by Jeremy Bauman / @jbauman13
Travel basketball has garnered a large amount of headlines recently and a good amount of those headlines are not written in a positive tone. Many people speculate about the cheating, foul play, and behind-the-scenes that may or may not take place in the travel basketball game. As is the case in nearly every profession, you have your straight and narrow workers, and then you have the complete minority that ruin the reputation of the hard working individuals in their field.
However, events that promote academic excellence and strive to help the under-recruited players are the respectable side of the travel basketball coin. Thousands of kids go un-recruited every year simply due to the unawareness of coaches about players. Events like the Elite Academic Showcase help coaches connect with these players by cutting out a major variable: Every player must have good grades.
Held in the northwest suburbs of Chicago at the Lake Barrington Fieldhouse, the Elite Academic Showcase is a one-day showcase on July 11th that requires each participant to have at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale (or a 3.7 GPA on a 5.0 scale). College coaches from around the country attend the event to find high quality academic players to fill their rosters.
Colleges that must meet higher academic standards find events like the Elite Academic Showcase and themselves a match made in heaven. The coaches already know that the players have good grades, so any player who performs well at the event is immediately recruitable and is a potential signee. The event is individual-based and begins with a combine setting in the morning. Teams are then assigned during the lunch break, and each player will play three games in front of college coaches.
“Events like the Elite Academic Athletes Showcase give our guys a chance to play in front of schools that really cater to our needs as a program,” explained Robert Icart, director of the California based BTI AAU program. “We have sent a lot of kids to Ivy League schools, and this event allows our kids to be seen by nearly all of the high academic schools at once. It saves us a lot of time and money.”
An AAU tournament has thousands of kids at the event, and most coaches don’t know the skill level or GPA of 90% of the kids. Events like the Elite Academic Showcase help the smaller schools such as the Division II, NAIA, and Division III schools pinpoint talent quickly and easily. The smaller schools have much smaller recruiting budgets than the major Division I universities, so using recruiting resources becomes that more important.
Check out www.eliteacademicathletes.info for more information about the event, what schools will be present, and directions to the gym.