Updated: Georgia high schools to phase in basketball shot clock

ajc.com

Georgia became the first Southern state to adopt the shot clock for high school basketball Tuesday when the GHSA’s executive committee voted 53-10 to phase it in over three years and make it mandatory by 2022-23.

In the coming season, a 30-second shot clock can be used only in GHSA-approved holiday tournaments or showcase games. In 2021-22, it can be used in region games. By 2022-23, it will be mandatory for all games, including the state playoffs.

Langston Hughes boys basketball coach Rory Welsh successfully argued the case before the GHSA’s executive committee.

‘’We wanted to give every team the ability to have a rally win,’’ Welsh said. “The way the game is now, if you have a three-possession lead with two minutes to go, essentially that game is over. Teams automatically go into stall ball. That’s not the way the game was designed to be played.’’

South Atlanta boys coach Michael Reddick also called the GHSA’s decision a positive step for the game.

“I’ve always been an advocate of the shot clock because if you play real good defense, if you stop somebody for 30 seconds, you get rewarded,’’ Reddick said. “A lot of teams, if they have a smart-headed point guard, they’ll pull the ball out and reset the offense.’’

Welsh and Reddick, whose teams have won two state titles apiece for their schools, also believe the shot clock will make the game more entertaining for fans and players and will better prepare college-bound players for the next level.

Southwest DeKalb’s Kathy Richey-Walton, whose girls teams have won five state titles, had a different take. She opposes the shot clock, though she felt her teams would have the talent to benefit. She just fears that it will de-emphasize passing and team play.

“It won’t be as much of a team thing, working the ball, getting everybody involved,’’ Richey-Walton said. “Now we’ll have to teach them to get up and down quick and look for quick hitters. In college, they have the talent to play that transitional game and not look helter-skelter. I’ve coached in college and AAU with a shot clock. I can adjust, but I’m a little nostalgic.’’

The argument against the shot clock largely is one of finances, tough, and not style.

With that as one of its concerns, the National Federation of High School Associations last month voted down a proposal to mandate shot clocks nationwide.

But Welsh said that shot-clock prices have come down sharply in the past 10 years with technological advances and that his school has purchased one for $2,700. He said he expected the price will go down further as shot-clock makers offer bulk discounts to get Georgia up and running.

Schools will be allowed to have mounted shot clocks on top of backboards or portable clocks stationed in the corners of courts.

Georgia already has some experience with the shot clock. The GHSA allowed it at six tournaments covering 77 games last season. Welsh said the total number of games with shot clocks in the coming season might be 200.

The only states that used shot clocks full-time last season were California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Washington.

‘’We’re the first ones [in the South] to push this initiative through, so it’s good to be a leader and flag-bearer for the sport and its progression,’’ Welsh said. “Stall ball is a loophole in the game. It’s not the way the game was designed to be played. ... It’s a great day to be a basketball coach in Georgia.’’

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