Fred VanVleet put Rockford in the basketball spotlight by winning an NBA Championship. That momentum in our city continues this weekend and next weekend as Rockford will be a mecca for high school and college basketball.
Rockford will be hosting the 2019 Chicagoland Summer Showcase. High School varsity teams plus some sophomore and freshman teams from eight states will be competing in a series of games at the four Rockford Public High Schools, plus at Belvidere North, Rock Valley College and the UW Health SportsFactory downtown.
It’s a first-time event that was created when the NCAA changed the live periods when college coaches can observe high school players in action during the summer. In past summers players got that exposure with colleges only while playing AAU ball, but now high school teams are getting that opportunity and District 205 in Rockford led by Director of Athletics Mat Parker jumped at the chance to host this event. Rockford coaches couldn’t be happier.
“For the Showcase to come to Rockford is a huge, huge thing,” said Rockford Auburn coach Bryan Ott. “Top flight competition coming in from out-of-town I think it’s something everybody should be excited about if you’re a basketball fan in Rockford.”
“The competition that’s coming in is phenomenal! ,” said Rockford Jefferson coach John Rossato. “We’ve got teams coming in from Ohio, Iowa, Nebraska…top-notch players coming in.”
Some of the powerhouse teams that will participate over the two weekends include Ohio State champion Cincinnati Moeller, Centerville, Ohio, Omaha Benson Magnet High School of Nebraska, and Ft. Lauderdale Westminster Academy of Florida. Elite Illinois teams include Belleville Althoff, Chicago Simeon, Chicago Bogan, Rock Island and Galesburg.
Local teams entered are the four Rockford Public schools plus Hononegah, Boylan, Freeport, Belvidere North, Harlem and DeKalb. Rockford Lutheran, Rockford Christian, Byron, Winnebago, Forreston, Dakota and Genoa-Kingston.
As the name Summer Showcase suggests these teams and players will be showcased in front of hundreds of college coaches from all levels who will be in attendance.
“The idea is to make Rockford the center of the basketball world for a weekend or two,” said Rockford East coach Roy Sackmaster. “If we’re able to do that and give the teams around here the opportunity to play teams of that level and give Rockford that exposure on a national level with high school and college coaches alike I think it’s only going to mean more good things to come.”
“Being a part of the showcase is huge!, said Harlem coach Mike Winters. The trend the last ten to 15 years is the high school coach doesn’t get to be real involved in the recruiting process anymore just because of the growth of AAU basketball, so I’m excited to a bart of it once again. I think the NCAA has made some good steps to including the high school coaches once again.”
Following is the schedule for Friday’s games:
6pm at RVC
Court 2 Guilford vs. Waubonsie Valley
Court 3 Rockford East vs. Hamilton, OH
6pm at Guilford
Court 1 Rockford Christian vs. Beloit Memorial
Court 2 Peoria vs. Harlem
7:10pm at RVC
Court 4 Rockford Jefferson vs. Galesburg
Court 2 Lima Sr., OH vs. Bloomington
Court 3 Springfield Lanphier vs. Centerville, OH
7:10pm at Guilford
Court 1 Huntley vs. Lake Zurich
Court 2 Dixon vs. Rockford Lutheran
8:20pm at RVC
Court 2 Cincinnati Moeller vs. Belville Althoff
Court 3 Bellevue West, NE vs. Rockford Auburn
Court 4 Crystal Lake South vs. Granite City