BY DENNIS CHASE
TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City West's Brett Graham and Traverse City Central's Jeff Turner are among those coaches who think northern Michigan basketball players are often overlooked by college recruiters.
"I was talking to Chris Coles, Dylan Roe's coach at Olivet," Turner said. "He thinks this area is under-recruited, too.
"There's good talent up here, and some of it goes unnoticed. We have kids who can play at the next level."
To help area players improve their recruiting profile, a Northern Michigan Prep Basketball Showcase will be held Sunday, Oct. 7, at Traverse City West. The event will be put on by Childress Sports, which organized a football combine and exposure camp at Thirlby Field this summer.
"We had a lot of success with the football camp so we're giving basketball the next opportunity," Ira Childress said.
The showcase will be for high school boys and girls. The girls camp begins at 1 p.m., following registration. The boys will begin at 3:30.
Former Michigan State star Greg Kelser will address the groups, sharing his ideas on what it takes to be a success on and off the court. A recruiting workshop for players and parents is also planned. Players will take part in skill development drills as well as scrimmages. Childress said college coaches from Divisions II and III, plus the NAIA, will be in attendance.
"It's an opportunity for northern Michigan kids, and western Michigan kids, to showcase their abilities," Graham said.
Although a growing number of area players have received college scholarships as of late — Central Lake's Jasmine Hines to Michigan State, Suttons Bay's Dwaun Anderson to Wagner, St. Francis' Holden Greiner to Lehigh, Petoskey's Cory Starkey and Pellston's Chris Hass to Bucknell, Cadillac's Ben Smons to Drake, Cadillac's John Simons to Central Michigan, St. Francis' Sean Sheldon to William and Mary, among the more high profile — Graham believes that's just the beginning.
"We have good players up north and looking down the pipeline we have more coming," he said.
Graham currently has three former players competing in the small college ranks — Aaron Olsen at Concordia, Trevor Commissaris at Goshen and Will Kittendorf at Olympic College.
"We have some kids (in the north) I think the D-II schools may be overlooking," he said.
The showcase will also allow players to compete against one another in scrimmages.
"I told our players this is a chance to see how you rate against other players in northern Michigan," Turner said.
Players can register online at ChildressSports.com. The fee is $100 per player.
The West and Central coaching staffs will help work the showcase.