Basketball Elite Southeast Summer Showcase

If you are looking for a basketball scholarship, please take a moment to read this.

First, let me back up and start at the beginning. Or, at least, a beginning.

A bit over five years ago, my good friend James Blackburn and I were sitting in a frigid gym, frustrated and fed up. After several hours of sitting on cold metal bleachers in overlooking courts with no heat in March, we’d scouted about 60 high school players in an open run style showcase. We scouted every single player at the event…but let me explain why we did it, and why it infuriated us.

When we walked into the gym, we never saw the event organizer (he never showed) and there were no college coaches in attendence. There were no media in attendance. There were over 60 kids who had paid $150 each, or about that much, to get scouted, and there was no one there to see them. We were the only people who showed; no media, no colleges, no scouts…nobody but James and myself. The players were basically left on their own to warm up, and eventually a few coaches and ‘referees’ showed up to organize the games, but the qualifications for being a ref were basically ‘have a whistle’. One ‘ref’ per court, and the ‘coaches’ at the event were texting on the sidelines, paying no attention to the games, as the players subbed themselves in and out of the game.

So James and I looked around and decided that these kids deserved better than to be scammed; we decided that if we were the only people who came to see the players, then we would watch them all and make sure someone actually scouted them. We sat down and watched basketball all day and we found several college level players. Time has passed and I can confirm that this is not speculation; over a dozen of the players we saw that day are currently playing college basketball, a couple have gone on to play at the Division I level.

Now, there are good individual showcases that exist…but this was definitely not one of them, and there are too many that spring up which just look to make money off of young players and naive parents who think they are going to show up to a gym packed with ACC coaches and national media. This is similar to why I rant about middle school rankings, but that’s a different topic. To be clear, there are a few showcases that are very good. I don’t want people to think I’m painting with a broad brush here.

So that day, after seeing all of those good players, I told James that we needed to put together a showcase that actually gave the kids what the bad showcases promised. We would bring in some players we knew could play and had name recognition, we would call some colleges we knew, we would try to sign up players who were under the radar and we would charge as low of a price as we could. We would get some of the best high school or AAU coaches we knew to interact with the kids. My goal was simple: every kid who came to my event would walk out a better player, even if that only meant he was more knowledgeable about the recruiting process or learned a new drill.

It was, in retrospect, a naive ambition; putting on an event is incredibly expensive. The week before our first event I barely slept, trying to organize and pay for everything without losing too much money. Kids would commit to coming to the event only to back out the following day. Colleges would commit to coming only to back out. I scrambled to put rosters together that would make good match ups on the floor. We met with coaches, we tirelessly contacted media we knew, we pitched sponsors. It took a Herculean effort, and by the time of the event we had about 40 players show up, a half dozen colleges, a TV news channel and some minor sponsors. I lost about $700 on the first event…but about two-thirds of the players who came to that first event went on to play in college. Four players who had no college interest were offered by colleges at the event. I suspect the coaches and staff that helped me put together the event felt badly for me, losing money on the attempt. I was ecstatic, and as I drove home in my SUV crammed full of camp equipment and Gatorade coolers, all I could think about was how good it felt to see a player who had almost given up being offered a college scholarship by a college coach. For me, it had been a resounding success.

Since that first event, we’ve grown tremendously; We landed on ESPN’s top 10 in 2013; we’ve had players who went on to become McDonald’s All Americans and had multiple players who went on to high major schools. We added Pepsi, Subway and Champion as sponsors (many thanks to their generosity) and added much more national and regional scouting coverage. MaxPreps has stated more than once that our event is one of the biggest on the East Coast and it’s much appreciated. Phenom Hoops and Rivals have been supporters of ours for some time and that’s greatly appreciated as well.

We accomplished this by sticking to same basic formula:

  • Bring in some known players so college coaches know the talent level is strong
  • Bring in as many under the radar players as we can so college coaches can see how they fare against good competition
  • Use high quality, highly engaged, diverse coaches for the staff. Coaches’ schedules prevent them from being able to work the camp every single year but we have been incredibly fortunate that we have been able to have so many dedicated coaches involved over the years. This is extremely important to me, because the players interact with the coaches all day.
  • Scout every player, and have scouts on every court
  • Elite drills and warm up – we’ve scouted NBA practices and camps so many times over the years that we know the drills that elite players have access to, and we bring them to high school players. We put so much work into the drills that we had to reduce the number of games from 3 (our first year) to two because players were getting too gassed by the end of the day.
  • We actually LOWERED the price over the years. What’s that? You say the economy’s doing well and inflation is normal? Not for us.
  • We work every year to make sure that players get some type of improvement. The reality is that we can never make everybody happy; but my goal isn’t to make everybody happy, it’s to try and deliver what we promised and help as many players as we can.
  • We have recruiting experts come in and speak to the parents and players about the realities of getting recruited for college, and they are available all day.

