The Coaches Advancement for Racial Equity (CARE) Committee is hoping to have live state basketball showcases hosted by high schools this summer.
This would take place over a two-week period in order to provide chances for players to be seen by colleges for recruiting purposes. The two weeks the CARE Committee has targeted are June 20-27 and June 28-July 4. The committee is asking that high school coaches help run and instruct during the showcases.
This is the first step in what the coaches — including Ken Smith of Windsor, Dave Cornish of Ledyard, Kevin Walton from Wilbur Cross, Charlie Silvan from Fitch, Kurt Reis from New Britain and Levy Gillespie from Capital Prep — hope leads to allowing some out-of-season coaching each year during the off-season.
“We find that in recent years an unfair advantage has been created for students and programs based on systematic barriers that impact equity relative to race/ethnicity, geographic location and socioeconomic status,” states the letter from the committee. The letter is being sent to state principals, athletic directors and even superintendents, in addition to the CIAC.
Smith made it a point that the committee wants to work with the CIAC, the Connecticut High School Coaches Association and the CIAC boys basketball committee to try and make sure these showcases come to fruition.
“We are trying to help them make decisions to make basketball better in the state of Connecticut,” Smith said. “We have to educate these kids. A lot of kids are falling short because the education piece is not being pushed hard enough for these guys.”
CARE is asking that three sites to be determined be used to host the showcases. Part of the idea is to have a “college fair atmosphere using athletics” to help the student-athletes take that next step.
“Our hope is college coaches would come to Connecticut to watch players. They don’t do it anymore. That piece has been eliminated,” Smith said.
Cornish feels the showcases increase the chances of visibility for the players, thus increasing their chances to have colleges recruit them.
“Not being able to touch our guys nine months out of 12 doesn’t really allow us as coaches to do the absolute best job we can to develop,” Cornish said. “As CARE states, we all need to have a hand in giving our kids the best opportunity to succeed in life and us as coaches just want to be given the chance to do that from an athletic standpoint.”
The CIAC had planned to host its own showcases for both boys and girls basketball last June. The Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven was the proposed venue for both. But both were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NCAA has asked the state governing bodies throughout the U.S. to take over running the showcases from the AAU circuit. Glenn Lungarini, the CIAC’s executive director, said he is awaiting word if those showcases will be held this year.
“We just don’t know if they will take place. We are awaiting more information from the NFHS and the NCAA to identify if those take place,” Lungarini said.