UHSAA Adopts 35-Second Shot Clock In Basketball

January 25, 2022 / Athletic AdministrationBasketballCoaching

The Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) will feature a new wrinkle in its Boys’-and-Girls’ Basketball games, starting in the 2022-23 school year.

In a meeting last week, the UHSAA Board-of-Trustees voted to add a 35-second shot clock for varsity high school basketball games for all classifications in Boys’-and-Girls’ Basketball, beginning in the 2022-23 season. The rules regarding the length of the clock, the placement of the clock, and other logistical matters will follow the guidelines set by the NFHS Basketball Rules Committee, which voted in the Spring of 2021 to make shot clock usage available for State Association adoption beginning next season.

uhsaa“The stigma in Utah has always been that in the fourth quarter when you’re down four to six, you’re really down 10 to 12 ’cause they make you play the foul game and chase game and stall. And now if you play good defense you get rewarded. It will change the game big time in the fourth quarter,” Matt Barnes, who’s in his 25th year as head coach at Olympus High School and the president of the boys coaches association, told The Deseret News.

As part of the UHSAA Board’s decision, host schools and regions will have the ability to decide on whether the shot clock will be used in sub-varsity games. The NFHS rules stipulate that all rules regarding the shot clock must apply to both Boys’-and-Girls’ Basketball.

“We have had many discussions among coaches and I feel that a shot clock is a positive thing for high school basketball. It allows for play progression, coaching strategy and avoids stalling tactics. It gives players more freedom to read and react, which brings a new level of excitement to the game. It also prepares those wanting to play at the collegiate level an easier transition,” Kenzie Newton, Mountain Ridge girls varsity head coach, told The Deseret News.

NFHS Rule 2-14 states that each state association may adopt a shot clock beginning in the 2022-23 season — according to guidelines outlined in the Basketball Rules Book — to encourage standardization among states. Guidelines include displaying two timepieces that are connected to a horn that is distinctive from the game clock horn, and using an alternative timing device, such as a stopwatch at the scorer’s table, for a shot clock malfunction. The guidelines also allow for corrections to the shot clock only during the shot clock period in which an error occurred and the officials have definite information relative to the mistake or malfunction.

“I really don’t think it is worth the money and manpower to implement. The average girls team possession is well below 35 seconds so I don’t see it changing much for what we are putting into it. Two things that will be affected are holding for last shots at end of quarters or end of games or stalling. The one positive twist is that it rewards great defensive teams. For me and my team, that is a good thing. If a team can hold tough on defense for 35 seconds they are essentially creating a turnover with a forced shot,” John Elison, Uintah High School girls varsity head coach, told The Deseret News.

More information on the NFHS shot clock parameters can be found at: https://www.nfhs.org/sports-resource-content/shot-clock-guidelines-2021/. And to read the full report from The Deseret News, click here