There have been pitfalls along the way as well. New people and organizations enter the grassroots scene all of the time, and some are fantastic people, but many are not. We’ve been called names, we’ve had derogatory things said about us and our event, and we’ve had people become angry because they thought we were playing favorites. Many of the people who have told parents not to come to our events are people I’ve never even met and certainly weren’t involved in grassroots or high school ball five years ago. There’s also the misconception that we are somehow making massive amounts of money off our event – my reaction to that is always the same: if you think it’s easy, there’s no one stopping you from trying it. If it’s reputable, I’ll even do everything I can to help you. But if you don’t know what you’re talking about, or you’re looking for a money grab, or you just want to spout nonsense, keep quiet. I’m not listening. It takes no courage to complain, because it does not leave you vulnerable. It takes far more courage to stand up and tell people about something you like, because people can attack you for it. So either stand up for something positive or step aside. I have no time for your silly braggadocio.

I honestly don’t know how much longer we will put on our event. It’s been a big success and I’m elated at how far it’s come. However, the work involved is immense and you never know when it will come to a point where I just no longer have the time to put in to make it run the way I want it. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing. I’ve certainly made mistakes and I’ve worked to correct them immediately.

So what I’m saying is this: if you are interested in what we stand for at Basketball Elite, please consider attending our 2015 Southeast Summer Showcase. If we can help you in any way,now or in the future with your goals for college (or even your goals for life), we will. Honestly, even if you don’t attend to play but just want to come and talk with me or anyone on our staff, you are welcome to do so.

Check out the sign up information for this year’s event at Events.BasketballElite.com

Marcus Shockley is the creator, along with a band of talented (but possibly misguided) misfits, of BasketballElite.com, the Southeast Summer Showcase and has scouted and written about basketball for longer than any person should openly admit. You can follow his rantings on sports, life and acceptable flavors of ice cream on Twitter @m_shockley


By Marcus Shockley

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 Basketball Southeast Summer Showcase
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.

Southeast Summer Showcase basketball north carolina Due to the response for the upcoming Southeast Summer Showcase, we are having to establish a deadline of June 13, 2011 for registration.

UPDATE: Due to a technical glitch on the evening of the deadline, we extended the deadline for early sign registration. However, space is limited, so check the site here to see if we are still taking registrations.

This is so we can plan for jerseys, coaches and logistics surrounding the event. If you are planning on attending, you need to register ahead of time in order to secure your spot at the showcase. There is a possibility that players who show up on the day of the event to register will have to be turned away.

The Basketball Elite Southeast Summer Showcase is a premier individual players’ showcase, taking place on June 25. Rivals affiliates, college coaches and scouting services will be on hand for this high level, high competition basketball showdown. Click here and get more information today.

The BasketballElite.com Southeast Summer Showcase will be an individual players’ showcase in Greensboro, NC on June 25. This is going to be a high-competition event, with a chance for players to get more exposure while playing against some of the best players in the region.

  • All games will be filmed
  • Game film will be made available to coaches and scouting services nationwide
  • Major and regional media in attendance
  • High school referees
  • High school coaches & pro players running all drills and games
Southeast Summer Showcase

Cost: $95

Click here to learn more!

Visit the official sign up site by clicking the link above, and keep up with the players who are confirmed, the media attendees and the full details of the event!

By Marcus Shockley & James Blackburn

The ScoutsFocus Elite 80 Spring Showcase was held in Greensboro, NC over the weekend and there was quite a bit of talent to take note of. The event featured players from 2013 and older with a notable exception, which we will get to. The event ran long in scheduling and there was not an all-star game at the end. However, we attempted to watch as many games as possible and have come up with a Basketball Elite list of the top players that we were able to see through several games.

Apologies to a few players who arrived late and were not listed on the roster sheet, and we did not get a chance to talk to. This is our overall and class ranking for this specific event, and these are also the players we will continue to scout heavily in the coming months. There was a lot of speed on display at the camp, and the style of play was extremely loose. We intend to scout all of the players who attended again as much as possible in the future.

Top Players By Class

Class of 2014

Sadeeq Bello, 5’7″, PG (Westchester Country Day)

Saseeq is undersized at this point but extremely quick and looks to get the pass off with a flair. The younger brother of Duece Bello, Sadeeq was one of the few 2014 players attending but showed flashes of style and promise even against older players. Pushes the ball effectively up the floor and gets the ball to his teammates. He is working on become a serious playmaker and is a player to keep an eye on.

Class of 2013

Christian Hairston, 6’7″, SF (Greensboro Day)

Hairston has an exceptionally fluid game and runs both ends of the floor. Both James and Marcus independently chose Hairston as the best player in this event. At least a solid mid major prospect, he has the length and athletic ability to play either the 2 or the 3 in college. Needs to add some weight but plays hard and puts out effort at all times. Plays defense and is effective even without the ball. Will become more of a name over the next two years and looks like he’s willing to put in the work to elevate his game.

Was listed at 6’6″ but is actually 6’7″.

