Once again, basketball athletes will be put under a microscope and the watchful eyes of recruits at the 15th Annual Darrell Sears Basketball Showcase.
The Showcase tips off today, Friday, April 28 and will run to Sunday, April 30 at the St. Georges’ Gymnasium. The players take the court Friday evening at 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
The start time on Sunday will be 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
In attendance this year will be Oklahoma University, Stetson University, University of Louisiana Monroe, Colorado State University, Arkansas Little Rock University, Winthrop University, Robert Morris University, Auburn University, Arkansas State University, Edward Waters, Paris College, Miami Dade College, St. Petersburg College and Pensacola State College.
The Showcase is put on in conjunction with the Basketball Caribbean Connection (BCC) and is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) certified event.
It is, perhaps, the only NCAA certified showcase in the Caribbean.
Since 1999 scores of young athletes have been awarded scholarships to not only play basketball abroad, but further their education at the collegiate level as well. Players such as the sixth overall pick of last year’s NBA Draft, Chavano “Buddy” Hield, Magnum Rolle, Garvin Hart, Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn, Dwight and Kadeem Coleby, Prince Cooper, Travis Munnings, Nathan Bain among countless others have all been discovered as a result of the Showcase.
“The Showcase is the premiere event for the country as far as getting kids an opportunity to be seen and getting the kids an opportunity to go to school,” voiced BCC Board Member Calvin “The Future” McIntosh. “We all like tournaments, we all want to win. But this is something, where I think the kids can win individually. It’s not necessarily team based. We just want kids to get an opportunity to go to school.”
Athletes throughout the country are invited through coaches and/or parents. Sears highlighted that the Showcase was created after witnessing the prices to register in other Showcases outside the country. Their goal was to introduce something affordable for athletes throughout The Bahamas.
“The thing is we started the showcase because we’ve traveled to all the major showcases, where we had to pay an average of $150 to get in.
“We had to find a way to get there, then we have to pay $150 to get in … we tried to figure out a way to get those persons to come to us, where we don’t have to spend that kind of money.”
This year, Sears and McIntosh will do something a little different. For the first time in the history of the Showcase four athletes would be expected to sign their letter of intent, during or after Saturday’s session.
McIntosh later discussed some of the benefits of the Showcase, which included “being in a smaller market.
“You have maybe 10 - 15 U.S coaches who could pinpoint one player. And if you’re that good you’ll definitely stand out and every coach in the gym would be asking about you.
“I remember a kid a couple years ago – Nashad Mackey – relatively unknown. He was actually in the States. He came into the Showcase that year and he was the best player by far. Now he’s at a junior college. He got seen here at the Showcase … even Calvin Anderson.”
McIntosh explained that this would be the second year in a row that they invited Bahamian junior college basketball players to come back.
“Because a lot of them in junior colleges aren’t really getting seen. So last year we had Calvin Anderson come down, he really didn’t have much offers where he was at. He came to the Showcase and this year he will be starting at the University of Louisiana Munroe.”
Sears concluded that the run of Showcases held on the island would not be possible without the help of his committee that included: McIntosh, Greg Munroe, Patrick Victor, Kelia Wildgoose, Shamarra Beckles and also a few sponsors.
“We would like to thank the Freeport Council, Mrs. Della Bridgewater at Pelican Bay Resort and Nesbitt’s Rentals.”
Sears noted that over the course of 15 years, millions had been afforded to athletes that had participated in the Showcase.
The top 15 standouts at this weekend’s exhibition will be selected to travel to Louisiana, Dallas, and Las Vegas play in an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Tournament in July.
Athletes will compete in a number of games inclusive of” three-on-three and five-on-five. Coaches are also expected to run drill clinics for athletes to test their fundamentals and knowledge of the game.