Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Little Post-Basketball-Season Ranting

Here are some things that have been on my mind for awhile now...

Idea #1…8 Championship Games in 2 Days
Here's my idea. Have the boys basketball championship games for all four divisions on the same day, a Sunday to be exact. Have all four games in the same gym. Have the games at 2:00, 4:00, 6:00 and 8:00. Then you also do the same thing on the girls side. All four divisions have their championship games on the same day, in the same gym. And in the same gym as all of the boys championship games are held! Have the girls games on a Saturday, and the boys games on a Sunday! It would look like this:

(All 8 games played at same gym)
2 PM - Girls Division-IV Title Game
4 PM - Girls Division-III Title Game
6 PM - Girls Division-II Title Game
8 PM - Girls Division-I Title Game

2 PM - Boys Division-IV Title Game
4 PM - Boys Division-III Title Game
6 PM - Boys Division-II Title Game
8 PM - Boys Division-I Title Game

As for the location, the choices are Lundholm, the Whittemore Center and the Verizon Center. My vote goes to the Verizon. Bigger capacity, no fans would get turned away like they do at Lundholm. And if they set it up the way I have proposed you would see larger crowds no question about it. I like the atmosphere at UNH, but there were many fans being turned away from the action last couple of years and that does not sit well with me one bit. Plus the Verizon is a more central location, making it a closer trip for the teams out west and up north.

If this happened it would be HUGE. It would really increase interest in the sport in the state.

The Other Key Aspect of This Idea
All 4 divisions, and boys and girls all end their seasons at the same time. Which means they all start their seasons at the same time. This would be HUGE. This past season it was WAY too confusing. You had Class S boys already in the semi-finals when Class L boys were still in the regular season, meanwhile Class S girls had already crowned a champion. Then you had the Class M boys and girls title games on the same night, same venue and at SNHU which was VERY good. However it was on the same night as the Class L boys quarterfinals. Bottom line, scheduling was a disaster this year. Each division were at different points of their seasons, and within divisions boys and girls were at different points in their seasons. There was no way to keep track of it all! What you need is for all of the divisions, both boys and girls to all start their seasons at the same time, all of them start their tournaments at the same time and all of them end their tournaments at the same time. Otherwise it is just WAY too confusing.

Oh yeah, and for the love of god, please bring the quarterfinals back to a neutral gym, so fans can see all 4 games in 1 night! Please!

Idea #2…Let's Crown ONE State Champion!
New Hampshire is a small state, we should be able to have ONE state champion. And not just in basketball, but all sports. Having 4 state champions in basketball, and 6 state champions in football is way too many.

For basketball what you have to do is either:
a) Have just 2 divisions. Division I and Division II. Division I = large school division and Division II = small school division. Within the divisions, separate the teams into conferences, either North/South or east/West. Use the heal points system to account for the fact that you're not playing all of the teams in your division. You will end up with roughly 40 teams in each division, with the top 16 teams in each according to the heal points making the tournament. The result would be 2 state champions, 1 large school champ and 1 small school champ. Then you could possibly have the two champs face off to declare a true state champion.

b) Keep it the way it is with 4 divisions. Only difference is that once you have a champion for each of the 4 divisions you have those 4 teams have a playoff to determine the true state champion. Have the Division I winner play the Division IV winner, and D-II vs. D-III. Have the winners of those 2 games play in the state championship game and then you have 1 true state champ.

Something has to be done though. Having 4 state champions in basketball and 6 in football is a joke, especially in a state this small.

While I'm At It
Let me also reiterate a couple of changes that should happen which I have already written at length about on this site.
a) We need a shot clock in NH!

b) Wait until after the tournament is completely over before voting on any awards!


  1. nice rant, Jeremy. A lot of touchy subjects. First, shot clock...absolutely! Games would be played at a faster pace while getting kids used to a college type game...I would even go a step further and play two 20 min halfs. Post season should stay the same. POY is based on the regular season, and the reg season has to have value...and you can't let a playoff upset alter what a player may have done throughout the season...let's institute a tourney MVP...that would solve your issue of not having the postseason accounted for.

