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Old Sun Mar 22, 2015, 02:01pm
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Geno Likes A High School Shot Clock ...

The Hartford Courant, Saturday, Match 21, 2015
The Oldest Continuously Published Newspaper In The United States

TIME FOR A SHOT CLOCK ... AND OTHER REFORMS

Geno: Make H.S. Game Better

JEFF JACOBS [email protected]

STORRS — Geno Auriemma is coach of the defending national college basketball champions. He remains coach of the Olympic gold medalists. Auriemma is also a Connecticut resident. And as the NCAA Division I women’s tournament starts this weekend at Gampel Pavilion, Auriemma is well aware that the state high school championships — both genders, all divisions — are at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Sure, he looks at the game from the top. He also looks at it from its roots. And on a Friday when he was asked about John Wooden, he spoke much more demonstratively about the high school game in Connecticut. Auriemma is concerned about the way it is played on the court and concerned about some of the ways the CIAC runs it off the court.
The man who figures to match Wooden’s record of 10 national championships this year worries that the Connecticut high school game in 2015 is too wooden. He hates that there is no shot clock, for instance. And for all the debate that has gone on about those 30 or 35 seconds recently, whose opinion should be better valued?
Yet it goes beyond the shot clock. So let’s step back for a moment, because like many things involving Auriemma, one question evolves into one answer and another and another. The initial question by John Holt from WFSB-TV was about the 20th anniversary of UConn’s first national title and the impact of two decades on young girls and women’s athletics in the state.
“I guess I felt the impact more in the ’90s and up until Diana Taurasi graduated in 2004,” Auriemma said. “I think that’s when it was most evident what was going on and how everyone reacted to it. It was unlike any place in the country.
“Unfortunately, even in spite of all that, I don’t think a lot is done in this state to help girls be better basketball players — guys for that matter. The rules being what they are, the size of the state being what it is, for as popular as girls basketball should be in this state, there are not a lot of high-level Division I players coming out of Connecticut year after year.”
As architect of the premier program in the nation, a Hall of Famer, a businessman, etc., we tend to see Auriemma more as a face on the wall next to Wooden’s in Springfield and a face on a jar of tomato sauce next to his mom. You can forget that Auriemma once coached his son Michael and Aaron Hernandez in AAU ball. You can forget that he once haunted state gyms in search of talent at Storrs. You can forget that his son-in-law Todd Stigliano coaches the New Britain boys’ team. He is invested.
He and Michael, once a star player at East Catholic-Manchester, went to the Weaver-East Catholic Class M semifinal the other night. Maybe that’s what set Auriemma talking Friday about things that clearly have been on his mind for some time.
“Two great teams, two great coaches,” Auriemma said of East Catholic’s Luke Reilly and Weaver’s Reggie Hatchett. “These two guys coached their brains out in that game. Those kids played their brains out. It should have been for the state championship.”
Weaver led 10-9 after the first quarter. East Catholic took only two shots in the second, sinking one. Weaver led 19-11 at the half and went on to win 53-45 and advance to the final against Notre Dame-Fairfield at 3 p.m. Saturday.
“Luke did exactly what I knew he’d do,” Auriemma said. “He held the ball. Just like his dad [Joe, the legendary coach at South Catholic] did before him years ago. Because you can. Just like Dean Smith did at Carolina. Those are the rules. He took advantage of the rules. In the second half, they just played, and it was as good a 16 minutes of basketball as I’ve seen in a long time at any level. I’m thinking why don’t they have a shot clock? You can still do some of the same things.
“Same thing on the girls side. You pick up the paper. Final score, 40-38. What did those kids do for two hours that day? They walked the ball up the court, stood there and listened to their coach call plays. How are they learning how to play? You go to some other states. They have a shot clock. They play.”
Later, Auriemma talked about how he met Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale. She was coaching Norman High and he was recruiting Stacy Hansmeyer. There was Hansmeyer working out. It was September.
“You go to states we recruit in and they’re allowed to get together in September and October,” Auriemma said. “Our kids can’t start until Thanksgiving weekend, and next year I think they’re pushing it back another week [the girls’ regular season will start Dec. 15].
In the meantime, there was St. Francis Brooklyn senior Sarah Benedetti talking Friday about how incredibly special it is to play Saturday night against UConn at Gampel Pavilion. Benedetti was named MVP after the Terriers won the NEC Tournament. She’s from Canton.
“It has honestly been a dream come true,” Benedetti said. “I grew up watching UConn. If someone were to tell me at the beginning of my college career that you would finish as a senior at Gampel Pavilion playing UConn, I would never have believed it.”
As a kid she’d come to UConn games with her travel team. She loved Taurasi. She loved Maya Moore. Her dad would try like crazy to get Sarah into the summer camp, but they’d sell out in 10 minutes. She never made it. One of her most cherished possessions is a photo from a decade ago when she posed with Auriemma after a game.
Benedetti’s high school team, Canton, is playing against Thomaston for the Class S state title Saturday morning at Mohegan Sun. You don’t think this weekend is special for her?
“I remembered when my son played in the state championship against Hillhouse [in Michael’s final high school game in 2007], the first and only time they had the tournament here,” Auriemma said. “He grew up here. I remember how excited he was to get a chance to play at Gampel. It has got to be an unbelievable feeling for her.”
The question that Auriemma has raised is this. Are we doing enough for all the Sarah Benedettis coming along?
“The publicity is there,” Auriemma said. “What you guys in the media do for girls high school basketball, compared to what I see in a lot of other places, I think the kids in this state get a lot of benefit out of us being pretty good.
“Maybe it’s because we’re a small state. Maybe it’s because the schools are small or maybe it’s because people don’t like change. Maybe it’s all those things. I just wished they changed some of the antiquated rules that don’t help the kids get better.”
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Old Sun Mar 22, 2015, 02:14pm
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Oh, that changes everything.

