If you are a high school basketball fan at all, or have even just been to a game or two in your life, there’s a very good chance you’ve overheard some form of this question:
Does Minnesota need a shot clock? When will it be approved?
In just the last half-decade, a couple specific games that stick out as evidence of the need for a shot clock talk louder among the basketball community than the many others with no consequence.
The 2014 boys Class 4A state semifinal between Hopkins and Shakopee was prolonged into four grueling overtimes with a final score of 49-46; the winner of the jump ball in three of the four extra periods held it until the final seconds without any pressure from the defense. Hopkins star Amir Coffey tossed a 70-foot prayer at the buzzer for the win.
Waseca and Marshall faced off in the first round of the 2018 Section 2AAA playoffs. Waseca won 17-4 — Marshall decided to hold the ball at halfcourt most of the game while Waseca sat back in a zone defense. The two teams played twice in the regular season, Waseca winning both, by margins of eight and 17.
Several holiday tournaments around the state have experimented with a shot clock over the years; most people involved would say it didn’t affect a whole lot during the course of a game except in the last few minutes. South Dakota has utilized a shot clock across the state recently and it hasn’t swung too much in either direction in most games.
We asked area boys and girls basketball head coaches for their opinions on a shot clock in Minnesota and whether we’ll see it fully implemented soon.
Do you think Minnesota needs a shot clock?
Mike Lee, Lester Prairie girls: I am in favor of a shot clock at the high school level. Basketball has continuously evolved and this seems like the logical next step. Players and teams would naturally become better offensively and defensively.
Keith Traska, Mayer Lutheran boys: I don’t believe Minnesota needs a shot clock at this time. I’m a strong believer that if you don’t like something the opponent is doing then you should change what you’re doing. If a team is stalling, we will pressure them.
Terry Techam, Delano boys: Yes, we need a shot clock. I think it will give the game more flow and make the end of games more interesting (less fouling and stalling at the end of games).
Rob Walters, Dassel-Cokato girls: I started coaching in 1988 and over the years this has come up a lot. Personally I don’t care for the idea. I think the good teams will be even better and the mediocre teams will struggle. If you’re struggling to get the ball past halfcourt then you have a short amount of time to get a good look at the hoop.
Ryan Petersen, HLWW girls: A shot clock in Minnesota would be a great addition to the game. It would prevent teams from stalling, reward good defense and be another entertaining aspect to the game.
Kent Janikula, Watertown-Mayer boys: I would be in favor of a shot clock, yes. Not sure I would say we “need” it. Basketball is great in our state so I don’t think it’s a problem.
How would it affect the way your team plays?
Traska: I don’t think it will change how we play this year and next, but it might in the future. I like an uptempo game with lots of scoring and pressure defense.
Janikula: I think it brings more strategy into games, which is fun. Defensively we have played some zone over the years and that can be difficult without a shot clock. We played in the St. Cloud Cathedral tournament for years and they used a shot clock. When I was an assistant we won a game there when trailing by 10 with three minutes to go.
Techam: I don’t think it will have much effect on how we play. We usually play at a pretty fast pace but I’m interested to see how it will change teams’ strategies at the end of games.
Kris Gustin, Mayer Lutheran girls: I don’t think it would change much of what we do. We would have to put an end of shot clock situation in, but what we run would be unaffected. We’ve played with a shot clock at the Eden Valley-Watkins tournament the past several years and it only impacted a handful of possessions.
Lee: We try to be an uptempo team so offensively it might not be too big of a change depending on what the shot clock time would be. Defensively our full-court game may change a little and we would have multiple defenses for the end of the game depending on the score and situation.
Tony Dehler, Dassel-Cokato boys: For our program, it would not affect us at all on either end of the floor. Our style of play is fast and aggressive, so we should rarely run into a shot clock issue.
Do you expect to see a shot clock implemented in the next five to 10 years?
Walters: Yes, I believe in the next few years you will see this implemented.
Janikula: I do think it is something we will see in our state in the next 10 years.
Dehler: I honestly could see one being put in place. I think the natural tendency is to want to see more scoring and an uptempo game, and putting a shot clock in would ensure more possessions.
Gustin: Tough question. I don’t think so because of the cost to install it and the expertise of the required personnel to run it. As an AD, I would need two clock operators. That would be very difficult.
Lee: I would hope to see the shot clock in the next five to 10 years. The initial cost of installation and running the clock will be the biggest reasons for not implementing it.
Traska: As for the future, I hope we get shot clocks, but I’ve been hearing about them since I was playing in high school in the ‘90s. So I guess I’ll believe it when I see it.