TODD AARON GOLDEN: Stall ball? Forget the shot clock, let's look at the five-second rule (2023)

To get into the spirit of this column, I am standing six feet away from anyone else while doing nothing but holding a laptop in my hand.

I kid, but stall ball— the act of holding the ball to burn the clock and/or limit possessions in a high school basketball game— is a hot topic again after last Friday's showdown between Class 2A No. 2 Linton and Class A No. 1 North Daviess, a game won by the Cougars 24-23.

I did not cover the game, Andy Amey did (including the wonderful intro, "The cat and mouse may have been asleep by the time their game was over ..."), but I did cover Linton's game against Bloomfield in the First Financial Wabash Valley Classic, where both teams employed a stall for at least a little bit.

Nothing riles up basketball fans quite like stall ball. And who can blame them? Who on Earth pays good money, even the modest amount to attend a high school game, to go watch someone stand there doing nothing?

When it happens, there are inevitable calls for high school basketball to implement a shot clock, because it's used at the pro and college levels, and because it's the first solution one would think of to enforce movement, and theoretically, scoring.

I don't think it's the right solution, but I think there's an equally obvious way to avoid the stall— amend the five-second rule. More on that in a bit, but all of this bears some context.

Game theory vs. spectator interest

First? Let's get this fact out the way that seems to get lost in the hue-and-cry over stalling— how often do you truly see stall tactics used in a high school game? Be honest.

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When I saw it in the Linton-Bloomfield game? It was the first time I'd seen a true, stand-around stall in years. My perception is that it has always seemed to be more popular among some of the smaller southwest Indiana schools, but it is far from prevalent, and not at all common.

So, what I'm saying, is that there's no need to break out the nukes to solve a problem that deserves a paddle. Let's not pretend stall ball is an oft-seen blight. It's rare.

But, when it is used, it's perfectly within the rules and, frankly, a legitimate way to win as the rules are currently written. There is a jeopardy to it— as Linton found out to their disappointment.

Holding the ball means you can't score it. The defense makes the decision not to guard which is a risk on their part if they can't make the stop when the time comes. For both sides, each possession become more valuable.

That's the game theory behind it and if you have a team that can do it, it's sound game theory too.

The problem with game theory, no matter what sport it is, is that it often produces a terrible, unwatchable product.

See baseball with the emphasis on walks, pitching specialization, power contact at the plate and the lack of baserunning.

At the end of the day? All sports, even high school sports, have to operate on the principle of pleasing the butts in the seats because they're paying the freight.

If a tie has to be broken between game theory vs. spectator interest? You break the tie in favor of spectator interest every time, because without engaged spectators? You have no game to theorize in the first place.

So how do you fix this? Let's start with how you don't fix it.

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Shot clock? It won't work like you think

As mentioned, implementing a shot clock — which is used in 10 states, almost all on either coast — is the most commonly suggested solution to eliminating stall ball.

I'm not necessarily anti-shot clock, but I don't think it will work like people think it will. It might even exacerbate lack of scoring.

First, there are legitimate concerns about cost of adding them. My concern is who would actually run it? High schools have enough problems as it is filling the existing positions they have to run games.

You can't have the game clock operator do the shot clock, it's a specific job. Then, of course, it's not an easy job. It adds one more element to the game for someone to make a mistake.

However, the impact of the shot clock on the actual game is what concerns me most.

First? I worry about quality of play. I watch college basketball for a living, a sport played at much higher skill level, and I see plenty of possessions degenerate into heaves at the end of the shot clock.

College basketball is a galaxy ahead of high school basketball in terms of ability. Imagine some of the late shot-clock possessions you'll see in a high school gym? Especially when the disparity between good and bad teams is much wider than it is in college or the NBA?

My biggest problem with a shot clock? It will become a means to an end as far as coaching offense is concerned.

At the college level, I see plenty of teams use the 30-second shot clock not as a limit, but as the timing of how their offense operates.

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I see bad teams do it to limit possessions. I see good teams do it for the same reason — Northern Iowa has limited possessions for years— because they feel they can defend you in the fewer possessions you will get and they will prevail. UNI pulls it off more often than not.

College basketball is played in 20-minute halves, or in women's basketball, the (superior) 10-minute quarters. The NBA plays 12-minute quarters with a 24-second clock. In both cases? The game length is such that a shot clock only has a minor effect on scoring.