    As for the season start dates...I too wish there was more of a symetrical system involved. But you have to realize that all class and gender "1st weeks" are based on the tourney finals dates they can get at whatever venue they play at...and then the season is backed up from there. Having 1 common venue would help fix that, but getting one place to accomadate multiple nights (qtrs, semis, and finals) for 4 Divisions would be impossible. There is too much going on at those other places this time of year (UNH hockey/bball) (Monarchs/etc.) for them to let NH highschool hoop take over there building for 2 weeks (or it would cost a ton of money). Great idea, though. It would be much more exciting if all classes in both genders were playing out there respective tourney's at the same time. Very "March Madness" Championship Week is for college. Great thoughts to debate.

  2. Jeremy - your ideas are all good ones but the best one is the Verizon Center. The championship games would be elevated status wise and become a bigger event. Ridiculous that people would come to see a state championship game and get turned away.

  3. Jeremy, I love the rant, love the verizon setup. I and i'm sure there are others that would 1/2 agree with your "One" state champion in all sports. I maybe can see that with basketball, but on the negative side...class S champ vs class L champ, come on that would not even be a close game. Football, i have to totally disagree. New Hampshire has 59-60 teams how can that be small. Vermont has 35 teams...3 divisions and 3 state champs. Even if NH was to put all the teams into what you say 2 divisions....big school, small school..honestly which division would win almost every year. Everyone says that it would be great for the kids. I coach a D-VI team...we are lucky to roster 30+ kids...when you look at the faces of these players that are to go up against a team that has 2-3x their roster size....doubt is risen in their heads...Don't say it doesn't it does. You could be the best coach at motivating the kids to play teams with 70+ kids, but it boils down to they are still just kids. Small school may have senior laden teams...what 14-15 seniors...what are the numbers of the bigger schools senior wise. Let the Divisions be...small teams know they accomplished something to win their division...means they were the best of the teams that are in their roster & school size. To put D-VI Champ Inter-Lakes up against a D-I or D-II Champ...Just my Rant on this subject.

  4. Never happen, the nhiaa makes the masters tournament committee look like liberals.Nhiaa are dinasaurs.

  5. I like the idea of a 35 second shot clock, but change it to 16 minute halves. I don't think that a 20 minute half would be a good thing. If you watch enough NH basketball you will find that teams are just not deep enough to play an additional 8 minutes and it would really water down the game. If you are looking to make NH basketball better adding time to the clock is not the way to go.

    I still like the idea of the 4 classes. The reason being, is that it allows for small towns to have something to get behind. Don't expect that another Muncie, Indiana is going to happen anytime soon. Sure a team like Conant could compete with many/most of the I (probably finish top 4) and some of the L teams based on talent, but the bigger schools will eventually win out, because of depth. The fun of a tournament for small schools is the sense of pride in the town itself. I wouldn't recommend taking that away. People will argue that the NCAA does it... Sure they do and underdogs will win a few here and there, but for the most part the Final Four is made up of BCS schools. (Butler was a pre-season top 20 and spent most of the season in the top 10-12).

    Finally, I love the idea of playing the tournament championships in one location on one day.

  6. 12:50...Bingo, couldn't agree more. Small towns deserve the acknowledgment of winning a state put them against a large school just don't see what that will prove.

  7. What about people who go to church on Sunday?

  8. Church at 2 in the afternoon?

  9. High school sports should stay on Saturday, not Sunday.

  10. 2:13, so you don't think it would be a good idea to have all 4 girls championship games on a Saturday all in the same gym, and all 4 boys championship games the following day on a Sunday in the same gym. 8 title games in 2 days, all in 1 gym?! Sure, you probably would rather not have games on Sundays. But Saturdays and Sundays are the only 2 days in the week when you could play 4 games in one day because people have work or school weekdays.

  11. Back to back Saturdays is just as good. No Sundays, I am not a Christian but I do think we should honor those who are by avoiding sundays.

