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The Coaches Network Discusses the Shot Clock and Other Possible Rule Changes

  • Date:
    Apr 24, 2015

There was much talk during the NCAA Tournament about the possibility of changing the college shot clock to 24 seconds. The college game currently employs a 35-second shot clock.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) does not regulate the use of any shot clock – though eight states have adopted the use of shot clocks for either boys or girls or both. So we asked the USA Basketball Coaches Network:

Do you think a shot clock improves the game regardless of the level of play? Additionally, what rule changes (shot clock included) would you like to see at the high school level?


Sharman White, head coach, Miller Grove High School (Ga.)

I'm under the strong belief that the shot clock really improves the game regardless of level because of the pace that it provides to the game. Pace is what allows more opportunities for scoring and generates more excitement for the fans. More possessions are produced for each team, which provides for constant action within the game itself. With the college game eyeing a possible change of the shot clock from 35 to 24 seconds, it’s evident that more pace and more possessions will give the game more appeal to fans.  

The idea of using a shot clock at the high school level is something I am very passionate about. Not only does it teach kids pace I spoke of earlier, it also prepares them for playing on every level after they matriculate through high school. For the past three years, we have hosted a “Shot Clock” summer league where we play with a 35-second shot clock. The idea was to give the shot clock a platform for a possible rule change in our state, where we could go to the use of a shot clock. The teams and coaches that participate in this league are strongly in favor of the use of a shot clock and see the benefits of such a concept for the enrichment of our game here in Georgia, as it is in other states around the nation. Hopefully, we can continue to build the momentum needed to make the shot clock a part of high school basketball in our state.

POLL: Should the NCAA switch to a 24-second shot clock?

Don Showalter, head coach, Iowa City High School (Iowa)

I definitely like the shot clock! I was unsure about the 24-second shot clock but after coaching international competition with USA Basketball and using the 24-second shot clock, I really liked the game much more. The 24-second clock makes the game much more of a players game. The players become more skilled in making quick and accurate decisions and will tend to be much more up-tempo with the game.

Other rules I would like to see in the USA game include:

• The 8-second back court rule, where a team has only 8 seconds to get the ball across half court.

• I would like to see the rule where the ball is advanced to the half court area to inbounds the ball if a time out is called in the last two minutes from the baseline.

• One of the best rules that I think helps the players a great deal to become better skilled and play at a higher level of understanding is the international time out rule.  Players cannot call a time out -- it must come from the coach asking the scorer’s table for a time out after the next dead ball. This takes away all the time outs while falling out of bounds or on the floor for a loose ball or while dribbling to set up a play. This rule puts more control with the players and less with the coaches, which I think is a very good thing for the game of basketball.


Brian Robinson, head coach, Bishop McGuinness High School (N.C.)

I think going to a 24-second shot clock will improve the game, as it would put less emphasis on dribbling the basketball. Moving the basketball by the pass includes everyone on offense, which would probably lead to a better flow. There won't be a lot of time to waste dribbling the basketball, which could help with efficiency.

A 24-second shot clock could also lead to some uniformity at all levels, which makes the transition from high school to college to the international level an easier one for players. Coaches could also benefit, as they might learn to do a better job teaching jumping to the ball on defense and moving without the ball on offense to create passing lanes. 


Sue Phillips, head coach, Archbishop Mitty High School (Calif.)

Playing with a shot clock creates an action-packed game and provides the framework for an exciting brand of basketball. A shot clock tends to reward the offensive team that is efficient and crisp in its execution. In particular, the team that makes decisive reads by taking what the defense gives generally flourishes with a shot clock. The quality of play, however, suffers when a team settles for quick shots instead of working for a higher percentage shot. The shot clock also requires both teams to play the entire game without stalling or refusing to attack a zone defense. Crunch time becomes more interesting, because teams must learn to play with a lead on both ends of the floor.

With respect to high school basketball, the rules from state to state should be consistent. Whether a 24- or 30-second shot clock, every state federation should mandate shot clocks across the board for both boys and girls basketball. This not only improves the quality of play, but also helps with game management skills for those players making the transition from high school to college.

An 8-second or 10-second backcourt should piggyback a 24- or 30-second shot clock, respectively. This forces earlier action in the frontcourt for more scoring opportunities. Five seconds closely guarded in the frontcourt should be another rule that is implemented at the high school level for girls basketball. This limits the amount of east-west dribbling, and encourages more passing and sharing of the basketball. While rules can improve the game, the greatest catalyst for positive change is teaching and reinforcing the fundamentals of the game.



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