That won't be true in high school basketball. Many have called for a 30-second shot clock. My colleague, Kyle Neddenriep at the Indianapolis Star, suggested a 45-second shot clock.

Do the math on that. With eight-minute quarters, and with a team that weaponizes the shot clock as part of their strategy, possessions go down. With a 30-second clock, in theory, you could have as few as 16 possessions in a period. With a 45-second clock? Only 10.6 possessions.

With shooting percentages, charitably, in the 40s? Teams might have trouble breaking single-digit scoring if a team wants to limit possessions.

Would it always work like that? Of course not, but having a shot clock isn't going to suddenly turn a game with totals in the low 20s into a game with score totals in the 50s. What it might do is turn games with scoring in the 60s or 50s into games with scores in the 40s.

So what do you do?

The closely-guarded rule is what creates the stall, so fix it

The rule that allows for stalling in the first place is the closely-guarded, five-second rule. The rule is that a player in the frontcourt is considered closely-guarded only if a defender is within six feet of him. If he's not closely guarded, there is no five-second count.

For the life of me? I've never understood the rationale behind why it matters whether you're closely guarded or not. Basketball historians with more knowledge than I will have to enlighten me on the genesis of the rule, because it creates more problems than it solves.

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So, quite simply, get rid of the closely-guarded provision. You can't hold the ball for more than five seconds no matter where you are on the court or who's within your vicinity. In a game predicated on movement? Move it.

I can anticipate the counter-measure to eliminating the closely-guarded rule to maintain a stall— you just put two players in close proximity and they pass to one another at a safe distance. I've seen this done a lot more often than I've seen the classic, hold-the-ball stall.

So I'd create another movement-related rule. I'd have a new 10-second rule to be used in conjunction with eliminating the closely-guarded rule.

The ball must move inside the top of the 3-point arc within 10 seconds after you cross the center line. And it must continue to do so. If you hold the ball outside the arc for more than 10 seconds? It's a turnover violation.

You could still theoretically stall, but there would be quite a bit more jeopardy to it as you'd have to pass north-south instead of east-west.

Moving the ball inside the arc takes the ball movement into the defense instead of avoiding it. It would be a lot harder to hold the ball, which would likely discourage it, which would encourage actual basketball to be played.

Call the 10-second provision the Golden Rule. Heh-heh.

I think changing the closely-guarded rule makes a lot more sense, and would be easier to apply, than implementing a shot clock, which won't have the intended effect anyway.

We want movement and scoring. These changes can make it happen and send stall ball to the mundane afterlife it deserves.

Todd Golden is sports editor of the Tribune-Star. He can be reached at (812) 231-4272 or Follow Golden on Twitter at @TribStarTodd.

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TODD AARON GOLDEN: Stall ball? Forget the shot clock, let's look at the five-second rule? ›

The rule that allows for stalling in the first place is the closely-guarded, five-second rule. The rule is that a player in the frontcourt is considered closely-guarded only if a defender is within six feet of him. If he's not closely guarded, there is no five-second count.

Does the shot clock reset on a jump ball? ›

On a throw-in, the shot clock shall start when the ball is legally touched on the court by a player. Following a jump ball or missed free throw, the shot clock shall start when new possession is obtained. After gaining possession of the ball, a team must attempt a field goal before the shot clock expires.

Why does the shot clock reset to 14? ›

Shot Clock Reset – The shot clock will reset to 14 seconds in three scenarios: after an offensive rebound of a missed field goal or free throw that hit the rim; after a loose ball foul is called on the defensive team immediately following a missed field goal or free throw that hit the rim; or after the offensive team ...

What are the rules for the WNBA shot clock? ›

(1) The ball must leave the player's hand prior to the expiration of 30 seconds. (2) After leaving the player's hand(s), the ball must make contact with the basket ring. If it fails to do so within 30 seconds, a 30- second violation has occurred.

What is the 24-second rule in the NBA? ›

In the NBA, there is a 24-second shot clock that resets every time a new team touches the ball. If the shot clock runs out and the ball hasn't hit the rim, then it results in a turnover.

How many seconds do you have to shoot the ball before you get a shot clock violation? ›

In the NBA, the shot clock is set to 24 seconds, while in the NCAA, it is 30 seconds. The shot clock in basketball keeps track of how long the team on offense can possess the ball before they have to shoot it. The shot clock was invented so that teams would play the game at a quicker pace.

