Cobb County high school basketball teams are utilizing this summer to prepare for the use of the shot clock for the upcoming 2022-23 season.
Coaches and players are making the necessary adjustments with their style of play for what should be a faster brand of basketball.
“We are looking forward to the adjustments and the strategies we get to use as far as coaching and getting players used to playing with more focus within the shot clock time,” Marietta girls coach Derek Dewitt said.
The shot-clock requirement has been implemented gradually over a three-year period starting with the 2020-21 season. The past two seasons have allowed its use in tournaments and showcase games.
This year, 30-second shot clocks will be utilized in all varsity basketball games throughout the regular season and state playoffs. Georgia has become the ninth state to implement the shot clock — joining Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, Rhode Island, North and South Dakota, Washington and California.
Coaches are helping prepare for the change by having set strategies to help control the tempo and direct their players.
“The guys had to learn a different code word for the different times on the shot clock,” Pebblebrook coach George Washington said. “We had code words for when it’s 15 seconds, 10 seconds, and for when it’s time you got to hoist the shot up.”
The shot clock is also expected to limit teams from using a stalling strategy — a tactic used when a team is winning a close game in the final moments, or when it is trying to limit the amount of possessions each team may get.
“For us, you want to get the last shot. We will make decisions to try and get more shots than our opponents, and it will really come into play down the stretch. What I’m most excited about is there is a set amount of time to have the chance to get the ball back. So, the strategies that some programs use they call ‘game management,’ I call holding the ball is kind of out the window,” Dewitt said.
Managing the shot clock to get a quality offensive look will become an important aspect of the game.
“The average shot for us in our games comes within 12 to 15 seconds, so possessions usually don’t get to the end of the shot clock,” Marietta boys coach Markus Hood said. “I think the biggest impact it’s going to have in the game is towards the end of the game when teams are trying to stall the ball. It won’t impact what we do and how we approach the game.”
Several teams have played with the shot clock in previous seasons, allowing for players to steadily adjust to the change.
“We have played some games during our seasons the last two seasons at various tournaments with the shot clock and it really did not affect us much,” Mount Paran Christian girls coach Stephanie Dunn said. “We play more of a fast-paced game, so we really didn’t have any issues with it.”