Should the OHSAA Have A Shot Clock? Weighing the Pros and Cons

Jack O'Neill, Staff Writer

Watching my teammate Sujay Nalla hit a clutch three point shot to put University School’s freshman team within three points of victory, I felt a sense of hope rushing through my body. “We could really pull off this 14 point comeback,” I thought to myself. Looking at the clock, 1 minute and 39 seconds shined on the pixelated scoreboard. “Just one stop” I thought. Instead of playing to strengthen their lead, NDCL held the ball until we had to foul them, and stop the clock. Although a strategically smart plan, this made my team’s chances at winning vanish. Although upset, this defeat solidified my belief that Ohio should implement a 35 second shot clock. My team could have gotten a defensive stop, and the ball back to potentially win the game. Late game scenarios like this happen way too often, even at the varsity level. States all across the country have implemented a shot clock for high school basketball, so why can’t Ohio?


Implementing a shot clock has been discussed plenty of times in Ohio. Coaches all across Northeast Ohio, such as St. Edwards’s Eric Flannery, and St. Ignatius’s Cam Joyce, have been criticizing Ohio’s controversial shot clock, and expressing their beliefs on Twitter. When St. Ignatius traveled across the country to California for a tournament in which a shot clock was used, Cam Joyce described the games as, “High level. Teams ran their sets, game pace was great, and you never felt out of the game in the 4th quarter.” He added, “It’s time to get them Ohio!” I asked University School Varsity Basketball Head Coach Sean McDonnell about adding a shot clock, and he agreed with the other coaches. Coach McDonnell made a point similar to Cam Joyce’s saying that “If a team is down 10, there’s not much they could do in regard to making a comeback if their opponent runs a 1-2 minute offense.” Having no shot clock shatters teams hopes to get a comeback victory. Taking 1-2 minutes off the clock in an 8 minute quarter puts the losing team at an extreme disadvantage, as they would have less time to make a comeback victory. When their opponent would get the ball back, after a score or turnover they would continue playing consivertively. Thus, making the comeback seem even more impossible. Coach McDonnell also added that having a shot clock will make the true best team win. He stated, “Hypothetically, with a shot clock, you can hold the ‘better’ opponent to 20 shots a game, while with a shot clock, they could be near 50.” Watching most varsity basketball games, you would realize that most possessions don’t get affected by adding a 35 second shot clock. Successful teams such as reigning division 1 state champions Centerville have quick offenses that would rarely get affected by implementing a shot clock. I watched Centerville’s entire first half versus Archbishop Moeuller, and in the 16 offensive possessions in which they scored in, all scores came under 35 seconds. The idea that having a shot clock would make it harder for teams to score is a complete myth, at least for successful teams. Even with all of these points, the question still remains, why doesn’t Ohio have a shot clock implemented? Although in many people’s opinions, (including mine) the benefits outweigh the negatives, there are still some disadvantages of adding a shot clock.

The main reasons why teams don’t want to have a shot clock mainly consist of financial reasons. Shot clocks cost thousands of dollars, which some schools cannot afford. Coming up with 2,000 dollars is a blessing that schools such University School can come up with, while other schools may not be as fortunate enough to collect that money before the season a shot clock would be implemented. Another component that shot clocks having a shot clock is, you would need another volunteer added to make sure the shot clock is managed. There is already a shortage of volunteers to keep the scoreboard, and needing another volunteer would further worsen this problem. States such as Massachusetts have already implemented a 35 second shot clock, and instead of having a traditional 3 referees for their varsity games, they only have two, as one referee manages the shot clock. Many programs would much rather have three refs instead of a shot clock. Varsity Assistant Coach Nick Scrira, an OHSAA certified referee said, “There are a lot of empty spots within two ref crews.” Other reasons consist of strategic plans, as Dr. Yoder explained that his highschool ran a four corners offense that intentionally ran time off the shot clock to try to keep their game close, hoping that they could beat a superior team by keeping the game close throughout the majority of the game.


Reflecting off the game I lost, there is no clear answer saying we would’ve won the or lost the game with a 35 second shot clock. This is what makes adding a shot clock so important. You don’t know who is clearly gonna be the victor with 1:39 seconds left in a game with a shot clock. Although the cons should be considered when evaluating having a shot clock, adding one would significantly improve the game. After all, a team in hopes of making a comeback is a lot more common than a team running four corners offense. While coming at a price, the shot clock is a vital aspect in levels higher than highschool, and it is necessary for it to become a part of Ohio’s rulebook.