Wait, I almost forgot. I don't give a rat's ass what he thinks.
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Old Sun Mar 22, 2015, 03:50pm
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He Comes Down From The Mountain ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam View Post
I don't give a rat's ass what he thinks.
The important part is not what He thinks, or what He says, but the point that He brings up. Is the lack of a shot clock in many states holding back the development of Division I caliber basketball players? Do players that play in states with a shot clock make better Division I basketball recruits than players that play in states with no shot clock? Does this apply across both genders? Does this apply for all college players, not just Division I players? Should the NFHS, and/or, individual states, take this into consideration in making shot clock rule decisions?

The other subject that he brings up has little to do with officiating basketball, but is still an important topic, especially here in Connecticut, which has strict rules against out-of-season coaching. Is it worth it for states, like Connecticut, to continue to perpetuate the idea of the three-sport-student-athlete, or should such states just give up and let the coaches coach all year long, leading to one-sport specialists? Here, in the Constitution State, we already have many athletes not participating in high school soccer, or high school gymnastics, to play one sport, on a high level club team, all year long. These athletes, with their families, have decided that if the state won't let a high school coach coach all year long, then the athlete might as well play for a non-high school coach that can coach all year long.
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Last edited by BillyMac; Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 03:54pm.
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Old Sun Mar 22, 2015, 05:20pm
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Honestly, who cares what a college coach wants? Good for him that he has an opinion, but that is not what he has to work with.

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Old Sun Mar 22, 2015, 05:26pm
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I rarely, if ever, see possessions in HS games last as long as they do in NCAA games.
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Old Sun Mar 22, 2015, 05:42pm
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I also do not think that rules for high school should be made for the development of college players. Most players will never play a single minute of college basketball.

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Old Sun Mar 22, 2015, 05:47pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyMac View Post
The important part is not what He thinks, or what He says, but the point that He brings up. Is the lack of a shot clock in many states holding back the development of Division I caliber basketball players? Do players that play in states with a shot clock make better Division I basketball recruits than players that play in states with no shot clock? Does this apply across both genders? Does this apply for all college players, not just Division I players? Should the NFHS, and/or, individual states, take this into consideration in making shot clock rule decisions?

The other subject that he brings up has little to do with officiating basketball, but is still an important topic, especially here in Connecticut, which has strict rules against out-of-season coaching. Is it worth it for states, like Connecticut, to continue to perpetuate the idea of the three-sport-student-athlete, or should such states just give up and let the coaches coach all year long, leading to one-sport specialists? Here, in the Constitution State, we already have many athletes not participating in high school soccer, or high school gymnastics, to play one sport, on a high level club team, all year long. These athletes, with their families, have decided that if the state won't let a high school coach coach all year long, then the athlete might as well play for a non-high school coach that can coach all year long.
The development of college athletes shouldn't play much into the decision because that is not the goal of HS athletics. It may be a bi-product because some students do play ball in college, but it will affect a small percentage of students who play high school sports.

