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Staff file photo / LFO girls' basketball coach Dewayne Watkins

Georgia will become the 10th state to implement a shot clock in prep basketball after the Georgia High School Association voted Tuesday to implement a three-year phase-in plan for a 30-second clock.

The plan calls for approved holiday tournaments and showcase events to use the clock during the 2020-21 season, with the clock also used for region play (pending region approval) the next season. Beginning in the 2022-23 season, all varsity games, including in the postseason, will use the clock.

Reaction was mostly positive among northwest Georgia prep coaches interviewed.

"That is exciting news," longtime Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe girls' coach Dewayne Watkins said. "I played professionally in Europe for 12 years, and while I was there I noticed that all of the teams, including the youth teams, played with a shot clock. This really gives them an advantage in international play.

"Also, those who play after high school will see the shot clock at the next level, so why not play with it in high school? From a coaching standpoint, I think the clock will force coaching to become even better. A more modern form of basketball will be on display at the high school level, and this should help our players have more success at the next level."

To that end, University of Georgia men's basketball coach Tom Crean spoke at the GHSA meeting at the Thomaston-Upson County Civic Center, citing the advantages of having early experience playing with a clock.

Calhoun High School boys' basketball coach Vince Layson believes having a shot clock will give teams more options if they are trailing in a game.

"Teams that are up won't be able to hold the ball to stall out a victory, and teams that are down will have a chance to come back," he said. "I'm personally excited because I think as a coach you can do some things defensively that your players can buy in to. It's hard to press a team and run-and-jump when they can play keep-away for minutes at a time. Make them take 15 seconds off of the clock, and then late clock coaching will pay off or show weakness.

"I also think it will help peach state players to be even more college ready if they are able to play at the next level."

The ruling comes at a cost, though. Estimates run from $2,000 to upwards of $5,000 for a pair of shot clocks, which doesn't include installation. Each program will also have to train, and likely pay, someone to run the clock.

"At some point in the next year or so we will need to raise some extra money, buy some shot clocks, and get them installed," Heritage High School boys' coach Kevin Terry said. "Then we will need to train someone on how to use it during games. There's some skill and understanding required to do what can be a rather stressful task as well. It seems simple, but get the reset wrong and see how many people are yelling at you."

The GHSA also voted to implement a second "dead period" each year, with this one running from the Monday before Memorial Day to the Sunday before the holiday, which is observed on the last Monday in May. The previously established dead period will remain during the week in which July 4 occurs but will now run from Monday to Sunday.

Contact Lindsey Young at lyoung@timesfreepress.com . Follow him on Twitter @youngsports22.

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