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Jun. 30—At its annual meeting in April, the National Federations of State High School Associations opened the door for the most dramatic change in high school basketball since the transition from 6 on 6 girls to the every-day 5 on 5 existing today at all levels.

Beginning with the 2022-23 season, a 35-second shot clock will be permitted in high school basketball games by state association adoption. A proposal for a national rule mandating a shot clock was not approved.

With adoption being at least a year away, it’s a good bet that plenty of hoops are to be jumped through.

In a poll of area coaches, the Phoenix found that of 13 boys coaches, eight are in favor of the change, three are against and two are undecided or have a mixed opinion. Meanwhile, among girls coaches, eight are against it while five support it.

David Glover, basketball director for the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association, said much discussion will occur with administrators, athletic directors and the basketball coaches associations to evaluate whether this is a direction they’ll take.

“I appreciate the NFHS allowing for this year to make these decisions,” Glover said in an email to the Phoenix. “There is a lot that goes into the decision and we want to make the right decision for Oklahoma high school basketball.”

He said that discussion will begin to intensify at the Oklahoma Coaches Association meetings in July.

Scott Lowe, who was just promoted from assistant coach on the girls side at Fort Gibson to head coach, said he was at one time against it but his feelings have evolved of late.

“I used one when I was at Roland and a couple years ago suggested it to (former FGHS girls coach) Chuck (London),” he said. “We got it to 16 to 18 seconds. I mean, you do so much else in drills in regards to timing, why not this?

“What it does for us is it creates a higher sense of urgency to execute screens, to get open — all the fundamental things. Now some might say of course he’s for it, he’s at Fort Gibson. But I think no matter where I was at, I think it can only make you better and I think there’s ways to utilize it in ways that won’t handicap teams like they think.”

For others, it takes away an element of control as a coach.

“I want to be able to control the tempo when we want to,” said Webbers Falls boys coach Jordan Garner. “We shoot the ball in under 30 seconds anyway, but if we need to pull it out, I would like to retain that option.”

Braggs girls coach Scott Belcher, like Garner, is a Class B coach. He said coaching strategies would still be part of the game.

“I feel like a shot clock would force players and coaches to adapt to a more efficient style of offensive play,” he said. “Kids intentionally working on offense to score with every touch of the ball.”

Porter’s Kruz Lynch on the girls side and Porum’s Jeff Arnold both point to roster discrepancies. Lynch’s team is Class 2A and Arnold’s is Class A.

Arnold points to roster discrepancies even amongst the various small school programs.

“I think not having a shot lock helps the lesser teams be more competitive,” he said. “I think 2A and above would benefit with a shot clock because the gaps aren’t as large.”

But Lynch says those discrepancies exist in the larger schools.

“We have seven so we have to run the delay game on offense so we can rest,” Lynch said.

Porum’s Bobbie Wheat sees another issue.

“A shot clock turns it into street ball,” she said. “Junior high and high school is for developing players.”

Wheat played in the 6-on-6 era at Stigler. She remembers how fundamentally sound the game was in those half-court situations.

“You took 75 percent of the coaches who controlled the game out of the game when we went to 5-on-5,” she said. “I know a clock is eventually going to be part of the high school game, but what we need to realize is it can’t do anything but hurt in the way of fundamentals as we know it today and especially with the inexperienced kids.

“Take a kid who is slower as a seventh or eighth grader. If you throw them into this mandatory fast pace, they may give up. Yet down the road if they were given time to mature, they might be your best thinker on the court because they got to see the game at a slower pace.”

She then posed this situation.

“I wonder if Courtney Paris had the shot clock in high school, would she have been the player she became? There’s kids out there who need basketball more than basketball needs them. I don’t want to see those kids get left out, or not have a chance to see what they can become. It’s one of the life lessons in sports.”

At the same time, “street ball” is what is played in college now as all have a shot clock.

“I’m all for it. Prepares kids for the next level,” Muskogee’s Jeremy Ford said.

Lynwood Wade, boys coach at Muskogee, concurred but added there’s different ways to approach it.

“The time should be longer than in college but putting it in just gets them prepared for what is to come,” he said. “The stall is not part of the college game anymore, so take that away from our game.

“Now you don’t want the teams that are more athletic and sound to make games more lopsided, but I really think where you will see the biggest difference with a shot clock is in the final two minutes where you have to get it up the floor, create some quick sets and score. If you want to add some time, fine, make a bridge toward what they’ll see later.”

New Eufaula girls coach Nick Yarbrough came over from Fort Smith Northside in Arkansas, which had a 35-second clock last season. Northside, which he coached on the boys side, is a 6A school, Eufaula is 3A.

Still, he’s for it. Arkansas and Georgia have begun implementation ahead of the federation’s action.

“I think it is supposed to be implemented in 5A in Arkansas this year, and on down with each class in yearly increments, but we had a clock in 6A and I loved it,” he said. “I’m big about advancing the game.

“As I think about it, in every game I remember, the better team won. There wasn’t a game that came down to a shot clock having an impact. You can still press and slow the game down. I just didn’t see anything detrimental to the game.”

Hilldale boys coach Scott Hensley said with the shot clock getting widespread use worldwide, coaches and players need to adapt and will adjust.

“It’ll probably be tougher at first but we’ll all adapt and it will be better for the kids to transition to a college game,” he said.

Todd Dickerson, Fort Gibson boys coach, expressed concern about the logistics at all levels.

“I’m on the fence,” he said. “It would be tough to implement. Somebody to operate it during games would be a hard job and the length of time on a clock would also be a concern. Too short a time takes strategy out of the game. I think I might be for a 45-second to 1-minute shot clock.”

Checotah girls coach Jim Glover, who is for a shot clock, said one change for fundamentals sake beats another.

“A bad shot beats a good turnover,” he said.

Jason Dowdy, on the boys side of the gym at Checotah, sums it up best.

“It really doesn’t matter to me,” he said. “But I do believe it will change the sport.”