Every now and then we get the urge to share our thoughts about all things youth basketball. Sometimes those thoughts are about what we’ve seen at a particular tournament or camp; sometimes it’s about players that we saw and really liked or sometimes it’s about more significant issues that affect youth basketball both good and bad. Every so often we plan to publish our thoughts in writing and share them with my viewers. These thoughts are random, are in no way meant to offend anyone, and simply represent one man’s view of the world of basketball. Hopefully, what you read will be thought provoking and add to the national debate, or sometimes I simply want to provide more exposure to some hardworking kid with a dream or an organization that is doing things the right way. I hope you enjoy the initial installment of “Random Thoughts.”
COVID-19 and The Upcoming 2021 Season
Our initial thoughts surround COVID-19; how the virus decimated the 2020 travel basketball season and how it will continue to negatively impact the upcoming 2021 season. Although basketball came to an abrupt halt in late February and early March of last year, it appears, despite the fact that the country is still suffering from the horrors of the virus, travel basketball will return in the spring. Of course, there will be some changes and inconveniences this season (i.e., limited crowds, COVID protocols and mask mandates), but competitive basketball will return. However, instead of schools, colleges and local recreation centers, most events will be held in privately owned and operated facilities where there are fewer restrictions and more of a profit motivation. In some communities (i.e., just about everywhere in Indiana) this situation does not pose much of a problem, as the community has access to multiple multi-court private facilities. However, in communities such as Columbus, Ohio, it’s a much more significant problem, as there are no such facilities currently available. Although we will all have to be more patient over the next several months, I think we can all agree, it’ll be great to be back in the gym!
The Nature of Exposure
Over the course of the last decade, the phenom of early exposure has taken on a life of its own. Today, opportunities for exposure are more abundant than ever. Although past exposure was more about print media and write-ups, most recently, exposure is all about highlight videos and mixtapes. Regardless of the platform, more and more young players are seeing their names and likeness broadcast nationally. Obviously, we at the Buckeye Prep Report not only embrace the concept, it’s a significant part of our mission statement, “Elite Competition and Maximum Exposure!” What most parents and coaches don’t understand, although media outlets are in the gym covering kids, an opportunity for a player to catch a scout’s eye is fleeting, and often amounts to just the luck of the draw. As an example, we recently covered an event at a 6-court facility in Cincinnati. Mind you, there were a total 12 teams playing on 6 courts at the exact same time and 1 guy trying to cover it all. In general, depending on the layout of the courts, 1 guy can partially cover 2 courts at one time at best, leaving 4 other courts uncovered. Common sense dictates that not every play or player is going to be seen at any given time. Although this is a simple concept, players, parents and coaches often complain of a lack of exposure/coverage. We submit; if a player plays well enough and often enough with the right team at the right (competitive) events, he/she will eventually get their moment in the sun. We can’t speak for every scout/video guy, but we enjoy finding new talent and highlighting players for the first time more than we do writing about the same players from event to event. With that said, if a player logs in consistent standout performances and we see it, we have to acknowledge it.
Behavior Remains A Problem
We’ve hit this topic before, but unfortunately, the problem of player, parent and coach bad behavior has continued to worsen. I know many of you who are taking time to read this article are not really interested in dealing with this topic, but someone has to address the problem; we need to do better people! At the end of the day, we all want our team to win and are child to succeed, but yelling profanities and engaging in outright physical violence is not the way to express yourself. Not only does it negatively influence young minds, it’s dangerous, costly to event operators, and can get you arrested and incarcerated. This game is supposed to be fun, but so many players, parents and coaches are so hyped up that gyms have become powder kegs that are just waiting to explode. Also, here’s a news flash, officials don’t care who wins a game; they just want to be paid! Once again, officials don’t care who wins a game; they just want to be paid! Officials are not trying to cheat your team/child, often times, they just missed a call or made a mistake. From our experience, most officials don’t even know if a team is from Chicago or Cleveland which is a common complaint from parents and coaches. I know this plea will fall on deaf ears, but the topic must be addressed. Relax and enjoy the competition, times flys much quicker than you think.
Communicate With US
To close, we have added a “Contact US” tab on our new website. This feature is designed as a mechanism for our readers to communicate with us about all things basketball. If you have a player or team that you feel is underexposed or in need of recognition, send us a note with specifics and we will take a look at it. If you have a complaint or you feel we got something wrong, let us know and we will do our best to make changes. Although we would love to offer a message board, way too many people use those platforms for negative attacks and to foster personal agendas. We really do want to hear from you! Finally, please take a few minutes to read our past Random Thoughts articles; we think you may find them interesting. Ok, that’s all for now. We’ll come back later as we develop more “Random Thoughts.”
Past Random Thoughts Articles