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Shot clock, or no shot clock? That was the question posed and discussed at length on social media during this year’s girls and boys state basketball tournaments in Lincoln.

YORK – The debate about whether high school basketball in Nebraska should use a shot clock or keep playing without one raged on through social media during this year’s girls and boys state basketball tournaments in Lincoln.

With the debate still continuing into this week, the York News-Times gathered the opinions on the subject from a handful of its area head basketball coaches. Here’s what the YNT came up with, in no particular order:

Matt Kern, York girls basketball coach

“I would welcome a shot clock. I don’t think it’s great for the game to see people holding the ball for long periods of time. I don’t think we would notice much of a change in the game overall as the majority of shots are taken with less than 40 seconds. Teams may try to adopt more zone defense to put pressure on the offense, but that’s OK as we see so much zone now anyway. And like any rule change, there will be a slight adjustment period. If anything, a shot clock would improve the game as kids would develop awareness of where the clock is at. Kids would learn to play with less time on the clock. As of now, they only have four potential instances in a game to get off a shot with a clock running down.”


Jarrod Weiss, McCool Junction boys basketball coach

“I feel like there should be a shot clock to speed the game up. Also, it will allow teams to have more possessions and more opportunities to score in close- or late-game situations. I also feel with the shot clock, you may have less fouls knowing that a team has to attempt to score in the allotted amount of time on the clock, which would allow defenses to play out the possession versus putting a team on the free-throw line. I definitely see both pros and cons of a shot clock. A shot clock would definitely change the scope of the game in many situations, one in which I would like to see in the future.”


Aaron Rohde, High Plains boys basketball coach

“I think a shot clock would definitely change the tempo of our game. I believe that it would benefit some and others would have to change their philosophies. Teams that have the ability to play an up-tempo game – teams with depth and athleticism – would really benefit. I would like to see it implemented.”


Kyle Ediger, Hampton boys basketball coach

“I think the shot clock would be a good idea. It would eliminate the ‘delay game’ or teams that stall throughout the game to limit their opponent’s possessions. In my opinion, we’re teaching the youth how to play basketball, and stalling or long delays isn’t basketball. If the shot clock is something high school accepts, it should be longer than college.”


Scott Lamberty, York boys basketball coach

“I have never been a big proponent of the shot clock – I don’t see the need. However, when down by several points in the state tournament against Crete and Skutt (in 2018), and they were holding the ball, I suddenly wanted a shot clock. But, we tried to force tempo and we were able to create a couple turnovers and missed shots. But, I really didn’t want the shot clock when we held the ball the last couple minutes against Adams Central this season and hit a buzzer-beater to win. Coaches will adjust if we had the shot clock, but let’s not have it driven because people outside the game think we need it. Is it truly going to help the game by having the shot clock? I don’t know that it really will help the game – it’ll just make it different to a certain extent. Outside of that last possession at Adams Central, I don’t think we had five possessions all year last longer than 35 seconds and we got a lot of really good looks. We did, however, have a lot of defensive possessions last a lot longer than 35 seconds, either because another team was patient or we guarded them well enough that they couldn’t get a good look. So, no shot clock did penalize a good defensive team a bit.”


Dade McDonald, McCool Junction girls basketball coach

“I understand both sides of the argument and can see both perspectives. My thoughts on the issue are that we aren’t going to make the product, high school basketball, any better by controlling the amount of time that a team has to attempt a shot. I think that some research has to be done to see how long possessions are currently taking and if that’s why scoring is down before we implement a shot clock. My thought is that we, and I do mean we, are spending less time on fundamentals and many are spending less time shooting on their own. My philosophy is that if you want to score 60 points, you have to shoot the ball between 50-60 times from the field, so we want to increase the number of possessions in a game anyway, no matter if there’s a shot clock or not. I also think at the high school level there are distinct levels of athletic ability from team to team, and the ability to grind out possessions and force a more athletic team to guard for longer can help level the field for a team that may not have the same amount of athletic talent. I do know that if they do decide to implement a shot clock that people would adjust, but I’m not sure that it’s what is best for all high school teams and that it could create an even bigger disparity between the top and the bottom.”


Cam Scholl, Centennial boys basketball coach

“I think that it’ll improve the pace of play of the game itself. I’m not sure that’s going to be a good thing, especially when it first starts to happen. If it does happen and we do stick with it, I think it’ll improve the skill level of all classes in three to five years. I think one of the unintended consequences of doing this that people don’t talk about as much is that there’s going to be some really big scoring margins when one team is significantly better than the other. There will be a lot more 40-point games when the clock turns on just because there will be more possessions which means more points.”


