MAC ON SPORTS: SHOT CLOCKS ARE COMING TO ILLINOIS PREP BASKETBALL

J. Thomas McNamara

     The Illinois High School Association board is expected to begin discussions on implementation of shot clock for boys and girls basketball when it meets in August.
     Approving use of shot clocks bring with them all kinds of upfront costs for schools as well as training and scheduling qualified operators for games.
     The Decatur Tribune once again reached out to Decatur and Macon County basketball coaches for their reactions to them probably being approved for use in the 2022-23 season.
      LSA’s Tom Saunches, Meridian’s Shannon Houser, Central A&M’s Michael Greer and Mount Zion’s Dale Schuring responded quickly.

     Schuring and Greer are against it with Greer writing, “I would be against it.  I think it would take creativity out of the game as a coach.  It would also take away the ability for less athletically talented teams to compete against teams that are more talented.  People would start seeing more blow outs, rather than competitive games.  Plus, coaches would now have to find another person to run the shot clock along with their book and clock.

    The Mount Zion Braves coach responded, “As we talked before I am not in favor of it   I just don’t think high school basketball has an obligation to prepare athletes for college BB rules.  Very few high schoolplayers make it to the next level compared to those who play in high school.
    I also think it just gives the better team an even larger chance to win.
    I also think the basic divide is 1A-2A vs 3A-4A.  Small schools against, big schools for,”concluded Schuring.
    Saunches didn’t mince words, writing, “Let’s go!”  He explained, “First of all, I think it puts the game solidly in the hands of the players.  I’ve never seen a pick up game game where players intentionally tried not to score.  An unintended consequence would help officials.  The rule would eliminate most “intentional” fouls.  Ultimately, I enjoy the aesthetics of the game with a shot clock.”

    Meridian’s Houser offered, “The way the game is heading it would be a good thing to see at the high school level.

    Shot clock systems cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 depending on whether they are backboard or scoreboard mounted.  And that doesn’t take into consideration whether they can be added to the physical layout of older, smaller gyms without additional costs for renovations.
    Shot clocks were not previously permitted within the National Federation of High Schools playing rules. States that used them forfeited a voice with the national body. Not anymore. The clocks aren’t required, but for the first time, it’s OK with the NFHS if shot clocks are used.
    I will have more on this obviously developing and interesting prep story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.

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