It sometimes seems that everybody in New Jersey is on the clock. We rush to the store, we drive fast and hey we even talk fast.
While the rest of the state rushes around to get things done, it appears the only place where no one is rushing is on the state’s high school basketball courts. Teams hold the ball, sometimes taking a minute per offensive position as they search for the perfect shot, leading to games ending with scores like 41-35, as opposed to the higher scoring possible.
And if a team is trailing with four minutes to go, good luck trying to get back in the game. Teams will hold the ball without even taking a look at the hoop. This is what happened earlier this year when the Patrick School, one of the state’s top teams featuring at least five future Division 1 players, held the ball for five minutes against St. Augustine Prep at the Seagull Classic at Holy Spirit High School. At the time, the Celtics held a 44-41 lead over the Hermits.
The incident reignited the debate about having a shot clock. Following the incident, the Patrick School took to social media to defend its decision to hold the ball. The school said it was because of the Prep’s solid defense that they held the ball.
It’s time for high school basketball to catch up to the rest of the state and speed up the pace.
Introducing a shot clock would make games more entertaining and better prepare players for college play.
Eight states — New York, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Washington — use shot clocks of either 30 or 35 seconds for high school boys and girls basketball. That’s the amount of time a team has after inbounding the ball to take a shot that hits the rim, otherwise it must turn the ball over to the other team.
The biggest obstacle to a shot clock is cost. The initial cost to install a shot clock system is estimated to be from $3,000 to $5,000. In these times, when just about every expenditure on nearly every school budget is scrutinized, that can be a lot to ask. But those costs can be budgeted over time.
The National Federation of State High School Associations does not mandate a shot clock. Although it is discussed in New Jersey high school basketball circles, there is no official movement to implement a shot clock. Any proposal would have to be made by a member school of the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association, which governs most high school sports in the state.
For the sake of the game, we hope that happens soon.