A push by the coaching community has succeeded in bringing the shot clock to Georgia high school basketball.
The Georgia High School Association’s Executive Committee approved the use of a 30-second shot clock during a Tuesday afternoon meeting in Thomaston. High school coaches backed a shot clock addition and their pitch picked up momentum on social media in recent months. College head coaches Tom Crean of Georgia and Rob Lanier were among the speakers Tuesday who supported the measure.
The GHSA’s basketball subcommittee voted 6-0 to send the proposal to the full Executive Committee, which overwhelmingly approved the measure.
“We had a really big push the last week or so, just to make sure that coaches were communicating with their region reps because that’s how it works at the GHSA level, it’s not a state-wide vote, it’s a committee vote,” said Norcross boys head coach Jesse McMillan, one of the shot clock proponents. “We wanted to get as many talking points and communication as we could so we could get an accurate vote, whether they were for it or not.”
A three-year process will phase the shot clock into GHSA competition, beginning with use in non-region games for the 2020-21 season. Those matchups, including tournaments and showcases, will give a high number of teams exposure to the clock.
In 2021-22, the shot clock will be used in non-region play and in region games — but only if its use is approved unanimously by the region. The full use of the shot clock will happen in 2022-23, when it will be used for all games, including the state playoffs.
“It was a good day,” McMillan said of the approval. “I think some of the loudest voices against (the shot clock) are coaches and administrators who aren’t in the game anymore. That doesn’t mean their opinion isn’t valid. But the majority of coaches currently coaching and coming up through the ranks are for it.”
The main concern of the anti-shot clock crowd is the potential cost of installation. McMillan said most newer gyms, those with scoreboards from the last decade, already are outfitted for use with a digital shot clock. A wireless shot clock will be available at most high schools. The shot clocks retail for roughly $2,500, but the company’s price is expected to drop because of bulk purchases from Georgia schools.
As for shot clock operation, officials associations have suggested an extra referee at the scorer’s table to work the clock. Those schools who don’t want to use an official can get training for school personnel to be an operator.