The Atlantic Coast Conference voted yesterday to adopt a 30-second shot clock and a three-point field goal for baskets from beyond 19 feet for next season. Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell said the rules, if adopted, will revolutionize ACC basketball.
The conference athletic directors and academic advisors approved the package by a 7-1 vote yesterday in their spring meetings in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Duke was the only school to vote against the proposal.
The rules changes will have to be approved by the NCAA rules committee. Approval of the shot clock, ACC Commissioner Bob James pointed out, should be a formality since the NCAA has encouraged experimentation in that area. The ACC will not implement one proposal without the other, however.
Under such rules, the shot clock will be turned off the last four minutes of each game and in overtime. The three-point field goal will be in effect at all times.
The 19-foot arc lies two feet inside the top of the key and six feet inside the side line.
The NBA's arc is 22-23 feet. The Big Ten recently adopted a three-point field goal from 21 feet. Each of the eight teams in the ACC has at least one player who can make 20- to 25-foot jumpers with a resonable degree of regularity. Maryland's Pete Holbert, for example, seldom shot from inside 19 feet last season.
"It's revolutionary," Driesell said of the rules changes. "I think it's great. It'll really be interesting to see how much the game changes next year. It'll definitely be a different game. I guess this could really hurt the passing game. But defenses will be forced to come out and play aggressively. No more sitting back in zones."
The new rules were adopted because the ACC teams scored fewer points than any major conference in the nation last season, and because the conference received heavy criticism when its showcase game--the ACC championship between North Carolina and Virginia--became a debacle of stalling and inactivity.
The shot clock is expected to lead to more scoring and the three-point goal will force defenses to come out and guard good shooters. This would unclog the area around the basket, giving players like Virginia's Ralph Sampson and Maryland's Adrian Branch more scoring room inside.
"We think it's going to take away some of the violence under the basket that we have in attempts to jam a zone defense," said James.
"The three-point shot is the feature I like the most," said Maryland Athletic Director Dick Dull. "It will certainly open up the game more."
A team must shoot the ball within the allotted 30 seconds or lose possession. The coaches agreed unanimously on the proposal, which was modified in the past week from having a 45-second clock.
The coaches considered a full-game shot clock, but decided the four unrestricted minutes at the end would be crucial to prepare their teams for postseason play.
For nonconference games, either team has the option of playing without the clock and the three-point shot.
The new rules are expected to have several other effects on ACC basketball.
Guards who do little other than shoot become much more valuable. The forward-oriented ACC could become a guard's conference.
Coaches must put more emphasis on recruiting jump shooters and guards who are quick enough defensively to get a hand in the face of jump shooters.
Coaching strategy may change. "Half of that stuff we used to employ may have to go out the window," Driesell said.
The athletic directors spent two hours discussing the proposal with the faculty representatives before its adoption.
"At the end of all this, we had to ask ourselves, 'Why do it?' ", Dull said. "The answer was that we think this is a direction in which much of college basketball will be headed.
"And as the premier basketball conference in the nation," Dull continued, "We feel we should be the trend setter or the leader in improving the game. It should be a lot more exciting."