Does 3 seconds reset on a shot? ›

If the player stops the move, then the three second “clock” should resume. Additionally, three seconds “resets” itself every time a shot goes up. 8.

Does the 10-second clock reset with a timeout? ›

Whenever play stops in the backcourt in high school basketball – for a timeout, a ball knocked out of bounds, a held ball, a foul or defensive violation; and a new-throw in is awarded – the 10-second clock is reset.

What is the NCAA rule change shot clock? ›

Collegiate rules

The NCAA introduced a 45-second shot clock for the 1985-86 season; several conferences had experimented with it for the two seasons prior. It was reduced to 35 seconds in the 1993–94 season, and 30 seconds in the 2015–16 season. The NAIA also reduced the shot clock to 30 seconds starting in 2015–16.

Why does shot clock reset to 20 seconds? ›

Resetting the shot clock

The rationale for the change was that since the offensive team doesn't have to cross midcourt to avoid a 10-second violation, the clock should reset to 20 seconds to increase the pace of play.

Is there a 4-point shot in basketball? ›

A four-point shot (also called a four-pointer) is a shot in a basketball game made from a part of the court designated for a four-point shot. The designated area is typically farther from the basket than the three-point arc.

What is the 24 seconds shot clock violation in basketball? ›

The first violation is the 24-second rule. The attacking team has 24 seconds to attempt a field goal, from the moment they take possession of the ball. If by the end of the 24 seconds, the team still hasn't taken a shot, the referee will whistle and turn the ball over to the other team.

What is the 10 second rule in WNBA? ›

Section VIII-Ten-Second Rule

A team shall not be in continuous control of a ball which is in its backcourt for more than 10 consecutive seconds.

What is the .4 second rule in the NBA? ›

Please improve this article by adding secondary or tertiary sources. The Trent Tucker Rule is a basketball rule that disallows any regular shot to be taken on the court if the ball is put into play with under 0.3 seconds left in game or shot clock.

Is there a 5 second rule in basketball? ›

Under all basketball rule sets, a team attempting to throw a ball in-bounds has five seconds to release the ball towards the court. The five second clock starts when the team throwing it in has possession of the ball (usually bounced or handed to a player while out of bounds by the official).

What is the 7 second rule in NBA? ›

In a league defined by slow-paced, articulated play, the “7 seconds or less” offense would change the game forever. Basically, the idea was to push the ball down the court, and get a shot up within the first 7 seconds of the shot clock.

Why is there no shot clock in high school? ›

State high school associations make the rules

The arguments against shot clocks mainly boil down to finances and competitive equity. Installing adequate shot clock systems can cost thousands of dollars. Anything above a few hundred can be a considerable expense for a smaller high school or school district.

How much does the shot clock cost? ›

Adding the feature will cost less than $5,000, according to athletic director Kim Sorkness-DeCock. "The basic one we have to have will cost $4,000," Sorkness-DeCock said. "But other schools that don't have updated clocks will cost $20,000."

Can you hit the 8 ball before the last shot? ›

When the table is open it is legal to hit any solid or stripe or the 8-ball first in the process of pocketing the called stripe or solid. However, when the table is open and the 8-ball is the first ball contacted, no stripe or solid may be scored in favor of the shooter.

What is 8 seconds violation in basketball? ›

A team shall not be in continuous possession of a ball which is in its backcourt for more than 8 consecutive seconds. EXCEPTION (1): A new 8 seconds is awarded if the defense: (1) kicks or punches the ball, (2) is assessed a personal or technical foul, or (3) is issued a delay of game warning.

Is it 3 seconds if you have the ball? ›

Yes, you can be called for a 3-second violation if you have the ball. Naturally, this is only the case with offensive 3-second violations because, by definition, you cannot be called for a defensive 3-second violation while in possession of the ball.

Does the shot clock reset after a timeout? ›

The shot clock will reset to 20 seconds, regardless of the time it displays, when an unsuccessful field-goal or free-throw attempt hits the ring or flange and the ball is: (1) first controlled by the shooting team in their frontcourt or (2) play is stopped before either team gains control of the ball a.

What is 10-second rule? ›

The 10-second rule is really quite simple: It simply says that whenever the temperature in a conversation starts to go up, pause for 10 seconds before you respond. That's it--just stop and wait.

Is there a 10-second rule in the NBA? ›

The rule was introduced in 1933. It was basketball's first time restriction on possession of the ball, predating the shot clock by over two decades. FIBA and the NBA specified 10 seconds, but adopted an 8-second limit in 2000 and 2001, respectively. In college basketball, the interval remains 10 seconds.

