On June 23, the Georgia High School Association approved the use of a shot clock in high school basketball, bringing prep hoops in the state a bit closer to college and professional level rules.

With the approval of this proposal, high school basketball teams across the Peach State will begin implementing a 30-second shot clock over the next three years. Georgia is now the tenth state to start using a shot clock in high school basketball.

According to the GHSA, teams will be able to gently transition into the shot clock era.

For the upcoming school year (2020-21), the shot clock will only be used in approved holiday tournaments and showcase games but it will not factor into region or postseason contests.

The shot clock will be required for region games starting in the 2021-22 season. It will not be required for every varsity game (including postseason contests) until the 2022-23 season.

Many collegiate coaches across the state of Georgia have been pushing for the implementation of a shot clock in high school basketball recently. Most notably, University of Georgia head men’s basketball coach Tom Crean posted a video to Twitter on June 22 sharing his hopes for the proposal to pass.

“Without a doubt in my mind, there’s no real downside to this,” said Crean. “When you put that shot clock in, and now you’ve got players that have got to make quicker decisions. They have to move without the ball more, they’ve got to react quicker, they’ve got to work with their teammates even more, they’ve got to read situations in real-time. I think it only enhances the learning process.”

On a local level, prep coaches have mixed feelings about the new rule.

“I’ve been saying it would be a matter of time because schools up north have been using it. I’m glad it’s being put in slowly because it is going to be a big adjustment for the players and coaches,” said Cedartown head girls’ basketball coach Eddie Gambrell.

“I’m old school, so I love to be able to kill the clock at the end of games if needed and this will take a lot of that away. I’m split about it, but both me and the players will have to adjust.”

“This has been a discussion for the past two years and we all knew it was going to be implemented in Georgia at some point,” said Cedartown head boys’ basketball coach Benjie Frazier. “I like it for the game but my only concerns are the money needed to update old gyms and the training for the people responsible for the shot clock.”

The unsung heroes during the implementation of the shot clock will undoubtedly be the

officials who have to enforce the new rule. Cedartown native Michael Atwater, who referees with the Northwest Georgia Basketball Officials Association, said this change will strengthen Georgia high school basketball overall.

“I think adding the shot clock will help the game of basketball,” said Atwater. “You’re going to have to do a lot more coaching now. The coaching is going to have to be better, but our officiating is going to have to be better too. We are going to have to pay attention to the clock now.

“So, let’s go make the game enhanced. Let’s make it feel ‘real,’ because we watch it on television with college and the pros,” said Atwater. “A lot of guys who go on to play college ball will now be prepared.”

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