GEORGIA — A colossal change to Georgia high school basketball will be implemented this season. At its June 23 meeting, the Georgia High School Association’s Executive Committee approved a 30-second shot clock which will be in place over the next three seasons.
The move was heralded by the state’s basketball community, which has long shown support for a shot clock, but it could present growing pains.
For years, many coaches have been clamoring for a shot clock, but there have also been concerns over finding personnel to run the clock and operate it effectively, as well as game delays when the equipment malfunctioned.
But those concerns have not been enough to deter the push.
Under the measure, the shot clock will be phased in. Beginning in 2020-21, the clock will only be used in select holiday tournaments and showcase games. The next season, each region will decide on using a shot clock. Beginning in the 2022-23 season, the shot clock will be used in all varsity games, including the state playoffs.
One head coach in Gwinnett County reported the GHSA polled coaches last fall regarding shot clocks. The survey of over 250 coaches showed that 77 percent were in favor of the device in high school games, and only 30 percent believed running the clock was out of the feasible scope of athletic departments.
Chattahoochee boys basketball is one of the few Georgia teams to compete in a GHSA-sanctioned tournament that featured a shot clock. The GHSA permitted a 30-second shot clock in a sanctioned event for the first time at the Hawks-Naismith Tipoff Classic in November 2019.
For the Cougars, who won the 2019-20 Class 6A state championship, it was no big deal. Head coach Chris Short said the Cougars’ fast-tempo play led to little concern putting a shot up within 30 seconds of possession.
Short said the issue will be in the logistics. Schools must not only find someone to run the clock, they will need to provide compensation, which can be strained by purchasing the clocks themselves. Goal-mounted clocks come with a higher cost over floor-mounted units but are easily visible for players.
Managing the connection between the clock and its operator is also a consideration.
At the Hawks-Naismith tournament, Short said the clocks were wireless, but there were connection issues.
Short is in favor of the GHSA using a shot clock and would like to see a goal-mounted, wired shot clock installed at his school.
The GHSA’s approval comes a few months after a vote to implement a national shot clock was squashed. The National Federation of State High School Association — which oversees all state high school athletic governing bodies — voted down a proposal that would implement a nationwide, 35-second shot clock. An NFHS official said the organization will “continue to explore the shot clock issue.”
Georgia will be the 10th state to use a shot clock for high school games.