USA Basketball and the NBA on Tuesday announced new rules and standards for its youth basketball competitions that it hopes will be embraced by other organizations. They are designed to enhance the development of players and create a positive environment for boys and girls.
Among the changes:
+Smaller basketballs for ages 7-8 and ages 9-11.
+An eight-foot basket for ages 7-8 and a nine-foot basket for ages 9-11. (Ten feet is the normal height.)
+No zone defenses for ages 7-8 and 9-11.
+Equal playing time throughout the game for ages 7-8 and throughout the first three periods 9-11.
+No three-point field goals for ages 7-8 and 9-11.
+A 24-second clock for ninth through 12th grade, and a 30-second shot clock for 12-14.
+For players ninth to 12th grade, FIBA rules will be used.
The changes are supposed to promote individual development and a positive playing environment, according to David Krichavsky, NBA vice president and head of youth basketball development.
Working groups made up of experts and including former NBA and WNBA players helped develop the recommendations that will be implemented for the Jr. NBA program and Jr. NBA World Championship set for August.
“We think all these changes are going to be positive and promote positive development,” Krichavsky said.
Dinos Trigonis, who runs youth camps and competitions, expressed skepticism. He said implementing a shot clock could be difficult across the country for financial reasons. There are only eight states that have unlimited use of 30- or 35-second shot clocks.
“Most of the the high schools other than in California have not adopted a shot clock,” Trigonis said.
St. Francis Coach Todd Wolfson questioned the wisdom of banning zone defense for young players.