A consistent and increasingly loud argument across the basketball nation is that of the high school shot clock. Should we allow teams to stall and see final scores of 25-21 or force coaches to speed up play with a shot clock?

So far 8 states have made the jump and have added a shot clock for high school basketball while the remaining 42 continue to argue over its pros and cons.

My goal is to give you an unbiased view of the facts, the arguments for and against the shot clock, and a breakdown of where we stand today for each and every state.

The History of the Shot Clock

Here are some stats for you:

1954 – The year the NBA introduced the shot clock

1970 – The year women’s college basketball added the shot clock

1985 – The year men’s college basketball added the shot clock

???? – The year the shot clock was introduced nationwide at the high school level

Here’s a breakdown of the arguments on both sides:

For Adding a Shot Clock in High School

Call it “stalling” when a team holds the ball for minutes at a time

  • Believe that stalling isn’t basketball
  • Think it’s boring
  • The vast majority of casual fans are strongly opposed to the shot clock, although not 100%
    • “After every boys’ state tournament, if there was a time when coaches were running the spread offense ‘stall,’ we would get complaints from fans.” – Cindy Adsit, WIAA

Antigo stalls its way to 14-11 upset of Hodags in WIAA tournament

Against Adding a Shot Clock in High School

Call it “the spread offense” when a team holds the ball for minutes at a time

  • Adds additional cost (a shot clock costs anywhere from $2,000-5,000)
    • Must buy or rent shot clocks for the gym
    • Must pay an additional person to operate shot clocks at every game
  • Must retrain officials
  • Will lead to a reduction in quality of play as teams rush to force shots
  • Takes away a coaches strategy to slow the game down to better match up to a certain opponent
  • The game is already in good shape. There aren’t complaints

Aside from the cost aspect of adding shot clocks, the argument tends to come down to a generational disagreement on how the game should be played. Younger players and coaches, especially those that grew up playing in the AAU circuit with shot clocks tend to be pro shot clock.

The younger generation knows nothing except the shot clock era in college and NBA basketball. The stars they grew up watching play the fast paced, run-and-gun style and they want to as well. They don’t believe stalling is basketball – they believe it’s keep-away.

The older generation grew up before the shot clock era and much of the influence for how the game should be played comes from their own childhood and coaches. They believe that the game is strategic and teams should play to their strengths and do whatever they can to win.

If that means the spread, four-corners offense then so be it.

Which states have a shot clock in high school basketball?

Currently, only eight states have instituted a shot clock in high school basketball. This goes against the NFHS rules and, because of this, those states are not permitted a seat on the Basketball Rules Committee.

  • California
    • In 1997, California approved the use of the shot clock, becoming the first state to do so for boys basketball. High school girls basketball had been using a shot clock since 1976.
  • Maryland
    • In 2017 Maryland installed a 35-second shot clock for boys basketball
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • North Dakota
    • North Dakota began requiring the shot clock in 2011
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
    • Implemented the shot clock state-wide for the 2017 season
  • Washington
    • Washington added the shot clock in 2009
  • Wisconsin*
    • In 2017 Wisconsin approved the use of a 35-second shot clock in varsity basketball games beginning the 2019-20 season. This will make them the 9th state to adopt the shot clock.
    • According to WIAA associate director Deb Hauser, 81% of coaches responded in favor of adding a 35-second shot clock.
    • The WIAA approved the shot clock by a vote of 6-4

Which states do NOT have a shot clock in high school basketball?

The 42 states below do NOT have a shot clock at the high school level. Here is some recent news, by state, from the debate:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

What’s you’re take on the state of high school basketball and it’s need for a shot clock? Yes? No?

Let us know in the comments below and be sure to include what state you’re from!


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