Shot Clock

Hopkins holds the ball to take the last shot for the entire four-minute, first overtime session in the Class 4A state semifinals versus Shakopee in 2014. Hopkins won in four overtimes, but that game is often referred to as the need to adopt a shot clock for high school basketball.

Minnesota is a now a shot-clock state for high school boys and girls basketball.

By unanimous vote, a 35-second shot clock was approved Dec. 2 at the Minnesota State High School League's Board of Directors meeting. Implementation won't take effect until the 2023-24 season.

Minnesota is the 13th state association to adopt a shot clock. Others include Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Washington.

"We are excited it passed," said Pat Barrett of the Minnesota Girls Basketball Coaches Association. "The state of basketball is excited to start using it."

Approval is for the varsity level only, but member schools may use a shot clock at sub-varsity levels if both teams agree to it.

The last time the MSHSL visited adopting the shot clock was at its June 2019 Board of Directors meeting. It was there the league voted by a 13-5 margin against it. Two other prior proposals failed as well.

Last May, the National Federation of State High School Associations approved a 35-second shot clock for high school basketball for the 2022-23 season.

In a statement released by the NFHS, the use of a shot clock was not a mandate. Instead, each of its member states would determine if they wanted to implement it. 

But if a state chooses to, it will be required to follow NFHS rules which include "displaying two timepieces that are connected to a horn that is distinctive from the game-clock horn." Rules also stipulate there needs to be a stopwatch at the scorer's table in case the shot clock malfunctions.

Jordan boys basketball coach Matt Urbanek has always been in favor of a shot clock.

"It will add more strategy to the game and I think it will be more exciting for fans and also for players," he said. "We like to play a fast style of basketball, so I think our team and our program will be well suited for this.

"To me, one of the biggest changes will be at the end of a close game," Urbanek added. "Teams will be able to play good defense and get the ball back instead of fouling and hoping the opponent misses free throws. I think it will reward good defense at the end of the game, which is a positive development."

Shakopee boys coach Jacob Dammann also believes the shot clock will be great for high school basketball. He thinks it will add depth in both player and coach development.

"From an operational and logistics standpoint, it will be a smooth transition for Shakopee," Dammann said. "We already have the technology required and in place. I'm sure there will be some growing pains with players early on in adjusting, but the shot clock aligns well with our pace and style of play.

"It will encourage a faster pace of play, reward excellent defense and offensive skill sets, all of which we currently emphasize and focus on within the player development philosophies we value as a program," Dammann added. "We are excited for the change."

In the past, two reasons the MSHSL did not adopt a shot clock were potential financial and logistical challenges for some school districts. Some districts are already equipped to add a shot clock, but many are not.

Tom Critchley, executive director of the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association, told the MSHSL board that the cost of shot clocks to schools that need them was estimated at about $3,700.

MSHSL Board President Tom Jerome of Roseau cited a large percentage of schools are in favor of the shot clock. "It’s about 75% support in schools and that figure has stayed consistent,” he said.

Critchley said a report done by the MNBCA showed that 82.7% of coaches in the state were in favor of a shot clock.

A 35-second shot clock has been used in some Minnesota holiday tournaments over the years. The MSHSL allows the use of it in the regular season, but the following guidelines must be met:

  • The facility at which the game is played has the necessary equipment to allow the use of the clock.
  • Both participating teams agree to use the clock.
  • Teams and officials are notified at least one week prior to the game. If one of the teams does not consent to the use of the clock, it may not be used.
  • Coaches and officials must file a report with the MSHSL office after any game in which a shot clock is used, so that the results can be tracked. 

Tom Schardin covers sports for Savage and Prior Lake. He is dependable, sarcastic and always joking around. Tom enjoys running and swimming and is often busy coaching his two kids' sports teams.