  12. 4 Divsions would be fine if they would break them up evenly. Next year you will have 19 D1 schools and 25 D2 schools. With schools like Portsmouth, Bedford, Goffstown and Souhegan ducking the big boys (even though they are ones)

  13. I was all for having no shot clock four years ago but now I really don t feel it is necessary. AAU does not have it and by not having it really forces teams to play defense. By that I mean a team can stand around in a zone for 30 seconds and force a team to shoot from the outside. The teams that don't want to play defense have to with no shot clock or the team will stand there and make them. It allows some of the weaker teams to compete with the better teams. Having a better shot clock would only benefit the top teams.

  14. Totally agree with the rant. Shot clock NEEDS to happen. Not even a debate against it. I love the idea of realigning the divisions as well. Recently I started posting on the football page that we need to change the football division from 6 to 3. Anything less than that I think would be too much. I agree with the coach from a DVI school, they can't compete with DI or DII, but certainly they can compete against a DV school.
    Back to basketball, I think there 87 teams playing 18 games. Divide them into 8 (10-11 teams) conferences based on enrollment, past history, and geography. Each team plays each conference opponent once, with 4-5 open dates for teams to schedule out of conference games. 15 regular season game. Top 6 per conference make it to the conference tourney, top two get a bye. Thats still 18 games maximum so we are still on the same schedule. Winner gets automatic spot in the tournament, and automatic first round bye. 24 team playoff, 4 sided NCAA-Style bracket. The final 16 spots are determined by heal points rating and all teams are seeded accordingly 1-24, with 1 and 2 meeting in the championship. Championship game on a Sunday, girls at 2, boys a 4:30.
    The NCAA does not take any fun out of the tournament. Watch a small conference tourney and see the excitement at the end of the games. Butler is the PERFECT example. Small school, limited resources, etc. (i.e 2010 milford) that had such a great year that many though they could compete with the top teams, as evidence by them being ranked, and did when the time game. Villinova, NC State, Loyola, George Mason. Small teams do in fact make deep runs or come within a shot of making a deep run. And conference tournaments mean plenty to small schools.
    The system allows for more than half a conference to compete in a playoff, with the hopes of making it to "the big dance". Small schools can compete competitively with other small schools and hopefully keep travel local. It would also only add one more game. I think it may be too early in the heal point trial to declare this idea ready though.

  15. i still think the best solution is to add another Division...250 and under(D5), 500-251(D4), 750-501(D3), 1250-751(D2), over 1251(D1)...or something similar. There actually was a proposal close to this made last summer (I have a copy)...

  16. Why do people think the shot clock is so needed? I was just in INdiana and it isn't used there either. Why do we need it so bad?

  17. I've been a coach for 15 years, and I go down to Mass and watch their big championship days. I've been saying for years to have a big championship weekend, or girls one Saturday and boys the next. The only issue is where do you have the semi's, and how can they all happen on the same night, or do they have to?(and finding enough quality refs) Verizon would be the place for the finals.(no doubt) Charge one admission fee that gets you in for the whole day, just like they do at the Lowell arena for the Mass sectionals. That way hoop junkies could watch all the games.
    The only thing I disagree with Jeremy is the one overall winner. I think that would diminish the Class titles a bit. Plus, lets be real.....only every now and then would Class S and M have a shot.(Yes I know Conant might have this year). But normally, it would be Class L beating Class I in the final by like 10-20 every year. Sorry, but thats the truth.
    Lastly, shot clock yes....but not as simple as that. Money and running it correctly will take a few years to get it right. Just can't have some "yahoo" from the crowd run a shot clock.

  18. The NCAA doesn't have the Div. 3 winner play the Div. 1 winner. No way to one overall champ. Then what, a New England champ? Where will it end?

  19. Stop with the 5 divisions. Its not going to happen. Just align it out equally every two years. Schools over 1100 should be D1. That would move 3 Div. 2 schools up to Div. 1, and then it would be 22 for each.

