Vote revealed: Overwhelming majority of the state’s high school basketball coaches support shot clock

Nearly 900 boys and girls high school basketball coaches from across the state voted in the survey.

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Loyola’s Bennett Kwieski (3) makes his way pass St. Ignatius Dariusz Muta (44) at Wintrust Arena.

Loyola’s Bennett Kwieski (3) makes his way pass St. Ignatius Dariusz Muta (44) at Wintrust Arena.

Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times

The high school basketball coaches in Illinois have spoken.

Now who will listen?

There has been a grassroots effort by coaches across the state in an effort to create dialogue and a push for the addition of the shot clock in Illinois high school basketball. At one point last week the hashtag #IHSAShotClockNow was trending on Twitter.

There was an organized and coordinated effort as nearly 900 boys and girls high school basketball coaches from across the state voted in the survey. The vast majority voted in favor of adding the shot clock.

Overall, 72 percent voted yes to adding a shot clock in Illinois high school basketball, with a whopping three-fourths of boys coaches across the state state in favor. Those are some pretty overwhelming numbers in convincing anyone who will listen that coaches across the state believe the shot clock is needed.

The next step is for the group of coaches to present the findings and results to the Illinois High School Association for further review. The group plans to set up a time to meet with IHSA officials, followed by the group ultimately submitting a rule change.

St. Ignatius coach Matt Monroe says the results did not surprise him.

“I am not surprised because for the last couple of years coaches have been very outspoken about the shot clock on social media and in conversations among coaches,” Monroe said. “There has not been a coordinated effort like this one, but it shows that coaches are very much on board and there is a real desire to include the shot clock in our game.”

Hyde Park coach Jamere Dismukes, who just took over the Thunderbirds program after coaching at Rich East last season, is “100 percent in favor of the shot clock.” Dismukes believes what other pro-shot clock coaches feel are positives, including it being more fun for players and fans while putting more coaching and strategy into the game. But he also has a different positive take after spending time as a college coach.

“I think coaches in our state have an understanding of what it takes for our players to play at the next level,” Dismukes said. “The shot clock is an integral part of preparing for college basketball. The high school game needs to help prepare kids.”

While the vote was fairly lopsided, there were no votes, including West Aurora’s Brian Johnson. He said he voted no for several reasons, starting with facilitating all that goes into the shot clock at the high school level.

“There isn’t much information out regarding time, referee training, table training, what’s going to happen when there is an error at the table, the true cost for two clocks and how much a person working the clock will make,” said Johnson.

Johnson also doesn’t see a real need to speed up the game.

“I find it interesting on how a high school possession [on average] is 15 seconds and we need a shot clock,” Johnson said. “Why? We play fast and a shot clock would do us well, but I’m not going to try and change a rule so that teams have to change their style. Play the style that best fits your players. Why should I vote for something that will dictate how other teams should play?”

The National Federation of State High School Associations continually discusses the addition of a shot clock to high school basketball. But this past spring, the NFHS again rejected a proposal to mandate the use of a shot clock.

The IHSA follows the rules the NFHS adapts.

But that hasn’t stopped individual states from adding a shot clock within their own state athletic associations, and the idea is really beginning to pick up steam and support in Illinois throughout the basketball community.

“The IHSA has not deviated from NFHS rules historically, as doing so forfeits our voice in the national rules writing process,” IHSA spokesperson Matt Troha said.

The IHSA is aware of the movement and has a system in place for rule changes.

“If a large contingent of coaches were in favor of adopting a shot clock, they could propose it to the IHSA Basketball Advisory Committee,” Troha said. “Assuming that committee supported the change, it would run through our normal committee process for feedback, and the IHSA Board of Directors would have the ultimate say on if, when, and how the shot clock would be implemented.”

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