Wittenberg will host high school basketball exhibition games with shot clock in effect

Wittenberg huddles at the end of practice on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, at Pam Evans Smith Arena in Springfield. David Jablonski/Staff
Wittenberg huddles at the end of practice on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, at Pam Evans Smith Arena in Springfield. David Jablonski/Staff

A number of Ohio teams will get to test themselves against the shot clock for the first time

Wittenberg University will host the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame Preseason Classic, a series of high school basketball exhibition games, in November to test a number of experimental rules that could be used by the Ohio High School Athletic Association in the future.

These are the new rules the boys and girls teams will experience:

• A 35-second shot clock.

• Ball advancement from timeout in the last minute of the second and fourth quarters.

• A college 3-point line.

• And an eight-second back-court ball violation.

While the participating teams have yet to be selected, the games will take place Nov. 13 and Nov. 20. There are expected to be 10 games but could be more. The event takes place just before the start of the high school basketball season, which starts Nov. 19 for the girls and Nov. 24 for the boys.

Wittenberg Athletic Director Brian Agler, who has been involved with the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame for years, came up with the idea of the event and helped put it together along with Ron Kellogg, the board president for the hall of fame.

A two-time WNBA champion as a head coach, Agler is used to a shot clock and the other rules and looks forward to seeing the high school athletes and coaches experience the changes.

“It’s not as big of a change to the game and how it’s played and coached as what people might think,” Agler said, “but it does speed up the game. It creates more offense. I think coaches sometimes are concerned that they lose a little bit of control of the game, which I don’t think is the case so much, but it will be a good test for our coaches, our student athletes, the officials, the score table workers to practice and gain experience using these rules that could come into play in the near future.”

A shot clock could be coming to Ohio high school basketball because starting in the 2022-23 season, the National Federation of State High School Associations will permit boys and girls teams to use a 35-second shot clock if they choose.

The exhibition games will give coaches and players a chance to experiment with the changes, said Doug Ute, executive director of the OHSAA.

“It’s a good idea to ... experiment with some of these various rules,” Ute said. “It will give — as our coaches association discusses the shot clock — the teams that have participated some good feedback for them to rely on.”

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The event will also serve as a promotion for the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame, which was founded in 2005 and has inducted 266 members. There was not a ceremony to honor the 2020 class because of the pandemic, but the hall of fame hopes to hold a ceremony in October.

This is the second Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame event to come to Wittenberg. In 2019, the hall of fame sponsored a regular-season women’s basketball game between Ohio State and Valparaiso.

Members of the hall of fame will be invited to attend the exhibition games.

“We’re always looking for ways to promote the game,” Kellogg said, “and promote the history and promote the inductees from any given area.”

The process of picking the teams and the matchups has begun, and while most of the teams may come from the Springfield and Dayton area, there could be teams from around the state as well.

“We’ll go out and recruit some teams” Agler said, “and we will look for teams to contact us that have interest in participating. If we get more teams and we have slots, maybe we will try to create another day or two for this. We might add games on on the 14th and the 21st.”