  20. I disagree with the one champion.
    Think about this especially in a sport like hockey where size of players is a factor and someone could get hurt with different divisions playing one another.

    I say keep the classes (though they'll be divisions next year) and give more kids opportunities to play competitively and achieve success. This is HS.

    Agree with the shot clock and venue change wholeheartedly!

  21. Goffstown is moving down wow so 16 out 19 team will make the playoffs

  22. Is there a list any where of the new divisions with the schools assigned??

  23. this is your problem. both pinkerton and winny boys and girls got to the championship. if u had their games the same time there would be no one atthe girls game. seems unfair

  24. 9:41, is that post directed to me? Because in my idea the Winny/Pinkerton girls title game would be Saturday at 8, and the Winny/Pinkerton boys title game would be the following day at 8 PM. No conflict there...

  25. Jeremy - Interesting stuff. I agree that NH (and VT) should add a shot clock. It would be one less adjustment players have to make at the next level.

    I, too, noticed that the NH schedule was very odd this year. It made it easier to see a few games because it was so different from the other states, but still very odd.
    VT's schedule has been the same for a while and seems to work well. They offset the girls' and boys' schedules by one week (flip flopping each year) and all divisions play during the same time period.
    The playoffs and quarterfinals are at the highest seeds, then the semi-finals move to the Barre Aud. (Divisions 2, 3 and 4) and UVM's Patrick Gymnasium (Division 1). They normally play three championship games on the same day (Saturday) at the Barre Aud. and then the Division 1 championship on another day (Monday) at Patrick.

    In regards to having one, overall, champion; I think that would be tough. I haven't seen enough NH basketball to comment, but in VT the Division 1 teams are usually head-and-shoulders above the rest.
    I do like the idea of having a New England Championship weekend where VT, NH, ME and MA could get together with a Final Four type of set-up.
    The only unfortunate part of both ideas is that you will have some state championship teams lose their last game of the year.

  26. Great idea, problem is that NHIAA is moving in the opposite direction. They've already moved Q Finals to higher seeded team, I won't be surprised to see Semi's go that route as well. They don't care what's going on with fans getting turned away or watching games in a cafeteria on a TV. It's all about $$$$$.

  27. What about the quarters and semi's? Only so many good ref's for the tourney in NH. If your finals are on the same weekend, then all your other rounds have to be played on the same nights too. Thats why its staggered now. Great idea. Needs a lot of planning and creativity. In Mass they do the first couple of rounds at neutral floors, like other high schools.

  28. To those that say a shot clock helps teams that play no defense, I'm not sure you understand what a GOOD zone defense can do. You CAN NOT "just stand around for 30 seconds and force teams to shoot from the outside". A stationary zone defense is probably easier to pick apart than poor man-to-man defense and a good team would drive the lane and getting open looks from 3 all day long. A GOOD zone defense is a thing of beauty, getting into passing lanes, trapping, shut down the inside, forcing bad shots, help defense etc. Without a shot clock, teams aren't forced into making bad shots because they have all day to shoot. Also it doesn't "allow weaker teams to compete", other than the fact that they can run out the clock and shorten the game. Weaker teams more often have less athletic players and are a weaker team due to a lack in skill, size or speed. While size helps in a zone, speed and skill aren't as important as BBall IQ. Certainly a weaker team CAN focus on M2M defense and be very successful with it, but a team that chooses to play zone isn't choosing to not play defense, they are just doing it a different way. When teams need to start fouling when they are down 4 with 1:10 left because the other team can dribble the clock out ruins the game. A shot clock rewards teams that focus on playing defense and having a solid, fluid offense.
    To those who want to keep 4 champions to "allow kids to achieve success. Its just High School". Yes, it is High School...lets start helping these kids define what success really is. Success comes through failure as well and kids don't, or shouldn't, need a trophy at the end of the year.

  29. If kids at the small schools want to achieve success, keep 4 divisions, each one has a "Division Champion" at the end of the regular season. Then we have the state tournament for teams across all 4 divisions and crown 1 true state champion. That way, even the small schools are having a taste of success and you also get 1 state champ.

