Sandburg sophomore Daniel Morakinyo is looking forward to the 35-second shot clock, which will be used for the first time in Illinois high school basketball when he is a senior. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Sandburg sophomore Daniel Morakinyo is looking forward to the 35-second shot clock, which will be used for the first time in Illinois high school basketball when he is a senior. Photo by Jeff Vorva

It’s about time | Illinois high school hoops gets 35-second shot clock beginning with 2026-27 season

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By Jeff Vorva
Correspondent

Count Sandburg sophomore Daniel Morakinyo as someone who can’t wait for the 2026-2027 basketball season.

The rising guard/forward will be a senior that year, and he will embrace the IHSA’s implementation of a 35-second shot clock for varsity boys and girls basketball.

“It’s a good feature,” Morakinyo said after a game against Evergreen Park on June 14 at the Ray Milnes Shootout at Stagg. “I’m happy that it’s coming to Illinois. We run a lot, so it’s going to benefit Sandburg a lot.”

And a lot of other teams and players as well.

Use of the shot clock for lower-level — freshman, sophomore and junior varsity — contests will be determined by conferences and via mutual agreement by the competing teams in non-conference games.

But it will be go-time for the varsity teams.

“The IHSA has allowed the shot clock to be used in tournaments and shootouts the past two seasons, and the overwhelming feedback we have received from coaches is that it is time to embrace the shot clock in all varsity contests,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said. “We believe the two-season lead time will provide our schools with ample opportunity to install the shot clocks and get comfortable with them from both a coaching and game administration perspective.”

Stagg coach Marty Strus said he understands the need for lead time to implement the clock, but would prefer that it be employed beginning with the 2025-2026 season.

He is not alone in his desire for the shot clock to be implemented sooner rather than later.

“I wish we can play with one tomorrow,” Brother Rice coach Conte Stamas said. “We want to play up-tempo, and what I don’t like is that some teams at the end of games, with three or four minutes left, stand at half-court and hold the ball.

BR COACH scaled

Brother Rice coach Conte Stamas, shown at the Stagg Shootout on June 14, is a fan of the IHSA implementing a 35-second shot clock beginning with the 2026-2027 boys and girls basketball seasons. Stamas, however, would like to see a shot clock implemented “tomorrow.” Photo by Jeff Vorva

“That’s not basketball. Let’s play basketball. When teams that stop playing and bring the game to a halt … I don’t like that.”

Stamas has been coaching since the 1980s at the college and high school levels, so one might think he is old-school and would like to slow the action down once in a while. There is a time for that, but in those cases he preaches patience and for his players to look for a layup.

“As a young guy, I used to go to the Proviso West Tournament and sit at the top of the stands,” he said. “I used to watch teams hold the ball, hold the ball and throw it away. You have to look at the basket to score. You don’t want to just pull it out and not take a shot.

“I’ve never done that with my teams. I’m always looking to score. I think when you become tentative, [the opponents] become more aggressive, you are going to turn the ball over.”

Sandburg used a shot clock when it hosted a boys holiday shootout last season and there were only two shot-clock violations over six games.

“It’s great for me. I’m excited,” Eagles coach John Daniels said. “You can’t hold the ball on me anymore. It’s beautiful.”

Daniels said he and his peers will have to do more coaching than they do without the clock.

“Coaches will have more of an impact on the game,” he said. “You would think it won’t. People think it’s going to be up and down and it’s all the athletes, but I disagree.

“You are going to be able to push the ball and now the coach has to figure out what to do in the last 25 seconds. If that doesn’t work … some of these guys are going to have to do some more coaching.”

Local News

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Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound July 17, 2024

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