High school basketball in Georgia will be forever changed next season as the GHSA has decided to implement a shot clock for all high school basketball classifications. Strategy, officiating and scoring will be changed forever, as teams will now have 30 seconds to dribble down the field and shoot.
The implementation of the shot clock will have a large impact.
“I don’t even know if I’m for it or against it yet,” Callaway women’s basketball coach Deyano Martin said. “I’ll see how it goes first.”
Martin’s team plays fast with the ball, so he imagines the rule won’t have a big effect on his team until late-game scenarios. Head-to-head matches late in the game will have different approaches from the coaches. Now players will no longer be able to dribble a minute and a half game clock late in the game to win. Teams will need to implement new strategies both offensively and defensively to combat the countdown over goal.
Martin isn’t sure how this will play out in the field, but one thing he does know is that GHSA doesn’t have the infrastructure to provide a stopwatch to every high school in Georgia. This means that each school will have to provide their own stopwatches and will have to find someone who can use them correctly or train someone to do so, which might be difficult to do. It’s a sentiment shared by Troup boys coach Jairo Gay and LaGrange boys coach Mark Veal.
“I think you’re going to have to have two people run it,” Veal said. “It’s going to be a learning curve.”
Funding discrepancies between shot clocks and someone operating them could also be a huge problem. For example, LaGrange High School once bought a shot clock, but Callaway didn’t. None of the three schools has determined who will operate their respective schools’ timers.
There is some hesitation, but Gay is ready for the start of Georgia’s stopwatch era.
“The shot clock is going to push us to be more creative in our coaching, to be more creative in our game preparation,” Gay said. “I am delighted to see how my team, my coaches and the other teams are reacting to the new shot clock rule.”
While Gay is excited about the change in strategy and eagerly awaits a change in his training style, others are not. Martin has been coaching women’s basketball at Callaway for over a decade and isn’t looking forward to changing her coaching style after so many years of managing the game a certain way. Veal sees it impacting his team primarily at the end of quarters only when teams play ‘stall ball’, which doesn’t leave him with a strong opinion one way or the other on the matter. whether the high school basketball shot clock is a good idea or just a fad.
The new era of Georgia high school basketball will begin in the fall of this year, giving teams that don’t yet have shot clocks a short window of time to install them. The three public schools — Callaway, Troup and LaGrange — will all use the shot clock starting in the fall. With this new era fast approaching, coaches, players and observers are in for a new era of basketball in the state of Georgia.