  30. Jeremy, Let's be real "even the small schools are having a taste of success and you also get 1 state champ". In your true opinion "which" Division would win 98% of the time? Small schools would love the challenge, but they also don't want to be embarrassed either playing against "bigger" schools. It is just human nature, even when you are a high school kid.

  31. If you dont think the Conant and Milford would have loved a crack at Pinkerton your crazy.

  32. It would be tough to name a "Division Champion" unless everyone in the division played each other an equal amount of times. As it is now some teams have easier schedules then others, so I don't think that is a good way to name a Champion with the current scheduling!

  33. 12:10, Keep in mind not as exiciting for higher division to play lower one. Higher division has everything to lose lower one was "suppose" to lose anyway. This year it would have been good game, most years no! A class L school just finishes beating schools similiar to them now what motivation to beat much smaller school. If you want the small schools to play the larger ones heave one tourney with all teams mixed in. This year in playoffs Pinkerton had three games that were losable, Milford only had one. All teams should have similiar road if you want one state champ.

  34. I don't think enough credit is given to the Class L schools on this blog. When you play a full class L schedule, there are very few nights - maybe 2 - during the season that you can still win without playing your best. Having tough games night in and night out and going 14-4 in class L is much tougher than having 8 gimme's in class I and finishing 16-2 or 17-1. Milford had an excellent team this year and would have beat some/many class L teams on any given night. However, if they were in class L, they would have had a much more difficult schedule night in and night out. They would have been in the mix but to say they would have definitely been a top 4 team is incorrect. Do they beat Pinkerton, Winnacunnet, Dover, or BG? I don't think so but they were clearly the best team in class I this year. Class L teams are deeper and have been through a much more difficult schedule. They deserve more respect.

  35. 9:59, the problem is against a weak team that does not run a great offense (half the teams in NH) the shot clock would speed up the game too much and you would see less upsets. More possessions for each team mean better team has advantage. No shot clock less possessions gives weaker team more of a chance to compete. By having no shot clock it equals the playing field.

  36. 2:45 is right'd have to have the mixing between divisions happen sooner than the final 4...Milan had to beat a couple of larger schools to get to the final in can't just allow the opportunity for a small school to "catch lightning in a bottle" and win a championship, there has to be some sort of "earned it" involved

  37. Well 4:22 what are we trying to do here, have a level playing field where every team goes 9-9, everyone is happy and sings kumbaya or doe we want to prepare these kids for the next level?

  38. Curious, when will you be updating the final team and player rankings one last time on both sites now that the show case and season are both over?

  39. Jeremy, next level for who? Look at your top 20 kids in class L. The better athletes are playing a different sport and maybe 4 or 5 kids go d3. Prepare for next level is not what it is about in NH. Only 9 states have shot clock and none at AAU level why should a weak basketball state like NH have one?Not enough talent...

  40. 4:22, Keeping it equal isn't what its all about. Hell, we have 4 classes of basketball teams to keep it even. Why does everyone want to reward weaker programs that don't put the same time anD effort as top dogs in each division. I understand the numbers arguement, but the classes are divided by enrollment anyways and all things considers most school have the same resources as the others in the same class.
    I'm all for upset, but they should be because team A played better than team B that night... not because they spent half the game running the clock down. With a shot clock, some times may even be forced to put some time into running a real offense.

  41. Those of you suggesting that the shot clock will alter play, favorably or not, need to consider that a high school shot clock would probably be for 45 seconds. How many games actually see a stall offense? And of those, how many teams are actually able to hold the ball for that long possession after possession?

    Out of nearly 900 games, I'd bet a shot clock wouldn't affect more than 40-50, a really insignificant number in proportion to the whole. I understand all the basketball and competition theory, but in this case, I don't believe the practical affect would amount to enough of a difference to warrant all the costs and operational changes that will be required.
    And it certainly wouldn't alter the final results in any where near enough games to support such a change.

