Shot Clock

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) board have recently voted on if they should add a 35-second shot clock for basketball. The board vote was 13-5 against it, the region committees voted 11-5, and athletic directors advisory committee voted 14-2. Adding a shot clock has been a hot topic since the Hopkins-Shakopee state championship game in 2014. Amir Coffey’s team which average 90 points a game, only had 41 points with 3 minutes left in the Championship game. As Shakopee sat in a zone, Hopkins decided to hold the ball the final 3 minutes in a tied game and ending up missing the final shot of regulation. In the first two overtime, Hopkins held the ball again and no points were scored. Shakopee ran a zone all year and head coach Bruce Kugath has stated they weren’t going to try to run man now. He blamed the rule for the lack of action in the game, not Hopkins. In the 4th overtime, Hopkins turned it over with a few seconds left in the game but, stole the inbound pass to get it back with 2 seconds left. Then Sophomore Coffey who only had 1 field goal all game, heave it from half court and drilled it for the 49-46 win (Video below). Minnesota is one of 42 states that does not require shot clocks for high school basketball. The reason the vote hasn’t pass because of concerns exist about the cost of installing shot clocks in each gym and paying people to operate them at games.

“What’s the difference if we run down 50 seconds or 3 minutes and 50 seconds?They weren’t coming out of that zone. You always want the last shot. If you can run the clock down and get the last shot, that’s what you do.”

Hopkins head coach Ken Novak
Coffey Game-Winner State Championship (

Shot Clock needed

A Majority of coaches have publicly stated that they are in favor of adding a shot clocks, as they believe it would aid in the development of players and improve the quality of play. Without a shot clock, teams can avoid teams that run a zone defense and just hold the ball as we saw in the 2014 state championship game. Even if it only once or twice a year that this extreme happens, it still happens and it forces teams to not run zone defense. Having a shot clock allows teams to have a great defense, it is hard guarding half a court for an infinite time. Having a shot clock forces an offense to take a shot in 35 seconds, which allows for tough defense. Fans and recruiters don’t want to go to a game and watch a team hold the ball for long possessions. The MSHSL says they are here to prepare athletes for the next level, No college team holds the ball to avoid zones. As well as when college coaches come to a game in which the team holds the ball it takes away the recruiter chance to truly evaluate players, which ends up hurting their chance at a scholarship. What happens when a player goes to college and a team plays a zone defense. Tre Jones from Apple Valley and Matthew Hurt from Rochester both play at Duke and play Syracuse who is known for their 2-3 zone. They will struggle against this defense since they could never play against it in high school. It is a bigger issue then making it more exciting for the fans. It is for player development and getting them ready for the next level.

MSHSL runs all Minnesota sports (Photo by MSHSL Logo)


Even though the majority of states don’t require a shot clock for high school basketball, it is important to be ahead of the game rather than behind. I understand that many Athletic Director is against it since the cost of installing and paying workers could be high. The board did approve a proposal to increase state tournament ticket prices by $2 for adults and $1 or students. With that money, the state could help teams that can’t fundraise enough for a shot clock. Most High School gyms have a scoreboard that has a shot clock included already. If they don’t its a failure by the athletic department to foresee the possibility that one day a shot clock may be added. As far as paying a worker to work the game, wouldn’t be a major problem. If budget is that tight that you can’t pay one more worker, find a teacher/parent that would volunteer their time and work the games. My solution would be to pass the proposal but it doesn’t start for 2 years so athletic budgets can figure out their money to be able to add a shot clock or in the case they need to hire another worker for basketball games.

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