Finally, shot clock arrives in Iowa

By Paul D. Bowker
Posted 8/19/21

This was no classic game, this NBA game played in 1950 between the Minneapolis Lakers and Fort Wayne Pistons.

The Pistons won by a single point, but scored just 19 points the entire game.

The …

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Finally, shot clock arrives in Iowa

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This was no classic game, this NBA game played in 1950 between the Minneapolis Lakers and Fort Wayne Pistons.

The Pistons won by a single point, but scored just 19 points the entire game.

The NBA knew it had a problem. A game that was supposed to be fast paced was turning into a golf match. So, in 1954, before I was born, NBA owners voted to put in a 24-second shot clock.

And I’m not a young guy, so now you know how old a shot clock actually is.

The NCAA didn’t install a shot clock until 1985.

The Iowa High School Athletic Association and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union voted it in last week. Finally.

What took so long?

Every coach I’ve talked to in the last 40 years is in favor of a shot clock, the same way they were in favor of a 3-point line. A shot clock keeps the game moving. It prevents a team from winning a game by scoring 19 points. It can actually prevent a team, holding a five-point lead with five minutes left, attempt to hold the ball for those five minutes while spectators pinch themselves just to remain awake.

Iowa is just the 10th state high school association to adopt a 35-second shot clock, which won’t begin until the 2022-23 season. But others will quickly follow, now that the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has finally approved the shot clock for its members. I heard a rumor that the NFHS offices actually have running water and coffee makers, too. Just joking.

Eight renegade states, jumping the gun, already have shot clocks in place, including New York and Massachusetts. Their punishment was to lose spots on the national rules committee. Take that, renegades!

Iowa may have joined the shot-clock movement long ago if not for the NFHS voting down the shot clock when it came up in previous discussions. Most of the arguments against shot clocks are the expense schools face by purchasing and installing shot clocks, and finding an additional person to sit at the scoring table to run the shot clock.

Call me. I’ll do it.

For every high school player hoping to play in college, the shot clock is crucial. Imagine, there are still kids going from high school ball to college ball and they have no idea how to play while a shot clock ticks down the seconds. It’s unfair to the kids and unfair to the coaches who are trying to judge their skills by watching recruiting tapes.

For many, the shot clock won’t change a thing.

Daren Lambert, the boys basketball coach at Mid-Prairie, says it won’t make a difference. The Golden Hawks run a fast-paced offense anyway.

It will make a difference on defense. If a defense slows down the offense of an opposing team now, there is no reward. But with a 35-second shot clock, making a defensive stop in a tight game, that’s a huge reward. It’s like a sack of the quarterback in football.

Now we have to wait a year to see it.

But after nearly 70 years since the pro game adopted a clock, I guess we can wait another 15 months or so. 

News columnist Paul Bowker can be reached at bowkerpaul1@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter: @bowkerpaul.

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