Tyler Dorn, Nebraska Lutheran boys basketball coach

“In my coaching career, I’ve only had one player move on to the next level – Braden Beiermann. I talked with him on the subject and he believes the state should have a shot clock but we also have to take into consideration the level of the game. With the smaller schools, you don’t always have basketball athletes who can create their own space to get a shot off. I do think the bigger schools should have a shot clock but we also don’t want the game to turn ugly just to make the game more exciting or have quicker pace. I also asked Braden how it went going from no shot clock to a shot clock and he said that it was an easy transition. The college level is already fast enough where teams are already getting off shots.”


Mitch Boshart, Cross County girls basketball coach

“I’m fine with the fact that we don’t have a shot clock in Nebraska. My reasoning has nothing to do with paying to install and operate a shot clock, but more to do with the fact that it would change the strategy drastically for some teams. Some teams run a slower style offense where they set screen after screen while moving the ball looking to go inside, and other teams like to push the tempo and get quick shots off of a fast-paced offense – to each their own. This argument always resurfaces around district and state tournaments. Part of that may be because at this time of the year, coaches know it’s a win-or-go-home situation and they’re more willing to try milking the clock more in a district game to keep them in it. My question is, why punish coaches who have disciplined their players enough to not turn the ball over in those situations? Why instead don’t coaches that are playing against a team that is stalling, pull their defenders up and increase the pressure? With the outside noise growing louder, in my mind, it’s just a matter of time before we see the idea of a shot clock become more serious. Obviously coaches would adjust if a shot clock would be put in place, but only time will tell how it impacts the game. My fear is that we would go with 30 seconds and continue to have the argument that it should be less and less. I feel like this would just lead to worse shots more often, rather than better offense. For those that argue it would make the game better, what do we mean by better? Is better defined by more points scored? My version of better is having two teams that are able to play the game that works best for them. If that includes a team that runs a slower offense, then the other coach better scout and have a defensive plan in place to speed it up or generate steals.”


Jordan High, Fillmore Central boys basketball coach

“I see both sides of the argument, but I think where the argument comes into play the most is at the end of games with 3-5 minutes left and one team has a 6-point lead and they run the old North Carolina 4 Corners offense. This happened multiple times watching basketball at the state tournament. It’s frustrating as a fan, but I’m not sure it hurts the kids. Without a shot clock, it gives coaches much more freedom with their offensive philosophy. If you have an inferior team, you can slow down the game and keep your team in it longer, as well as maybe frustrate a team that likes to get up and down. However, at the end of games, again, teams can stall. This forces your team out to pressure, which the offense hopes turn into an easy layup. But, there’s a little beauty in it too, in that your team has to be able to handle the pressure and not turn the ball over. What I would really hate to see is if teams in Nebraska start seeing what some teams in other states are doing and holding it for 2-3 minutes in the first half and the defense letting them. It’s terrible for basketball. The argument for a shot clock is that it creates a faster-paced game, favors teams who are superior and keeps games moving at the end. It also forces coaches to get more creative offensively. I could also argue that the shot clock has actually made college basketball harder to watch. College teams run a set play, and if it doesn’t work they will run isolation or a ball screen. In some cases, there is absolutely no flow to the offense, and it is boring to watch. I like to see a flowing, moving offense where the whole team is involved. In the case of high schools, it might be especially hard because most smaller schools don’t have the luxury of superior athletes who can make a play as the clock winds down. I think in the end we need to ask: Is the shot clock better for our kids and for basketball in the state of Nebraska as a whole? It’s hard to answer and I don’t have those answers. I’m neither in favor of a shot clock nor against a shot clock. Besides, I’m pretty sure our NSAA board is pretty against making a rule that goes against what National Federation of State High School Associations is doing. Until NFHS puts in the shot clock, I don’t think the NSAA will.”


