Seven is the lucky number for a team of teen basketball players that recently got a look from professional coaches and basketball players in hopes of attending college on scholarships.
The seven Copperas Cove high school students who practice at the Armed Services YMCA were selected to attend a showcase clinic, Maximum Exposure, where college-level coaches and players evaluated their motivation, communication with team members, rebounds, interaction with the coaching staff, and their ability to work as a team.
The professional coaches and players came from Division I schools that compete in the Final 12. Each player received a written evaluation listing his strong and weak points and were ranked in the group. These reports were sent to more than 100 colleges and universities.
The camp has produced professional players including the Los Angeles Clippers’ Eric Bledsoe, Oklahoma City Thunder’s Eric Maynor, and Orlando Magic’s Ish Smith. But the clinic is not all about basketball.
“The coaches and players talk with the teens about basketball. But they also talk about academics, behavior on campus and that they must stay eligible to play,” said Johnathan Brown, who coached the team made up of two city league teams, the Copperas Cove Crusaders and the Mavericks. “And they talk to them about attending college playing no basketball at all.”
The clinic cost $350 per player. The players raised 100 percent of the money needed to participate in the showcase, including food and transportation.
Paula Williams is the fundraising coordinator for the combined team and has helped the teens participate in the showcase for three years. “The first one, I was nervous. This year, I was humbled by the way that our boys played,” she said. “They really worked as a team.”
Two senior players, Johnathan Brown, II and Montre Williams, led the team and took away valuable lessons. “It was great to be evaluated to get a check on how my game is,” said Williams, who started playing basketball when he was 8. He spends more than 20 hours a week practicing and playing basketball and hopes to major in education and one day become a coach.
“This was the best experience to get an idea of what college would be like,” Johnathan Brown II said.