To your second point, my state allows HS coaches to coach summer teams. It has led to very little, if any, increase in the quality of basketball played in our state.
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Old Sun Mar 22, 2015, 06:48pm
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I don't think the shot clock is the ultimate answer. RI, right next door, has a shot clock, and I would dare say the quality of basketball is more worser than it is in CT. At least that was my observation in 2010 when I was there for a while.

I think making the game better in the northeast, mind you without need for a single rule change, is a matter of better officiating as a whole. Notice CT is a place where IAABO board shenanigans rule the roost and 2-person crews are the varsity norm. Same thing in RI. And no offense, BillyMac (present company accepted; I know that you at least care by the sheer fact that you're here all the time participating in the getting better process), but I saw a lot of old and slow guys in RI, because Board 84 is more interested in letting them keep working than developing new officials. So the game suffers. We set the tempo and the bounds, and coaches and players adapt.

On a separate note, for the purists out there who argue that NFHS basketball is not a proving ground for college basketball, I would counter that I'd rather an organization like NFHS, with an educational underpinning, serve that role than someone else like the AAU. At the very least, the game serves an educational purpose when the teamwork it promotes is fun. Simply winning doesn't always equate with fun. So if we change some rules to speed up the game and encourage more offense, I wouldn't be opposed at all. That would be fun for everyone, players and fans alike. Fun encourages teamwork, and teamwork feeds back to the educational mission to close the loop.

Last edited by crosscountry55; Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 07:12pm. Reason: Intended italics added
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Old Sun Mar 22, 2015, 07:04pm
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I'm sure we'd be glad to put in shot clocks here in Oregon if he'll pay for them.
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Old Mon Mar 23, 2015, 12:11am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyMac View Post
The important part is not what He thinks, or what He says, but the point that He brings up. Is the lack of a shot clock in many states holding back the development of Division I caliber basketball players?
I think Rut puts it better than I could have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRutledge View Post
I also do not think that rules for high school should be made for the development of college players. Most players will never play a single minute of college basketball.

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Old Mon Mar 23, 2015, 09:27am
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Quote:
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I also do not think that rules for high school should be made for the development of college players. Most players will never play a single minute of college basketball.

Peace
I agree that rules should be set to develop college basketball players, but I am still in favor of the shot clock. We have had it in our state for several years and I like that if forces teams to play offense. Personally, I feel it makes the game more enjoyable to watch.
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Old Mon Mar 23, 2015, 10:56am
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Personally, I feel it makes the game more enjoyable to watch.
It probably does make the game more enjoyable to watch. But, how much is "enjoyment to watch" one of the goals of HS basketball? That's what the question comes down to (plus, money and training, of course).
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Old Mon Mar 23, 2015, 11:03am
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Originally Posted by Remington View Post
I agree that rules should be set to develop college basketball players, but I am still in favor of the shot clock. We have had it in our state for several years and I like that if forces teams to play offense. Personally, I feel it makes the game more enjoyable to watch.
I don't think there are any real problems that need solved that would be solved by a shot clock.
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Old Mon Mar 23, 2015, 11:43am
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Originally Posted by bob jenkins View Post
It probably does make the game more enjoyable to watch. But, how much is "enjoyment to watch" one of the goals of HS basketball? That's what the question comes down to (plus, money and training, of course).
I don't think "enjoyment to watch" is the only benefit. Granted finances, training, are things that need to be overcome but the shot clock does more for high school athletes then just making a more enjoyable game.

- Increases player autonomy. Makes the game more player driven someone is going to have to make a shot, play, create more times per game.
- More possessions require more players to play.
- More possessions need to end when you get a good shot vs working until you get the perfect shot for the best player. Need for kids to be better shooters and take/make more shots.
- Increased number of skilled players since more players need to play more and need to be able to create or make plays.

More players playing with greater need to train and develop more universally skilled players.

Now these aren't officiating concerns as much as state of the game concerns. From a strictly officiating stand point adding a shot clock just adds a layer of rules and management.
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Old Mon Mar 23, 2015, 12:12pm
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Of course a college coach wants this because it will directly benefit him and his program. What's good for him isn't necessarily what's good for high school basketball and its participants (the vast majority of which will never play in college).
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