Dan Conway, Cross County boys basketball coach

“I’m neither for or against adding a shot clock. If it happens, great. If it doesn’t, we’ll continue doing what we do. I think the argument for a shot clock based solely on teams holding the ball at the end of quarters and games is not a valid argument. The defensive 5-second rule prohibits someone from standing stationary and holding the ball. If you don’t want someone to stall, then the defense needs to get out and guard them. It’s actually incredibly difficult to maintain possession of the ball for 45 seconds to a minute. It requires a lot of skill work on passing and receiving, footwork, spacing, etc. It’s much easier to shoot the ball quickly and limit the number of people who touch the ball. If a shot clock is instituted, it needs to be to make the overall game better. Saying this, I’m not sure if adding a shot clock will have the impact on the game that most casual fans believe it will. It’ll probably make shooting percentages go down, which may or may not impact scoring. Some teams will still utilize longer possessions and others won’t. Look at Virginia’s pace of play at the college level. In a typical high school game, there are already more possessions in a game than there would be if each team used a full 35-second shot clock to shoot. If the shot clock is short, say 25 seconds or so, it actually may allow some kids to become less skilled. In the NBA there are a handful of guys who are heavily involved in the offense and other guys who aren’t, and they stand in the corner and wait to shoot or they are only a screener. I’m not sure if this would be the way high school coaches approach offense with a shot clock, but it makes sense in order to make sure that the right guys are getting the most shots. The biggest adjustment, and probably the reason I would be most in favor of it, in the addition of a shot clock would be game management for coaches. Coaches would have to manage possessions and situations at the end of games better because they wouldn’t be able to rely on being fouled and sent to the free-throw line, especially in 1- or 2-point games with a couple of minutes left.”


Shad Eberhardt, Fillmore Central girls basketball coach

“In all honesty I don’t really have an opinion either way in which one I would prefer. There are benefits and disadvantages for both. I think the major benefit would be for the end of games when teams are trying to stall out the clock with the lead. The shot clock would give the other team the opportunity to continue to try to stay in the game by just getting regular defensive stops without fouling. Although this would be a benefit, I also personally believe that it’s a tribute to a team’s abilities if they are able to hold onto the ball for extended periods of time without turning the ball over. I’ve had teams on both ends of this. I’ve had some teams that are really good at controlling the ball and have also had teams that weren’t quite as strong with possessing the ball for long periods. I think that’s where coaching comes into play and also strategy on when to foul or not, or when to try to begin to work some clock. To me that’s all part of the coaching strategy. I think some disadvantages would be that it would speed some teams up that like to play for possessions, which is probably their strategy. I would hate to see a team take poor shots as the clock is expiring, but in the same token I don’t feel that most possessions last that long anyway, minus the end of quarters or games. I also think that having a clock could be a bit of a hindrance in giving athletes something else to worry about besides the defense they’re facing and looking for a good shot, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.”


Erik Wetjen, Heartland boys basketball coach

“Shot clock pros for me would be to stop teams from stalling – I do believe it’s a great coaching move if needed to win. More opportunities for the offense and defense makes the game more enjoyable. For cons, I think you would see a lot more zone defense. It could force players to shoot poor shots or rush their shot. Cost to install shot clocks in every gym in the state. I personally don’t care either way. If there’s a shot clock, maybe just utilize it for 30 seconds the last three minutes of a game, but not for the entire game. Would fouls at the end of the game decrease? Maybe. Adding a shot clock takes away a coaching strategy and changes the game. I would like to see some research on average possession for the whole season in high school. It’s probably less than 30 seconds, just guessing.”


Greg Veerhusen, Heartland girls basketball coach

“Right now I’m not for it being used during an entire game. I think it allows too many teams to sit back in a zone and just wait for the shot clock to run down, and then the other team has to shoot it at the end of the shot clock. That works in the college game because you probably have two or three players at minimum that can extend the zone. But in Class D-1 girls basketball, that isn’t going to happen too often. In high school – and I’m talking from a Class D-1 girls basketball coach’s perspective since that’s all I know – sometimes the best game plan is to be patient and shorten up the game to give your team a chance at the end. I know that’s not the most entertaining basketball to watch. But in high school, are the coaches and players there to entertain the fans, or are they there to teach them about hard work, discipline and how to make their team successful? I wouldn’t oppose a shot clock at the last four minutes of the game, if a team is playing man. That way a team can’t just dribble out the remaining time. But that’s asking a lot of officials, and in my opinion basketball is already the toughest game to officiate. So why add more to it.”


Jake Polk, Centennial girls basketball coach

“I would be all for a shot clock if it was implemented and had a reasonable time. I don’t think you can say the shot clock forces bad shots as the defense should get some credit for playing tough. End-of-quarter situations would change from deciding when to hold for one shot, to trying to play the shot clock and go 2-for-1, and that’s exciting to me. I’d be really intrigued to have the student-athletes give their opinion on this debate as they’re the ones playing the game. In many instances, not having a shot clock means fourth-quarter keep-a-way by the team in the lead. Do we have a stall game at Centennial? Of course we do, as should every team. If you have the lead in the fourth with no restriction on how long you can hold the ball, you set aside time in practice for keep-a-way and free throws. A shot clock would help teams losing get the ball back without having to turn the fourth quarter into a free-throw contest, while also exposing teams just trying to hang on for a win. I’ve never been an advocate of playing ‘not to lose’, and stalling sometimes feels like that to me.”


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