    One other angle - who ever said that the game must be played faster? There are plenty of teams that use a patient offense that makes the other team defend for long periods - a strategy designed to wear down an opponent that might employ a short rotation (think football and the ability to run the ball). This approach might appear to be stalling but even college teams take their time under certain circumstances.

  42. I think you have some good points 5:55, but I still like the idea of a shot clock because I feel it just forces teams to play a better overall game. I like the idea of a 40 second clock, it gives teams at least 30 seconds to find a good shot, which is enough time without taking too much time off the clock. I think here is a difference between being patient and stalling. I don't think most teams go into the game thinking "lets take a minute and a half of the clock every time we have the ball" as opposed to "lets wait for our shot", but teams do work on ways to basically play keep away when up late. I just don't think teams should be able to wait forever to find an open shot.
    Also, just because it doesn't change the outcome, doesn't mean it won't affect the game. A shot clock would certainly change the way teams played the game. Zone defenses would be more popular. JJ Reddick type, pure shooters who can't defend, would become more valuable because now you can hide them on D. Teams would also focus more time to running a fluid offense. I would guess most teams spend a large part of practice focusing on D. The truth is, offensive skills are what is going to get a kid recruited more so than his defensive skills.

  43. I want to rant about a player and I only do this now that the player has committed to Uconn and seems to be moving on from high school hoops.
    On November 6th of 2006 NERR ran an article on a Boston Fall league game and mentioned a player by the name of Shabazz Napier. The quote was " Charlestown was led by a balanced attack that included 6’0 junior point guard Shabazz Napier. So in November of 2006 this player was a Junior. Last year this player was playing on both the Metro Boston teams 16 and 17's in the Spring of 2009. So in 2009 this kid was playing as a Sophomore on the AAU circuit. Over the last few days this kid has committed to UCONN. He will go to UCONN this Fall of 2010. Anyone think that he used the system or would you call it abusing the system?

  44. Whats the player's birthday? And what grade was appropriate for each of the year's questioned? It may have happened that the earlier news report got the grade wrong. Even if the report was correct, what's the beef? Is he not eligible to play at UConn? Should his past teams forfeit all their games? Does this somehow affect you or your son? I wouldn't call it abuse until I had ALL the facts. And I wouldn't bother ranting until abuse is proven and it can clearly be shown that someone was negatively affected by the situation.

  45. Jeremy yes on the shot clock it makes the game much more exciting and does prepare any of the kids that do make it to college a chance to play with the right rythem of the game. And my idea on having a championship team out of all the classes would be to have an allstar team for each class including top coach and let them play a tourney round robin for the championship. That way you wouldn't have to worry about depth.

  46. Jeremy,
    Did I miss something or did you not make a post where you pick your all state teams? You spent considerable time criticism the current process but then never offered your own opinion. Also surprising is how little coverage you provided of the final fours and final games. You spend countless hours covering these games and players (which is greatly appreciated) and making predictions as to who the best teams are, and then when the season builds to its dramatic end, you have very little to say. I guess as someone who reads your postings and has come to respect your opinions on nh high school basketball, I am disappointed that you did not give the readers more culminating info and insight on what was a great season.

  47. I thought I had plenty to say at the end of the season, maybe you missed some of the content. This is all of my coverage of the 2010 NH Boys Basketball Tournaments.

    My article on the Class L and Class I championship games is here:

    My Article on the Class L semi-finals is here:

    Class I semi-finals article:

    Class I semi-final Preview:

    Dover over Exeter in Class L quarterfinals:

    Milford over John Stark in Class I quarterfinals:

    Londonderry over Merrimack in Class L Prelims:

    Portsmouth over Souhegan in Class I prelims:

    Article on Class M Semi-finals:

    White Mountains over Somersworth in Class M quarterfinals:

    Newmarket over Wilton-Lyndeborough in Class S quarterfinals:

    Campbell over Farmington in Class M prelims:

    Somersworth over Prospect Mountain in Class M Prelims:

    Class L Tourney Preview:

    Class I Tourney Preview: