By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The offseason is the time for making changes in sports.

In high school basketball, the latest debate is about the shot clock, and if it should be added to Minnesota high school basketball games.

The game has moved over the years to 38 minutes and has added the three-point line — but is it ready for a shot clock?

“It … means you’re always in the game,” said high school coach Ted Critchley. “Since the three-point shot has come into play, that keeps you in the game also all the time, and I think the shot clock will, too. Probably the biggest things it will do are it will help the defense. I really feel it will help defenses because coaches talk about how they can get their kids to buy in. ‘Let’s play defense hard for 25 seconds, and let’s get it done.’”

There is no question that the pace and athleticism has changed, and for most, the intent of basketball is to be athletic — so maybe it’s time to move forward.

shot clock Is Minnesota H.S. Basketball Ready For Shot Clocks?

(credit: CBS)

“It seems like the fans are always in the game because every 30, 35 seconds something’s happening,” he said. “So I think those are all things that it will do.”

But there is the practical part of this, like cost per school.

“You can get a shot clock [for] $2,500 probably, maybe up to $5,000 if you want to put it on your scoreboard,” Critchley said. “But you can also get shot clocks that are on pedestals on stands for less than $1,000.”

Then there is the human element, as in an operator working with referees.

“A shot clock doesn’t come into play that much until the end of the game. That doesn’t mean it’s important because it’s controlling the pace, and kids kind of develop a time clock of their own, you know, like three seconds, the three second rule,” he said.

Critchley has been coaching — and a proponent of moving basketball forward — for years. He understands this is a work in progress, and he understands it is not just about boys basketball, but both boys and girls have to want it to adopt it.

“Nothing happens in Minnesota basketball unless both boys and girls are on the same page, and our numbers have continued to go up, and the girls have continued to go up as well,” he said.

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