State official: No high school basketball shot clock on my watch

Published 8:43 am Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The shot clock has been a part of college basketball for around 40 years.

There has never been a shot clock in North Carolina high school basketball. And if Mark Dreibelbis, the associate commissioner of the NCHSAA and the supervisor of officials, has his way, it will not come on his watch.

Last week Dreibelbis and officials from the Triad Basketball Officials Association held a Zoom call. One of the referees, David Pritchett, raised the shot-clock question.

“If there any discussion at the national level of instituting a shot clock for high school?” Pritchett said. “I had a (scrimmage) last night and a coach brought it up.”

Dreibelbis is a straight shooter. He will tell you exactly what he thinks. And he definitely doesn’t think high school basketball needs a shot clock.

“The coaches in North Carolina have not pushed for that,” he said. “I can promise you our athletic administration certainly hasn’t pushed for that. I’ve got a personal professional issue at hand, because I have been asked to chair the National Basketball Rules Committee. That’s potentially going to put a few more years on my work career than maybe I had thought. And the last thing I want to happen under my watch is for the shot clock to come in when I’m in charge.

“Anybody who has never kept the shot clock doesn’t need to advocate for it. I’ve kept it at the D-I level when it snowed in Boone and my people didn’t show up, and you put your hand on the press table and you’re so dadgum nervous you can’t pay attention. And you lift your hand and there’s a pool of sweat right there. I called mostly D-II and D-III basketball. The only issue I ever had in D-II and D-III basketball were the stinking shot-clock operators.”

And then: “I don’t think our game needs it. I’m not an advocate for it. A good leader of mine said you don’t make majors out of minors. I see a lot of basketball. How many games in the course of a season do you actually see someone holding the ball for extended periods of time? Very few.

“Now it gets exacerbated when somebody’s got a 16-point lead and they’re holding the ball in the fourth quarter. Then everybody says: ‘Oh, we need a shot clock.’ That and the fact that somebody says: ‘Well, our college coaches can’t recruit athletes.’ Well, I think they’ve been doing that for as long as I’ve been alive and I’m almost 66 years old. And they’ve been doing it pretty effectively. So there’s a lot of talk about the clock. I think it’s going to come in (eventually).

“I’ve got two things blowing in my mind. One, do I want to extend my work career? And two, I swear to goodness I don’t want that thing to come under my watch. So that’s as honest as I can answer you. But it’s a huge issue nationally. Huge.”