Basketball Wall Street: “Travel Club Update 2017”
By Silverio Ford
Whether something is good or bad is most often subjective depending on who you speak to. Some women’s basketball grassroots veterans have different views about the Girls Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. “All the Nike club programs care about is winning, they are not focused on kids recruiting. They try to replace their entire roster each year to keep up with the other teams instead of being loyal to the kids in their program.” says Kenny Kallina of Florida Girls Basketball-(FGB). “Nothing is absolute, there is good and bad in it. The good is that the EYBL has elevated the level of play in girls travel basketball. The bad part is that it has increased the AAU “free agency” so players are changing teams a lot more these days” says John McGraw of InsideExposure. Since the start of the new 32-team Girls EYBL, many other leagues have formed in hopes of having the same success. Arguably, the most successful one has been the All Star Girls Report League founded by Mike White. ASGRs’ events include, the Deep South in North Carolina and The Suwanee Tournament of Champions in Georgia. “There are too many tournaments, over saturated with teams and event directors looking to juice college coaches pockets with a watered down, mediocre product offering desperate teams free uniforms, or partial entry fee in return for their participation.The less live period events the better,it does everyone a favor,parents,players,college coaches.Why do you need to go to 7 or 8 events? or join some wannabe league? to see the same players over and over? to play against the same players over and over? That’s why so many college coaches boycotted a lot of events because they were getting pimped out, I don’t blame them.” says a New York area travel club director. “There are too many events, there is not enough time and money to see all of the players. Good coaches do not need to spend $4000 in 2 weekends to evaluate the same prospects. Some coaches rely on scouting services but I have heard horror stories about so many of them. However, one of my friends said Dan Olsen’s is pretty good. I never purchased one in my life! and I have been coaching successfully in college for many years.” says an ACC assistant coach. “Some good ,some bad” in regards to the EYBL says Mike Flynn, owner of Blue Star Media and founder of the Philly Belles Nike program. Some skeptics say Nike is the best girls basketball platform, but the growth to 32 teams has watered down the product. Others question the necessity of the league to have 5 teams from California, 3 from Florida, 3 out of Texas and only 1 team in New York, Georgia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The nature of travel basketball has been manipulated by the constant changing of NCAA rules. The out-of-state rule might have been the most detrimental because it puts a limitation on how good a particular club can be from a national recruiting standpoint. All in all, women’s grassroots basketball has grown exponentially throughout the years, and for good reason. NCAA live period events, Nike or not, are vital to young ladies who have the aspiration to play collegiate basketball.
Somewhere around 2003, Jerry Gatewood’s Los Angeles based West Coast All-Stars team won The Boo Williams Invitational Championship over a West Virginia Tornados team with 3 parade all-american’s Alexis Hornbuckle, Candace Parker from Illinois and Tasha Humprey from Georgia. The West Coast All-Stars led by 20-pts at halftime before going on to win 74-62.