What is a 10-second violation in basketball? ›

The NBA rulebook says a player has 10 seconds to shoot a free throw after receiving the ball from the official. If he takes more than 10 seconds, he is in violation of league rules, and is thus penalized. The opponent gets possession.

What is the new first down rule? ›

Under the new rules, the game clock will continue to run when a first down is gained. Previously, the game clock stopped when a first down was gained, and the clock restarted when the offense was awarded a first down.

What is the 3 seconds rule in NCAA? ›

NCAA 3-Seconds Issue of Concern

A three second count shall be suspended when a player who has been in the lane for fewer than three seconds has made a conscientious effort to leave the lane, usually by taking the shortest distance out of the area.

Can you spike the ball to stop the clock in college football? ›

Under NCAA, a minimum of three seconds must be on the clock for a spike play, otherwise any spike after will result in the rest of the clock being run off. This restriction does not apply in the NFL, where a legally-executed spike will stop the clock provided it is performed with at least one second on the clock.

What is the 35 second shot clock? ›

The Rule: Whenever: A player gains control of a live ball on the playing court, • On a throw-in, the ball touches or is legally touched by any player on the playing court and the team of that player taking the throw-in remains in control of the ball, that team must attempt a shot for a field goal within 35 seconds.

Why was the 24-second shot clock created? ›

Biasone, the founder and owner of the NBA's Syracuse Nationals, came up with the idea of the 24-second shot clock in 1954 and quickly convinced NBA brass that the clock was the key to speeding up the game. The clock was based on the logic that teams averaged 60 shots per game.

When did the shot clock change to 24 seconds? ›

April 22, 1954 The N.B.A. on this date adopted the 24-second shot clock, ushering in the modern era of pro basketball.

Is there a 6 pointer in basketball? ›

In strict official basketball terms, the answer is simply no. Mainstream basketball, FIBA, NBA, NCAA etc, the potential maximum out come for a single attempt is 4 points.

What is the biggest loss in NBA history? ›

2. 68 Point Margin. 68 POINT LOSS In The NBA? The WORST Blowout in History!

Who sank the first 3 point shot? ›

Initially on a one-year trial basis, the 3-point line was adopted by the NBA for the 1979-80 season. Chris Ford, a member of the Boston Celtics, knocks down the first 3-point field goal in the NBA History.

What is an example of a shot clock violation? ›

Examples Of How Shot Clock Violation Is Used In Commentary

The offense is charged with a shot clock violation as the guard tosses up an air ball as the shot clock expires. 2. The defense double teams the point guard and he's unable to get off a shot as the 24-second clock expires.

How many seconds is high school basketball shot clock? ›

Rules governing the use of a shot clock for high school basketball in California are the same rules that govern the shot clock in NCAA. The shot-clock periods are: 30 seconds for girls. 35 seconds for boys.

Does a kick ball have to be intentional? ›

A: You are correct, per Rule 4, Article 13.2, in order to be a foot ball, the action must be deliberate. The fact that an advantage may or may not be gained when the ball accidentally goes off a player's foot has no bearing when ruling a foot ball.

Who made the 10 second rule? ›

Clare De Graaf offers an uncomplicated, straight-forward antidote for breaking these habits of inaction and re-energizing your faith. He calls it The 10 Second Rule: just do the next thing you're reasonably certain Jesus wants you to do. (And do it quickly before you change your mind.)

What is the 3 seconds 5 seconds 8 seconds and 24 seconds rule in basketball? ›

5-second rule: A player can't hold the ball without dribbling for more than 5 sec. 8-second rule: A team must cross the center line after the ball possession after the opponent's basket or rebound. 24-second rule: A team after ball possession must attempt for a basket within 24 seconds of ball possession.

What is basketball rule 8? ›

8: Out-of-Bounds and Throw-In. Section I—Player. The player is out-of-bounds when he touches the floor or any object on or outside a boundary. For location of a player in the air, his position is that from which he last touched the floor.

What is Rule 52 in basketball? ›

Unacceptable Behavior - Laughing, pointing finger, name calling, yelling player name or number, etc., directed at opponents in an attempt to distract; to degrade an excellent performance by opponents.

What is Rule 13 in basketball? ›

13. The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winner. In case of a draw, the game may, by agreement of the captains, be continued until another goal is made.

