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Coaches flocked to St. George’s showcase in Freeport

KELSIE JOHNSON
Guardian Sports Reporter
kelsie@nasguard.com

Published: May 01, 2012

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High school and college coaches from the United States of America (USA) invaded Freeport, Grand Bahama, this past weekend, looking to offer scholarships to the best male and female basketball players on the island, to attend school starting in the Fall semester.

Hundreds of eligible players poured into the gymnasium looking to impress the 18 coaches on hand at the 10th Annual St. George’s Basketball Showcase. The three-day event was an opportunity for coaches to see and work with the players individually, as they displayed their skills through a series of drills and games. Head coach for the boys’ basketball program at St. George’s High School, Darrel Sears, extended invites to more than 100 of the top basketball players competing at the high school level in Grand Bahama, as well as persons who are interested in playing college basketball. Most of the attendees were males.

“The invite was extended but we didn’t want to lose the core of the group or what we tried to start this event off with,” Sears said. “We don’t want to discourage any kid, but at the same time, when we allowed just anyone to come in, the event started to get weaker and the more skilled kids didn’t get a chance. We still have an open door, but we ensure that the majority of the entries are invited.

“We place them on teams. They get skill development, where they can go to stations and work with different coaches. In some settings we found that players were hiding their strengths and their deficiencies were shining in others, so we let them play 3-on-3, this is after the 5-on-5 because in the full court you can hide or go through a whole session without a player being recognized.”

St. George’s Jaguars coach Sears said that local players and coaches are getting adjusted to the idea of the showcase rather than tournament setting. The annual event doesn’t reward the top team, which Sears believes takes away from the individual player’s chances of being recruited based on his or her skill set.

Players from grades 10-12 as well as high school graduates with college eligibility were welcomed. This is the second term for girls’ play, and Sears revealed that more than four female basketball players have already been recruited. This weekend, noted Sears, the buzz for female players was very high.

He said: “We had about 128 players from around the country turn up. One of the players who was a part of the event last year, he came back and was invited to the NBA Top 100 Players Camp. He is also invited to the Dwight Howard Camp, so we are all excited about that. This camp, we are excited to have all these players and are trying to get the word out.”

Coaches were in town from schools like the University of Cumberland, Edward’s Waters College, Northern Oklahoma Junior College, Iowa Central and Daytona State Community College. Scouts from independent and private agencies were also on hand. Sears is confident that quite a handful of players will be recruited during this showcase.

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