They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
A collection of basketball players had the opportunity Sunday to catch the attention of college coaches in the first day-long Unsigned Showcase at South Mountain Community College. High school and junior college players from Arizona, New Mexico, southern California, Illinois and even Alaska showed off their skills for Division II, Division III, NAIA and JC coaches looking to find their diamond in the rough.
The event was limited to 60 players in what some may view as their own unique version of March Madness with student-athletes deciding where they’d like to further their education and hopefully, basketball career.
“Our thought was to run an event like this and bring a bunch of junior college, Division II, NAIA schools in and give these kids the opportunity to play without juniors and sophomores around them,” AZ Power head coach and SMCC assistant John Ortega told Sport360AZ.com. “Everyone in here is available to go to college this year and we brought coaches in to see that.”
Exposure is at the top of the list of one Valley hoops star who’s looking to play beyond high school.
“I’m just waiting it out to see what fits me the best,” Combs High versatile forward Carter Aby said after his first game. “I’m just trying to get out here and get my name out.”
The scouts and coaches have certain objectives they’re hoping these select players follow.
“They want to see more than who can score baskets,” Ortega explained. “Most colleges looking at kids right now at this level are looking for a kid to come in and be a piece of what they’re doing. Not necessarily a star.”
Ortega stressed playing defense and sharing the ball will get you on the court as much as the scoring machine looking to stuff their stats.
Over 40 coaches and scouts attended the event in south Phoenix.