What is the 35 second rule in basketball? ›

Essentially, it means the team with the ball must attempt a shot before the 35-second time limit expires or else a violation is called and possession is awarded to the other team. If the ball hits the rim on a missed attempt, the shot clock is reset, regardless of which team secures the rebound.

What is the Charles Barkley rule? ›

A player positioned under the extended free throw line cannot dribble the ball with their side or back to the basket for more than five seconds. Curiously, that rule is sometimes called the Charles Barkley rule. The rule was instituted in 1999 by the NBA because of Hall-of-Fame forward, Charles Barkley.

What is the rule 7 5 7 in basketball? ›

The thrower shall release the ball on a pass directly into the court, except as in 7-5-7, within five seconds after the throw-in begins. The throw-in pass shall touch another player (inbounds or out of bounds) on the court before going out of bounds untouched.

What is Rule 7 of NBA? ›

7: Shot Clock. The 'shot clock' shall refer to the timing device that displays a countdown of the time within which the team possessing the ball must attempt a field goal. The shot clock shall start at 24 seconds unless otherwise provided in Rule 7.

What rule did Shaq change? ›

Shaq was one of the most dominant centers to ever play in the NBA. Teams had no one who could match up with the four time NBA champ. Because of Shaq's dominance, the league allowed teams to employ a zone defense to limit his dominance in the shaded area.

What is the 6 foul rule in the NBA? ›

A player who commits five personal fouls over the course of a 40-minute game, or six in a 48-minute game, fouls out and is disqualified for the remainder of the game.

Does the shot clock reset if the ball hits the bottom of the rim? ›

There is no reset of the shot clock if a ball strikes the rim or flange as the result of a pass. result in a reset. A tap by an offensive player is considered a try for goal. There would be a reset if A!

How do you reset a basketball clock? ›

Reset the clock for a 05:00 minute 'warm up' before the game, and at Half. Once 'warm up' is over, reset the clock again to 08:00 minutes for the 1st Quarter. Quarter reset clock Sequence (Clock Set, 08, Enter), clock should be 08:00.

Does the shot clock reset when the ball hits the rim in college basketball? ›

Ruling 7: In both (a) and (b), the shot-clock operator will reset the shot clock to 30 seconds when the ball hit the rim. In (a), when B1 intentionally kicks the ball in Team A's frontcourt, the shot-clock resets to 20 seconds.

How do you change the time on a shot clock? ›

To change the shotclock time for one possession, press STOP, push the REMOTE RESET button, then press the SHOT CLOCK button once, then enter a two digit shot clock time. pressing the RESET switch will reset normal shot clock time.

Why doesn't the shot clock reset in the NBA? ›

If the defensive team acquires possession, the shot clock is reset, as it is on any other change of possession. If the offense retains possession, the shot clock is not reset, because there was no change of possession.

Does the clock start when the ball hits the rim? ›

If the ball changes possession or hits the rim of the basket, the shot clock starts over. The length of the shot clock is different for different basketball leagues: NCAA College Men - 35 seconds. NCAA College Women - 30 seconds.

Do you have to wait for the ball to hit the rim on a free throw? ›

The free throw shooter may not step over the plane of the free throw line until the ball touches the basket ring, backboard or the free throw ends. PENALTY: This is a violation by the shooter on all free throw attempts and no point can be scored.

Why is shot clock 24 seconds? ›

The 24-second shot clock was applied to force teams to attempt a shot before the time expired, to pick up the pace, and to avoid stalling. Before the 24-second shot clock was imposed, teams found a way to stall, especially when they held a lead.

How do I reset my score clock? ›

Power the clock off and then back on again. The clock should automatically reset to “13:00” minutes, ready for the next period.

Is shot clock out of bounds? ›

According to NBA rules, if a ball hits the Shot Clock in the action of shooting or passing, then it is treated the same way as a dead ball, or a ball out of bounds.

Does a shot clock violation count as a turnover? ›

In basketball, a shot clock violation is an infraction that occurs when a team fails to shoot the ball before the shot clock counts down to zero. When a shot clock violation is committed, a turnover results.

How do I change the clock automatically? ›

Update Date & Time on Your Android Device
  1. Tap Settings to open the Settings menu.
  2. Tap Date & Time.
  3. Tap Automatic.
  4. If this option is turned off, check that the correct Date, Time and Time Zone are selected.


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