10 ways to improve HS basketball
Let’s go in reverse order.
10. HS coaches watch and learn from the NBA and less from college. Talent is closer to the same in pros than in college. Run more sets than college. The defense is more like high school because of the talent is closer. Plus the pros do a ton of skill work drills and concepts that make players better. Their use of stats and charts is also very impressive and can help at the high school level.
9. On a timeout move the ball from under the basket to the half line as they do in the NBA. Nothing is better and more exciting than a buzzer beater.
8. Go back to the jump ball on all tie ups. This will add a little excitement back into the game and a little strategy.
7. Time outs called only on dead ball or after a basket. Stops the timeout to halt a jump ball when the defense makes someone pick it up. Make players learn how to play.
6. Play games only on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Stop the Monday and Thursday games. Play games at 7 or 7:30. The new thing to start a varsity game at 6:00 to help kids come to the game so they can get home to study is false. I hate to break this to administration but kids are not staying away from games because they have a test the next day. Tournament games may need to be played on Mondays but let’s try to do away with that.
5. Tougher review of referees. Well this will be a little controversial but refereeing is not getting better. The whole rating system should be thrown out the window. Most coaches give a 3 to everyone because they are afraid if they down grade someone it will get held against them. My solution is to have ex-coaches rate officials and have them rated more than once. And if they are not doing a good job then they don’t get varsity games.
4. Take the number of classes down! I grew up in the great state of Illinois where basketball is really played. (That should get people fired up.) The 2 class system worked great and it was easy to follow. The state has now gone to 4 classes and I can’t tell who is in what class. The less classes brings some great matchups into play and gets more of a true champion. If we take it down to 4 classes we can have all classes play on Friday and Saturday at the state tournament. While I am on this, why do this Thursday – Saturday format MSHAA? Does it really promote the game? I also propose have a girls weekend and a boys weekend.
3. Coaches involved with kids more not less. Year round and 8th graders. The rule states that high school staffs cannot work with 8th graders. It is one of the dumbest rules of many dumb rules the state has. So I can work with 7th graders in my district but once they are 8th graders I have to stop until school is out. Wow makes no sense. That 8th grade year is the year that propels a player to one of his greatest growths as a player. Working with the high school staff prepares the player for high school. They get high level coaching that will improve play overall. And don’t give me that recruiting garbage, it is like a beagle chasing a rabbit with all the recruiting that is going on in the state now.
2. Less charges more hand checks. Coaches are teaching players to just jump in and fall down and you will get the call. Referees love to come running out from under the basket and make that dramatic charge call. (Also I love the tough guy face some refs do when they make a call. Laughable!) All of this is taking away the ability for kids to finishing at the basket and more importantly will get people hurt.
Now on to hand checks and the way is getting played. The grabbing and bumping of the offensive players is a disgrace. It takes away from the skill of the game. I know for a fact that coaches say “they won’t call everything”. The rule is illegal contact when a defensive player uses his hand or arms to control a player. 2 hands on a player or jamming a forearm or hand on a player should be called a foul. This is what the rule book says but referees refuse to call it. They say “no one wants us to call everything.” Well if you call it players will stop doing it and coaches will stop teaching it. The game is made to play with flow not grabbing.
And Number 1
The Shot clock- This one for some reason seems to draw the most controversy but should be the one that everyone is behind. High school basketball is the only organized basketball that doesn’t use a shot clock. College, pro and international basketball all use at the highest level. The most popular reasons against it are cost, people running it, and the always popular it will stop the underdog from pulling the upset. Let’s talk about cost. I see all these football stadiums with turf but we can’t buy 2 clocks. And for the smaller schools have a fund raiser. The more states that use the shot clock the price will go down. People running the clock. I love when people say it is too hard for someone to do run during a game. So you can teach my son but you are not smart enough to hit a button to start, stop, reset! Now for the ever popular underdogs will never win. My question is they do now? I looked at last year’s state championship starting at the semi-finals. Of 20 schools guess how many had fewer than 20 wins. A grand total of 2. So I went back and looked at the quarterfinal in each class and how many there were under 20 wins. A total of 5. (Mcluer North, Grandview, Scott County Central, Normandy, and Lutheran North) Normandy and Lutheran North went to final four. Of those none are truly underdogs. I guess there is never an upset in March Madness because they use a clock. This underdog argument is a big lie.
Why do it? Let’s get some action into the game. Holding the ball puts people asleep. It doesn’t help the game move forward and it doesn’t help kids prepare for the college game. If you think a game, 35-30 is fun to watch, you are delusional. Anything that promotes scoring and tempo I want to see. I will give you only do it for varsity games. But let’s do something.