided on Daktroniks scoreboards and shot clocks. I ended up spending way more time on it than anticipated, I do know that for sure."

Price Range for the Shot Clocks

Bantam: "They were around $3,500 dollars."

Hamilton: "I'd say just shot clocks alone are in the $3,000-$7,000 range and that doesn't include installation costs. Custom brackets to mount them above the hoops as well as getting electricity to them is another added cost that wasn't cheap."

Finding Volunteers to Run the Shot Clocks

Bantam: "I have some people in mind to run the shot clock.  You just have to have someone that is knowledgeable of the game and can pay attention while the game is going on.  For a small school it can be a challenge to find someone, and you have to find room at the scores table to fit them in."

Hamilton: "I have yet for anyone to jump at the opportunity to volunteer to run it. I think the biggest issue is going to be knowing the rules of when it resets. Even at the highest level of basketball with professionals running it, there are screw ups so I expect there to be a pretty big learning curve with it--including coaches, players, and officials."

How Much Are You Looking Forward to Coaching With a Shot Clock?

Bantam: "Honestly I think it will be fine, it will take some getting used to in the beginning but I don’t see it changing the game much."

Hamilton: "I am definitely looking forward to it because it adds another level of strategy. Not having to foul as early because teams can't just run out the clock when they have a lead at the end of the game. I think it will probably speed up close games as well because the fouling won't start as early or at all. I also think that it will reward teams for playing good defense. If you are able to guard someone for 35 seconds without them getting a shot off, then you should be rewarded."

Any Other Challenges or Exciting Things about the Shot Clock

Bantam: "You will just have to make sure the kids adjust to end of clock of situation’s, if you are on defense don’t foul with under 10 sec’s left in the shot clock because the clock will reset.  If on offense you will have to have a set that you can go to to get a good look at the basket."

Hamilton: "I think the biggest challenge for players will be to shift into a different mode when the shot clock gets under 10 or less and they have to find a shot. However, I want our players to play a style where the shot clock never gets under 10 seconds so hopefully we don't have to worry about it much! Overall, I think it is a good change to the game."

It should be very interesting to see how it all pans out. I am super excited to see it unfold.

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