Shot clock not coming to Alabama in the near future

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, July 19, 2023

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The clock will not be ticking next season for high school basketball in Alabama as the state will not be adding a shot clock.

Beginning with last season, the NFHS allowed states to decide to adopt legislation for a 30 or 35 second shot clock. 

Since then several states, including Georgia, have begun using a shot clock. Georgia began using a 35 second shot clock last season. 

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Since then, most high school coaches in Georgia have not expressed any negative impact from adding the shot clock. At most, coaches have had to increase the pace of play for their offense. On defense, some coaches have played more zone to help force the opposing offense into playing late in the shot clock. 

For most teams, the shot clock will not have a major effect on how they play. The biggest effect of adding the shot clock will be in late game situations. 

Throughout the history of high school basketball, teams have routinely tried to stall and run out the clock late in the game. A shot clock forces teams with the lead to execute their final possessions quicker. This gives the team without the lead more of an opportunity to come back in a game. More possessions at the end of games should automatically increase the amount of excitement in a high school basketball game.

Just over the past decade there have been high school games in Alabama with scoring totals of two and 10 points, leading to more discussion of a change.

According to the Director of Officials, Ken Washington, Alabama currently has no plans to add the shot clock to high school basketball next season. The AHSAA also currently has no plans to discuss the possibility of adding a shot clock. 

Washington says that the AHSAA is not necessarily against adding a shot clock, but as of now the high school coaches in Alabama have not expressed a desire to add a shot clock into the game. 

“It’s not that we’re against it,” Washington said. “Our membership just has to want it. Enough people haven’t had an interest in the shot clock in order for us to add it.” 

Washington does not believe that the cost of the equipment is stopping Alabama from adding the shot clock. He believes that the biggest factor right now is the manpower it takes to run the shot clock each game. 

“I just know that there’s a lot that goes into it,” Washington said. “I don’t think that the cost is that much.” 

The costs of adding an extra worker to run the shot clock every game is another factor that Washington mentioned. It could also be hard for a high school to find someone who pays enough attention to detail to operate the shot clock. 

“You can’t be on your phone, you can’t be talking, you have to watch the game,” Washington said. “There’s a little hesitation about it.” 

Lanett Head Coach Tay McCants believes that the addition of a shot clock would be advantageous for his team. 

McCants said his team plays with such a fast pace that the shot clock would not change much for them on offense. 

“It’s kind of in our favor because it makes slower teams speed their game up,” McCants said. “For a lot of teams, they like to play that slow ball, it’s not in their advantage.”

According to McCants, Lanett and other schools in the southern part of Alabama will not be affected as much by the shot clock. 

McCants believes that the use of “stall ball” is more prevalent for the teams up north. Therefore, the shot clock would only really affect Lanett during the playoffs. 

“In our area, teams like to get up and down, play fast paced,” McCants said. “More so up north is where they like to hold the ball.”

Lanett hasn’t yet had to think about how they would have to get workers to run the shot clock each game, but several coaches on Lanett’s staff are certified to be an official. If needed, any of the coaches could serve as the shot clock operator.