Port Arthur, Port Neches-Groves coaches weigh in on UIL shot clock ruling

Published 12:32 am Thursday, June 16, 2022

The University Interscholastic League decided to not take action or vote for shot clocks in high school basketball.

The ruling was one of three items that drew quite a bit of attention from the public, along with potentially not allowing freshmen to play varsity and moving the soccer season from the spring to the fall.

Area coaches are overwhelmingly in favor of the addition of shot clocks to help speed up the pace of the game, but understand the hurdles in the way.

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Memorial Head Coach Alden Lewis and Port Neches-Groves Head Coach Chris Smith said they favor implementing a shot clock.

“I’d love to see a shot clock in there because I think it would increase the tempo of the game,” Smith said. “It could keep teams from pulling it out and stall ball. That is part of the game. I just think it would make it a little more exciting.”

Memorial head coach Alden Lewis (I.C. Murrell/The News) 12-28-19

Lewis echoed the sentiment.

“I was hoping that it would pass,” Lewis said. “I would be in favor of it, but I knew it was a long shot. If it was up to me, we would have it.”

Smith speculated the UIL opted to not implement shot clocks due, in part, to the potential financial ramifications on schools.

“I understand how hard it would be to implement in other schools because of the cost and you would need another worker,” he said. “A lot of schools aren’t fortunate to have workers and budgets to do that. I think until the UIL comes in and offers some funding towards it, it will be hard to pass. I think the shot clock would be awesome, but then you would likely need another table worker and install in every gym you play in.”

Both coaches said the most likely route would be for either the UIL to implement it for certain classifications such as 5A and 6A or to start some sort of pilot program.

“A lot of other states already have it,” Lewis said. “I think it will eventually happen, but we are probably a few years out. I would be for a pilot program, where it is at the discretion of the home team. I wouldn’t mind that either. Everything comes down to money. I think with us being one of the largest states in the country, I think we will get it as some point. With it being on the table, I think it will be, at least, four or five years. It is a good thing it is even being considered.”

Lewis also said he was happy to see the UIL not take action to make freshmen ineligible to participate in varsity sports. The common theory was making freshmen not available for varsity play would insure more playing time for upper classmen. Many coaches and athletic directors viewed the rule as a long shot and were not in favor of it.

“You have a lot of small schools that wouldn’t even be able to field teams if they did not have freshmen on varsity,” Lewis said. “I’m sure if you look at teams like Sabine Pass, they wouldn’t be able to have a few sports if they couldn’t have freshman.”

Lewis said he also believes the best players should be able to play.