New summer showcases open doors for recruiting

ST. GEORGE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Blue Ridge rising senior guard William Lee is just one of thousands of high school players trying to get the attention of college basketball programs.

"I've always dreamed about playing college basketball, I still dream about it to this day, I dreamed about it last night," Lee said, "I just want to keep fighting, keep playing hard and hopefully I can get the right school to come and find me."

That fight got a little easier this summer with the NCAA allowing schools like Blue Ridge to host fellow prep schools and college coaches for a two weekend June showcase.

"It's been a unique opportunity for those boys that might otherwise not have had a chance to be seen in front of college coaches," Blue Ridge boys basketball Coach Cade Lemcke said, who helped put on the event, "But now over the course of two weeks 70-80 different colleges have been here, at all different levels, Division I, Division II, Division III."

Typically scholarship offers wont come until July, but showcases like the one at Blue Ridge have opened new doors for players.

"The scholarships are what's going to take me to school and the coaches all being here just gives us a very good chance of getting scholarships," Blue Ridge junior guard Michael Gray said.

"To have the coaches be able to come out and make some final decisions earlier can only help the schools, can only help the players and their families by knowing they have potential suitors that are out there," Lemcke said.

Unlike the summer AAU circuit this showcase provides players a chance to play with their schools, which can be a better platform.

"During the AAU season, you're playing with a lot of guys you don't know and a lot of guys you haven't played with for 10 months during the season," Lee said, "Right here, I'm playing with my teammates that I played with during 10 months of my season, so I'm very comfortable with them."

"More chemistry," Gray said, "Just you've been with the players you're playing with right now for all year and we won our state championship, so we have good chemistry playing together."

The next step is bringing in VHSL schools, which Lemcke hopes the NCAA will allow next year to give these opportunities to more kids.

"You have different schools all over the place that might not normally have a tradition of having college coaches coming and watching their guys," Lemcke said, "They might have an opportunity they might not have had otherwise and that's what it's about."

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