By Tom Behrens
There are conversations, pro and con, going on around Texas whether high school basketball needs a shot clock. The pros have it, colleges all use one, why not high schools?
College basketball has had shot clocks for men and women since 1985, Texas high school teams have never had one.
California, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Washington, North Dakota and South Dakota use a shot clock. The idea has been discussed informally in Texas for 30 years, but the University Interscholastic League has never been close to implementing it because a majority of the school superintendents are against it.
Coaches statewide are mixed on the idea according to Texas Association of Basketball Coaches assistant director Bob Wall. Teams that don’t press or push the pace, the shot clock might not be advantageous.
But the main reason shot clocks won’t be coming soon to Texas is simple, $cost$.
Every gym would have to be retrofitted with wiring for a shot clock. An additional person would be needed work the table for every single game, varsity through freshman, or for junior high, down through the seventh-grade B team. That’s another salary to be paid from the District budget.
Research done by the Dallas News found that when the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference added shot clocks for the 2010-11 season, the cost for purchasing and installing shot clocks would be $1,600 to $1,800 for each court. The price would undoubtedly be higher now for Texas schools.
Most teams shoot the ball in well under 30 to 35 seconds, the typical length of time for shot clocks.
What a shot clock would eliminate, however, is when teams stall while leading late in games. In last year’s 6A state semifinal, DeSoto passed the ball around for nearly a minute while leading Cibolo Steele by two points late in the game. The Eagles won the game 58-53. Wall High School beat Brock 24-21 in last year’s 3A girl’s state final. It was the lowest point total by a champion in UIL history.
Again, the question, does high school basketball need a shot clock? Something to think about as we root the Cinco Ranch boys along in this year’s quest for a state basketball title.