AAU basketball program finds way to showcase top players during coronavirus

AAU basketball program finds way to showcase top players during coronavirus
TN Gatorade Player of the Year Jonathan Lawson finishes at the rim. (Source: WMC)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Without AAU Basketball over the past four months, high school players haven’t been able to showcase their skills in front of college coaches. Hoop City decided to bring the best hoops players in the area in one place for everyone to see.

Around 300 coaches tuned into a live stream of an exhibition game right here in Memphis. It included 14 of the top players from Memphis, Nashville and Alabama.

“Mostly to compete and have fun in front of college coaches to get everyone to know me and blow me up,” JD Davison said.

Hoop City president, Ernie Kuyper’s goal was to help players gain exposure.

“We’re trying to get scholarships and this is basically the only way,” Kuyper said. “Get the internet, use the internet, the safest way possible. This came along and this gives me some hope you know, giving the kids some hope.”

Another thing that gave kids hope, Grizzlies Ja Morant who stopped by to talk to the players. Morant was in their shoes, just three years ago.

“You know I didn’t have exposure to a camp like this so that’s a plus for them right there, but it also shows them that you don’t have to be invited to a top camp, you don’t have to be ranked, you don’t have to have stars to compete and do great,” Morant said. “I was told there’s some guys out there being under recruited and this is a chance for them to get on the scene.”

The players used the time with no games to focus on their game.

“I’ve been improving on my three ball. Trying to get a better shot, be a three level scorer and try to work on my defense and my agility,” Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year Jonathan Lawson said.

“I’ve been working out a lot so I haven’t been able to play in front of coaches or anything so I’ve just been working out trying to get better,” top recruit Mason Miller added.

Kuyper said if it is safe he’s still hoping to send some teams to play at AAU tournaments. The NCAA’s dead period currently ends July 31st.

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