High school basketball: Michael O’Brien’s high notebook

A shot clock is coming to Illinois high school basketball sooner than expected.

The Illinois High School Association recently announced that it would allow the “experimental use” of a shot clock in girls and boys basketball at regular-season tournaments and shootouts.

The events must apply for approval from the IHSA.

“The IHSA’s survey of administrators and coaches last year made it very clear that our membership wasn’t ready to implement the shot clock in basketball at this juncture,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said. “Our priority now shifts to gathering feedback and data on the impact that the shot clock creates on game play, game management, and school finances. We look forward to working with our schools to pilot usage of the shot clock in some tournaments and shootouts this winter. We will release information to our schools on how to apply to use the shot clock in their tournament or shootout in mid-September.”

There’s been a lot of excitement around the news, but not enough attention paid to the first part of Anderson’s statement. It appears the state may be several years away from requiring a shot clock at all games. The IHSA is driven by its member schools and they made it “very clear” they aren’t ready to implement a shot clock.

Expect to see the 35-second shot clock popping up at several, if not most, tournaments and shootouts this season.

Goodbye to the three-point showdown

The IHSA also announced that it was ending the long-running three-point showdown. The competition was well-liked and generally didn’t get in the way of or delay state playoff games.

It was a problem at the state finals, however. Scheduling the three-point showdown around the games limited the IHSA’s ability to provide the best experience for fans that were in Peoria or Champaign to watch basketball.

It’s possible the three-point showdown could return in some way once the IHSA settles on a schedule for the three-day state finals format that debuted successfully last season. But it is gone for now while things get figured out.

It’s a good sign that the IHSA is taking proactive measures to nail down the best possible schedule for the state finals. The move to Champaign and the three-day format was a success last year and a few tweaks could improve the experience for fans.

CPS progress

Determining when and where Chicago Public Schools sporting events take place has been a monumental task for the past several decades. The dates and times published in the paper took hours and many phone calls to establish…and were still often undependable.

That may be changing. CPS quietly launched a new athletics website last year, www.cpsathletics.org. It fully rolled out this season and appears quite comprehensive.

A check of my local high school, Clemente, shows times and locations for soccer, volleyball and football games this week.

Thompson out at Leo

Brother Rice isn’t the only Catholic League school that has been forced to make a coaching change during the school year.

Jamal Thompson stepped down as basketball coach at Leo this week. Thompson, a Leo grad, was 76-27 in four years with the Lions.

Leo is expected to fill the vacancy with a coach already involved in the program.

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