I’ve used my Saturday columns to give you my worldview on NBA schedule length, and prognosticating IHSAA Class 6A football sectional alignment. Recently, however, Warsaw Tigers girls’ head basketball coach Lenny Krebs shared his valuable time with me to discuss what he would do if he were IHSAA commissioner for a day.

The genesis of this most recent dialogue was an exchange of questions and answers between Krebs and me when the IHSAA executive committee voted to change the format of regional and state basketball tournaments. Krebs’ insights, opinions, and ideas raised my antennae.

I was eager to get more time in person to hear his thoughts, and to offer someone else’s sensibilities to our readership. He afforded me an opportunity to address those additional thoughts late Thursday afternoon.

The list of ideas was not long; three ideas in fact with one of them being multi-pronged, but Krebs provided salient points.

The first idea was a three-pronged initiative.

Create sectional field sizes of either four or eight teams to eliminate waiting in the bye bracket, introduce seeding in the sectional based on a blend of (at least) won-loss record and schedule strength, and allow teams to choose among the four sectionals in their greater geographic region.

“There were some four team sectionals when I played high school basketball at Fairfield,” Krebs noted. “But we played in 13- and 14-team sectionals at East Noble. If (the IHSAA) wants everything to be equal, it should be the same number then for every section. Is that possible? I haven't crunched the numbers to see but to me, the sectionals need to be four or eight teams.”

Krebs’s first prong of the sectional overhaul idea is solid, especially if a fifth (largest school) class is created along with another class, a twist Krebs will explain as you continue reading.

“When you have six teams, some fans probably say, ‘oh you would love to have the bye,’” he continued. “But if you look back the bye teams are not always the tournament’s most successful team in the week’s action. I like playing a game to get the jitters out on Tuesday night, so a six-team tournament isn't as appealing to me.”

The third prong on the sectional overhaul has some spice, moving the Hoosier state beyond the traditional blind draw.

“You could have four possible sectionals in your region to choose where you wanna’ go,” Krebs suggested. “Put some strategy in it, make it fun. As a coach, I think that would put some excitement in it. The blind draws are exciting because in a sense you don't know who you're gonna play. Unfortunately, though, you often get your two best teams playing the first round with the blind draw. To me, that would be what we would want to avoid with some seeding and choosing your spot among four sectionals. I think about how many times our field of teams in (IHSAA Class 4A) Sectional 4 could have won if they were playing in different sectionals they strategically chose.”

“I'm all about rewarding the regular season work a team has done in some way shape or form,” he remarked regarding a possible seeding basis. “I know a lot of people don't like the whole seeding idea and they like the blind draw instead. I've come to embrace that fact I would like to be rewarded for not necessarily the just the wins, but for the quality of teams we play in the regular season.

“I think it would encourage more teams to play (higher) quality opponents, so if you don’t win as many games, but play a tougher schedule - the Sagarin ratings, where the strength of schedule is one of the factors - moves you to a higher seed.”

While Commissioner-for-a-day Krebs had the floor, he also moved in favor of the shot clock.

“We get a survey every year asking if we would support it,” he said. “I have received this survey for the last 10-12 years at least. Can we finally just make a decision and implement it? I would go with setting the shot clock to 35 seconds.”

Krebs has solid reasons to persuade folks to climb down from the ledge instead of panicking about the erosion of strategy if the shot clock was a part of prep hoops.

“I've had people tell me it would take some of the coaching out of the game at the beginning because strategies break down if teams can’t run an offense for a (set time) period,” Krebs explained. “(But) I think it will take a heck of a lot more coaching to figure out how to get the shots you want with the shot clock, and that's the fun part.”

The Tiger coach sees opportunities to develop additional skills resulting from putting the shot clock in place.

“I just think, ‘aren’t we about developing skills?’ because I feel like the shot clock would help develop new skills,” he opined. “(M)ore kids have a basketball in their hand more often for more possessions. They can develop the skills more closely aligned with the game at the next level.

“The beginning could be… ugly at times… just like anytime there's change. I think the kids would get used to it... get more skilled at passing, cutting, shooting, and judging. I've been around athletes for a long time. They just wanna’ play the game, so my job is to help them make better decisions in a shorter period of time, not to make every decision for them.”

While there are more possessions for each team with the shot clock in place, Krebs also discussed potential for just rewards among teams who can play sold defense for 35 seconds.

“If you think about the game of basketball… every rule… that's been implemented lately has favored the offense,” he said. “I mean, how often do you even get a charge call anymore? You put it in a shot clock that actually favors the defense a little. If you play good defense for 35… seconds - wherever you choose to set the shot clock time – you should be rewarded for that.”

Krebs also suggested, on a macro level, the creation of an open class for teams who choose to forego a transfer student’s 365 days of limited eligibility (junior varsity, but no varsity action) and instead move that player right into a varsity role.

He suggested, however, instead of using 365 days – which makes a transfer player fully eligible right around sectionals occasionally – the period for the eligibility choice is the full season regardless of the organic shifts in the IHSAA sports week calendar alignment.

I felt privileged to convey the thoughts he shared with me late Thursday afternoon, and we parted as I thanked him for helping me move my scope and approach in a different direction.