Basketball

Area coaches sound off on addition of basketball shot clock

Area coaches sound off on addition of basketball shot clock

Opinions are mixed from coverage area coaches when it comes to the addition of a shot clock in high school basketball.

The Iowa High School Athletic Association and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union announced Tuesday, Aug. 10, that they will adopt a 35-second shot clock for varsity basketball, starting in the 2022-2023 season.

Momentum toward adding a shot clock in Iowa high school basketball has been growing quickly the last few years and Shenandoah girls basketball coach and activities director Jon Weinrich said once the National Federation of High School Associations made it legal, he expected the IGHSAU and IHSAA to follow suit.

“Until the national federation made it legal it was never going to happen,” Weinrich said, “but once they did I anticipated it would come pretty quick. I thought maybe they would do the upper-level schools first or do some kind of trail period, so (implementing it for everyone) was a little surprising, but it probably makes more sense.”

Sidney boys basketball coach and former activities director Kent Larsen also expected it to be implemented at the bigger schools first and was surprised they did it for everybody right off the bat.

Clarinda boys basketball coach Rod Eberly said the addition of a shot clock is a good change for high school basketball in the state.

“I think it’s needed for Iowa high school kids to be able to play with it,” Eberly said. “With more and more kids moving on to play after high school, they have to learn how to play with a shot clock. It allows better teams overall to be the better team. You can’t just hold the ball and stay in the game. You have to learn to get into your offense, get set and use the clock wisely.”

Larsen called it a neat change, but isn’t nearly as on board with the move as Eberly.

“The coaches will adjust, but I don’t see the need for it,” Larsen said. “At Sidney we haven’t really played anybody like that for several years. I look at the way we play and it really wouldn’t affect us very much, maybe at some end of game situations. I think it will lead to some ugly basketball. A lot of kids can’t create their own shot. You look at the high school level, especially at the lower levels, and you’re going to get a kid with the ball in his hands with five seconds left and there will be a lot of air balls.”

Weinrich said he likes the change, but can’t remember many teams he has faced over the years that like to take that much time.

“I don’t think it’s a huge deal for my coaching philosophy,” Weinrich said. “The biggest thing in girls basketball is any team that has had a really good point guard over the years, once you get into the fourth quarter with a lead it’s about impossible to get the ball out of their hands. It will level the playing field, if you have that star athlete.”

Eberly said adding the shot clock should put more emphasis on each possession.

“It will keep the game at a better pace,” Eberly said and I hope it will help communication. A team won’t be able to just run the clock out on you. It shortens the offensive possession, so defensively you don’t have to defend as long. Some of the factors that come into play late in a close game will be a lot different offensively and defensively.”

While Weinrich is glad the change was made from a coaching perspective, he’s not a fan from an activities director’s point of view.

“My fears are you have to pay for it for one, but my biggest fear is training someone to run it,” Weinrich said. “That’s also another call the referees are going to have to make. There will be close plays and with no instant replay, it’s another thing the referees will have to control. It will create more tension in the gym.”

Larsen expects several stoppages in play until everyone gets it figured out.

“One of the biggest problems for schools is going to be finding someone to run it,” Larsen said. “I know a lot of small schools struggle with finding someone to run the regular clock who knows what’s going on and the shot clock is a different animal. You have to be able to reset it and know when to reset it.”

Coaches and players won’t have to worry about the addition of the shot clock right away and it won’t be allowed until the 2022-2023 season.

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