Change is hard.
It goes against our nature as humans to try and be objective about our flaws.
So each year when we get through our Southeast Summer Showcase, I really try to step back and assess what we did right, what we did wrong, and how we can make it better. This year’s event is coming up on June 15.
Quite frankly, it ain’t easy.
We work hard on our showcase. As in, hours, days, even nights. Talking. Meeting. Writing out schedules. Brainstorming. Moving players around on teams. Changing up the drills. Meeting with the coaches ahead of time. Going over details. Going over them again.
Gabe Devoe looks on during drills.
Sometimes, it means staying up until the wee hours packing up little things for the player packets or printing out the rosters ONE LAST TIME because we noticed some of the numbers were wrong on the last batch we printed.
Loading up all the equipment to head to the gym at 6 am, and going to bed at 2 am hoping 4 hours of sleep will be enough to fuel the day.
So when it’s all over, and we pack up the boxes, wipe up the Gatorade from the hallways and make sure no players have fallen asleep in the bathroom before we turn out the lights, we pretty much collapse into exhaustion and hope that at least one player, at least one, got a good look from a college that will eventually lead to a scholarship.
Last year, we had 8 seniors who eventually went to Division I schools. We had even more who eventually went Division II.
Our dunk champion, Carlee Clemons, landed at #2 on the ESPN top 10 the next day (we would have been #1 if not for the fact we were going against the NBA playoffs) and he eventually went on to compete in the national high school dunk contest on CBS. Really cool, especially when our previous dunk champion, VMI player Craig Hinton, also went to the nationals the year before.
Our All-Star game from 2013 boasted some awesome talent: Gabe Devoe, who committed to Clemson; Javis Howard, who landed at the Charleston Southern; Gary Clark, who decided on Cincinnati; Colton Bishop (Loyola Maryland) and several more. Just too many to name.
MaxPreps wrote that our event was one of the biggest in the country, and was the biggest on the East Coast for the weekend, with the West Coast going to Pangos All-American camp. Not too shabby.
Charis Fitzgerald, 2012 Camp MVP
So it’s not easy to step back and look at what we could do better. When you put in so much effort to eke out a few victories, looking for things you can improve feels like you’re focusing on what you did wrong, instead of what you did right. But in order to improve, that’s exactly what we have to do.
Like I said, it ain’t easy. BUT…if it was easy to put on a world class event, everyone would do it.
So here goes.
With all of the things I think we do RIGHT, and have done right, at our events in the past, there are things that haven’t been done as well as I would have liked.
We had issues with our jersey numbers the first year and our DVD reproduction last year. These are things that happen, you fix them and move on. You work out some kinks. You put in backup plans. You eliminate things that didn’t get executed well.
BUT…there is one thing that we’ve had at our first three events that actually went off really well…and yet, I wasn’t happy with it.
It’s a staple at many individual showcase events, and they all have the same problems.
The All-Star game.
I have NO issue with All-Star games in general. They’re terrific. But at an individual showcase? It just doesn’t work.
See, the first problem is that you are picking players based on a single day’s play. And you also have players who already come in with a reputation. If a player comes into your event, and he’s already holding multiple Division I offers, you will look like an awful scout if he doesn’t make your all-star roster. But then there are players who show up, play really well, and not enough coaches vote for them to make the All-Star.
Last year, as I was handed the final votes for the All-Star game, I cringed. I could see that every single player who made the game deserved to be there. And I could also see at least 6 players who didn’t make who also had an argument to be in that game. And I hated it. I hated the fact that we were basically telling those 6 or so players that they weren’t making the cut, even though I knew they were good enough.
Bear in mind, this goes against what would be the industry norm for a scout or basketball analyst to do. Very few will ever admit they are wrong even when they are wrong all of the time, and they will laugh about people who admit mistakes. But it takes no courage to do that. I can’t tell players to “do the right thing, not the easy thing” and then turn around and do the opposite. If I see something that we need to change, I have to try and change it.
I knew that what we doing wasn’t good enough, and I decided that this year, 2014, I would come up with a better way. I don’t care if other showcases still run an All-Star game, it’s not how I think it should be done. And I’m doing something different.
This year, we’re doing this: your team wins, you play in the title game. No All-Star game. A title game. So if your team goes 2-0, we go by point differential and the best teams play. If there is a tie, we have a quick playoff to decide the title game. So the TEAMS that play the best get to play for the title. We’ve had teams go undefeated every year and I expect this year will be no different. If a team plays well enough to go undefeated then that TEAM should get a chance at the title, don’t you think? That’s what competition is all about.
And this year, we’re broadcasting the title game on NetCast Sports Network. So if your team plays well all day, you won’t have to pack up early. You’ll play in the final game, on the full court, on the live broadcast, and on replay.
Want to get your shot? Sign up for the event at Events.BasketballElite.com.
You can follow Marcus Shockley on Twitter, even though he doesn’t always tweet about his flaws.