By Rob Grubbs, NTH Contributing Writer
High School basketball took a huge leap on Tuesday when the Georgia High School Athletic Association (GHSA) voted to phase in the use of a 30-second shot clock over the next three years.
The change, which was approved by a vote of 53-10, will be the most sweeping change to the high school game in Georgia since the introduction of the 3-point shot for the 1987-1988 season.
Currently, Georgia is the 10th state to adapt the system in the nation.
While there are always pros and cons to any game-changing decision, one of the biggest drawbacks to the shot-clock is economics. It will require each school to add an additional timing element and could require an additional game day official to operate the clock efficiently.
For those reasons, the GHSA is going with a phased approach, with the rule change only affecting certain approved tournaments. In year two, regions can choose to use the clock in all region games and then it goes statewide in the third year.
But what effect will it have on the game itself? What teams will it benefit and what teams will it hurt?
Those questions can bring as much debate as the rule itself.
Kyle Sandy, one of the leading authorities on all things Georgia high school basketball and one of the most listened to podcasts on the subject said, he’s not sure just how much the shot clock will change the flow of the game.
“We do not have data on how many possessions actually lasted longer than 30 seconds,” Sandy said. “The final minute of quarters will be played differently considering there are now 2-for-1 opportunities in play.”
“I think it’s a bit of a fallacy that a shot clock was desperately needed,” Sandy continued. “I think it’s a nice addition, but there aren’t as many teams that play stall-ball four corners as there may have been 40 years ago.”
From a local standpoint, East Coweta Head Coach Royal Maxwell said the evolution of the game of basketball has come so far in a short period of time.
“There are many coaches that are for it as well as against the idea of the implementation. I believe that this part of the game is needed due to the evolution of the game,” he said. “The game is not coached like it once was 40 years ago where you ran offensive plays that were built from the inside first. The game is now run from the 3 point-line with an open concept.”
Newnan Head Coach Trent Gatzemeyer said it’s a “positive change.”
“If it were me, I would probably have set it at 35 seconds instead of 30 but I do think it is good for the sport,” Gatzemeyer said. “I am excited about it and I know college coaches recruiting kids are excited about it as well which is good.”
From a girl’s game standpoint, Trinity Christian’s Head Girls Coach Joe Daniels said he’s excited for the shot clock.
“It is time. I think it will speed up the pace of the game, which likely includes more scoring. It prepares players better for the next level,” he said. “It’s probably wise that they are phasing it in, would love if it were instituted in all games immediately.”
As the coaches finalize their schedules for the 2020/2021 season, their teams will first experience the shot clock early in the season opener and Thanksgiving tournaments.
They will have to use some valuable practice time to prepare for the adjustment, but in just a few short years, it will become as routine as the three-point line. Changes come and go, but the game itself just gets better and better.