John Egbunu, 6’10”, PF/C (Mt. Zion)

Egbunu is raw but has a lot of potential. When he gets the ball around the rim he can throw down two-handed dunks, even on the run. Needs to work on his footwork some in the post, and was caught out of position on lateral defense at times, but is long and athletic with size. Really good prospect.

Sharwyn McGee, 6’5″, SF (Ragsdale)

Athletic and strong, with a great ability for rebounding. A solid prospect that works well in the post but has the ability and potential to play the 3 in college.

Reed Lucas, 6’4″, SG (Greensboro Day)

Great outside set shooter and extremely athletic; broke away for dunks, including a reverse. Really understands how to play without the ball and has good court awareness. Plays hard at all times, works and moves his feet on defense. Working on his ballhandling to be able to play PG more in the future.

Class of 2012

Chase Ward-McEwen, 6’2″, PG/SG (Parrot Academy)

Big time guard with explosive elite guard athleticism. Strong, smart player with crazy hops and knows how to play with or without the ball. Can play the 1 or the 2 with ease. Really understands how to play the game and looks like he could play in both the half court or the full court up tempo game. One the best pure athletes at the guard position we’ve seen this year, but it cannot be emphasized enough his court awareness and heady play. Defends, plays all out and is obviously a mature player. Quick hands on defense.

Keerthi Boru, 6’6″, SG (Grace of Raleigh)

Explosive slasher, very fast and smooth up and down the court. Moves well without the ball and can score with the ball in his hands. Needs to work on ballhandling, but is dangerous in transition and knows how to find spacing on the break. Competes on every play. Was listed at 6’6″ on the roster but is listed shorter in other places, so we’ll find out the accurate measurements.

Sheck Sero, 6’9″, PF/C (Mt. Zion)

The other tower in Mt. Zion’s frontcourt, Sero is also long and athletic, but needs to work on running the floor and his hands, handling the ball on the pass into the post.

Mike Dimitropolous 6’6″ SG/SF (Veritas Christian Academy)

A player hails from Greece and who looks more like a college 3 but also plays the 2, an active and fundamental player. Works hard even in drills but sometimes had trouble in the fast pace of the open court games. Decent shooter and does not make many mistakes. Has gotten interest from Elon and Arizona State.

Michael Blum, 6’2″ SG (Veritas Christian Academy)

Solid guard who can shoot and works the offense effectively. Great outside shooter.

Basil Deveaux, 6’6″, SF (Veritas Christian Academy)

Ahtletic and long, promising prospect and big time slasher who plays well in the open court and transition. Can get out of control with the ball in his hands going full speed, but also can explode to the rim just as easily. An exciting player to keep an eye on.

Class of 2011

Lindsey Johnson, 6’1″, PG/SG (Cary Christian School)

Also one of both of our favorites of the event. Smart, really understands the game and what’s happening around him, he’s athletic and defends well. Works hard the entire game. Not going to wow you with highlights but impresses with his ability to score the ball in a myriad of ways. Was player of the year in his conference and an All-State performer. He averaged 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assist a game this past season. Definitely has the ability to play at the next level and has the maturity to get it done.

Denzell Hosch, 5’10” PG/SG (Charis Prep)

Good scorer who can shoot and get to the rim. Good team player. Vocal, and obviously a leader. A dynamite scorer who cannot be left open and will burn the defense, but also knows how to run the offense. Solid in many areas. NC A&T and Winston-Salem State have offered him. Appalachian State and UNCG have expressed interest. His team today gelled together very well – they filled the lanes on the break and shared the ball well.

Lacurtis Latimore, 6’1″, SG (Trinity Christian School)

Strong and active scoring guard who is hard to stop when he has the ball in his hands. Can score on the break or from the half court set. Can finish in traffic, even with contact. Dangerous when he’s got the ball, but needs to work on making an impact when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands.

Aaron Smith, 5’9″, PG (Mt. Zion)

Solid, strong guard who can create his own offense. Mature enough and good enough passer to play the PG spot, but also a solid scorer who can play off the ball effectively as well. Very disciplined guard who understands the game and plays with poise and strength. A winner, talks on the floor and competes. Has a nice pull up jumper and his scoring ability keeps the defense from collapsing on the big men.

Top Overall Players (All Star Team)

Christian Hairston, 6’7″, SF (Greensboro Day)

Chase Ward-McEwen, 6’2″, PG/SG (Parrot Academy)

Lindsey Johnson, 6’1″, PG/SG (Cary Christian School)

Denzell Hosch, 5’10” PG/SG (Charis Prep)

Lacurtis Latimore, 6’1″, SG (Trinity Christian School)

Aaron Smith, 5’9″, PG (Mt. Zion)

John Egbunu, 6’10”, PF/C (Mt. Zion)

Most Outstanding Player

Both James and Marcus independently decided on the same player as the top player at this event, Christian Hairston (6’6″, SF, 2013).

There were three players who were not listed on the roster sheet, but would have made this list. We are still working to track them down.

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