Longtime Lexington boys basketball coach Bailey Harris said he is torn about the idea of a shot clock coming to high school basketball in South Carolina.
“I believe we need it, at 35 or 40 seconds. I hope we get to test it in some tournaments next year,” Harris said. “But the administration of it really concerns me. I’m also very concerned about how well it will be run from the scorers’ table. I have a hard enough time getting qualified clock operators at every game, and the shot clock will need a trained person.”
Byrnes boys basketball coach Layne Fowler, who came up with the idea of getting a shot clock in South Carolina, understands those concerns and heard others when he spoke to Class 5A athletic directors concerning his proposal Monday at the South Carolina League Office.
“I got more push back than I expected,” Fowler said. “No one was rude, but I am guessing if we had a vote, it might have been 60-40 against it. But they are going to take it back to their coaches and they are getting an idea of if they support it. Then it will be brought up in spring athletic directors’ meeting.”
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The spring athletic directors meeting will be held in Charleston sometime in March. If it is voted on and passed by Class 5A athletic directors, then it will go to a vote before the other classes. If approved, there would be a two-year trial period starting next season during Christmas tournaments and then full time in the 2020-2021 season.
Fowler said even if it is shot down this year, he is going to keep bringing it up because he thinks it’s that important for high school basketball in the state.
Under Fowler’s proposal, the shot clock would be 40 seconds, five seconds longer than a college shot clock and be used in boys and girls games on varsity, junior varsity and freshman level. Cost for a shot clock is estimated at $3,700 plus installation and money you would have to pay someone to run it for each game.
Currently, there are eight states that have a shot clock in high school basketball – Maryland Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, Washington, North and South Dakota and New York.
Harris said Lexington played in a some tournaments in California where the shot clock was used in the mid-2000s.
“We really didn’t seem to play a lot differently,” Harris said. “Biggest impact likely to be whether to foul or wait out the clock on a close game late when trailing. I’m not 100 percent all in, but think it’s probably a good idea.”
The proposal has the support from Ben Lippen’s John Combs, the president for the S.C. Basketball Coaches Association, and college coaches throughout the state. South Carolina coach Frank Martin posted on social media over the weekend that he is in favor of the issue.
Fowler thinks a shot clock is needed to help grow the game and likens it to the 3-point shot when it was introduced in the 1980s. The 3-point shot was met with push back but has helped revolutionize basketball and the way it is played.